Friday, May 25

What is Bad for Gaza is Bad For Israel

There is no doubt that what is bad for Gaza is bad for Israel as well. I wrote about Israel’s blame for the creation of the Hamas terrorist group and if this is the case then Israel must be held accountable for the Hamas increase in power and influence in the Gaza Strip because of its “divide and rule” policies in the 1970s.

How different life in Gaza was in the mid-1970s when I arrived in Israel from Cape Town, South Africa in 1974. In those days I was a hospital pharmacist in Barzilai Hospital, Ashkelon. I travelled to Gaza quite often to do my shopping in the "shuk" in the main street of Gaza City. The vendors were helpful and pleasant. I never felt that my personal security was compromised. I had become friendly with the Arab nursing staff of Barzilai Hospital and we used to eat together in the restaurants in Gaza. I used to take the Gaza bound sherut to Gaza from Ashkelon. The sherut from Tel Aviv to Gaza always stopped in Ashkelon to take passengers to Gaza. 

Over the weekends, Gazans used to come freely to Ashkelon and spend time on the beautiful beaches and parks there. There were no restrictions or permits, nor was there any danger of terrorist attacks during that period. Many worked in Barzilai Hospital. Doctors from Gaza used to work alongside their Israeli counterparts and I remember we even had a lady pharmacist from Gaza, who worked with us. She even was a guest at my wedding. Barzilai Hospital even had cooperated with Shifa Hospital in Gaza in the treatment of patients. Unfortunately, this was not to last. A decade later, with the first Intifada in 1987 and the rise of Hamas, everything changed for the worse. The second intifada with its suicide bombings in buses, public places and restaurants had created a situation that became intolerable for both Israelis and Palestinians. 

Today the living and economic conditions, as well as the suffering of the people of Gaza, are enormous. Gaza has no fresh drinking water and many people rely on sporadic supplies that are sold. Electricity cuts are enormous and Gazans suffer from lack of electricity most of the time. There is no future for the young people, There is no work and most of the people live in dire poverty. The health services are inadequate and on the verge of collapse.1.

Adding insult to injury is the total blockade by Israel that isolates Gaza from the outside world. Nobody can leave the Gaza Strip 2. that has become a total cesspool of human suffering. The overcrowded conditions are intolerable in many areas of the Gaza strip. What will happen if an epidemic of typhoid and dysentery break out? These epidemics have no borders and it could threaten Israel as well.

Both Israelis and Palestinians are in a deadlock of hate with no signs of any solution. 

Children wander around the streets in dismal poverty. Young people loiter around, unemployed, listless and with no motivation for anything. They are fodder for the hate propaganda of Hamas that blames Israel for their woes. While the people of Gaza suffer 3, the strength and influence of Hamas increases. They fill the poverty-stricken youth with hateful propaganda and encourage demonstrations against Israel such as we witnessed over the last couple of weeks reaching a climax on 14th May when 64 Palestinians were killed by IDF sniper fire. They goad the Gazans that by their actions and tearing down the fence they will be able to liberate themselves from the Israeli Occupation and that the establishment of a Palestinian State replacing Israel is just around the corner. 4

A solution to the Gaza tragedy is very complicated and Israel must also play its part in finding a solution as it is a matter of urgency and it is not in the hands of Hamas, who remain adamant in their non-recognition of Israel. Hamas’s strength lies in maintaining the poverty of the Gazan People and filling them with lies and propaganda against Israel in order to hasten its total destruction. There is no accountability or transparency under Hamas nor is there any human dignity and democracy under Hamas rule. Hamas exploits the Palestinians in order to maintain power. Financial donations for the rehabilitation of Gaza is used for arming Hamas militants (terrorists) and the building of infiltration tunnels for them to infiltrate into Israel to carry out terrorist attacks. Other donations also land in the pockets of the wealthy leadership of Hamas. The Gazans do not benefit and the UN does not even care a damn nor are there any international inquiries into this tragic situation.

It appears that the only way, despite the security risks involved, would be to lift the strangling blockade on Gaza.5 Israel should allow work permits for Gazans to enter Israel to obtain work under very stringent security checks. The world community must also play their part in donating money for the rehabilitation of Gaza thus ending its isolation. The financial donations must be transparent with controls so that the monies are not used for military purposes or financing terrorism against Israel, nor for the personal enrichment of the Hamas leadership at the expense of the Gazans' welfare as has been happening since Hamas has been in power in Gaza. This also means reconstructing a harbour and airport These measures are not without risks. However, Gazans, who find meaningful employment in Israel and elsewhere as well as education, will cease to be monopolized by Hamas and this evil monstrous organization will weaken eventually. 

