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    Hamas terror leads only to more misery
    • October 10, 2023

    Perhaps the most emblematic images from a weekend of Hamas-provoked violence in Israel were at the site of the Tribe of Nova music festival in an Israeli desert near the border at Gaza. Israeli officials posted images of strewn bodies, after Hamas terrorists — please, let’s not call them militants — murdered at least 260 young people who were dancing at a festival devoted to peace. Hundreds are missing, with many taken as hostages.

    Commentators are shocked at how Israel’s highly sophisticated intelligence services missed such a carefully coordinated attack. “While Israel was led to believe it was containing a war-weary Hamas by providing economic incentives to Gazan workers, the group’s fighters were being trained and drilled, often in plain sight,” according to Reuters. Israelis rightly view this as the equivalent of the surprise 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

    Elsewhere, battle lines are forming mostly as expected. Some Middle Eastern officials are expressing support for the Palestinian cause, without acknowledging that barbarous attacks on civilians will set back their cause. Russian propagandists have used the Israeli crisis to needle the West over its support for Ukraine. Others talk about the need for longer-term solutions, but one can’t discuss such ideas in the middle of a blood bath.

    In the United States, politicians and the politically obsessed are describing the events in the context of the coming presidential election. Republicans are blaming the Biden administration. They are focusing on the administration’s recent unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian oil assets. None of that money has been spent, but Hamas has announced (as if it needed announcing) that Iran helped with the attacks. Democrats pointed to Donald Trump’s sharing of Israeli-related intelligence with Hamas’ Russian allies.

    There will be time to analyze U.S. policy in the Middle East and Israel’s security failures, but for now it would be best for Americans to unite to seek productive solutions — rather than use the crisis to score political points. The U.S. government obviously is deeply involved in the region, but not every horror in the world is our fault — or ours to prevent.

    The situation in Gaza has long been a complicated mess that predates recent U.S. administrations. The Israelis ended their military occupation of Gaza in 2005, with Israel dismantling its settlements in the area. Israel still maintains control of Gaza’s airspace and utilities. Hamas ultimately seized control of the area — and the Gaza’s self-rule obviously hasn’t led to a more peaceful or prosperous future there.

    For now, the Israelis have declared war and are attacking Hamas sites. They’ve vowed a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip, a 141-square mile area that’s home to more than 2 million people. That’s a little more than half the size of the San Fernando Valley. Israel has every right to seek out its attackers, but Hamas is nestled within densely populated neighborhoods. Residents have nowhere to go.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to turn Hamas hideouts into rubble, which will likely mean the escalation of a humanitarian crisis. The blame for the recent violence lies squarely on Hamas and its enablers and funders, but we can only hope and pray that Israel’s response targets Hamas terrorists — and doesn’t lead to more horrific scenes of innocent young bodies.

    ​ Orange County Register