In the last week, Hamas has fired over 200 rockets towards the Israeli civilian population. That number will have surely risen by the time this piece is published. Hamas has, this week, displayed an unprecedented range, with their missiles reaching as far north as Zichron Ya'akov, and interrupting the daily routine of citizens in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel’s two most populous cities.
Hamas has also seen fit to engage in psychological warfare, releasing propaganda videos warning the residents of the south of their imminent doom. The range and frequency with which Hamas has been attempting to murder the civilian population of Israel is certainly cause for alarm, and absolutely no country could possibly be expected to suffer such a brazen violation of its sovereignty, or threat to its citizens. It should be noted, however, that for all of the noise that Hamas has made about its ability and determination to employ this latest barrage to bring Israel to her proverbial knees, 200 rockets in one week have not caused a single casualty on the Israeli side.
While Hamas may have, once upon a time, had the means at its disposal to terrorize its sworn enemy – the Jewish population of Israel – any prospects to cause meaningful death and destruction have long since evaporated. Israel maintains an airtight border with Gaza, and their erstwhile Muslim brotherhood allies in the Egyptian government have been deposed and replaced with an unsympathetic anti-terror military junta led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Attempts to infiltrate Israel by sea have resulted in the swift dispatch of Hamas forces. Rocket attacks, an ever-reliable arrow in Hamas’s quiver, have doubtless had a significant psychological impact on Israelis under fire, but have failed to really devastate the hardened populace. Cafes and restaurants are busy as ever, places of business are humming with the monotony of the daily grind, and while the occasional Code Red siren is certainly a nuisance, the ready availability of bomb shelters, and the indomitable iron dome have rendered obsolete the deadly nature of the rocket-fire. Israeli educators in the south have even created a song and dance to help schoolchildren deal with the trauma of seeking refuge from falling rockets.
While these continued attacks extract a serious toll on the quality of life in Israel, especially in southern cities most vulnerable to attack, they cannot and will not destroy the nation. It is difficult to imagine if ever such a loud and ferocious bark of terror was accompanied by such an impotent bite. Therefore, any reasonable response, no matter how responsible, measured, and warranted, will be seen as an overreaction. For precisely that reason, Hamas is counting on Israel and her fickle international backers to show characteristic restraint whilst absorbing attack after attack.
Knowing full well that the faction cannot survive a concerted Israeli effort to dismantle it, Hamas cynically encourages and orchestrates civilian deaths, circulates fake images of purported Israeli damage to Gazan homes, and fires from heavily-populated civilian areas to all but guarantee collateral damage once Israel returns fire. This is all done in the hopes that Hamas leadership will be able to successfully grandstand as the face of violent resistance against the Jewish State, thereby winning over the Palestinian street, while shaming the international community into holding Israel back from delivering the crushing blow that Hamas so richly deserves. Thusly does Hamas propose to continue to harass Israel with the occasional kidnapping, sporadic rocket fire, and one-off murders of soldiers and school children, always narrowly avoiding crossing that elusive threshold, so as to warrant a war that they cannot win. The international community must refuse the cowardly impulse to be duped by the loathsome and pernicious tactics of that miserable terrorist cabal. Otherwise, Israeli leaders must remember to whom they are accountable – not to foreign dignitaries sitting in far-off capitals, but rather to Israelis sitting in bomb shelters here and now. They must order the Israeli Defense Forces to completely neutralize the Hamas threat, once and for all.