Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Destroy the Smuggling Tunnels

Destroy the Smuggling Tunnels

Michael Rubin  

Jonathan Tobin is absolutely correct to warn against rewarding Hamas for its attacks on Israel by granting it any sort of diplomatic concession. After all, engrained in Hamas is an absolute refusal to abide by previous diplomacy, such as the agreements the Palestinian Authority had made with Israel as a precondition to the Authority’s 1994 formation in Gaza and the West Bank.

Israeli officials, alas, can always be counted on for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Enter on cue Dan Harel, former deputy chief of the Israeli Defense Forces General Staff and a former head of its Southern Command, who quips that Israel is running out of targets.

There are several huge targets that Israel should destroy, lest they simply kick the can down the road and set the stage for a far more bloody conflict a few months or years down the road: The smuggling tunnels from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into Gaza. As much as Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, other Islamist leaders, and prominent leftists like Noam Chomsky and the UN’s special rapporteur Richard Falk whine about Israel’s inspection regime for the Gaza Strip, the fact remains that Hamas had no problem rearming and building its arsenal since 2009. It achieved this through the sophisticated network of smuggling tunnels.

Israel should not waste the opportunity to systematically destroy these in their entirety. To accept a ceasefire while the mechanism by which a terrorist group resupplies itself remains functional would be strategic malpractice. For diplomats in the European Union and United States to turn a blind eye to these tunnels is no less irresponsible.