Yesterday we took a look at the impending Israeli offensive in Gaza in “Hamas calling.” We linked to an illuminating Haaretz article observing the likelihood “that the air force will still have a central role to play in any Israeli offensive.”
Today the IDF Air Force commenced the anticipated air strikes. The AP report is here (“Hamas officials said all of Gaza’s security compounds were destroyed”) and the Reuters report is here (“Witnesses reported heavy Israeli bombing along Gaza’s border with Egypt”). Reuters separately compiles reactions here.
As he leaves office, President Bush stands alone among the quoted leaders. He alone issued a statement declining to equate the parties or call on them both to cease. The statement nevertheless is couched in its own kind of stupidity. Through spokesman Gordon Johnroe, the White House statement provides:
Hamas’ continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop. Hamas must end its terrorist activities if it wishes to play a role in the future of the Palestinian people.
The United States urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza.
Contrary to the implication of the White House statement, however, Hamas’s reason for being among “the Palestinian people” is terrorist. The linked AP story quotes a Hamas spokesman speaking on a Gaza radio station. The Hamas spokesman pungently states that “Hamas will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood.” Is anybody listening?
And like all the terrorist groups in the region, Hamas embeds itself among civilians, using them as shelds against a humane enemy. The Israelis go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas intentionally makes it difficult for the Israelis to avoid civilian casualties. It would be nice if the White House noted this aspect of the evil perpetrated by Hamas or acknowledged the traditional Israeli restraint in this regard.
UPDATE: Our friends at the Jerusalem Post also draw our attention to to the staff article “Barak: We’ll deepen and widen operation as much as needed” and to David Horovitz’s column “The policy of restraint is over.”
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