More than seven years after Israel withdrew from Gaza in exchange for peace, we stand today faced with increased rocket fire from Hamas (an organization that is on the U.S. State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations). In the past 12 years, over 12,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. In the past year, over 800 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. In the past five days, over 150 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. I propose a simple question with a complex answer: When is it enough?
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States of America. Within days and with overwhelming support, the U.S. government declared the War on Terror. American officials did not wait until further attacks or until further terror to ensure the safety and protection of its citizens. Why is Israel held to a different standard? Hamas fired countless rockets into Israel this week, as they have done for the past year. This is unequivocally an act of terror by a terrorist organization. To clarify media misconceptions, the current situation between Gaza and Israel is not a matter of the Israeli government versus the Palestinian leadership; yet it is a conflict of increased terrorist activity spurred by Hamas onto the citizens of Israel.
There is no moral symmetry, no moral equivalence between Israel and the terrorist organization in Gaza. Hamas has made it clear through their charter that their main goal is the destruction of the people and the state of Israel by any means necessary. Hamas is committing a double war crime. They target Israeli civilians including women and children and then they retreat by hiding behind Palestinian civilians. The Israeli Defense Forces conducted surgical strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and have taken extraordinary steps to minimize Palestinian causalities. The IDF sent out thousands of leaflets over Gaza warning the civilians to leave for their safety, proving once again that Israel is fighting against terrorists, not innocent civilians. Israel, as a sovereign nation has every right to protect herself from Hamas, a terrorist organization, just like the U.S. had every right to protect herself from al-Qaida.
So I ask again, when is it enough? Now. It is enough, now. The terror has to stop. Israeli citizens cannot continue to live with the fear of bombs day in and day out. Israeli citizens cannot continue to run to bomb shelters every time they hear the dreaded siren which means a bomb will be landing in 15 seconds. Israeli citizens cannot continue to raise their children under constant threat and constant terror. We need peace, now.
I know where I stand today. I stand for peace. I stand for security. I stand for prosperity. I stand with America. I stand with our allies. I stand with Israel today, tomorrow, and always. Am Yisrael Chai. The people of Israel live.
Nicole Krassner, Gainesville, Fla.
The writer is president of the University of Florida's Gators for Israel.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun