Sophomore jinx

Griff Witte is quickly becoming my favorite Middle East correspondent. He adds to his impressive debut with an excellent sophomore effort, Strikes in Gaza Kill 18 Palestinians; Hamas Rocket Barrage Injures 2 Israelis. (That’s facetious.)

First he writes that Israel is now under attack from Grad missiles.

Seven rockets have landed in the city of Ashkelon in the past two days, prompting accusations from Israeli officials that Hamas is using more formidable rockets than it has in the past. Ashkelon, a coastal city of about 120,000 people, is six miles north of Gaza. Israeli officials said the rockets that landed there have been Iranian-made, Grad-style rockets, which have a longer range and are considered more lethal than the relatively crude Qassam rockets that Hamas has traditionally used.”What we saw today was really an escalation,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel, asserting that the greater range of the Grad rockets means that “a quarter of a million Israeli citizens are in danger.” Mekel indicated that a stronger Israeli response may be in the offing. “Israel left Gaza not in order to return to it. However, the continuation of terror may put Israel in a position where we have no choice,” he said.

Nowhere does he provide the background that the Hamas breach of the border with Egypt is the reason that Hamas has been able to upgrade its capabilities. Then he follows with this.

Israel pulled its settlers out of Gaza in 2005. Last June, Hamas seized control, ending a power-sharing deal with the secular Fatah party, which favors negotiations with Israel. Since then, the volume of rocket fire has increased and pressure has grown on the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to topple Hamas, a radical Islamic movement that has both a military wing and a network of social services and that seeks to eradicate Israel.

(Yes Fatah favors negotiations. What about Abbas’s comments yesterday?)

Why “topple?” Why not defeat? When someone’s trying to destroy you it’s a war not politics. Or is politics just war by other means? But at the end of the paragraph he seems incapable of calling Hamas a terrorist organization. It’s an “Islamic movement” with a “network of social services” that by-the-way “seeks to eradicate Israel.”

Let me try.
“Since then the number of attacks by the terrorist organization Hamas on Israeli civilians has made ti imperative for the Israeli government to defeat Hamas.

Nice direct and to the point.