- - Thursday, July 24, 2014


I recently wrote a column for the Washington Times, “The Israel/Palestinian conflict is actually easy to understand.”

In it, I presented the facts of why the Palestinians were not to be trusted in this conflict, and how over the years, they have been rewarded for their bad behavior and history of murder.

In public, the Obama administration claims it stands behind Israel in its “Operation Protective Edge” campaign against the terrorists of Hamas. But both the administration’s actions, and its off-the-record comments, tell a different story.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry got caught on an open mike last Sunday, grumbling about the Israeli operation to one of his aides. “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Mr. Kerry muttered sarcastically.

“Right,” said his aide. “It’s escalating really significantly and just underscores the need for a cease-fire.”

“We’ve got to get over there,” Mr. Kerry declared, even though he pointedly had not been invited to intervene. It’s great that Hamas terrorists can count on John Kerry to rush over and save their bacon after they start a war, and suffer a predictably severe ass-kicking.

The “escalation” here is all coming from Hamas, which uses civilians as human shields to protect its weapons. They don’t stop firing those weapons during “cease-fires.” There have been several of those in the current conflict. Israel has respected every one of them, while Hamas never stopped shooting.

They’re shooting at civilian targets, deliberately. Civilian deaths are their objective, not collateral damage from an inability to strike with pinpoint accuracy. If Hamas could do pinpoint operations, they’d be dropping rockets into the middle of Israeli grade schools. They have to settle for dragging Palestinian civilians into the line of fire — using schools, hospitals, and mosques as arms depots and rocket launch pads.

They do this because they know, sooner or later, Western governments will pressure Israel into backing down. Since Day One, it has just been a matter of time until this happens. Battered and bloodied, Hamas will restock its weapons, set up some more rocket launchers on top of apartment buildings, and resume making daily life for Israeli civilians hell. Anything less than total defeat for the terrorists is a strategic victory for them, as long as they’re not completely disarmed.

The pressure against Israel from her nominal allies can be intense. For example, after a Hamas rocket fell in the general vicinity of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration instituted a ban on air travel, and European agencies quickly followed suit. Flights are permitted to far more dangerous airports, including those where planes have actually been threatened. But Israel got a travel ban, for the first time since Saddam Hussein was lobbing Scud missiles at them in 1991.

That’s a big deal for Israel, because they have a developed economy with a thriving tourism sector. There are many people who think the FAA decision was politically motivated, an effort to push Israel into calling off their operation against Hamas. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defiantly flew to Tel Aviv. He called the flight restrictions “a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately.”

On my trips to Israel over the years, I have been told by numerous political and terrorist leaders on the Palestinian side, “Tell your people not come here. We want to break Israel and the money you bring helps them.”

Terrorists “terrorize” by any mean necessary; bombs, economics, threats. The intention is to cause fear and terror so that one side will acquiesce to the other. Mr. Kerry fell right into their trap; the question is was it out of ignorance or hubris?

Hamas themselves called it “a great victory for the resistance, and the crown of Israel’s failure.” Senator Ted Cruz asked, “Did President Obama just unilaterally launch economic boycotts on the nation of Israel? Because John Kerry showed up in Israel, and gave $47 million to Hamas in Gaza.”

Mr. Cruz questioned “the timing at the exact moment Kerry was there, trying to strong-arm Israel into stopping their efforts to shut down Hamas rockets and tunnels.” The FAA relented on Wednesday night and lifted the travel ban, but many European carriers did not immediately resume flights to Ben Gurion. The damage has been done. Mission accomplished for John Kerry, the liberal bully of the week.

Rusty Humphries is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host.

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