From THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 9, 2009, by David Horovitz:
Hamas shows indifference to any 'rules' of war. And reportage has failed to keep pace with the Islamists' innovation.
Amid all the international criticism of Israel's fighting tactics in Gaza these past few days, from the gentle to the hysterical, from the supercilious chiding about disproportionate response to the vicious Nazi comparisons, one prominent aspect has curiously escaped marked comment.
Israel is bombing mosques in Gaza. Six of them and counting ...this unprecedented assault on Islamic places of worship has passed without particular hysteria.
... the repeated direction of Jewish fire-power into Islam's places of worship, one might have assumed, would inflame the Arab world and its supporters into an orgy of anti-Israel fury.
As of this writing, that hasn't happened ...because the Islamists know they've been found out.
... Israel's declaration that it is firing on them because they are hubs of Hamas terrorism has met with no emphatic denials, no aggrieved assertions from Hamas clerics that their buildings are innocent places of humble worship, no pleas to the international community to enter the buildings and document their purity.
...the mosques that have been struck, long known as centers of Islamist indoctrination and vicious anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish incitement, are being used as weapons stores, command centers, as cover for networks of tunnels - in short, Hamas military positions. Again, there has been no frenzied rush by Gaza's clerics to dispute this devastating accusation.
...one of those targeted was the entry point to a whole series of tunnels, he said. Another was a storehouse for Grad missiles fired into Israel. (On Wednesday, the IDF released footage of a rocket being launched into Israel from immediately adjacent to the wall of a mosque.) "When you see, day after day, people going back into a mosque for their rocket supplies," the official said, "you have to act."
Along with the absent protestations of innocence, however, there is also a regrettable absence of internal Islamic condemnation of the abuse by Hamas of its holy places....
...The leaders' silence only bolsters the perception of Islam as a religion inexorably being overwhelmed by violent extremists, with its moderates intimidated into silence. The tacit complicity of the worshipers - some of whom have lost their lives in recent days when the IAF struck, even though attacks were timed to avoid prayer services - underlines the extent of support and tolerance for Hamas's brand of Islam in Gaza. No surprise there; some two-thirds of Gazans chose to vote for Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections.
THE DESECRATION of the mosques is only one expression of Hamas's egregious indifference to any hitherto accepted "rules" of war.
Civilians are supposed to be off limits. So too, by extension, homes, schools and places of worship. Yet Hamas stores its ammunition and manufacturers its weaponry in precisely such places....
..Hamas has for years been diverting Israeli electricity supplies to the Strip for weapons manufacture. This week, it cried humanitarian disaster even as it commandeered some of the food, fuel and medical supplies flowing into Gaza and blocked others.
Hamas gunmen, even more cynical than their Hizbullah counterparts, are fighting out of uniform - they look like innocent civilians, deserving of protection, until they pull out guns or rush at IDF soldiers with suicide-bomber belts. Security officials say some are maintaining a years-long practice of taking children with them when they prepare missile attacks into Israel, confident that the IDF won't touch them. Sometimes, the officials say, they have children with them when they confront soldiers at close quarters, as well.
...HAMAS EXPLOITATION of civilian suffering reaches its apogee when it comes to the hospitals.
Earlier this week, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin briefed ministers to the effect that part of the Hamas leadership was operating from a bunker constructed under Gaza City's main Shifa Hospital. There have been reports of sightings in the hospital wards, and of the commandeering of ambulances....