Guest Editorials, Opinion

Hamas attack on Israel must end in terror group’s defeat

Saturday’s Hamas terror onslaught from its stronghold in Gaza into Israel, murdering hundreds, was a sneak attack, just like the sneak attacks by Egypt and Syria on Israel on Yom Kippur 50 years ago, 9/11 and Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s surprise invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

The targets, be it Israel or the United States or the Russians, are caught off guard by their enemies, stunned, suffering major psychological damage and loss of human life. But then comes the response and the counteroffensive.

Those earlier sneak attacks failed. Hopefully, this one will also. We pray it does.

Hamas claims that its fighters are soldiers, but soldiers don’t kidnap civilians from their homes to seize them as hostages, as Hamas did in launching raids into Israel in addition to their barrage of thousands of rockets fired at civilian population centers, including Tel Aviv.

Both of those are acts of terrorism, which makes perfect sense, as Hamas is a terror group, fittingly on terror lists of the U.S. and European Union.

Also on the terror lists is Hezbollah controlling southern Lebanon to Israel’s north, which is keeping that border quiet — for now. The common factor between the Shiite Hezbollah and the Sunni Hamas is the lead sponsor of terror in the region, Iran, which funnels them weapons and joins them in celebrating the atrocities and calling for Israel’s destruction and the “liberation” of Jerusalem from the Jews.

Hamas has started this new war, or new chapter in an old war, to disrupt the growing movement for a grand U.S.-brokered peace deal between Israel and the richest and most powerful Arab state, Saudi Arabia, following other U.S.-brokered peace deals between Israel and Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. Hamas cannot succeed and the Arab-Israeli strides for the larger peace must continue.

Hamas shows it can make war, but it refuses to make peace. The same for Hezbollah. On the West Bank, the head of the Palestinian National Authority, Abu Mazen, also refuses to make peace. It’s been years since he sat down for talks with the Israelis. Peace will come for the Palestinians, in Gaza and the West Bank, when they decide to join the negotiating table.

Hamas and Iran want Israel to strike back hard, thinking that a massive response will entrap Israel in the Gaza quicksand, sapping her political and military strength. Israel has the might to level Gaza, but Hamas hides among civilians, using them as human shields, which is a war crime. And Hamas now holds captured Israeli soldiers and civilians, complicating everything.

Netanyahu and his commanders have a tremendous challenge before them to destroy Hamas’ military assets while sparing Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Hamas struck first, but their wave of terror will not and cannot prevail. Israel has been hurt, but Israel will prevail.

This editorial first appeared in New York Daily News. This commentary should be considered another point of view and not necessarily the opinion or editorial policy of The Dominion Post.