Tuesday, August 05, 2014

TOP STORY >> Strategy put own people in line of fire

Leader editor

A ceasefire seems to be holding in Gaza after a month of hostilities that killed and wounded 10,000 Palestinians — while fewer than 100 Israelis were killed and injured — in the wake of another monumental Arab military failure.

Imagine a strategy that calls for placing thousands of rockets in a poor neighborhood, like the Sunnyside Addition in Jacksonville. Thousands of terrorists fire their rockets toward Little Rock Air Force Base. They hope to set up a Moslem caliphate by rushing out of two-mile tunnels that reach inside the base.

It’s a crazy idea: Why would a ragtag army declare war on a superpower, which would pulverize the neighborhood if it wanted to in minutes and destroy most of its inhabitants?

Al Qaeda declared war on the U.S. more than a decade ago — and, on Tuesday, killed one of our generals in Afghanistan — but let’s make sure they won’t attack us here again. Hamas remains focused on destroying its neighbor Israel with the help of Turkey, Iran and Qatar.

This has been Hamas’ strategy: Declaring war on a major military power like Israel, Hamas has endangered the lives of 1.8 million Gazans by placing 10,000 rockets in schools, hospitals, mosques and tunnels.

Entire neighborhoods are destroyed.

More than 1,800 people have died in Gaza, nearly half of them Hamas fighters, but many of them children, thanks to Hamas’ reckless military strategy, which has also injured more than 9,000.

The children have suffered the most. They are the real victims. They didn’t vote Hamas into power. The adults did that.

Preparing for war in July, Hamas had planned to send hundreds of its fighters through tunnels into Israel. Only a handful of terrorists managed to get through the tunnels.

Hamas won’t reveal how many of its soldiers died fighting Israel, but almost half the casualties in Gaza were Hamas fighters.

Israel destroyed at least 30 tunnels. Each cost $4 million to build — $120 million in all.

For every rocket Hamas has fired, four Palestinians have been killed or injured. It’s a suicidal strategy, yet they kept firing at Israel.

In this third war since 2008, Hamas had planned to kill 600 Israeli soldiers and at least half as many civilians. The terrorists instead killed just 64 Israeli soldiers.

Hamas fired more than 3,300 rockets into Israel, killing only three civilians, thanks to the success of the U.S.-supplied Patriot defense system, which shoots down incoming rockets with almost 100 percent accuracy.

Hamas — which was voted into power in parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza — was hoping at least 100 rockets would land in large cities like Tel Aviv and kill hundreds, if not thousands, of Israelis.

Israel has improved the Patriot batteries, now called the Iron Dome. Back in the Reagan years, critics dismissed the missile defense shield as a Star Wars fantasy, which was first proposed by the Hungarian-American physicist Dr. Edward Teller.

Iron Dome has saved thousands of Israeli lives and someday could save millions of Americans when terrorists start firing atomic bombs at us.

Hamas had no idea Iron Dome would work as well as it has. None of the rockets have hit major targets in Israel. Iran and our friends in Qatar, Hamas’ major suppliers, have wasted billions of dollars on military hardware and tunnels when they could have built hundreds of homes, hospital and schools.

The people are living off United Nations handouts, but Hamas is even stealing UN ration cards to feed its soldiers.

The terror group is blaming Israel for the humanitarian disaster. But new videos show Hamas firing rockets from residential areas and UN facilities while the leaders hide in bunkers or live in luxury hotels in Qatar and Cairo.

Meanwhile, 180,000 people have died in the fighting in Syria in sectarian violence. Where’s the outrage?

Hamas’ desperate gamble at shock and awe has flopped, but the Palestinians continue to suffer. Will they rise up and hang the perpetrators in their midst and kick out Hamas once and for all?

The U.S. and Europe should demilitarize Gaza, encourage support for moderate Palestinians and call for elections as soon as possible.

The alternative is 10,000 more dead and wounded in the next round. Let there be peace, for the sake of the children.