Aftermath of Gaza strike
Photo: AP

Hamas must pay dearly

Op-ed: Following attack on school bus, only way to restore lull in Gaza region is deterrence

Every American or European mother fully understands the meaning of firing at a yellow bus. A yellow bus is an international warning signing that means “these are children.” Those who fire at a yellow bus with the intention of murdering children are war criminals of the worst kind and a partner for nothing.


Hence, in response to the attack, Israel took the gloves off Thursday. Here there is no need to explain and apologize. The world can and should understand it.


Now we are preparing for several days of fighting in the Strip, including the possibility of rocket attacks at civilians beyond the Gaza region. The IDF Southern Command presented the plan for the upcoming days of fighting to the defense minister. Barak approved, and postponed his trip to the United States.


This time, Israel intends to exact a very heavy price from Hamas, as the State of Israel and IDF have no solution that would fortify civilian transportation in the Gaza region. The only immediate solution is deterrence – and deterrence can only be achieved via plenty of fire.


This time, officials will not accept a Hamas request for a lull via secret channels of UN officials in the area, as happened in the past. In the coming days, the cannons, missiles, tanks, jets and rockets will do the talking, until the blood quota is filled.


Nothing that happened Thursday was coincidental. All the attacks were planned and well orchestrated by Hamas, and the IDF Southern Command prepared for it. Back in the previous round, which started on March 19, we learned that Hamas and Islamic Jihad postpone their response and wait for the timing convenient for them.


On April 2, two senior figures in Hamas’ military wing were assassinated, and the organization announced that it intends to avenge their killing. The clock started ticking and the response arrived Thursday. The surgical strike in Sudan Tuesday may have accelerated the response.


Lukewarm response hurt Israel

Everything that happened yesterday was expected, with the exception of two surprises: The firing of the anti-tank missile at a civilian bus, and Iron Dome’s success in intercepting a Grad rocket.


In military exercises held in the past three or four years, the issue of anti-tank fire at civilian vehicles in the Gaza region always came up. Thus far, rockets and such missiles were fired at military vehicles, including a missile fired at an IDF vehicle that missed its target Thursday.


Yesterday, possibly because of the success of the newly installed missile shield in IDF tanks, and maybe because they could find no other targets, the shooters decided to target the yellow bus. For this crazy decision, Hamas must pay dearly.


Hamas ended the previous round of fighting at the end of March with a sense of achievement. Israel’s relatively lukewarm response gave it the feeling that it can go a little further. Today we also understand that the agreement between Hamas and Islamic Jihad regarding the restoration of the lull at the border with Israel includes some secret understandings as well.


These understandings may include greater coordination between the two groups in fighting Israel, as well as a “price tag” for every killed member in any group. On Thursday, the terrorists fully fulfilled this price tag: They fired at a civilian bus in the aims of murdering children, and they launched rockets at civilian communities. Now, Hamas must not be allowed to complete the current round of fighting with a sense of victory.



פרסום ראשון: 04.08.11, 15:47
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