Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Egypt to try and push for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. This comes after he was caught on a hot mic criticizing Israel's level of force it has used in defending itself.
Kerry was confronted with his comments by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. While outfitted with a mic, talking to an aide on his cellphone, Kerry said in a sarcastic tone, “Hell of a pinpoint operation,” referencing Israel's actions in Gaza. If thousands of missiles had been launched at America, how would you want our government to respond and defend us? While Kerry insists that Israel has a right to defend itself, apparently that defense only goes so far and must be on America's terms.
The State Department issued a statement in response to Kerry's comment, which reads in part: “Israel has the right to defend itself including against recent tunnel attacks, but [Kerry] has encouraged them to not only take steps to prevent civilian casualties, but to take steps to de-escalate and we're working together to achieve a ceasefire.” Israel has been issuing warnings in Gaza, telling people to leave before they launch a strike. Netanyahu explained to ABC that they've been trying to avoid killing innocent civilians by making phone calls, sending text messages and dropping leaflets in communities warning them to leave or take cover.
The fighting has gone on for the better part of two weeks, with about 500 Palestinians having been killed, 20 Israelis having lost their lives and two Americans fighting for the Israeli Defense Force have died.
In an emergency session yesterday, the United Nations drafted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. The Security Council is concerned about the growing level of violence and civilian causalities. But the UN isn't known as being all that friendly to Israel, and even the UN president called Israel's ground offensive "an atrocious action." But he isn't the only one. A U.S. State Department official claims to have accidentally tweeted out the hashtag “#UnitedForGaza.” As you can imagine, he received backlash on Twitter.
One of the main purposes of Israel's ground offensive is to destroy this network of tunnels militants use to come into Israel. Lt. Col. Lerner describes these tunnels in the Wall Street Journal as “'a metro, an underground' connecting weapons-manufacturing and storage sites to passageways beneath the Israeli border ...” He goes on to say, "Our assessment and plan of action suggested they were planning to meet the army on the battlefield. We are taking the battle to them. We don't want it in our backyard." Michael Mukasey in the Wall Street Journal also emphasizes the importance of these tunnels. He says, “Hamas's tunnels into Israel are potentially much more dangerous than its random rocket barrages.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon, “Thus far, 14 attack tunnels reaching into Israel have been discovered. Officers say this might only be “the tip of the iceberg.” Some of the tunnels go under the border and others stop just short of the border. The tunnels have concrete walls, ventilation, and lighting; most are more than 60 feet deep. Israeli officials said technology does not yet exist that would enable tunnels at that depth to be picked up by sensors.”
The world is watching as America's influence is waning in the face of radicalism. We cannot blame Israel for taking actions to defend itself and stop future violence that is enabled by these tunnels.