Targeting civilians is Hamas tactic
It’s pretty clear that the Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine didn’t deliberately target a civilian jetliner; they thought they were shooting at a Ukrainian military plane. It’s crystal clear that Hamas is aiming rockets at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, and a missile hitting an airliner taking off, landing or on the ground would be a deliberate attack on a civilian plane.
Then again, civilians are the targets in Hamas’ war on Israel. Hamas wants to kill Israeli civilians in pursuit of its genocidal goal of eradicating the Jewish state. It wants Palestinian human-shield civilians to be killed by Israelis to foment international pressure on Israel to agree to a cease-fire on terms favorable to the terrorist organization ruling the Gaza Strip.
And it targets civilians of all nationalities by aiming rockets at Ben Gurion airport. The goal would be to shut down the airport and inflict an economic and morale blow to Israel by closing down this vital avenue for the country’s trade and tourism.
A rocket landed about a mile from the airport Tuesday, and as a result, the Federal Aviation Administration and other national aviation agencies or airlines suspended temporarily flights into Ben Gurion.
Those actions paid insufficient regard to the fact that Ben Gurion is, as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg put it, “the best-protected airport in the world.” He backed up his words by booking a flight on the Israeli national airline El Al, which is still operating out of the airport. Ben Gurion is protected by, among other measures, the Iron Dome missile defense system that has been so effective in destroying nearly 90 percent of the Hamas rockets it targets.
Ben Gurion is safe — Secretary of State John Kerry landed there Wednesday — but Hamas knows that risk-adverse airlines are extra cautious after the outrage in Ukraine.
Hamas and the airlines have also seen that neither the separatists nor their backer Russia have paid any price for the murder of 298 people aboard Malaysia Flight 17.
President Barack Obama still refuses to provide lethal military weapons to Ukraine to battle the separatists. Nor has he ordered up new sweeping sanctions against Russia and its boss, President Vladimir Putin. Without U.S. leadership, neither have the European nations done anything meaningful to strike back.
After the airliner was shot out of the sky, the separatists, fearing reprisals, secreted the missile launcher across the border back into Russia. But seeing no strong response from the West, they were emboldened Wednesday to fire surface-to-air missiles again, this time felling two Ukrainian fighter jets.
Worse, the failure of the United States and its European allies to respond forcefully and quickly to the jetliner outrage may be interpreted by Hamas and other terrorists as evidence they can target civilian aircraft without worry of retribution.
And they see the Obama administration, citing worry about civilian casualties in Gaza — falling for the Hamas strategy — pushing Israel to agree to a cease-fire before the mission of dealing with the threat of rockets and terrorist tunnels is concluded. As we’ve seen in the past Gaza wars, Hamas uses cease-fires to refresh its arsenal with more and longer-range rockets, construct new tunnels to infiltrate terrorists into Israel and map new attack strategies.
Would Obama and Kerry agree to a cease-fire with al-Qaida so it could rearm and plan new attacks on America? Of course not. Why should we expect Israel to settle for such a dangerous deal? We should never forget that Israel is on the front line of the war on terror.