By Joseph Klein

Israel once again is taking a risk for peace by planning to halt its Gaza offensive, even without any corresponding ceasefire commitment from Hamas. Israel is doing so on the basis of assurances presumably provided by the United States and Egypt to take effective measures to stop the arms smuggling into Gaza. Moreover, Israel is not withdrawing its troops right way. While the rocket attacks against the Israeli civilian population have considerably diminished since the start of Israel’s military campaign, Israel reserves the right to resume military action if the rocket launchings from Gaza do not stop completely.

Whether Israel is making a wise choice remains to be seen. Apparently Israel wanted to establish the facts on the ground as the basis for extracting its minimum conditions and not risk any softening of U.S. support with the change of administrations.

The cowardly Hamas leaders who reside comfortably in exile in Lebanon and Syria vow to fight on. They are the war criminals who sacrifice their own children to kill as many Jews as possible. Here are the words of the enemy Israel faces on its doorstep:

“The Palestinian woman bids her son farewell, and says to him: ‘Son, go and don’t be a coward. Go, and fight the Jews.’ He bids her farewell and carries out a martyrdom operation. What did this Palestinian woman say when she was asked for her opinion, after the martyrdom of her son? She said: ‘My son is my own flesh and blood. I love my son, but my love for Allah and His Messenger is greater than my love for my son’…Oh Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one.”**

Undoubtedly, with the help of United Nations officials and an obliging mainstream media that publishes sensational photographs of human suffering in Gaza without asking what lies behind it, Hamas will continue to manipulate public opinion by painting Israel as the ruthless aggressor who must leave Gaza immediately without any conditions. That would give Hamas the kind of propaganda victory which Hezbollah enjoyed after Israel simply took the UN’s terms for ending the 2006 Lebanon war. Israel must not make that mistake again by worrying about false public impressions of its military tactics.

Of course, the truth is that Israel’s air force has pinpointed its targets as much as feasible in order to avoid civilian casualties. Its ground troops have turned away from potential enemy targets when they believed that civilian lives would be unnecessarily jeopardized. However, Israel cannot allow its soldiers to be fired on at will by Hamas terrorists who violate the basic laws of war by using civilians as human shields. Nor can Israel allow its own civilians to remain as sitting ducks for Hamas rocket attacks. As General Patton once said, “To halt under fire and not fire back is suicide.”

The UN General Assembly President, Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, has accused Israel of being “in contempt of international law and the United Nations”. In one sense, he is right but for the wrong reasons. Israel does have contempt for the United Nations’ one-sided response to its conflict with the Palestinian terrorists and it correctly ignores the UN’s resolutions when they are in contempt of the UN Charter by denying a member state the right to defend itself.

The General Assembly President has questioned Israel’s claim of self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. He stated that if Israel’s right ever existed at all, it would last only “until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security”. Of course, the Security Council took no such measures to ensure the end of rocket attacks and arms smuggling that triggered the conflict in the first place. Israel instead is expected to rely on diplomatic double-talk for its protection.

Oblivious to the fact that Israel unilaterally exited Gaza in 2005 to give peace a chance, which the ruling Hamas government has torpedoed altogether, Brockmann still brands Israel as the occupying power in Gaza. He has taken the side of the Hamas terrorists in demanding an immediate ceasefire and the complete re-opening of the border crossings with Gaza for all purposes without any pre-conditions. That would amount to national suicide for Israel since Hamas will be free to import more sophisticated arms for use against Israel and to send to Israel its homicidal bombers.

The realities on the ground have enabled Israel to reach the point of deciding to suspend combat, not the empty words from hypocrites like Brockmann who like to play the role of moralizer and peacemaker but are no more than shills for the terrorists.

It is time to place the spotlight of moral condemnation solely where it belongs – on Hamas and its fellow Islamic terrorist organizations. In her incisive interview with FrontPage Magazine published on January 16, 2009, terrorist expert and author Brigitte Gabriel explained how she is attempting to do just that. As she said, “Even the Nazis did not turn their own children into human bombs, and then rejoice at their deaths as well the deaths of their victims.” That is why her organization ACT! for America has launched a petition to the UN which calls for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “to end the UN’s silence and initiate a thorough UN investigation” into Hamas’s abuse of children in Gaza.

Many more actions like this are necessary even though it is easy to get discouraged when one sees the tide of uninformed international opinion turn so decisively against Israel with the help of so many influential voices. While the effort to counter with the truth sometimes feels like plugging holes in a very leaky dike, it must be done again and again in order not to let evil prevail.

** Acting Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Sheikh Ahmad Bahr, From Hamas as quoted by MEMRI, Special Dispatch 1553 (April 20, 2007).

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