With its assassination this week of Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari and the launch of Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel has rid the world of a monster and significantly degraded the terror infrastructure in Gaza. But it must now brace for fierce, bloody retaliation.
This is a fight Hamas has brought on itself. Though it barely made the news in our corner of the world, Israel had been under dramatically increased missile fire in recent weeks. More than 150 Hamas rockets exploded inside Israel in the five days prior to the Israel Defense Forces operation.
Since the start of the year, Hamas has rained down more than 800 rockets on civilians — 12,000 in the last 12 years.
As in the months leading up to the launch of Operation Cast Lead in late 2008, the situation had grown intolerable. Israel had no choice but to respond.
Jabari was a senior leader of Hamas’ militant wing, the man responsible for the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the man who bragged that his militants collectively murdered 569 Israeli civilians.
According to reports from the Jerusalem Post, IDF strikes also took out 20 missile launchers capable of sending rockets to Tel Aviv. A spokesman told that newspaper that the IDF eliminated “the majority of the long-range threat.”
Nevertheless, as predictable as the tides, global condemnation of Israeli aggression is sure to follow.
Israel must not be deterred. If the threat of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Gaza-based terror groups can be reduced or eliminated, then Israel must act.
Though this outbreak is grabbing most of the headlines, we also note the spike in military incidents along the Syrian border, including errant missiles landing in the Golan Heights.
The Syrian civil war has been spiraling out of control for months, bringing chaos much too close to this normally quiet Israeli border. This, too, cannot go on.
And then there is the vote in the United Nations General Assembly later this month on whether to recognize Palestinian statehood. The proposal will likely pass, throwing a major wrench into the peace process.
How Israel responds to this end-run around bilateral negotiations is anyone’s guess, but it likely won’t be warm and fuzzy.
Israelis know they live in one of the world’s toughest neighborhoods. Going to war is a last resort, but unfortunately Israel too often finds itself facing that stark choice.
The world is a better place without Jabari. The launchers had to be destroyed. Israel did the right thing, and we stand solidly together at this time.