Put yourself in the position of someone living in Sderot. Rockets fall on your town on an almost daily basis, making life difficult if not impossible. Residents of Sderot and readers of this blog are well aware where the rockets are coming from, Gaza. We are also aware who is firing the rockets, Palestinian militants terrorists. On Wednesday, Roni Yihye was murdered by latest salvo.
Yet who is getting blamed for this situation? Israel, of course.
This is from a recent editorial in The New York Sun, “Silence Over Sderot”:
The Israeli reaction has been constrained by the expectation of international rebuke. The European Union did not wait for a full scale ground intervention by Israeli forces. The parliament at Strasbourg last week called on the Jewish State “to cease military actions killing and endangering civilians, and extrajudicial targeted killings.” Strasbourg did criticize Hamas, both on the grounds of its “illegal takeover of the Gaza Strip” and its failure “to prevent the firing of rockets by Palestinian militias from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.” But for the Europeans, it’s as if Hamas were merely failing to prevent rather than encouraging the attacks by its own members and other terror groups.
Strasbourg went further, declaring “that the policy of isolation of the Gaza Strip has failed.” But the European Union parliament put the onus on Israel for the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, calling on the Jewish state to put “an end to the blockade and [allow] … a controlled re-opening of the crossings in and out of Gaza.” Not even a mention of the original reason the crossings were closed: the danger that suicide bombers would slip through along with fruits and vegetables bound for the West Bank and Jordan and laborers bound for Tel Aviv.
The E.U. called for limitations on Israeli defense measures, declaring that in Gaza the civilian population “should be exempt from any military action and any collective punishment.” On top of all this, the E.U. Parliament called on Israel “to fulfill its international obligations, as an occupying power, in the Gaza Strip.” An occupying power? Israel bowed two years ago to international pressure and withdrew entirely from the Gaza district. It isn’t occupying Gaza at all. George Orwell’s estate should be demanding royalties.
Hillel Halkin opinionating in the same paper (“Confession of Impotence”) had this to say:
A few months ago I suggested in these pages that Israel should make clear that, as of such-and-such a date, any rocket fired at an Israeli residential neighborhood would be met with far more deadly artillery fire directed at a residential neighborhood in Gaza.
Yes, Palestinians would be killed, large numbers of rockets would fly back in return, and international protests would be voiced — but after a few rounds of such tit for tat, internal Palestinian pressure on Hamas would make the rockets cease.
Others, with greater wisdom, have proposed a more refined and less lethal version of this policy. In retaliation for each Kassam attack, they have said, let Israel demolish a neighborhood in the Gaza Strip with artillery fire while first giving sufficient advance warning for its residents to be evacuated.
There would be no loss of life and the ultimate results would be the same. After several such neighborhoods were leveled, there would be enough Palestinians afraid of being next in line to make Hamas step in and put an end to it.
I generally agree with Mr. Halkin but in this case it is best to give fair warning. Distribute leaflets, let them know what is coming. After that, use the artillery.