Hamas, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, are the Nazis of modern times. Israel is right to pound military targets inside Gaza. But much of the violence Israel brought on itself by giving up land it had to know would be used to rain death on its civilians. That is always the pattern.
Why is anyone surprised that after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 the vacuum created was quickly filled by Hamas, whose sole purpose is the destruction of the "Zionist entity," as it likes to call Israel, and the killing of as many Jews as possible? The fiction -- which is greater than a belief in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy -- is that Israel, or the United States, or anyone else, can do anything that will deter Hamas from its objective. What did anyone expect when Israel pulled out of Gaza? The establishment of a Disney theme park, perhaps?
Jews are vermin and less than human, Hamas says. Oh, wait. Wasn't the same said of the Jews by the Nazis? The only difference is that today's killers don't speak German.
The year 2008 marked the 60th anniversary of Israel's re-establishment in its ancient homeland. It also marked the 60th anniversary of the first violent response to the formation of the State of Israel. The violence hasn't stopped despite the efforts of diplomats and politicians.
The incoming Obama administration has announced it will make a Middle East peace agreement a high priority. It might as well announce plans to defy gravity. Peace can only come once Israel's enemies are defeated. No "infidel" diplomat is going to stop Palestinian schools from teaching a new generation of children to hate the Jews and to regard all of Israel as occupied Arab land.
Hamas and its terrorist cousins know how to play the public relations game. Most recently we saw it in Lebanon with Hezbollah, as we have seen it in so many other places. The terrorists operate within civilian areas so that when Israel strikes and unintentionally kills civilians, the bodies are paraded before Western media. In some cases, to embellish the drama, bodies have been planted in rubble, along with a child's toy.
Most of the big media don't focus on the occasional rocket attacks inside Israel; only on Israel's attempts to stop them. So much of Western thinking continues along the delusional line that only "adjustments" by Israel have a chance of bringing peace by diminishing the passions of her enemies. If that were so, given all of Israel's concessions, shouldn't those passions have diminished by now and serious negotiations begun?
Instead, the more Israel concedes, the more violence it gets. At some point you might think people would say, "this isn't working" and try another approach, such as striking back in a manner that would not simply stop the present threat but persuade Hamas and the others that there is no benefit in continued aggression.
Iran is behind Hamas, supplying it with rockets, some of them made in Russia, and with other weapons. The goal of the Obama administration ought not to be "peace," per se. Peace is like happiness: a byproduct of something else. Israel's goal should be peace through strength. The United States should commit to building up Israel, militarily and diplomatically, as a deterrent to Israel's enemies, many of whom also hate and wish to destroy America.
Israel already has given up too much. Every concession has been met with more war. It is time to finish the job. No more delays; no more cease-fires or truces, which merely allow Hamas now (and Hezbollah before) to dig new tunnels and smuggle in reinforcements and more weapons with which they kill more Israeli civilians.
Total victory or death should be Israel's slogan and goal. It is the slogan and goal of Israel's enemies. Is there an Arabic equivalent of "Sieg Heil"?
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.