November 20, 2012
Over the last five days, Hamas militants in Gaza have fired over 800 rockets at Israel. These rockets have reached the outer limits of the densely populated cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The rockets are believed to have been smuggled into Gaza from Iran, and as The Heritage Foundation’s James Phillips explains, “the increasing range and sophistication of Palestinian rockets has expanded the reach of terrorists, who now can threaten up to half of Israel’s population.”
So far, Israel has successfully intercepted 302 of the rockets fired at the nation through the use of their missile defense system, Iron Dome:
Iron Dome, on which the U.S. has collaborated, has proven its worth and underscored the importance of missile defense in future U.S. military budgets.
While Israel and Hamas engage in military conflict, Iran is believed to be expanding its nuclear program:
A leaked International Atomic Energy Agency report indicates that Iran could soon double the number of centrifuges at its Fordo facility from 700 to 1,400.
In a statement earlier this week, President Obama said Israel has the right to defend its citizens, but cautioned Israel from engaging in a ground assault in Gaza. Phillips explains how this public statement was detrimental to the future of peace in the Middle East:
This public statement will only strengthen Hamas’s determination to continue its rocket terrorism and reap the propaganda benefits from Israeli retaliatory air strikes, because the President’s statement lowers the perceived risks of an Israeli ground intervention. Moreover, it is continued Palestinian terrorism that is the chief barrier to peace, not Israel’s legitimate efforts to protect its own citizens from indiscriminate Palestinian terrorist attacks.
Egypt, Turkey, and the Arab League have heavily criticized Israel and called for a halt of air strikes. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and hopes to pull in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime to tilt the balance against Israel. Egypt’s government will seek to have its cake and eat it, too, in the sense that it will use the crisis to denounce Israel, support Hamas, and play to anti-Israeli sentiments at home while trying to mediate a ceasefire behind the scenes that enhances its influence and justifies continued U.S. and Western aid.
If they genuinely wanted to stop the bloodshed, then these leaders should pressure Hamas to stop the bombardment, which triggered the crisis.
The United States needs to show it will stand with its Israeli ally against terrorism, and President Obama should speak to restraining Hamas, not Israel.
Do you think President Obama should show more support for Israel?