Target Hamas´ leadership (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) MK Shai Hermesh 06/24/12)
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The events in southern Israel over the weekend were about as far
removed as possible from what an average Israeli citizen would plan
as a weekend activity. Thousands of families living near Gaza, my
family and I included, spent the weekend crowded in shelters, to the
sound of relentless explosions of mortar shells and Qassam rockets,
frightened by every warning and afraid to move around in our own
homes. No one knows when all this will end.
Usually, when a barrage of rockets strikes the south, Knesset members
who regard themselves as great strategic thinkers — but are in fact
just chatterboxes and serial demagogues — suddenly come out of the
woodwork and call for a broad military offensive deep in the Gaza
Strip, an Operation Cast Lead II. Many of these chatterboxes have
never set foot in an Israeli community near the border, but
apparently the view from Tel Aviv is much clearer. A massive
offensive in Gaza would incur irreparable damage, likely causing the
deaths of innocent civilians and serving to intensify the hatred
between the two sides.
It is important that we face facts, without cutting corners and
without sugarcoating: We are now paying the price for the Israeli
notion that Hamas´ leaders should be immune from attack because they
are the ones who moderate and curb the more radical groups in Gaza,
and that it is Hamas which is in fact protecting the citizens of
Israel. There were those who thought that Hamas would protect us from
the more extreme groups, but that notion has been disproved, as this
past weekend clearly demonstrated.
Since Hamas has renewed its assault on Israel´s southern communities,
and perhaps even masterminded it, Israeli decision makers need to
change course and decide that the Hamas leaders are legitimate
targets, and lift the immunity from Israeli attacks that they have
been afforded until now.
Once, when murderous terror attacks were taking place in central
Israel, a policy of targeting Hamas´ leaders was implemented. The
direct and immediate threat to Hamas´ officials proved beyond a doubt
that the myth of the 72 virgins was well and good in theory, until it
came to the lives of its leaders. And indeed, the number of terror
attacks dropped dramatically.
We, the residents of dozens of communities near the Gazan border,
promise to stand strong in support of any necessary military
offensive — as long as the policy of protecting Hamas´ leaders is
revoked. The current policy is ultimately causing great harm to the
communities on the frontlines, and to Israel´s security.
Shai Hermesh is a Kadima MK.
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