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  • Morning Bell: The Escalating Conflict Between Hamas and Israel

    Over the last four days, militants in Gaza have fired more than 840 rockets at Israel. Hamas rockets have reached the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the first time, thanks to the smuggling of Iranian rockets into Gaza. 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.

    Israel has intercepted 302 of those rockets with its Iron Dome missile defense system, according to the Israel Defense Forces. 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.

    Meanwhile, Iran is seeking—successfully—to keep the pot boiling at Israel’s expense to distract international attention from 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.

    President Obama spoke out on the fighting yesterday, saying Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas’s missile attacks from Gaza. But he urged Israel not to launch a ground assault in Gaza, saying it would put Israeli soldiers, as well as Palestinian citizens, at greater risk and hamper an already vexing peace process.

    “If we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future,” Obama said.

    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.

    Obama, too, should aim primarily at restraining Hamas, not Israel.

    Hamas, as usual, is bent on advancing its radical Islamist agenda at the expense of Palestinian national interests. It is a revolutionary movement more interested in destroying Israel than in building a Palestinian state or protecting Palestinians from another humanitarian tragedy that it has engineered.

    Israel has called up 75,000 reservists and massed armor and at least 30,000 troops along the border, underscoring that it is serious about launching a ground intervention if Hamas continues its indiscriminate bombardment of Israeli civilians.

    The U.S. needs to stand with Israel against terrorism and support its right to defend itself against a ruthless enemy that hides among Palestinian civilians to launch rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians. Hamas routinely uses children as shields. There can be no Israeli–Palestinian peace until Hamas and other Islamists are defeated and discredited.

    James Phillips is the Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He has written extensively on Middle Eastern issues and international terrorism since 1978.

    Quick Hits:

    • Israeli officials say they would prefer a diplomatic solution to the crisis, rather than launching a ground offensive into Gaza, Reuters reports.
    • A European Union budget summit this week will pit countries that contribute more against countries that receive more, as the EU tries to sort out its fiscal woes.
    • “Business owners and investors are rapidly maneuvering to shield themselves from the prospect of higher taxes next year,” reports The New York Times.
    • What happened to Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, and cream-filled cupcakes? Unions took it down.
    • Tune in to Istook Live! online from 9 a.m. to noon ET, broadcasting from The Heritage Foundation. Today’s guests include Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist on the carbon tax and Heritage’s Nile Gardiner on the Israel/Gaza conflict.
    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    33 Responses to Morning Bell: The Escalating Conflict Between Hamas and Israel

    1. glynnda says:

      All I can say is thank you America for choosing Obama again and I hope Isreal flattens Hamas and then goes after Iran. The violence is only going to get worse and more widespread because we have chosen a weakling as our leader.

    2. Chris says:

      Watch the Main Stream Media focus on the damages caused by Israel vs Hamas!!

    3. Land for peace is a pipe dream!

    4. Curt Krehbiel says:

      "The U.S. needs to stand with Israel against terrorism………………."

      The terrorism seems rampant among those of the Muslim faith. So why should the leader of the U.S. meddle in the affairs of a small country like Israel?

    5. edward Sperling says:

      I so agree that Obama should place the emphasis on Hamas, not Israel. What he is doing now is the same as telling the Taliban when we will give up and leave. It will embolden Hamas and make it even less likely to reach any kind of peace

    6. Karl Stecher says:

      What "peace process?"
      It is obvious that Hamas, as it has built up armaments, didn't subscribe to any peace process.
      Obama warns Israel not to launch a ground attack on Gaza, while rockets are raining down near Tel Aviv and J? Obama has failed the US's commitment to stand by Israel, which now feels much on its own, with no US help of significance expected. Obama has continued to support Muslims as they take control of the Middle East.
      I don't think this will turn out well for Gaza and its Arab population.

      • Rhonda says:

        First of all…he didn't "warn" Israel…he "urged" them…there is a clear difference there. But Israel will do what they feel they need to do regardless.