We must remember that an impoverished Gazan population is where the strength of Hamas rule lies. An economically strengthened Gaza that can be productive is bad for Hamas.

It will probably be unlikely that this evil Hamas organization would allow Gazans to seek work in Israel if Israel removes the blockade as this is where Hamas strength lies - in Israel’s blockade! They use this blockade as an excuse to encourage hatred for Israel and in this, they have succeeded.

The removal of the blockade would also weaken Hamas and hopefully, the Gazans will rise and finish these savages once and for all! Of course, the lifting of the blockade will also be accompanied by stringent security checks on those who enter Israel.

These ideas of a solution may seem unrealistic at this stage or maybe far-fetched to many but perhaps the solution to the Gaza tragedy lies in this direction.


  1. Life in the Gaza Strip BBC 15 May 2018
  2. Harsh Living Conditions in Gaza fuel little-to-Lose Mentality PBS News Hour
  3. World Factbook - Gaza Strip CIA
  4. Israel TV: Confident Hamas planned victory rallies for its leaders inside Israel 
  5. Hamas under pressure to deliver Improvements in Gaza Al Jazeera

Friday, May 18

Israel Must Bear the Responsibility for the Creation of Hamas

The situation in Gaza has become intolerable for Gazans. Israeli pundits, including the Israeli Government, have laid the blame for this inhuman situation on Hamas and its allies. If this is the case then we must widen the blame game even further.

All fingers must point to Israel. Prior to the establishment of Hamas, Israel had been playing dirty politics by adopting a policy of “divide and rule” (הפרד ומשול) in order to weaken the Palestinian Liberation Organization under Yasser Arafat. Hamas rose as an offshoot of the Gaza Mujama al-Islamiya branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which had been actively encouraged by Israel to expand as a counterweight to the influence of the secular Palestine Liberation Organization. 1 Israel had ruthlessly given its support to the predecessors of Hamas:

“Israel's military-led administration in Gaza looked favourably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy. The university was one of the first targets hit by Israeli warplanes in the [2008-9 Operation Cast Lead]”. 2.

‘The Islamic associations’, the Israeli weekly magazine Koteret Rashit observed in October 1987, ‘have been supported and encouraged by the Israeli military authorities’ who were ‘convinced that the activities [of the Islamists] would weaken both the PLO and leftist organizations in Gaza.’ While most of these activities were funded largely by contributions from the Gulf states, some former Israeli intelligence officers claim that money also came covertly from Israel itself. 3.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna to reclaim Islam’s political dimension lost with the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in the wake of the First World War. ‘Allah is our objective’, the Brotherhood declared in its founding statement. ‘The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.’

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbour's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.

"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction. 4.

In retrospect, Israel had a huge hand in the creation of Hamas as a balance to combat the PLO under the leadership of Yasser Arafat in the 1970s. We all see how they had helped to create this monstrous organization that had backfired against Israel to this very day and it will remain so for many years to come.

The decision by Israel in those days can be viewed as one of the gravest errors that Israel had made. It had bounced back at Israel with a vengeance and together with Israel’s right-wing has dealt a death blow to any peace agreement in the foreseeable future.

The lowest common denominator that links the right-wing Israel Government to Hamas is their opposition to the Two-State Solution. The former is in favour of a One-State Solution with a certain amount of autonomy being given to the Palestinians to run their own affairs. This is similar to the old Bantustan Policy of apartheid South Africa that will ensure the inferiority and powerlessness of the Palestinian People. The latter wishes to replace Israel with a Palestinian State that is ruled by Hamas that today does not recognise Israel's right to exist nor is it even prepared to negotiate any form of a peace agreement let alone a solution to the conflict. The newly revised Hamas Charter of 2017 makes this perfectly clear.

One does not have to be an expert on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict to conclude that there is no common ground between the two sides to even initiate negotiations on a solution to this festering conflict. The Palestinian Authority under the failing leadership of Mahmoud Abbas is becoming irrelevant.

The present unrest in Gaza with its demonstrations and rioting that has cost the lives of 62 Palestinians over the past week is a terrible tragedy. On the one hand, Israel has a right to defend itself against this unrest that threatened to break the security fence and create havoc and bloodshed on the Israeli side of the border. The moral dilemma that has arisen as to whether Israel's Defence Force was justified to use sniper fire to kill these demonstrators (many of whom, though certainly not all were armed). The answer to this is not all that clear-cut. Bearing in mind that the death of any human being is a tragedy, it would have been more justifiable to use non-lethal methods of violent riot control and arrest those responsible for the damage caused to property as well as injury to innocent people.


  1. Accessed 14 May. 2018.
  2. The monster Israel Helped Create Pandemonium
  3. How Israel Helped Create Hamas Washington Post.
  4. How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas WSJ