We'll never really know why Hamas chose Christmas week for its ill-fated one-two punch.
First, it passed Shariah law which includes crucifixion for disbelievers. Secondly, it ended a six-month "cease-fire" with Israel that had provided cover for the terror organization to expand its lethal arsenal of rockets, even as it continued to lob 415 unanswered Qassams on the small town of Sderot. Spreading its lethal version of the spirit of the season, Hamas then targeted a hellish rain of short- and medium-range range rockets on dozens of other southern Israeli communities, causing Jerusalem to unleash its limited version of "shock and awe" on Hamastan. According to the United Nations, Israel's campaign has resulted in hundreds of deaths, including Palestinian women and children.
The death of a single Palestinian or Israeli child is a tragedy, but the world does a disservice to their memory by its display of selective indignation.
Item: the first Palestinian children to die in this sorrowful story were two little girls killed by an errant Palestinian rocket aimed at Israel. Their deaths generated a deafening silence. But as soon as the Israelis launched their first counterstrike to prevent more attacks on their day-care centers, kindergartens, and schools, out came the demonstrations in Cairo, Beirut, and London decrying a "holocaust in Gaza." Accompanying these preprogrammed protesters is a torrent of crocodile tears generated by screaming media headlines condemning the unintentional deaths of Arab civilians as Israeli "war crimes," stage-managed press conferences and calls for "fact-finding missions" whose biased results are already written.
But let's be fair to Hamastan's Iranian-bankrolled terror masters: They don't make a hypocritical display of for dead Palestinian children. Instead, they proudly make an industry of on them. Their own words constitute a damning insight into the brutal mentality of fanatics committed to replacing Israel with an Islamic terror state in the Holy Land.
Palestinian Media Watch transcribed this statement by Hamas representative Fathi Hamad in February, 2008: "For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire life."
At the same time that Hamas "engineers" were tunneling armaments underneath the Egyptian border and building bomb factories in courtyards of Gaza apartment houses and mosques, Hamas spinmeisters used their newfound control of Palestinian media outlets and Web sites to brainwash a generation of children into becoming human shields, euphemized as or "sacred martyrs." A televised video is available for anyone to see of Palestinian children from ages 3 to 5 dressed like suicide bombers, and those between 10 and 13 vowing a death wish, while those older than 14 prepare for suicide attacks, sometimes wishing farewell to their beaming parents.
Only in the sick mind of a horror science-fiction movie run amok could one ever find the equivalent of today's Holy Land, where Arab children are programmed with a perverted "divine commandment" to not only try to kill Jewish children but to seek to kill themselves in the process! The international community has a vital role to play, but that role is not serial condemnation of Israel. First, it needs to debunk - not embrace - a double standard enshrined by many in the media that blurs moral distinction between terrorists bent on targeting innocents for murder and sovereign states defending their citizens. Second, it must signal to the Palestinians and the Arab and Muslim worlds that Hamas terrorism has brought the Palestinian cause to a dead end. Without a 180 degree change in their mindset and methods, there will never be a Palestinian state.
And for those awaiting a new American administration, swept into office by the promise of change, hear these unambiguous words from Barack Obama when he visited beleaguered Sderot: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." Whenever you hear the international chorus that Israel is at fault, just remind yourself of the new Hamas Television music video available on Palestinian Media Watch in which a 5-year-old, told that her mother wore a suicide belt to kill Israelis, sings: "Now I know she was more precious than us." She then swears to follow in her mother's footsteps as a suicide bomber.
Israel does not expect or deserve a moral blank check, but insofar as today's Gaza is concerned, we should all be rooting for it to succeed in uprooting Hamas' infrastructure and culture of death. Only then will we not have to pray for a miracle to protect the next generation of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish kids from terrorism's pied pipers of destruction.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.