June 22, 2024
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Gaza is not the world’s largest prison, but it just might be the world’s largest military base.

Of all the trite clichés spouted by Israel-haters, the claim that Gaza is an “open-air prison” or “the world’s largest concentration camp” is among the silliest. Apologists for Palestinian depravity seem to revel in these delusional and hypocritical tropes.

Those who buy into such nonsense are likely beyond saving. But the evidence from the recent war reveals that these smug swindlers are actually on to something: Hamas appears to have converted Gaza into the world’s largest military base.

Hamas’s investment in creating a fortified city-state is truly unprecedented. Only a fraction of its forces are located in formal military installations. It seems as if the more civilian a site is, the more eager Hamas is to transform it into a terrorist lair. It’s almost an Islamist nursery rhyme: Hospitals serve as headquarters, clinics as command centers, schools are stockpiles and mosques are for missiles, and homes are best for hiding hostages. RPGs are in DMVs, boobytraps are under beds, pharmacies are bomb factories, restaurants launch rockets, residential blocks are regional barracks … one could go on for quite a while.

The fact that Hamas deliberately embeds its terror infrastructure in civilian areas in order to maximize collateral damage is hardly news. Nobly martyring as many Palestinians as can fit in a nursery is not a bug but rather a well-known feature of Hamas’s war strategy. Still, the sheer scale is remarkable and merits a genuine paradigm shift. To the impartial observer or tactician, civilian infrastructure can no longer be considered innocent until proven guilty. Experience would indicate the contrary: A civilian site is more likely to be a terrorist stronghold and therefore a legitimate military target.

Consider also the death toll reported by Hamas. Making no distinction between civilians and combatants isn’t the flex Hamas thinks it is (as the kids say these days). By pretending that not a single dead Gazan is a Hamas terrorist, along with those terrorists’ documented insistence on wearing civilian clothing when engaging the IDF, Hamas is all but explicitly stating that all Gaza civilians are combatants. In other words, Gaza in its entirety is a massive military base.

Then there’s the matter of the so-called “metro.” That is, Hamas’s vast network of underground terror tunnels. They were built, of course, at the expense of the infrastructure that could actually have served Palestinian needs. Reportedly longer than the London Tube, the tunnels apparently run for about 500 kilometers. This is four times the size of the infamous Vietnamese Cu Chi combat tunnels yet covers a smaller area.

Unlike some smuggling tunnels, the Hamas metro was designed to serve military purposes alone—occasionally offensive, but mostly a hideout for cowering terrorists. Clearly, the metro, too, is little more than a staple feature of an enormous military complex, a facility for transportation, operations and logistics. The tunnels are just an elaborate basement for the Hamas military base called Gaza.

This brings us to Rafah. Like any military complex worth its salt, Gaza includes a “Führerbunker.” It is a comfy last-stand facility, meant to be used by the senior brass as a final point of retreat when things don’t go (or perhaps do go) as planned.

Rafah, in other words, is the last stand, nerve center and chief command post of the Gaza military base fashioned by Hamas. Leaving the Rafah Führerbunker intact along with the cowardly Hamas leadership and thousands of terrorists would be as absurd as the Allied forces taking Berlin while leaving Hitler, Eva Braun, Goebbels, Helmuth Weidling and the Berlin garrison unscathed.

Yonatan Green is an Israeli-American attorney who is currently a fellow at the Georgetown University Center for the Constitution.

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