Imagine waking up suddenly out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night to the blaring sound of sirens. You are confused and disoriented. Your first thought is, what’s going on? Is that my alarm clock? Is it morning already? Then, you quickly realize it is not a dream; it is not morning; it is an air raid; and you have 15 seconds to get to the shelter. Or, you are 5 years old and in kindergarten class or the playground, and you have to find a shelter in the same 15 seconds. 15 seconds! That’s all the time you have. 15 seconds possibly separating you from life or death. That is how Israelis live every day. Israel is being attacked with approximately 300 rockets per day, day after day. The attacks are unrelenting.
Some young Israelis who were interviewed on television stated matter-of-factly that they have lived that way all their lives. They pointed out that whenever one goes to a particular location one immediately scopes out the location of the nearest shelter much like some of us might scope out the nearest bathroom. Of course, they don’t like living like that, but they are used to it. I’m sure most objective people would agree that is unacceptable. I’m sure that most Americans, if faced with such rocket attacks from, say, Canada, would advocate strong and swift retaliation.
But, that is not the worst of the situation that Israel faces. Recently, the world has learned that the Hamas terrorists have, over several years, constructed a massive network of tunnels from Gaza into Israel. Some fun facts about these tunnels:
1. They reach several miles into Israel.
2. They are more than 50 feet below ground.
3. They are very sophisticated and well-constructed. They are reinforced with concrete. They are large enough so that an average-sized man can walk upright through them. They have tracks so they can accommodate heavy machinery.
4. There are believed to be in excess of 100 such tunnels.
5. Many of them terminate at schools and hospitals and are designed to target children and/or sick people.
6. Ironically, they have been built, in part, with supplies and power provided by Israel to the Palestinians for humanitarian purposes – rebuilding homes and schools – (obviously not for this purpose).
7. The funds required to build them has come from Iran, Syria and Qatar, and possibly, indirectly from the US, which has been providing millions of dollars in “humanitarian” aid to the Palestinians.
According to Israeli army spokespersons, by now, they have destroyed most of the tunnels, and they are intent on destroying all of them. One can only hope.
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
Let’s not forget who the aggressor is in this conflict. Clearly, it is Hamas, with the overt support of Iran, Syria and Qatar, and in my opinion, the covert support of the other Arab states and terrorist groups in the area. Remember, Hamas’ charter proclaims that Israel must be destroyed.
President Obama has said Israel is entitled to defend itself, but then his proxies, like Valerie Jarrett and John Kerry, have criticized Israel for doing so with too much vigor and success. The Administration is trying to have it both ways. They want to appear to be standing by Israel for political purposes and, at the same time, placate the Arab states in the area. Anyone who cares about Israel should not be fooled. I would much prefer that the US were more forcefully and definitively in Israel’s corner regarding this conflict. After all, Israel and the US have always been allies. When the country was born, President Truman took all of 11 hours to recognize it, giving it instant credibility as a nation. Israel has been the one nation in the Middle East that the US has been able to count on for unqualified support. One the other hand, the other side hates us, mocks us, and has attacked us several times.
No wonder the Israelis have strong doubts of the sincerity of the US’s support. From what I can see, their attitude is: regardless of the hostility of the UN, regardless of the anti-Israel/anti-Semitic demonstrations in many countries, regardless of the mixed signals emanating from the US, we will press on until we achieve our goals. We will not be deterred.
Whether you support Israel or not, you have to admire their tenacity and toughness. They remind me of the kid in high school who, although not the biggest nor the strongest, was nevertheless, the toughest, the most fearless, the one you didn’t want to mess with. Born into adversity, surrounded for its entire existence by enemies who have publicly vowed to destroy it, with few, if any, allies in the world, living more or less continually under the threat of war, Israel has persevered.
My prediction is that this conflict will follow the same predictable pattern as all the previous ones. The Arabs start it; Israel retaliates strongly and forcefully; and at some point the world convinces Israel it has made its point, so to speak, and it is time to cease hostilities. Hamas will acquiesce, because it is getting its butt kicked and will want to survive to fight another day. We are almost there, but not quite yet. I think Israel has a little more work to do, which it will accomplish shortly.