Saturday, January 23

Continue the Siege on Gaza or Not?

The siege on Gaza continues. Gaza has become an overcrowded prison - a boiling pressure cooker on the verge of exploding. Gaza is choked by Israel and now by Egypt as well. There is an element of “collective punishment” while many innocent Gaza Palestinians are living in severe poverty and in squalor with no hope for a better future. How can we as Israelis ignore this tragic situation without a care or conscience?

The fault for the siege not being lifted must be laid on the doorstep of the Hamas regime! Hamas has no desire to recognize Israel’s right to exist or to negotiate with Israel. As far as they are concerned every terrorist action against Israel is justified in order to bring Israel’s destruction closer! They have stated this ad nauseam!

Israel has security needs that must not be underestimated. However does this justify the siege on Gaza? It will not weaken Hamas tyranny on Gaza. It will only strengthen it. As I mentioned before in a previous article, Hamas survives in a siege situation. Their freedom is not curtailed. Their leaders meet with their chief, Khaled Mashal in Syria - he who sets the tone and ideology of this terrorist, Islamist, fascist movement. He is “brave” - far from the Palestinian people, resident in his luxurious home in Damascus where he can spew out his demagogic hatred against Israel and the Jewish people. He is cruel, ruthless and does not intend to ever release Gilad Shalit as his ransom increases daily. In Gaza innocent Palestinians are trapped by his folly and fantasies of destroying Israel and the Jews.

While the siege continues, the evil Hamas regime is strengthened. The chances of a change in the Hamas regime are decreased. The economic situation in Gaza will worsen.

Whatever decision is taken on Gaza will have its risks and its problems.

However, from a long term point of view, it would be advantageous to both Israel and Gaza that the siege be lifted without compromising on the security needs of Israel. This would weaken Hamas in the long term. In this context, an international force as well as observers should be maintained on the borders of Gaza coordinating with the IDF. This would serve the purpose of side lining and weakening Hamas who are not accountable to their people as they are a terrorist group of Islamist fascists with its own hate agenda bolstered financially by the evil Ahmadinajad regime in Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Innocent Palestinians are entitled to basic human rights. These rights include the freedom of travel. Why should they be punished? Opposition to the Hamas regime ought to be encouraged.

The enemy of Hamas is prosperity and economic stability. If Palestinians in Gaza could be helped financially to become economically viable, this would go a long way in improving the desperate situation in Gaza and would be a start in the rehabilitation of Gaza which is more than overdue. While under siege, Gaza can never be rehabilitated and Hamas's hand will only be strengthened in the long term. It will remain a vicious circle.

One of the severe tragedies of the siege is the fact that the Palestinian people resident in Gaza have very little access to humanitarian aid whether it is medical, food supplies and economic improvement. Israel claims that essential goods and humanitarian aid are coming into Gaza but the facts on the ground show that it is insufficient. The reason is crippling burocracy on both Israel and the Egyptian sides.

As we all know a terrible earthquake of disastrous dimensions occurred in Haiti resulting in the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of people as well as destruction of gigantic proportions. Israel, as always, responds generously by sending medical personnel and building a field hospital to treat the injured as efficiently as possible. Of course this is praiseworthy. As Israelis we are proud of the efficiency and achievements of Israel in its life saving mission and the fantastic field hospital Israel had built.

On the other hand, in Israel's backyard conveniently forgotten is the chronic human tragedy in Gaza that nobody wishes to discuss.

Politics aside and Hamas aside, Israel could have made an effort to establish a field hospital there. It would of cost them far less and it would have helped a lot in alleviating the desperate health situation in Gaza. There are innocent Palestinians in Gaza who are suffering while Israel turns a blind eye. Hamas does not need Israel's help and Israel owes these bloodthirsty terrorists nothing. They could be isolated in an army action preventing them from interfering with a massive humanitarian effort to improve the situation in Gaza. Hamas does not want humanitarian aid or improvement of conditions for Palestinian people resident in Gaza. They know that it world weaken their status amongst the Palestinian people. Israel by her behaviour is actually playing into the hands of Hamas. Hamas can only survive when the Palestinian people are facing inhuman hardships.

