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Thursday, Jul 24, 2014
Editorials

Editorial: Hamas’ irrational attacks

Published:

In business and most endeavors, gauging the “return on investment” is essential for success, but apparently it holds no relevance for the Hamas terrorists who keep firing rockets at Israel.

Consider the consequences of these endless rocket — and now drone — attacks: The Israelis deploy a highly sophisticated system that invariably intercepts the incoming rockets and destroys them before they do any damage.

The most recent report suggested that so far only one Israeli had been killed by all those rockets. Therefore, the only rational conclusion is that the rockets were wasted.

But even worse, from the Hamas standpoint, is that Israel typically retaliates with extensive shelling of precisely chosen targets in Gaza, even going so far as to alert those living near the targets to flee to safety before the shelling begins.

Often, these warnings do not prevent the deaths of individuals — including women and children — who are not associated with the terrorists. But Hamas is known for locating rocket-launching sites near schools, mosques and such, essentially using human shields. Indeed, Hamas may be looking at the propaganda it can generate from the Israeli counterattacks as its return on investment.

Still, how long will it persist in this senseless bloodshed?

As of yesterday morning, the Palestinian death toll was 201, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Yet the Hamas extremists stubbornly rejected the cease-fire proposal put forward by the new Egyptian government.

Israel did observe that cease-fire for six hours before realizing that it gained nothing from doing so.

Ordinary equations don’t apply in the never-ending conflict between Israel and its enemies, and that’s why it is so difficult for the United States and other nations to successfully intervene and bring about a semblance of peace in the region.

The fact that the Palestinians themselves are deeply divided — Hamas and the Palestinian Authority disagree on how to deal with Israel — only dims the prospect of eventual peace.

In a Washington Post analysis published this week, readers were told that for Hamas, rockets “are politics by other means.” Hamas “styles itself as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation and has long been at odds with the government of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the main Palestinian interlocutor in the stalled peace process with Israel.”

And some Palestinians suggest that the present crisis shows that Israel, at least in part because of its sophisticated defense system, is having its way in the dispute with its hostile neighbors.

There are those in Israel who believe that this is an opportune time for a major ground offensive into Gaza, and that could lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict and push the prospect of peace further into the future.

One need not sympathize in every respect with Israel’s conduct — its expansion of settlements at the expense of its Arab neighbors strikes many Americans as needlessly provocative, for example — to recognize that preserving its existence as a nation is vital and merits the vigorous support of the United States and other Western democracies.

The plight of the Palestinian people also merits our concern.

But as long as Arab extremists ignore their own government and recklessly embrace what amounts to a strategy of irrational attacks, there can be no hope for peace in the region.

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