Ed Koch Commentary

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Ed Koch Commentary  
January 28, 2008

          Hamas-governed Gaza is fighting a war of attrition against Israel.  According to the New York Times of January 19th, „Hamas resumed firing Qassam rockets toward the Israeli border town of Sderot, along with other militant groups like Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Fatah.  On Thursday, at least 40 rockets were launched, half of them landing in Israel, hitting two houses in Sderot and lightly wounding four Israelis, with a dozen more treated for shock.  On Friday, at least 31 more rockets were fired toward Israel and 16 landed, but no one was wounded, the Israeli Army said.  One rocket landed within 40 yards of a nursery school, which was open, said David Baker, an Israeli government spokesman. Since Tuesday, the army said, 130 Qassams have been launched; about half have landed in Israel and the remainder in Gaza.“

          Israel’s response has been to target and kill terrorist leaders.  However, this tactic has not deterred the Palestinian terrorists from firing rockets at Israel.  The town of Sderot is now losing residents who simply cannot bear the near daily assault from Gaza.  Palestinians are now trying to develop or purchase longer-range rockets that can reach Tel Aviv.  The last war of attrition was between Egypt and Israel from 1967 to 1970.  Egypt’s President Gamal Nasser’s purpose was to compel Israel to withdraw from the east bank of the Suez Canal.  He failed because of the Israeli military response.

          The Nazis sought to break the resistance of Londoners with their daily bombing of London.  They found their citizens were more vulnerable when the Allies bombed Berlin and Dresden in retaliation.

          True to form, the UN has shown hostility towards Israel.  A special session of the UN Human Rights Council last week voted 46 to 1 with 15 abstentions to condemn Israel for cutting off electricity to Gaza in retaliation for the rocket attacks.  The resolution, primarily sponsored by the Arab states, did not include any reference to the Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns.  Those voting to abstain did so because of that deliberate omission.  Why didn’t they have the courage to simply vote no? 

          My suggestion is that Israel announce that the Israeli town, reeling under the almost daily rocket attacks, can form its own militias to protect themselves by using rockets and mortars against towns and villages in Gaza that shelter terrorists, and that, so long as the Hamas government won’t control their own terrorists, the Israeli government won’t seek to control the Israeli militias.  If every Palestinian rocket is met with ten Israeli rockets aimed in the direction from which the Palestinian rocket came, I predict Hamas will be compelled by its own citizens, suffering under the Israeli counter-barrage, to stop its attacks.  When the Hamas government stops the rocket barrages, the Israelis undoubtedly will do so too.

          The Israelis withdrew from the whole of Gaza as a gesture of peace.  Hamas, instead of seeking to live in peace with Israel, announced it will never accept the right of Israel to exist and will do what it can to destroy Israel, expel its Jewish citizens and create a Muslim state from the river to the sea.  The greatest obligation a government has to its people is to protect them from attack – foreign or domestic.  Let’s see what happens when Israel exercises its right to defend its citizens in this war of attrition, using the same weaponry and tactics employed by Hamas and its partners.

          There will be those, especially at the UN, who will bitterly complain when, in response, Israeli rockets and mortars strike towns in Gaza and Palestinian civilians are injured or killed, among whom Hamas-supported terrorists are hiding while they rocket Israel.  Those responsible for these deaths will be the Hamas government leaders.  Their intent is to kill innocent civilians and drive Israelis from Israeli towns.  The intent of the Israeli military and militia, if used, is to kill terrorists and stop the rocketing.

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