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July 2, 2006
Hamas To Target Schools, Hospitals

Hamas has threatened to retaliate for Israel's response to ongoing Palestinian provocations by committing war crimes. The spokesman for the putative political party's terrorist wing stated that Hamas will attack schools and hospitals unless Israel unconditionally removes itself from Gaza:

Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, on Sunday threatened to attack infrastructure facilities inside Israel, including schools, hospitals and universities. The threat, the first of its kind since Hamas won the parliamentary election last January, was issued in response to continued Israeli military strikes in the Gaza Strip.

"If they continue with these attacks, we will strike at targets in Zionist territory that we have not struck until now," said the organization's spokesman.

The latest threat came as Egypt continued its efforts to resolve the crisis.

This comes as no surprise from the Palestinians. One must remember that even the political wing of Hamas applauded an attack on a Tel Aviv falafel stand as an act of self-defense, despite the fact that the bomber targeted only unarmed Israeli citizens and residents. Now that Israel has actually performed an act of self-defense after months of rocket attacks from Gaza, Hamas seems outraged at the fact that Israel followed their advice.

Hamas has done nothing but bring misery and further shame to the Palestinians, finally doing the near-impossible and inspiring Western nations to force them to take responsibility for their own actions. Now they reveal themselves as the cowards and hypocrites they are, as well as their terrorist nature, by the deliberate targeting of children and health-care facilities. Will the Western media cover this threat, or will they just report the fact that the idiots in Gaza who brought this attack upon themselves still may face a humanitarian crisis, as if that crisis had nothing to do with the stupid decisions they make for themselves?

Apparently, Fatah has decided not to wait for an answer. They still control the official Palestinian Authority security services, and the Jerusalem Post reports in the same article that hundreds of them have fanned out in Rafah and Khan Yunis to find Gilad Shalit and stop the IDF from pulling Gaza to the ground. They have disguised themselves as Fatah and Hamas militiamen in order to gain better intel. They want to produce Shalit and wave goodbye to the Israeli troops that have them cut off and surrounded as soon as they possibly can. Mahmoud Abbas has no illusions about American or European intervention to save his behind at this point.

Meanwhile, Egypt also wants to put an end to this embarrassment. It expects to hear from Khaled Mashaal in Syria about whether Hamas will accept a deal they have proposed but not released to return Shalit to the IDF. Mubarak warned Syria to expel Mashaal if Hamas did not cooperate in ending this crisis, and one would expect a refusal to have stark diplomatic consequences for Hamas and Syria. The deal includes some sort of prisoner swap, although undoubtedly not on the scale demanded by Shalit's abductors.

None of this should divert attention from Hamas' despicable threats. Deliberately targeting schools and hospitals violates every tenet of war and should reinforce the Palestinians' status as pariahs among civilized people. Hamas continues to demonstrate why it needs to be crushed rather than engaged, and why the West needs to recognize them as every bit of an enemy in the war on terror as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and al-Qaeda.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, the UN continues its record of inanity on the subject:

As the stand-off between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants entered its second week, the UN special envoy to the Middle East rebuked Israel for destroying civilian buildings in Gaza and urged it to abide by international law.

Days after Israeli jets crippled Gaza’s only power station, Álvaro de Soto inspected the still-smoking ruins to hear that the plant would be shut for at least six months, leaving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians without power.

Israel yesterday restarted fuel supplies and partially reopened the Karni cargo crossing for food and medical supplies into Gaza, after warnings of a humanitarian crisis. But its artillery batteries and warplanes continued to strike the otherwise sealed-off coastal strip, with helicopter gunships firing missiles into the office of Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian Prime Minister.

Note to the UN envoy: the "civilian buildings" are in fact government buildings of a nation that committed acts of war against Israel. Attacking them is entirely within the rules of war. The same goes for Palestinian infrastructure, especially in accordance with its support of their attacks. Armies routinely cut off command and control activities against their enemies; a general who failed to do so would rightly be cashiered, and court-martialed if that failure was deliberate.

Once again the UN draws false moral equivalences to allow the Palestinians to escape the consequences of their own decisions and actions, and they do so with very dishonest rhetorical tricks. Calling the offices of the party that commits terrorist acts on a regular basis "civilian buildings" allows the UN to draw an equivalency between targeting them and Hamas' threat to target schoolchildren and sick civilians in hospitals -- an equivalency that only exists in the minds of the morally warped or terminally obtuse. In this case, considering the UN's recent history, this envoy likely qualifies on both grounds.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 2, 2006 6:32 PM

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