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Local view: Israeli attack plays into Hamas’ hands

By withdrawing ground troops from Gaza last week, Israel showed signs of finally winding down its Operation Protective Edge, after nearly a month of pounding Gaza in an attempt to debilitate Hamas.

In reality, Israel fell for the sinister trap of Hamas — once again.

Both Israel and the United States call Hamas a terrorist organization but expect it to behave like a moral entity that shows respect for innocent civilian lives. They ignore the fact that al-Qaeda has shown no regard for innocent lives regardless of their race or religion, killing more Muslims and non-Westerners than non-

Muslims and Westerners in its terrorist attacks throughout the world.

During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas did exactly what was expected of a typical terrorist organization. The burden to equally protect Israeli and Palestinian civilians from Hamas’ terrorism is on the shoulders of Israeli Defense Forces, whom Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a “moral army.” Sadly, Hamas tempted Israeli Defense Forces to do exactly the opposite.

So far in Operation Protective Edge, Hamas directly killed only 64 soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces and three Israeli civilians, but it had great success in luring Israeli Defense Forces to kill more than 1,800 Palestinians, including more than 600 innocent children and women. From a terrorist organization’s point of view, Hamas has every reason to celebrate, leaving the civilized world lamenting the loss of so many innocent civilians.

While the enormous civilian death toll will remain an eyesore for Israel, it rightfully takes pride in the killing of a few hundred of Hamas’ terrorists. This may, however, prove to be a trivial loss for Hamas, especially if it succeeds in capturing even a single Israeli soldier in a future attempt. Last time, in 2006, when Hamas captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, it took five years before he was freed in exchange for more than 1,000 Hamas prisoners.

To weaken Hamas, Israel claims to have successfully dismantled 32 underground tunnels Hamas used to commit terrorist activities on the soil of Israel. Tragically, in the process of destroying those tunnels, Israel also abolished more than 10,000 homes, displacing 520,000 Palestinian civilians; and it bombed a number of schools and hospitals sheltering the homeless and wounded. Hamas will use all this violence to its long-term advantage.

Hamas needs to create hate to feed its future needs. Each destroyed home, hospital or school, along with every funeral procession of an innocent child, provides Hamas with an opportunity to recruit flocks of devastated civilians for its future terrorist actions.

If history is a witness, Hamas will come out much stronger both politically and militarily after Operation Protective Edge. In the aftermath of its forerunners — Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 — Hamas made a full recovery, despite Israeli Defense Forces’ claim to incapacitate Hamas.

Is there anything Israel can do to truly cripple Hamas?

Israel can learn from Albert Einstein to be “sane” in addition to being “moral” and must stop doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Israel needs to understand the true tactics of Hamas instead of being its decoy. Hamas consistently has shown its willingness to provoke Israel at will to advance its agenda of hate.

Hamas acts like the hatemonger Zira in “The Lion King” movie, brainwashing so many “Kovus” among the war-torn, stateless and now homeless residents of Gaza who have not much left for which to live. Israel must champion Kiara’s slogan in the movie of “we are one,” by giving the Palestinians the similar sense of freedom and peace of mind just like it desires for its own citizens.

Israel can no longer afford to bomb Gaza, killing innocent lives and destroying civilians’ homes in the name of self-defense, regardless of how much Hamas provokes it. Instead, Israel must protect each and every innocent life to truly and completely abolish Hamas. When Israel will start taking the rights of Palestinian civilians with similar seriousness as it takes its own citizens’ rights, that will be a death sentence to Hamas. Until then, the future of Middle East peace and security will remain in jeopardy.

M. Imran Hayee is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of USA.