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Monday, August 4, 2014

Sydney Morning Herald: The Hamas trap - hidden labyrinth was wired for war

...Gaza had been wired for war. On a scale more advanced than Israeli military intelligence realised, which is why the Israel Defence Forces lost more than 40 soldiers in the first phase of Operation Protective Edge.

Areas of cities were laced with hundreds of booby-traps. The commander of the IDF Gaza Division, Brigadier-General Mickey Edelstein, said that in a single street in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, his soldiers had found booby-traps in 19 of 28 homes. Three Israeli soldiers were killed by an explosive device when they entered a building designated as a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The IDF has conceded it was surprised by the scale of the bomb traps across Gaza.

Israel is thus engaging in very limited ground combat in Gaza, given the whole area is a booby-trap of explosives, ambush and civilian targets. The largest known military control centre for Hamas was placed in the basement of a hospital...

...Even famously pacifist Israeli author Amos Oz has been moved to condemn Hamas for creating a web of warfare through the civilian population of Gaza. At the other end of the political spectrum  Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the nationalist Jewish Home party, said of the war preparations uncovered: ‘‘Without the ground operation, we would have woken up one day to an Israeli 9/11.’’

Such is the nature of the Israel-Palestinian debate that many people regard all this as Israel reaping what it sows. Even as Israel strikes against a war machine, it is blamed for creating the conditions which created the threat.  The result of this logic trap – and the differing standard applied to killings by Jews and killing by Muslims – is that more media coverage and outrage has been directed at Israel for the unintended deaths of children in Gaza than has been directed at the butchery of Muslims by Muslims, on a massive scale, in  Iraq and elsewhere. In Syria alone, three years of  war have seen between 120,000 and 170,000 people killed, including more than 11,000 children. This violence has spilled into Iraq, with atavistic massacres of prisoners by jihadis from Islamic State.

The deep animosities which are the ultimate source of this bloody absolutism could even be heard on the streets of Sydney last week, in the chants of demonstrators, some waving the black flag of the Islamic State: ‘‘Palestine is Muslim land ... Jew and Christian will not stand ... From Lakemba to Gaza ... You can never stop Islam.’’

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