July 2, 2006 - A new pronouncement by Hamas deserves some attention, since it emphasizes an important aspect of the conflict. Israel's recent action in Gaza came as a response not only to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier inside Israel but also to rocket attacks that have inflicted many casualties, including the deaths of several children. Israel has tried to avoid causing civilian casualties, for the most part striking at empty buildings. The latest response of Hamas, however, is very creative.
Hamas now says it will target Israeli schoolchildren, as well as power stations. Hospitals and universities are also on the hit list. "If they continue with these attacks, we will strike at targets in Zionist territory that we have not struck until now," said a spokesman for Hamas, as though Hamas never targeted children before.
Where does Hamas get the idea it is permissible even to say such a thing? Imagine the outcry if the Israeli government announced it would target Palestinian children. Nevertheless, this latest Hamas threat will probably pass with hardly a notice.
And that is the problem. This conflict will never end until the international community demands that the Palestinians live by the same standard of civilized behavior that is expected automatically of Israel.
Hamas has never felt compelled to live by any such standard. A poster we constructed four years ago still tells it all.
And here is what Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has to say about the fact that Israelis do not like Palestinian rockets killing their children. After inspecting what was left of his office after Israel destroyed it knowing that no one was inside, he said: "This is a policy of arrogance that resembles the rule of the jungle." Israel struck an empty building, and the Palestinians call it arrogant jungle behavior. Then they call for the murder of Israeli schoolchildren.
If firing at an empty building is arrogant jungle behavior, then what do the Palestinians call blowing up Israeli children in buses, pizzerias, discos, Passover seders, and bat mitzvahs for years?
Finally, Hamas and the Palestinians can no longer claim they are resisting an Israeli "occupation." They have punished Israel for withdrawing from Gaza by using Gaza as a base for rocket attacks on Israeli cities. Had Israel not given the Palestinians a free hand in Gaza, the Palestinians could not have constructed their tunnel through which they killed two Israeli soldiers and kidnapped Corporal Shalit on the Israeli side of the border. The Palestinians have sent Israel a clear message: The more land you give us, the larger will be the base from which we will attack you.
ABC TV News Report, July 2, 2006.
Abu Toameh, Khaled. "Izzadin al-Kassam Threaten to Attack Schools, Power Stations." Jerusalem Post, July 2, 2006.
Peace with Realism