"Because they Could"
Bad actors were reasonably sure that no one (U.S.) would protest and even more sure no one would stop them. The U.S. equivalent is 44,000,000 million people, who would have 15 seconds to find shelter.
Before a radio interview this week, the host sent a list of questions that might arise. The answer to an extraordinary number of them was, "Because they could." Because bad actors were reasonably sure no one (read: United States) would protest and even more sure no one would stop them.
- Why did Jordanian Palestinians join the protest calling for the overthrow King Abdullah II of Jordan?
- Why did Iran attack a US drone in the international waters of the Persian Gulf?
- Why is Mahmoud Abbas going ahead with the UN vote on observer status over pointed US objections?
- Why did the Emir of Qatar visit Gaza and give Hamas $400 million?
- Why did Ansar al Shariah attack the US Consulate/CIA Annex on 9-11?
- Why did Mohammad Morsi take on dictatorial powers in Egypt?
- Why is Iran using Sudan as its staging base for the export of arms to Gaza?
That is not to say there are no other answers, and indeed, there are many, but the abdication of American leadership in the Middle East/Persian Gulf region encourages those whose aims are inimical to the West to believe they can advance themselves with impunity.
This stands in odd contrast to the questions about Israel:
- Why did Israel bomb Gaza?
- Why didn't Israel take its ground forces into Gaza?
The answer to the first is, "Because it had to." The answer to the second is, "Because it didn't have to."
Because Israel Had To
Operation Pillar of Defense was not only retaliation for Hamas rocket fire -- although that would have been reason enough for a civilized country to go to war. The attack was a response to the discovery that Hamas had acquired perhaps 100 Iranian Fajr-5 rockets. These are the same type of rockets that someone destroyed in a Sudanese weapons factory in October, and their presence in Gaza was unacceptable to Israel.
By way of comparison: The other rockets and mortars in Hamas's arsenal made life difficult for more than a million Israelis across the southern part of the country -- the U.S. equivalent is 44,000,000 people. Every one of them would have 15 seconds to find shelter and shelter their children and elderly parents. Geographically, the radius of the other Hamas rockets superimposed on New York would cover Hurricane Sandy-land and more.
The Iranian Fajr-5 added Tel Aviv (Israel's commercial center) and Jerusalem (its capital) to rocket range -- over 1,200,000 residents in the cities, plus suburbs with over half a million more. The equivalent of an additional 75,000,000 Americans, give or take.
Of course, there are those who do not have a problem with Israelis facing attack at the whim of an enemy determined to kill as many civilians as possible. Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton acknowledged that, well, okay, rocket fire from Gaza is "reprehensible," but "let's be clear: The overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear's behind." You wonder what he would think if it were 130 million Americans having to rush for shelter on 15 seconds' notice.
Because Israel Didn't Have To
Hamas tried desperately to lure Israeli troops into Gaza. Having trained for a ground invasion, laid mines and planted booby-traps, Hamas wanted nothing more than IDF trophies, dead or alive. Increased rocket fire (more than 1,500 rockets between November 14th and 21st -- an average of eight per hour or one every eight minutes) was intended to create not only an increase in Israeli civilian casualties, but irresistible pressure from the citizenry on the government to "do something."
Although the Israeli public strongly favored a ground incursion and the government mobilized the reserves, it did not happen. Why?
The Israeli Air Force removed the Fajr-5 threat and decapitated Hamas leadership without a ground offensive. More than 1,600 targets in Gaza were hit, including rocket launching sites, storage facilities and terrorist infrastructure. Thirty senior Hamas operatives trained in Iran were killed, unable to transmit their knowledge. Iron Dome's 85% success rate intercepting rockets aimed at population centers allowed the Israeli government to make decisions without the pressure of civilian casualties. And finally, knowledge that there were 75,000 soldiers mobilized and ready reassured the Israeli public that the government was prepared to do more if necessary.
While it misunderstood the nature of the Israeli public and underestimated the capabilities of the Israeli government, Hamas correctly assessed that the Palestinian people would sit quietly while they were used as human shields. An estimated 10% of Hamas rockets meant to be fired at Israelis fell back into Gaza and were responsible for deaths among Palestinians. That makes Hamas's loopy "victory celebration" and fulsome gratitude to Iran for the means to kill disgusting, though not unanticipated.
Israel, in the meantime, took measured steps to protect its people and eliminate the next threat. It conducted an almost flawless mobilization nearly ten times greater than the troubled one during the 2006 Hezbollah war. It successfully tested the most advanced anti-missile system in the world. It showed the limitations of Egyptian and Hezbollah support for Hamas and the limitations of Iranian "help" as well. Without subjecting the IDF to a ground invasion of Gaza. Because it could.
Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center.
Comment on this item
by Guy Millière
Belgian security services have estimated that the number of European jihadists in Syria may be over 4000.
European leaders have directed their nastiest comments against the Jewish state, none of them has asked why Palestinian organizations in Gaza put their stockpiles of weapons in hospitals, homes, schools and mosques, or their command and control centers at the bottom of large apartment buildings or underneath hospitals. None of them has even said that Hamas is a terrorist organization despite its genocidal charter.
The majority of them are wedded to the idea of redistribution. Their policies are anti-growth, do not afford people any economic opportunity, and are what caused these economic crises in Europe in the first place. The United States seems to be following these thoroughly failed policies as well.
"Europe could not stay the same with a different population in it." — Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.
by Raymond Ibrahim
"I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah... There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell." — Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram.
Hillary Clinton repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
In Malaysia -- regularly portrayed in the West as a moderate Muslim nation -- any attempt to promote religions other than Islam is illegal.
"The reason they want to kill me is very clear -- it is because of being a convert to Christianity." — Hassan Muwanguzi, Uganda.
by Dexter Van Zile
Rev. Hanna Massad does not mention that perhaps Hamas actually wants the blockade to end so it can bring in more weapons and cement to build attack-tunnels so it can "finish the job."
Hamas does not just admit to using human shields, it brags about using human shields. Why does Massad have to inject an air of uncertainty about Hamas's use of human shields when no such uncertainty exists?
The problem is that any self-respecting journalist would confront Massad with a follow-up question about Hamas's ideology and violence, but not the folks at Christianity Today.
by Burak Bekdil
In Turkey however, the protests were not peaceful. They included smashing a sculpture than was neither Jewish nor Israeli.
It was the usual "We-Muslims-can-kill each other-but-Jews-cannot" hysteria.
If Turkish crowds were protesting against Israel in a political dispute, why Koranic slogans? Why were they protesting in Arabic rather than their native language? Do Turks chant German slogans to protest nuclear energy?
by Burak Bekdil
So in the EU-candidate Turkey, a pianist should be punished for his re-tweets, but a pop-singer should be congratulated for her first-class racist hate-speech. This is contagious.
No reporter present at Mr. Ihsanoglu's campaign launch speech thought about asking him if his commitment to the "Palestinian cause" included any affirmation of the Hamas Charter, in particular a section that says, "…The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
Turkey is also the country where a few years earlier, a group of school teachers (yes, school teachers!) gathered in a demonstration to commemorate Hitler.