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What’s Arabic for “Mess With the Bull, Deal with the Horns?”

Well, Hamas is learning the old lesson: “Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.”

They declared an end to the cease-fire with Israel, announced a resumption of hostilities, and ratcheted up the attacks on Israel. And Israel did what Hamas never expected: they hit back, and they hit back hard.

Hamas thought they had it all figured out. They heard that Israel was going to hold a cabinet meeting on Sunday to discuss a possible counteroffensive, but today is also the Jewish Sabbath. So they thought they’d have a day or two of “free” attacks before Israel would retaliate.

That turned out not only to be not only an error, but a very revealing one — it showed just how incredibly arrogant and ignorant Hamas is. Had they bothered to look at history, they would have known that not only does Israel have no problems fighting on holy days when the cause is sufficient,  Israel also tends to respond to declarations and acts of war with devastating counteroffensives.

And now that Israel is finally hitting back, there will be (as Emanuele Ottolenghi has pointed out, there already are) all sorts of hues and cries about how Israel overreacted, and responded far out of proportion to the provocation. The offenses of Hamas will be minimized or swept under the rug.

That must not happen. Fortunately, in this day and age, there is sufficient technology to get the word out.

Bookmark that site.  Keep it handy should you find yourself discussing the current fighting in the Gaza Strip. And always remember that the disproportionate numbers of casualties are not because the Israelis are more bloodthirsty, but because they have a greater respect for civilians (both protecting their own and minimizing those they injure) and Hamas is so utterly incompetent. The latter party rejoices in civilian casualties — dead and injured Israelis are signs of victory, dead and injured Palestinians are martyrs they can avenge.

Hamas is getting a very harsh lesson — Israel doesn’t bluff. And it is getting it in the only language it has ever truly understood — blood and violence.

Will they actually learn from this lesson? I hope so, but sincerely doubt it. The best we can hope for is that they will be weakened to the point where they can’t attack Israel again for at least a little while.



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