A recent email complained that our essay last week, “The New Age of Religious War,” would only serve to foment anger. Hopefully, the writer was correct. The current round of bloodshed in Gaza and southern Israel between Israel and Hamas has been an immense learning experience that should engender anger.
Radically Islamic Hamas, we now know, siphoned off a significant portion of Gaza’s total income including “humanitarian aid” and most of its imported concrete (supposedly to build schools and hospitals and homes) in order to build an extensive, interconnected network of clandestine tunnels reaching well into southern Israel. Hamas didn’t invest all of the effort, expense and lives that it took to build the tunnels so that they could engage in occasional hit and run operations against Israel. From information provided by captured Hamas grunts and Israeli intelligence, we now know that Israel was only weeks away from its own 9/11.
There are conflicting accounts of the planned attack. One version indicates that the attack was planned for September 24, the Jewish New Year Holy Day of Rosh Hashanah, when many Israeli Defense Force soldiers would be on leave. Another account suggests that the attack was planned for sometime in July, and when Hamas realized that Israel was on to the plot they unleashed their reckless rocket attacks. What isn’t in dispute is what Hamas was planning. In a word, carnage.
Underground storage facilities have been discovered within the tunnels containing sizeable inventories of arms, ammunition, suicide vests, motorcycles, syringes with tranquilizers and plastic handcuffs for taking hundreds of Israelis (apparently children) captive while killing thousands of men, women and children in several small communities. The plan was to quickly disburse captive children throughout Gaza so that Israel could not retaliate without killing many of their own – mostly children.
According to accounts provided by captured Hamas fighters each of the dozens of tunnels would be used to dispatch about 200 Hamas killers into the relatively small communities near Israel’s border with Gaza. While they are small communities, collectively they account for thousands of men women and children. The Israeli Defense Forces released aerial photographs that delineated dual tunnels leading right up to both sides of the small Israeli agricultural communities of Nahal Az, Sa’ad and Kafar Aza, where over 1550 Israelis could have been immediate casualties. Other tunnels led to other communities. All in all, thousands were to be targeted. The plan was designed to enable Hamas to hold on to the land they attacked, because of the vulnerability of the large number of captives they planned to take as hostages, thereby impeding Israel’s ability to respond. But it didn’t work out that way.
Once Israel understood what was in the works they reacted and reacted fiercely. The tunnels have been destroyed, thousands of Palestinian civilians are casualties of Hamas’s callous recklessness and Gaza lies largely in ruin. Israel has lost scores of young IDF serviceman as well as a handful of civilians.
Demonstrations have broken out all over Europe, although, ironically, in few parts of the Middle East. Hamas is so reviled by most of the Arab nations that the worst kept secret in the region is that they hope Israel destroys Hamas and their cadres of radical Islamic terrorists.
Few of the European demonstrators have protested the Hamas rocket attacks against Israel. Nearly all are protesting the audacity of Israel to defend itself. Israel, of course, primarily attacks the locations from which rockets are fired, or stored. Hamas, of course, fires the rockets or stores the rockets in homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. Civilians are the primary casualties of Hamas’s utter disregard of human life. As their motto states, “The Al-Qassam Brigades love death more than you love life.” And so they celebrate the death their primitive strategy visits upon their own people.
Perhaps, Hamas’s perfidiousness with respect to the chain of cease-fires it has violated will prove instructive to those in Washington who pressure Israel to stand down. Why should Israel stand down? They have been attacked. Specifically, it is their civilian population centers that have been the targets of the attacks. Where was the world pressure to insist that Hamas stand down before Israel finally struck back? The silence was deafening. Israel’s allies (even her Arab neighbors including many Palestinians) agreed that Israel has the right to defend itself. Well, just not too much.
According to Yaakov Lappin military affairs correspondent of the Jerusalem Post, the Hamas plan was designed, “to try and end its diplomatic, economic and general isolation.” Hamas built “cross-border attack tunnels, drones and (planned) commando raids, and increased its rocket arsenal, for the day of the big clash”, which Hamas assumed would happen in the summer of 2014. According to Yigal Carmon, head of the Middle East Media Research Institute, the apparent Israeli discovery of the tunnels on July 6 and 7, 2014, made successful execution of the planned, surprise mass-casualty attack less likely, convincing the Hamas leadership to go to war immediately before more of the tunnels could be discovered and destroyed.
Israeli cabinet minister, Naftali Bennett described the planned mass terror attack as a justification for the war underway as he spoke, describing the tunnel infrastructure as “A whole city of terror tunnels…” and asserting that, “Without the ground operation, we would have woken up one day to an Israeli 9/11.”
As of this morning over 3,000 rockets have been fired at Israeli civilian centers. While Israel and its defense of its citizens has dominated the news for the past month, we should not lose sight of the reality that radical Islamists are on the move and creating chaos throughout vast stretches of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Africa, and even Europe.
Their apologists would like us to think they merely seek justice and reform. That simply isn’t true. The widespread carnage invariably involves Islamic tribes, fighting one another, Islamic sects fighting one another, Islamists fighting foreign cultural or political influence or Islamists fighting Christians and Jews. It is what radical Islamists do. They submit to the dictates of their interpretation of their faith and tolerate none who do not.
When the radical Muslim Brotherhood ran roughshod over Egypt, Coptic Christians were harassed unmercifully and their churches were burned. Fanatical insurgents beheaded priests in Syria and the UK Prime Minister and German interior minister have warned that Islamist fighting in the Middle East is going to directly affect Europe as jihadists are going to carry out attacks on European soil too.
UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, has stated that Islamist insurgents in Iraq were planning to attack Britain and that the world could not sit back and let militants do as they please.
In fact, hundreds of young Brits have joined an ultra-violent Jihadist group fighting in Syria, and a senior rebel commander, Brigadier-General Abdulellah al-Basheer, chief of staff of the supreme military council of the Free Syrian Army, urged the British government to send weapons to bolster the moderate forces in the battle against the extremists. In a letter to The Times, he claimed that Britons who had joined the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which he blamed for “beheadings, crucifixions, beatings, murders,” and which he predicted could now return to Britain to “continue on their pernicious path of destruction.” Most of the foreign fighters with ISIS are British, the Brigadier said. In total, around 500 are thought to have travelled to Syria to join the war.
Germany’s interior minister went on record earlier this summer to warn that fighters returning back to Europe from Syria are no longer an “abstract threat” but a “deadly danger.” During a presentation of the German Domestic Intelligence Service report, he said an estimated 2,000 Europeans including 320 German citizens have gone to Syria to fight with Islamic forces. “We had feared that those returning from the Syrian conflict might plan attacks here. We know those fears were well founded. An abstract danger has turned into a concrete deadly danger in Europe,” he said.
Canada, our neighbor to the north, is beginning to recognize the danger posed by radical Islam.
Mumtaz Khan President of the Muslim Canadian Congress, an organization dedicated to fighting Islamism on behalf of Muslims, says, “When I came to Canada in search of safety and freedom of opinion, I was further troubled when I noticed how the minority Islamists were constructing the narrative of Muslim-Canadians…Liberal Muslim-Canadians are accused of being anti-Islam and agents of the West and the Jews by Islamists. Canadian politicians seem to be little concerned about the Islamists’ growth. Canadian politicians are trying to win over these Islamists instead of the liberal Muslims in order to win elections and this will have serious political implications for Canada if it is not taken seriously.”
He went on to warn “that the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood is subscribed to by many Muslim organizations that work for the same Islamist agenda. They openly support, or at least never oppose, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hezbollah and other radical organizations preaching anti-Western and anti-liberal values.
They come together to protest against the West or the U.S. whenever there is an issue involving Muslims in conflict with the West. They never utter a word on the side of the West and that is worrying for me.”
Indeed, it should be worrying to all of us. Israel’s battle against Hamas’s wanton attacks is a small part of a much larger picture. No one who embraces western culture, cherishes democracy, believes in separation of church and state and values individual liberty should take much comfort from the fact that the fighting in Israel, or Mali, or Nigeria, or North Africa, Asia, or the Middle East is far from our shores. Radical Islam is a deadly triumphal movement. If writing about the excesses of the Islamists foments anger within the world’s democracies, well, that’s a positive step in the right direction.
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I wait for your summation and analysis of the events of the week
I understand that Israel hit 5 mosques where it was confirmed that
weapons were hidden. I wonder what we might find hidden in
War is no time for fine distinctions between opposition to actions of Israeli governements in Gaza and the occupied territories, opposition to Zionism broadly, or expressed hatred of Jews. This is a righteous war. It is war so there are no perfect means; war breeds atrocities to and by each side.
This is a time to call the missiles reigned down on Israel, without any discrimination in targeting what it is: an atrocity… a war crime.
We hope desperately that the Israeli missiles and shells that have killed and injured civilians and non-military targets are not deliberate, but represent errors, or the fog of war, or the close proximity of military targets. We believe; facts, as always in war, are in short supply.
Ultimately we have to recognize that our desire, expressed as a need, that Hamas be destroyed is perfectly akin to Hamas’ core belief that Israel must cease to exist as a home for the Jews. We need a strategy and a set of strategic objectives that recognize that we live in a terrible neighborhood.
Are our leaders capable of articulating such a strategy?
as usual, well done. interestingly, watching CNN (who’s coverage I believe has been woefully biased pro Palestinian) this am one of their reporters finally, and with clarity, referred to the Hamas’ redirection of material to the construction of tunnels, purchase of weaponry,and planned attack on Israel. the press has been incredibly slow to report on Hamas’s true agenda or their willingness to sacrifice their own people. Hamas needs to be crushed and never again allowed access to money or material , a condition the voters of Gaza need to accept or stay the sad victims of their own making.
as to the larger Arab conflict, it is being reported the ISIS is now in control of a major dam in northern Iraq and threatens to blow it putting some 200,000 people downriver at extreme risk, 200,000 largely innocent folks just trying to get thru the day. the western world is incredulously naïve regarding the belief they can negotiate with any of these radical islamist ideologues be it Hamas sacrificing their own and willing to kill or take children hostage or ISIS who appear willing to blowup the dam and perhaps kill thousands.
Are the plans for the capture of children in those communities well documented? — And if so, why has this not been covered in mainstream media?
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To Anonymouse I got beaten up in scoohl, just because I’m Jewish. I worked as a security guard in Canada and saw some awful things happen on the streets of Vancouver at night. The police refused to come. I made ALLIA and have been wounded in battle here, but I don’t regret it in the least. People here in ISRAEL think with their HEARTS more than any where else in the world. I love it !!!!!!
Free knowledge like this doesn’t just help, it promote democracy. Thank you.