Thursday, August 7, 2014 | return to: columns, the column


the column |  Hamas’ mega-attack thwarted, but what’s the next ‘what-if’?

by dan pine

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About a year ago I visited my son at his Los Angeles home. On a sunny weekend morning, we chatted by his garage, the old-fashioned springlock door opened just above my head.

Suddenly the springs failed and the garage door came crashing down. Before I could react, Aaron yanked me away from 200 pounds of dead weight in a free-fall. The door missed me by a fraction of an inch.

dan pineThanks to my son, what would have been the worst trauma of my life turned out to be nothing but a momentary adrenaline rush, soon forgotten. So forgotten, I don’t think Aaron ever fixed the garage.

Calamities that don’t happen are mere hypotheticals. People often dismiss hypotheticals, especially in political debates. Indeed, it’s hard to work up an emotional lather over things that never occurred.

But I’m going to try.

Interrogations of Hamas militants captured in Operation Protective Edge have revealed a terror plot so spectacular, it would have traumatized Israel forever.

Sometime around Rosh Hashanah, hundreds of Hamas fighters, armed to the teeth, were planning to launch a surprise attack, emerging from 20 to 30 terror tunnels dug into Israel and fanning out across southern Israel, slaughtering every Jew they saw. According to the Jerusalem Post, the attack plan included a fleet of motorcycles and syringes to be used to drug and kidnap scores of Israelis, probably mostly children.

Some tunnels reached directly under the dining halls of nearby kibbutzim. Now, close your eyes and imagine that scene: You’re casually eating dinner with your family when suddenly, there’s an explosion. Out of the floor scramble scores of masked gunmen, firing away.

This was going to happen soon. Now it’s not. Israel’s incursion into Gaza prevented it. All of the known cross-border terror tunnels lie in heaps of rubble, years of preparation blown up and overturned by bulldozers.

The plot came to light a few weeks into the war. With news breaking minute by minute in recent weeks, I haven’t read much lately about the thwarted Rosh Hashanah mega-attack. But had Hamas pulled it off, surely it would have been Israel’s 9/11.

Ah yes, 9/11. I remember the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, driving to the Los Angeles high school where I taught English. In the parking lot I ran into a fellow teacher who tearfully told me that terrorists had flown two planes into the World Trade Center towers, which then collapsed. All the students had been sent home and I should go home, too.

I was confused. Planes? You mean, like twin-engine prop planes? What do you mean, collapsed? How can planes knock down skyscrapers? What, the Pentagon, too?

My most enduring memory of that morning, besides the shock, was the incomprehensibility of the attack’s design. Before that day, I could not have imagined it. Had someone described 9/11 to me on 9/10, I would have called it a crazy hypothetical.

Today, in the wake of Israel’s pullout from Gaza, I understand why the media remains focused on civilian deaths there. I share the world’s horror over that, though I blame every casualty on Hamas. Every single one.

The deaths of innocent Palestinians caught in the crossfire are not hypothetical. They’re real. So the world cried “Enough.” European mobs screamed “Death to the Jews.” The media wagged its finger; heads of state pressured Israel to stop.

But how can Israel stop? Now that we know the true purpose of the tunnels, now that Hamas has forced us to imagine the unimaginable, how can Israel — how can the world — permit the tunnels, present and future, to exist?

Sickening as it is, as long as any tunnels remain, or are rebuilt, the conflict in one fashion or another goes on.

Israel saw this round through, smashing every tunnel it found. Perhaps over time the memory of them, and the attack for which they were built, will fade.

But somewhere in the bowels of the Earth, Hamas’ murderous politburo is hard at work on Plan B. What could be worse than the foiled September massacre? I can’t imagine.

Hamas can. And this is why Israel fights what is, and also the “what-ifs.”

Dan Pine
can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Posted by paul
08/09/2014  at  07:39 PM
Love Israel

Thank you, Dan for your beautiful and inspirational article about Israel. Yes, Israel has every right to defend itself and defend it citizens. I hope that, this time, Israel will take every member of Hamas out by each one of them. Thank you, IDF, for teaching Hamas a good lesson they will never forget.

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Posted by dhcardigan
08/12/2014  at  10:19 PM
Does not compute

What sense would it make if a garage door malfunctions in such a way that it could do considerable harm to someone but because no one is injured that garage door is not repaired.  This story makes no sense at all.
And why would Palestinians plan this murderous rampage and target children.  Their Standard Operating Procedure is to kidnap soldiers so they can then exchange them.

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Posted by paul
08/13/2014  at  04:42 PM

This article, does make a sense. Dan Pine, described what Hamas is. Hamas, doesn’t fight for the human’s right and democracy. Hamas, doesn’t fight for freedom. All Hamas want is, death and destruction of the State of Israel and to kill the Jews no matter where Hamas can find them. Dan Pine, showed how he love’s Israel. And, I agree with him. We must protect and defend Israel.

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Posted by dhcardigan
08/13/2014  at  07:51 PM

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Posted by paul
08/14/2014  at  12:41 PM
It's not propaganda.

Netanyahu does the right thing in Gaza. It’s called, self defense. No, the tunnels were there. Israel did the right thing to destroy them. Israel must finish with Hamas. Ddhcardigan,
What is your real name? Are you Rae Abileach from the Code Pink and so-called Jewish Voice for Peace? Are you, Wendy Kaufman or Cecily Surasky from the so-called Jewish Voice for Peace? Or, maybe Gitelsura from the so-called Jewish Voice for peace? What are you hiding for? Let’s come out and argue within this page. The so-called Jewish Voice for Peace, has only one venue, this page. J, would publish their letters. The policies of the so-called Jewish Voice for peace, are racists. JVP, is anti-America, anti-democracy, anti-Israel and anti-Semite group that promote hate, wars, Holocaust and destruction of the United States and Israel. That is what you support. I’M proudly support Israel and Stand with Israel. Yes, we will sing, AM ISROEL HI. Yes, we will proudly wave our Israeli Flags. We are on Israel side, would treat you much better rather than your friends who cover their faces in keffiya and use their agenda called, from-the-river-to-the-sea.

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Posted by paul
08/14/2014  at  03:11 PM

Mondoweiss, is very anti-Semitic website which is disturb me very much. What would you do if the rockets from Gaza, would fly over your house? How would you react? You would get up your ass and defend your house and your family, right? In good time and bad time, in time of peace, and time of war, Israel supply every thing to Gaza. As long as Hamas exist, peace of dream remain impossible. Israel has the right to defend itself.

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