Once again, Arab leaders put their people at risk

07/19/2014 10:00 AM

07/19/2014 2:47 PM

What sort of political leadership would deliberately pursue a policy that guaranteed the territory it ruled would be devastated and great numbers of its people needlessly killed?

The Arabs of the Middle East have had the undeserved misfortune for at least the last half century to be governed by such a collection of reckless fools.

Hamas, the terrorist faction holding power in Gaza, is the poster child for such stupidity.

When militant Palestinians fled to Lebanon after their failed 1970 attempt to unseat the king of Jordan, their presence fractured what had been a delicate modus vivendi between Muslims and Christians in a country that had largely been spared the periodic violence in the region.

Their provocations along the shared border with Israel soon sparked renewed conflict.

The history of the region, almost from the moment of the 1947 United Nations partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, has been a succession of miscalculations on the Arab side.

The most costly of those mistakes was the massing of Arab forces on the borders of the newly formed Israeli nation. That triggered the 1948 Six-Day War, which lasted less than a week, doubled the territory under Israel’s control and confirmed beyond any conceivable doubt the young nation’s military superiority over any coalition of Arab foes.

More stupidity followed.

The United Nations, in its resolution adopted five months after that war’s conclusion, sought to resolve the most hotly contested issues and draft a road map that might lead the parties toward a durable peace.

The Arabs rejected that initiative outright, declining to take part in any negotiations and refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Jewish nation.

Hamas, the radical Palestinian faction controlling Gaza, combines that inflexibility with cowardice.

Well aware of its inability to confront Israel directly, it instead prefers to strike from a distance with swarms of rockets aimed specifically at population centers.

And what classifies that as cowardly?

The fact that Hamas has deliberately located its command centers and the launch sites for its rockets in residential areas — sometimes reportedly in homes, apartment buildings and other structures meant for civilian lodging.

In plain language, those heroic militants are perfectly content to let innocent civilians pay the price for their pointless maliciousness.

And, yes, Israel has replied — and will continue to respond — with aerial attacks meant to suppress the rocket assaults. No reasonable nation would do less. As a result, innocents die.

Israel regrets those collateral casualties. The other side, quite obviously, does not give a tinker’s (or a mullah’s) damn.

For more of C.W. Gusewelle, go to gusewelle.kansascity.com.

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