In his post, Middle East War & Mordor, Bruce suspected I’d have more thoughts on the analogy.Â He was right.Â Like many in Middle Earth as Sauron built up his forces in Mordor, all too many in the world today discount the growing strength of terrorist groups like Hamas.
Much of what I have to say about Israel’s efforts to stop Hamas from indiscriminately firing rockets into its sovereign territory has already been said–and better than I could say it.
As leaders around the world rush to condemn the Jewish State for its supposedly disproportionate response to Palestinian terror, I join others in asking, where were they when Hamas was firing those rockets at civilian targets?Â Did that story make the front pages of our daily newspapers or lead the evening news?Â Did nations put pressure on Hamas to stop firing?Â Did the UN Security Council meet in emergency session?
Charles Krauthammer said it best when he wrote:
Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.
. . . .
Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis — 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years — deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.
This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage — or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb — will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Natan Sharansky echoed Krauthammer:
Palestinian children are dying today not because of Israeli brutality, but because their own leaders have chosen to use their children as human shields, and their pain as a battering ram against Western sensibilities.
Of course, it is easy to blame Hamas. It is they, after all, who deliberately put their weapons caches in mosques, their rocket launchers in schoolyards, and their command centers in hospitals — all with the explicit goal of maximizing the tragedy of an Israeli response.
The world may blame Israel for bombing a school and killing civilians seeking shelter there, but Hamas bears the ultimate responsibility for their deaths as it stationed terrorists armed with rocket launchers at the UN facility.
And just as Hamas is responsible for those deaths so too is the terrorist outfit responsible for the current conflict. Israel should not accept a cease-fire until it receives an iron-clad guarantee that Hamas will respect Israel’s border and refrain from launching rockets or attacks across it.
Bret Stephens offers an interesting option for Israel should Hamas violate that cease-fire: “For every single rocket that falls randomly on Israeli soil, an Israeli missile will hit a carefully selected target in Gaza.” Sounds like a reasonable request to me.