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March 26, 2004

Ten Thousand Hamas Supporters Isn't A Protest. It's A Concentration Of Force.

Hamas' first week of "earthshaking operations" following the death Sheik Ahmed Yassin at the hands of Israeli exterminators seems to have gotten off on the wrong foot.

So far there's been one coerced kid, who surrendered rather than become a suicide bomber, causing his family, including his uncle Jihad, to castigate Hamas for using children, an failed aquatic attack apparently inspired by repeated viewings of The Incredible Mr. Limpet, and a would-be automobile bomber who seems to have hot-wired the wrong device to the ignition.

You know, when your group can't even get a man named Jihad to support your strategy, it might be time to rethink it.

Hamas members did manage to torch a model of a commuter bus without catching themselves on fire, so perhaps that should be counted as a victory. Surely Reuters will do so.

What I don't understand is why Israel isn't attacking Hamas members when they gather in large numbers, such as when 200 of them managed to set fire to the bus model. It's a concentration of the enemy, one that is for all intents and purposes at war with Israel--why not attack it? The same goes for the swearing-in ceremony, or whatever it was, for the new Hamas leader, Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, at the Gaza City soccer stadium.

Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, a 54-year-old paediatrician, told tens of thousands of cheering Hamas supporters at a Gaza City soccer stadium yesterday that he had been chosen in a secret election.

One by one, senior Hamas officials got up and swore loyalty to him.

The announcement came a day after Israel assassinated Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin and hours after Israel renewed threats to try to kill the entire Hamas leadership ahead of a possible withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

In his acceptance speech, Rantisi made his priorities clear.
"My people, we must unify under the umbrella of resistance," he said, exhorting the Hamas military wing to "teach this Zionist occupation a lesson".

Hamas stated goal is to eradicate Israel. If a person identifies himself as a supporter of Hamas, then they share that goal. Not attacking a gathering of tens of thousands of self-declared enemies would seem counterproductive if Israel's goal is to win a war with them.

Of course, winning a war is not Israel's--survival is. Like that strategy worked so amazingly well the last time Jews attempted to just survive.

It was during World War Two, for those of you going "whut?", a war similar to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle in that it was a war of cultures; Japanese and German Paganism against Western Christianity and Eastern Communism. In such a war, killing only soldiers is not enough to win. The civilian population that supports the struggle must be made to pay such a price that it rejects the ideals that started them down the path of aggression to begin with. In the war that followed WW II,


the Cold War, it could be argued that Eastern Communism eventually collapsed becuase it punished its own civilians so severely, but Eastern Communism lacked the religious component that Hamas uses to whip up its troops.

Pinpoint strikes and temporary raids have done little to move the Palestinians down this path. Until Israel shows itself willing to attack the enemy when it appears in large numbers, the path will remain untrod, and the slow bleeding to death of the Jews will continue.

Posted by Bigwig at March 26, 2004 02:07 PM | TrackBack
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I think the answer is that Israel has a strategy of eliminating the leaders, not the followers. They want to prevent further violence to their people, not blindly kill (this is one of the things that sets Israel apart from the Palastinians, by the way).

Steven Den Beste has some great thoughts on the Israeli strategy here...

Posted by: Ole Eichhorn at March 26, 2004 03:45 PM
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