    7. Frank says:

      I hate to say this, but I think the "2 State Solution" (Israel + Palestine) is dead and was never a good idea either politically or Biblically (the Bible is clear that the lands that involve the "West Bank" & "Gaza Strip" belong to israel). Basically, the Arab Muslims in these 2 territories (part of the "Promised Land") never really intended to have a peace treaty with Israel, they just used them as political & military platforms to continue their never-ending fight to wipe Israel off the map & massacre the Jews & Christians in present day Israel.

      Time to face the hard realities! Israel needs to re-ocupy these God given territories militarily & ensure no more terrorist rockets are fired into the rest of Israel. Israel needs defensible boarders. Thus, Israel should also annex these territories forever. End of story.

      Sadly the descendants of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob will never really be at peace with the descendants of Abraham, Ishmael & Esau. But the legitimate heirs to the land are from the line of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. Period. The rest of the world would be wise to stay out of this conflict which will likely go on until Judgement Day.

    8. Robert Hillis says:

      Republicans should cease negotiations with Obama over the impending fiscal cliff. He will turn any action that they attempt against them and he will win the public opinion. During the voting process, all Republicans should vote present and let Obama own the imploding economy.

    9. Mike says:

      Stop aid to the middle east.

    10. Alan Orr says:

      This President of the United States appears unable to identify or speak to the existence of terrorism that seeks to 'wipe Israel from the face of the earth', kill Americans in Benghazi, or establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate. Is he afraid of Hamas because they are Iran's proxy? His complete lack of understanding and or priority in these matters is demonstrated by his being in Myanmar…

    11. David Kyle says:

      The whole world is against Israel including Obama. They have nothing to lose. Forget iron bombs. After a leaflet drop warning, use napalm or fuel air explosives. Neither miss. There will always be stupid civilians that won't leave. They will be the relatives of Hamas or like idiots who don't evacuate before the hurricane hits.


    12. Benton H Marder says:

      There is but one way to end this conflict of Hamas against Israel. It is for Israel to forcibly deport all the Gazans into Egypt. Any cease-fire will be but temporary. Gaza is a breeding ground for Hamas. Hamas membership will always be replenished as long as there are Gazans. Hamas is not about to alter its position anent Israel; that position is Koranic and it is mainstream Islam, as is Wahhabism and Salafism. The removal of Gazans from Gaza will send the unmistakable message that Israel is serious about its defence and survival as probably the only truly civilised nation in the East. Read the Koran and Hadith!

    13. Frank says:

      Anyone who thinks Obama will do anything to stop this is a dreamer and blowing smoke. This activity against Israel and protecting Iran's nuclear program is his main thrust.

    14. Ben C. says:

      Last man standing wins. This problem will NEVER be resolved peacefully. Two thousand years prove this point. Time to support our friends and cut off our enemies. Wonder what our position would be if we were energy independent?

    15. reggiec says:

      Any so called "peace process" touted by Obama is idiocy. You cannot negotiate with terrorists whose very religion promotes the destruction of an entire people and their country. Negotiations are used by Hamas to rearm and get more missles from Iran.

    16. Patrick says:

      Good thing they didn't go back to the '69 lines as Obama once stated they should. Had then done so they would not have been able to defend themselves.

      • khm says:

        @Patrick, It was the '67 borders that O wanted them to revert to, which is not going to happen. You are correct that with those borders Israel could not defend itself. This article says what the administration should do. What this regime will do and is doing vis-a-vis Israel and Gaza is something else again.

    17. charleslabounty says:

      So why did BHO carry the Jewish peoples vote?
      He said in 2008 "under his presidency relations with Israel would necessarily change".
      What did people think that meant?
      Or do the Jewish people just blindly vote democrat out of some fond memoryor loyality to FDR?
      Really — please someone comment on this.
      And just to be clear ….. Israel has the right to defend their Country!!!!

