It was lost amid the news of Israel's counterattack on Hamas in the past few days, but Hamas' leadership passed several new laws for Gaza in December. They've adopted the Sharia criminal code, which legalizes a number of medieval punishments including cutting off of hands, stoning, lashing, and crucifixion. Possession of wine will now get you 40 lashes in Gaza City. Thus does Hamas express its solidarity with its patron and inspiration, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Hamas is Iran's cat's paw. Tehran has been giving military training to Hamas operatives in Syria and in Iran. The Times of London reported last March that Iran's Revolutionary Guards were providing instruction to hundreds of Hamas fighters in field tactics and weapons technology. Iran is also believed to be the chief source of weapons for Hamas. The Iranians supply the ideology, the weapons, and the training. The Palestinians supply the blood. When the history of the 20th century is written, one of the most important post World War II dates will be 1979, the year Islamic radicals seized Iran and sparked the rise of Islamofascism around the globe.
Iran's handprints are all over the current crisis in Gaza. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has left little doubt that Iran's chief goal is to destroy the Jewish state. And yet, many commentators, even those sympathetic to Israel's predicament, have expressed grave doubt that Israel can achieve anything with a forceful response to the violence directed against her. As a liberal democracy, Max Boot has written, "whose actions are conducted under the intense scrutiny of lawyers, judges, opposition politicians, reporters and human-rights activists" Israel cannot adopt the sort of scorched earth practices that, say, Russia applied in Chechnya. And, as others have noted, because Israel has no desire and probably no stomach for reoccupying Gaza and imposing order, she is reduced to fighting small-scale wars simply to keep Hamas off balance. And in the process, Israel pays a terrible price in international prestige.
There is no question that the world condemns and detests Israel for the simple act of defending herself. And there is also no doubt that the Palestinians have become skilled actors in the victim drama. Without minimizing the real suffering of some innocent Palestinians, it is impossible to deny that others are busy producing doctored photographs and expertly arranged tableaux of "civilian" casualties for the credulous and biddable international press.
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