When this alleged quote from the Israeli Prime Minister was first reported over the weekend, I took it with a grain of salt. We'd seen a "transcript" of a testy exchange between Netanyahu and President Obama a few days prior, which turned out to be fabricated nonsense (as many of us suspected). But when Israel's leader was pressed on the authenticity of this comment, he didn't try to deny it:
When asked on Saturday evening about a report that he told Secretary of State John Kerry and US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro "not to ever second guess me again" on how to deal with Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not deny them, choosing instead to say the report didn't reflect the general "tone and substance" of the calls. "First let me make a general statement about our relationship with the United States," Netanyahu said in English when an American journalist asked about the report from the Associated Press' Matt Lee. "I think the United States has been terrific." … Though in public officials tend to sing from the same song sheet, there is a clear behind the scenes tension between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations about many issues, sources tell CNN, including whether Israel's current military operations in Gaza are excessive and resulting in preventable civilian deaths…. Netanyahu then praised President Obama's "unequivocal stand with Israel on our right to defend ourselves," as well as the "untiring efforts" of Kerry, called Shapiro "a great ambassador," and thanked Congress for passing an additional $225 million for the Iron Dome defense system.
That funding item, offered by Sen. Mitch McConnell, passed the Senate unanimously on Friday, sailing through the House by a lopsided 395-8 vote (the 'no' votes were split evenly among Democrats and Republicans). Netanyahu's effectively confirmed admonition came on the heels of Hamas' egregious violation of the latest failed 'ceasefire' deal, which was orchestrated by Sec. Kerry and the United Nations, and to which the terrorist organization agreed. Their adherence to the 72-hour quiet ended after roughly 90 minutes, as Hamas militants killed two Israeli soldiers, and allegedly kidnapped a third. Hamas has changed its tune on the apparent adduction several times. Over the course of this conflict, Hamas has rejected or broken roughly half-a-dozen ceasefires. Netanyahu has evidently had enough of US and UN officials dragging his country into temporary peace agreements that continue to rest on the blind assumption that Hamas is able, let alone willing, to comply. Gaza and the West Bank are cauldrons of anti-Semitism, violence, and paranoia -- so much so, in fact, that many Arab countries have chosen to remain silent over this war, an implicit endorsement of Israel.
The Jewish state's latest 'outrage' is an attack on a UN-run school, killing ten Palestinians. The UN's leader has condemned the incident as a "criminal act," even as the facts aren't yet fully established. It's unclear whether Israel directly fired on the school at all, nor do we know who was killed. What we do know is that Hamas rockets have been discovered in UNRWA schools on three separate occasions during this conflict, and that the UN has turned some of those weapons over to Hamas-aligned "officials." Reports also indicate that a building labeled as a UN health clinic contained the entrance to a Hamas terror tunnel. Several IDF soldiers were killed attempting to destroy the tunnel, which was booby trapped. We've written about how Hamas leaders are using a prominent Gaza hospital as their operations base. Anti-Israel zealots have tried to deny this established fact, but their propaganda was dealt another blow when a pro-Palestinian journalist from Finland filed a report that inadvertently confirmed Hamas' disgusting exploitation of the hospital. When Israel supporters cited her work as further evidence, she angrily criticized them for, well, noticing what she'd said (via Legal Insurrection):
Also, a rocket attack was conducted from the “backyard” of the hospital at 2 o’clock in the morning. It (the rocket launch), in fact, happened somewhere close by because the noise right here at the hospital area was really loud. Indeed, these rockets launched here from the Gazan side (of the border) are headed into Israel.
These monsters are camped out inside a hospital, and they're firing rockets from the parking lot. They've also been accused of using school zones to launch numerous attacks. This information is not widely reported around the world. Some foreign reporters have blown the whistle on Hamas' ongoing efforts to intimidate journalists, and to tightly control images beamed out of Gaza. What they want people to see: Weeping women and maimed children. What they don't want publicized: Masked gunmen holding rocket launchers and automatic weapons. Based on the coverage thus far, they've been highly successful in the art of propaganda. How many photos or videos have you seen of actual Hamas terrorists, outside of videos and information put out by the IDF? Speaking of whom, I'll leave you with this, tweeted yesterday:
Hamas terrorists have fired 3,127 rockets at Israel since July 8. Each of those rockets was launched to kill. pic.twitter.com/QUq9MXDlAw— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 3, 2014
Hamas has shot thousands at rockets in the last few weeks, every one of them intended to murder Israel civilians. Some, of course, ended up downing Gaza's own power lines and striking civilian targets within Gaza. But the intent was to kill innocents on the other side of the border. They've rejected and broken a string of attempted ceasefires. Israel must do what is necessary to defeat this evil enemy. Be sure to read this piece questioning the conventional wisdom that whatever might replace Hamas would be "worse."
UPDATE - Israel has withdrawn most of its troops from Gaza, having destroyed the vast majority of Hamas' tunnels. Quote from the Jerusalem Post: "Hamas spent five years preparing this strategic threat; the IDF wrecked 31 tunnels in two weeks." Retaliatory and anti-militant airstrikes will continue (once Israel's unilateral humanitarian truce ends today), but it appears that a major chapter of the fighting is drawing to a close.