    18. Robert says:

      If I were in charge in Israel, I'd certainly determine where the rockets are made and take down anything in the area as well as the surrounding few miles. If the people that make the missiles are gone and the equipment is gone, perhaps they will take the hint. If not, at least you have managed to return the compliments on an "eye for an eye" basis. It is difficult for me to understand why the Jews are so patient; it would only be appropriate if they took out a few thousand Islamist to give notice that they won't take any more of this nonsense. The Jew has made many positive contributions to the modern world, and the Arab has given nothing. That would seem to apply to Persians as well.

    19. ccangel says:

      Obama is off on an Asian trip like he did the first term when the American people need the jobs problem addressed right away and Isreal (our friends) are being attacked by what appears to be his friends.

    20. Leslie says:

      thank you. thank you. thank you for understanding what it is we are facing and for speaking the truth. mother of 3 young children in Ashkelon…

    21. J A Dehkan says:

      What a disingenuous piece. Let's presuppose that Mr. Philips can put himself in Gazan's mindset for a moment. What would you do when you live in a country that is occupied by Israel. That the occupier's last war destroyed infrastructure and then denied basic building materials from entering the country. Now imagine that an Apartheid wall is being built on your land, often through destroying farms that have been in families for generations.
      What would you do Mr. Phillips? Sit idly by and wait for your occupiers to sue for peace that takes even more ancestral land? No the odds are that even you – chickenhawk that you are – would fight and at the very least maintain your dignity and pursue freedom.
      Finally I will remind you that after the US pressured Palestinians to hold elections Hamas won. You may not like election outcomes in the world where leaders emerge that do not hold your ideas, but if we are to wish democratic institutions on countries then we must not interfere with the results, or worse, try as you put it to defeat and discredit them.

    22. Jim says:

      Having witnessed Obama and his band of inept, handle Bengahzi, I sure hope Israel continues to stand firm against Hamas and eliminate the element that threatens their existence. The messages that Obama sends to terrorists is exactly why they are emboldened. Common sense is not in the genes of Obama, so lets not think he will come forward and support Israel except from a distance.

    23. Bobbie says:

      It is disturbing a man would say "we support Israels right to defend herself" and then put in his urgency like threat!! ? How come Obama's foreign peace policy plans aren't working as if it is according to plan?

      • Winston says:

        The man speaks with a "forked tongue" just like a serpent…Satan is the father of lies and deception. Obama has an anti-Christ spirit.

    24. MarilynW says:

      Israel has every right to defend their country. They took a barren stretch of land and made it bloom. Now Palestinians, who no one ever heard about, want the land. They are the ones that started the bombing and Israel will finish it when the time is right.

    25. Amelia says:

      Obama's party supports and brings out the worse in others. It is only going to get worse!

    26. Don Vander Jagt says:

      It is time Israel put their neighbors on notice, if they continue to attack, and it becomes necessary for Israel to go in and take out their weapons, Israel will not return the land again. Israel will incorporate the land.

    27. Winston says:

      The more the Israeli government allows Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, etc. use missiles supplied by Iran/Russia (et al) to continue to read farther into Israel, it is now easier to understand how the Biblical prophecy will re realized which tells us that in the end over two-thirds of Israeli citizens will be destroyed. But it is when Jesus returns (Israel's Messiah…but they are slow to realize it) to destroy "all nations" which come against Israel. The United States is not mentioned in the end times prophecies and it is likely because we will have already been destroyed by the likes of the Obama socialist government, or by China or North Korea by nuclear invasion….or, the socialist government will have handed over America's control to the United Nations or the coming one-world government.

    28. Elmore Throckmorton says:

      Israel should take back Gaza and the West Bank, then completely destroy Iran's military and their ability to produce nuclear weapons. That should shut them up for a while. By the way, I wonder how Obama would like it if China was tossing rockets at the White House by the thousands?

    29. Carol says:

      Yes things are getting worse!! Leaders of U.S. better wise up – Israel is the promise land. We must support Israel. If we cease to help or support Israel, I hate to think what will happen to our country. God is in charge not Obama (anti-American, anti Israel, anti-christian). God bless America!!

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