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October 1, 2014

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How many times is enough?

It’s nice to see so many of the world leaders now shuttling back and forth from Jerusalem to Cairo to Qatar in search of a formula to end Israel’s incursion into Gaza. But the more I listen to the “Band-Aid solutions” proposed by some world leaders and diplomats, the more convinced I am that some of the ideas have been lifted right from the “Wise Men of Chelm.” For the third time in a decade, Israel was forced to call up tens of thousands of reserves to re-enter Gaza, the place they unilaterally withdrew from in 2005, to again respond to the hundreds of rockets being fired by Hamas’ terrorists at their major population centers.

No sooner did the operation begin than a chorus of voices combining leaders of the European Union and the Arab World, and editorials in the leading newspapers like The New York Times began sounding the familiar alarm warning Israel of massive civilian casualties.

Even the United States, England and France, which unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend its citizens against rocket attacks, insist that the incursion into Gaza must be very limited in scope to avoid civilian collateral damage. There is no human way to fight the perfect war. Even in the war against Hitler, when the Allies stormed the Normandy beaches, more than 30,000 civilians were killed in the first weeks.

Now that the whole world is focused on Gaza, it’s the right time to ask the uncomfortable question, even of our friends who support us. Why is there such a double standard when it comes to Israel? Why is it that world leaders never miss an opportunity to set their alarms and ask for a wake-up call only when Israel hits back at the Hamas terrorists?

Where were those moral voices and wake-up calls when it came to taking steps and adapting measures to prevent Hamas from stockpiling 10,000 rockets? Why didn’t U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary of State John Kerry and the Foreign Ministers of the EU rush to Israel to convene a conference on how to tighten the borders and close the tunnels in order to prevent the terrorists from smuggling arms and weapons into Gaza and to demand that no foreign aid ever be dispersed into neighborhoods housing Hamas military personnel? Why is there never an emergency Security Council meeting on how to excise the malignancy and finally end Hamas’ rule of terror in Gaza? Why do they only shuttle to the region to find a way to rein in the defenders and never on how to stop the perpetrators and their funders like Iran and Qatar?

Of course it’s horrible to see the images of innocent children killed as a result of the incursion. But whose fault is it, if not the sick Hamas ideology of loving death and martyrdom and deliberately placing children in harm’s way? Now, once again, they may have taken hostage a missing Israeli soldier, who is either dead or still alive to use as a bargaining chip in an attempt to force Israel to again release hundreds of terrorists with blood on their hands.

The town of Chelm is famous in Jewish history for its collection of simpletons whose ideas never came close to solving the problem. Located on a mountaintop, the town faced a terrible dilemma when its citizens began falling off the mountaintop. Responding to the crisis, the city convened its “wise men” and came up with a perfect Chelm solution — they would build a hospital at the bottom of the mountain!

That is precisely what world leaders are again doing in Gaza. They are waxing their moral credentials at the terrorists and their constituencies while abandoning their friends with phony solutions that they all know can’t work while forcing Israel to relive the same nightmare every few years. No country in the world is subjected to such treatment that only strengthens and props up terrorists and makes greater the price we will all have to pay.

Meanwhile, as world leaders shuttle to Jerusalem to end the incursion, 40 meters below ground in Gaza, the Hamas terrorist leaders, confident as always, are already plotting how many civilian airliners they will be able to bring down when they take delivery of their first SA-11 surface-to-air missile.

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He wrote this for The Jerusalem Post.

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