The murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas terrorists and the subsequent bombardment of Israel by missile fire from Hamas held Gaza has had the effect of bringing together the Obama administration and the Israeli government, according to a Tuesday story in the Washington Times. The Obama administration has signaled that it supports Israel’s efforts to defend itself against Hamas attacks, which have included air strikes against targets in Gaza and a possible ground invasion by 40,000 troops now massing on the border with the terrorist held territory.
Unlike with previous administrations, relations between the Obama administration and Israel have often been marked with controversy. President Obama has often seemed to have sided with the Palestinians in the Middle Eastern conflict, harshly criticizing Israeli actions and demanding that the Jewish state make concessions that it is ill-prepared to carry out. This has led to domestic tensions between the White House and Israel’s supporters in the United States.
This situation seems to have undergone a shift, however, due to recent events. First the Palestinian Authority that holds sway on the West Bank created a “unity government” with Hamas. While the PA has at least rhetorically recognized that State of Israel’s right to exist, Hamas remains dedicated to the Jewish state’s destruction.
The murder of three Israeli teens, one with a dual Israeli/American citizenship, has united Israeli society in outrage. The retaliation murder of a Palestinian youth has resulted in the arrest of the alleged perpetrators and pledges that they will be prosecuted by Israeli authorities. This contrasts with displays of celebration in the Palestinian community over the murder of Israeli teens.
The missile bombardment from Gaza, which has reached as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is likely to touch off a full scale war between Israel and Hamas. The brutality of the murders and the flagrant aggression by Hamas seems to have resulted in the Obama administration taking the unusual for it step of siding with Israel and against Hamas. It remains to be seen how far Israel will go and how long the support from the Obama administration will last.