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by J. F. Kelly, Jr. | Coronado The six-month cease-fire between Gaza-based Hamas and Israel expired on Dec. 19. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni flew to Cairo to meet with Egyptian leaders and ask them to use their influence with Hamas to keep the cease-fire in effect. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert assured Arab leaders that Israel did not seek a military confrontation. Hamas answered this plea for peace by launching hundreds of missiles into southern Israel. Israel finally answered as any government that honors its primary responsibility to defend its citizens and their homes from foreign attack must. The ensuing air attacks on Hamas leaders, facilities and tunnels used to smuggle arms from Egypt killed hundreds. Unfortunately, many of the casualties were civilians, a regrettable but inevitable outcome of military action against terrorists who hide among women and children and stash their weapons near public gathering places. Determined this time to finally stop the rocket attacks that have terrorized its citizens, Israel warned that military action will continue until Hamas is sufficiently weakened or until there is some assurance that the rocket attacks will cease. Hamas defiantly vowed vengeance, continued the rocket attacks and called for another intifada. World reaction was predictable. Arab leaders reacted with predictable rage and condemned the Israeli action. European leaders reacted with predictable calls for restraint and criticism of Israel’s “excessive” force and “disproportionate” response. The United Nations issued its predictable worthless platitudes and mulled the usual anti-Israeli resolutions. If the Israelis used “excessive” force in a “disproportionate” response, what, then, might a proportionate response be? Launching an equal number of rockets back at civilian communities in Gaza perhaps? What, for example, would France’s response be to hundred of missiles fired across its border from, say, Spain or Germany? What would our response be to missiles fired at several of our border towns from Mexico? To its credit, the Bush Administration defended Israel’s right to defend itself although in an unbiased world that would seem a no-brainer. And to his credit, President-elect Barack Obama observed the one-president-at-a-time rule and maintained a discrete silence. However, his words, while visiting Israel in July, should be recalled. He said, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing.” I presume Mr. Obama is a man of his word. Resumption of hostilities again demonstrates the myth of the so-called peace process that Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have devoted so much energy and American credibility to. Once again, it has collapsed in utter failure and peace is no closer, despite frequent declarations of progress from eternally optimistic and self-deluding diplomats. There can be no peace process until both sides are committed to peace and coexistence. Hamas, which rules Gaza and could easily become dominant in the West Bank, is, like Hezbollah, a terrorist organization. Far from committed to peace and respect for Israel’s right to exist, it is committed rather to its destruction. We are regularly reminded by apologists for Palestinian radicals that there are many peace-loving Palestinians. There undoubtedly are, just as there were some who did not cheer and dance in the streets after 9/11. How many of them, I wonder, publicly condemned the rocket attacks against Israeli civilians? Until the ingrained hatred of Jews, systematically nourished in many Arab schools and mosques, is purged from the Palestinian culture and the minds of the children cease to be poisoned by hatred, there will be no lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians or worthwhile process for achieving it. Those that persist in the fantasy that a free Palestinian state would solve all problems and that the United States has a responsibility for brokering such an outcome just don’t get it. CRO copyright 2008 J.F. Kelly, Jr. J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California.

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