An old Zionist friend (who does not live in Israel but tours Israel frequently) wrote the following to me in anger:

You forget the daily humanitarian aid given to Gaza as we speak and please don't forget the daily supplies during the war last year. Where is your sane and logical criticism of Hamas, what they do, and what their aims are? The two situations are not the same, nor are they comparable. Haiti doesn't fire rockets at us, try to infiltrate and murder our women and children and doesn't have as part of its constitution the destruction of Israel. If Hamas in Gaza didn't want to kill us, I have no doubt Israel would do everything it can to help them build themselves up”.

However, we must differentiate between the evil Hamas regime in Gaza which is preventing aid from reaching the victims of the war as it does not serve their agenda. The children of Gaza are in a crisis and are not responsible for Hamas terror. They are conveniently forgotten and the suffering of innocent people there is overlooked by Israel while they get all the accolades for their praiseworthy actions of saving lives in Haiti. When it comes to basic humanitarian aid – this goes beyond politics even to the children of Gaza. We must never view all the residents of Gaza as terrorists and deny them the aid that they need. Israel is capable of helping these people in a massive humanitarian effort no less. The political situation of course is different – but what is the same and is the lowest common denominator that both Gaza and Haiti share and that is the immense human suffering. In the former the suffering was created by Hamas and Israel shares some responsibility, while the latter is a natural disaster of horrendous proportions.

It is very sad that a situation has been reached whereby Israel does overlook the suffering on its doorstep – barely an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. It is neither politics nor support of Hamas but simple humanitarian aid to those caught up in a war for which they were not responsible.


Salah Issa said...

I would strongly suggest that you do a more thorough research on Hamas.

It is very easy to just label them as terrorist and evil and just brush them of as irrelevant and against the peace process.

In reality Hamas has done a lot of humanitarian work for Palestinians, which is why Palestinians voted for them in the first place. Yet, sadly from the day they took office, we blockaded them and pushed them aside and tried our best to hurt them by destroying Palestinians lives. Of course the opposite result happened and we are in no better condition than before. The reason why we did all this was because they did not accept completely the conditions we set for negotiations. How can someone negotiate something if we set preconditions? isn't negotiations all about discussion and seeing common interest.

I know I am rambling a lot. You seem to be a very intelligent man and I would strongly suggest that you research who Hamas is actually is (from neutral sources please). You will quickly realize that they are not one set group of people. That within the organization there are multiple factions within it with some wanting peace (which we have constantly minimized). You will realize that they really care about the Palestinian people and their no doctrine is to support the Palestinians and not destroying Israel. Sadly, we have taught them that the only way to help the Palestinians is by destroy Israel... But if we take steps to completely end the siege and give hope to the Palestinians and Hamas that Israel and Palestine can live together, then maybe then we can all experience peace.

Thank you for opening this discussion and in the end extremists create extremists. So hopefully in the same sense we can create forces of moderates on both sides.

zac said...

I have done much reading on Hamas and also am very familiar with the Hamas Charter. The Palestinians that voted for them at the time did so because the Palestinian Authority was very corrupt in Gaza. It was a matter of voting for the lesser of the two evils if you like. I do have Palestinian friends in Gaza who tell me what it is like for them these days and the picture they paint is a very sad one indeed. One of them, whom I shall not name for fear of repercussions is very anti-Hamas and I asked him if the torture that Hamas carries out on those that oppose them is true. These news reports appear in the Israeli Press from time to time. I am skeptic about all news reports coming from Gaza, irrespective of the source and try to verify wherever I can though it is not always possible. Living in Israel and experiencing the intifada from 2000 until 2006 when suicide bombers came into Israel to kill innocent people with dynamite belts sent by Hamas does not appear to me to illustrate that Hamas is a humane organization.The results of the bombings in busses, shopping malls and the carnage of innocent people is proof enough. I was even witness to an incident and the results are horrifying. Apart from that - later on they resorted to firing Qassam rockets into Israeli towns in the south of Israel and injuring many citizens - and for what?

If this link does not work - do a Google Search of Hamas Charter. There are many sources.

I have enclosed a link to the Hamas Charter from a Palestinian site. Do read it and see for yourself that there is nothing humane about them at all.

I wish they were more pragmatic and willing to negotiate peace, coexistance, and an end to this tragic conflict - but it does not appear that they are willing to do so. The humanitarian work done for the Palestinians was a tactic to get into power. Since they gained power, they did not do anything to alleviate the suffering of their people. They had just been involved in hateful rhetoric coupled with terrorism against Israel. Their actions and their words of hate says very much.

Thank you very much for your comment which I appreciate.