Important columns by former attorney general Michael Mukasey and Caroline Glick make the point that in Israel’s defensive war against Hamas, the main thing to focus on is not the missiles; it’s the tunnels. Perhaps more significantly, they demonstrate that the Obama administration, in its mulish appeasement of the Muslim Brotherhood-Sunni supremacist axis that even Islamic governments (indeed, even the Saudis) are shunning, is subverting a golden opportunity to achieve decisive victory over Hamas – the necessary precondition if there is ever to be a stable Israeli-Palestinian settlement.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Judge Mukasey explains that Hamas’s strategic plan for jihad against Israel hinges on the large and sophisticated network of tunnels into Israel that the terror organization built while ruling Gaza during the years since Israel’s 2005 evacuation. While much attention has been drawn to “Iron Dome,” the Israeli air defense system that has responded to Hamas rocket-fire, the trigger for the Israeli ground offensive was more likely the challenge posed by the tunnel network. That challenge, Judge Mukasey writes, “became obvious on Saturday when eight Palestinian fighters wearing Israeli military uniforms emerged from a tunnel 300 yards inside Israel and killed two Israeli soldiers in a firefight.” He elaborates:
The tunnel network gave [Hamas] the ability to launch a coordinated attack within Israel like the 2008 Islamist rampage in Mumbai that killed 164 people. Recall that in 2011 Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, more than 200 of whom were under a life sentence for planning and perpetrating terror attacks. They were exchanged for one Israeli soldier,Gilad Shalit, who had been taken hostage in a cross-border raid by Hamas. Imagine the leverage that Hamas could have achieved by sneaking fighters through the tunnels and taking hostages throughout Israel; the terrorists intercepted Saturday night were carrying tranquilizers and handcuffs.
Caroline Glick strikes the same note in her latest column:
We have known for years that tunnels were a central component of Hamas’s logistical infrastructure. What began as the primary means of smuggling weapons, trainers and other war material from Hamas’s sponsors abroad developed rapidly into a strategic tool of offensive warfare against Israel.
As we have seen from the heavily armed Hamas commando squads that have infiltrated into Israel from tunnels since the start of the current round of warfare, the first goal of these offensive tunnels is to deploy terrorists into Israel to massacre Israelis. But the tunnels facilitate other terror missions as well. Israel has found tunnels with shafts rigged with bombs located directly under Israeli kindergartens. If the bombs had gone off, the buildings above would have been destroyed, taking the children down with them.
Other exposed shafts showed Hamas’s continued intense interest in hostage taking. In 2006 the terrorists who kidnapped Cpl.Gilad Schalit entered Israel and returned to Gaza through such a tunnel. Today the presence of sedatives and multiple sets of handcuffs for neutralizing hostages found in tunnel after tunnel indicate that Hamas intends to abduct several Israelis at once and spirit them back to Gaza.
There is only one way to deal with this menace once and for all: Israel has to be allowed to win, an argument I posited yesterday, here. As Ms. Glick points out,Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood, which makes it a big piece of the global jihad. Besides being every bit as much America’s enemy as Israel’s, Hamas is now not only motivated but more lethally capable than it has ever been:
Hamas’s rapid advances in both tunnel and missile technology are deeply worrisome. At a minimum, they indicate that if it is allowed to end the current round of fighting as a coherent, relatively well-armed terrorist army, Hamas will be able to rapidly rebuild and expand its capabilities. As a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is not a stand-alone terror group. It is part of a much larger web of Islamic jihadist terror groups including al-Qaida and its affiliates as well as the Shi’ite Hezbollah.
But there is a big positive in the equation. As part of the Brotherhood and the global jihad, Hamas is also more isolated than it has ever been. As those of usopposed to U.S. intervention in Syria have contended, by not interrupting our enemies while they were squaring off against each other, we’d see their relations rupture. That is exactly what has happened.
Read more at National Review