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Hamas, Israel, and the Gaza flotilla: seven facts you need to know

Amid a barrage of criticism of Israel, fair-minded observers should consider these seven facts before judging the flotilla raid.

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In the torrent of rage and confusion generated by the loss of life when the Israeli Navy enforced the embargo on the Gaza Strip this week, there has been a regrettable overlooking of certain fundamental facts. As is so frequently the case, these facts have gotten buried in the rubble of political rhetoric. In order to prevent this incident from having a deleterious effect on the peace process going forward, the following must be understood:

Fact 1: The Gaza Strip is an armed camp, ruled with an iron fist by a repressive Hamas regime that has not only repeatedly pledged itself to the annihilation of Israel and the torpedoing of any prospects for Middle East peace, but has made good on its pledges by firing approximately 10,000 missiles, rockets, and mortar bombs at Israeli civilians over the past several years for the express purpose of killing or wounding those civilians or, at a minimum, terrifying them.

Fact 2: The United States, the European Union, and the international community have recognized that Hamas is a terrorist enterprise, which surely is beyond dispute.

Fact 3: When faced with an armed enemy committed to its destruction, which has done its very best to make war against Israeli civilians, Israel has two choices: to try to protect its civilians from those attacks, or to simply shrug its shoulders and hope that the attacks stop. There is, quite simply, no nation on earth that would choose the latter course, and no reasonable and fair-minded person who would expect it to.

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