By Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post—

With its decades-old track record of murder and mayhem, Hamas has already secured itself a place in the annals of infamy. From bus bombings to underground terror tunnels to the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets and projectiles at Israeli towns and cities, the Islamic extremist group has repeatedly found new ways to sow widespread death and destruction. But just when it seems that their injurious impulses cannot possibly sink any lower, the organization’s terrorist masterminds somehow manage to come up with novel methods that would make even the devil blush.

Such has been the case in recent days when, as Yediot Aharonot reported, Hamas has launched the “terror of the toys,” deliberately targeting young Jewish children by attaching explosive devices concealed as playthings to balloons and sending them airborne from Gaza towards neighboring Jewish communities in the Negev.

In one instance, a bomb disguised as a toy tied to a batch of balloons was discovered in the Eshkol region. It was glittering with colorful lights, clearly intended to entice a curious Israeli child to pick it up. Fortunately, the bomb was discovered and diffused before it caused any damage.

But this incident, along with others, prompted security officials to issue an unusual warning to local residents last week: “Please instruct your children not to touch objects attached to balloons which appear to be toys.” The circular further noted, “Sometimes there are drawings on the balloons, with hearts and smiles, funny faces and the like. All of these are intended to create an innocent cover for the explosive devices.”

So there you have it for all the world to see. Israel’s enemies are not targeting “the occupation” or “illegal settlements.” They are consciously and with premeditation seeking to blow the limbs off of Jewish children and kill them.

Needless to say, this latest outrage is unlikely to provoke much of a response from the international community, which is too busy calling for the creation of a hostile Palestinian state alongside Israel to take note of still another Palestinian war crime. But it most assuredly should evoke a determined and harsh rejoinder from the IDF. Anyone who purposefully seeks to target Jewish children should have a bull’s-eye placed firmly on his back.

The reason why the Hamas leadership feels free to plumb new depths of evil is because they assume that they will not be compelled to pay a personal price for their actions. That is why they are continuously inventing new techniques of treachery and persist in attempting to inflame the situation, both literally and metaphorically.
Ignoring the problem and hoping that it will go away is not a solution. Only by striking swiftly and hard against the Hamas leadership and eliciting a heavy price for their actions, can this latest threat be contained before it spins completely out of control.

One of the sad things about this situation is that the Palestinians are clearly resourceful people, although it seems that many of their energies are directed toward destruction. They could have invested in human capital and technological progress as Israel, the “Start-up Nation,” has done, and brought themselves peace and prosperity. Instead, the Palestinian leadership appears intent on turning “Palestine” into the “Blow-up Nation,” best known not for what it builds, but rather for what it aims to destroy.