Friday 14 November 2014

HAMAS: The serpents were smiling

The Hamas was the thorn in Israel’s backside.  There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the members of Hamas are terrorists. Hamas has also been designated as a terrorist organization by Israel and a number of governments including those of Israel, the United States, Canada, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt and Japan, just to name a few. However, there are other states including Iran, Russia, Turkey, China and many Arab nations do not think of the Hamas as terrorists.                             

The word, Hamas is an acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement and it is a Palestinian Sunni Islamic organization, with an associated military wing, called the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. They are in Gaza, that small strip of land with Israel to its north and east and Egypt to its south with the Mediterranean bordering its west. It is slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC.—130 square miles (209 square kilometres). Gazans, permanently settled as refugees, and residents of refugee camps. Around 52 per cent of Gazans live in urban centers. Indigenous Gazans comprise only 40 per cent of the area’s total population of 1.7 million residents, although they hold disproportionate influence in economic and political affairs. Other than a dwindling community of Christians, the residents in Gaza are almost entirely Sunni Muslims

I really feel sorry for the ordinary people of Gaza. They, like the Israelis are also victims of the machinations of the Hamas and members of other various Islamic Jihadi terrorist groups. Following the 1948 creation of the State of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced into refugee camps, with most of the refugees from the southern part of Israel ending up in Gaza. This small area harbors a large refugee community that is a hotbed of militarism as the community suffers from high unemployment and limited security and has been fragmented with factions struggling for sovereignty with the Hamas eventually taking over control of Gaza.

Many of the people living in present day Gaza feel that Gaza is a prison of sorts. That is because Israel controls the Gaza strip's airspace and offshore maritime access. Due to the continuing conflict with Israel, its inhabitants are unable to enter neighboring Israel or Egypt, and there is little local economic activity in this potentially rich area to alleviate the widespread poverty.
Israel captured the city of Gaza and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Six Day War, and Gaza remained occupied by Israel for the next 27 years with large sections of land having been confiscated by Israel. At the beginning of the Israeli occupation, relations between Israelis and citizens of Gaza were pleasant. Both sides crossed their borders—the Palestinians in order to work in Israel, and Israelis to buy cheaper–priced goods.

With the onset of the Palestinian uprising known as First Intifada (uprising) in 1987, Gaza became a center of political unrest and confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians, and economic conditions in the city worsened. In September 1993, leaders of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the Oslo Accords calling for Palestinian administration of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho, which was implemented in May 1994. Most Israeli forces left Gaza, leaving a new Palestinian National Authority (PLO) to administer and police the city, along with the rest of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority, led by Yasser Arafat, (the chairman of the PLO chose Gaza as its first provincial headquarters.                                                                                    
Following the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1993 and the subsequent normalization of relations with Jordan in 1994, the expected progress towards full sovereignty did not follow nor did the living conditions of the Palestinians improve. Consequently, the Second Intifada erupted in 2000, following the visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem of Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. Increasingly, suicide bombings of Israeli targets became a regular means of resistance of the Palestinians.

In February 2005, the Israeli government voted to implement Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip beginning on August 15, 2005. The plan required the dismantling of all Israeli settlements there, transferring Israelis control to the Palestinians in order to spur economic development in Gaza. It involved the removal of all Israeli settlers and military bases from the Gaza Strip, a process that was completed on September 12, 2005, as the Israeli cabinet formally declared an end to military rule in the Gaza Strip after 38 years of control. The withdrawal was highly contested by the nationalist right in Israel, particularly the religious Nationalist Tendency. Following the withdrawal, Israel retained offshore maritime control and control of airspace over Gaza Strip. Israel withdrew from the Philadelphi Route that is adjacent to the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt.       

Hamas's election as the government of the Palestinian National Authority in January 2006 resulted in another impasse in peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. In June of 2007, a short civil war between the two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, resulted in the expulsion of Fatah forces from Gaza. Hamas was and still is considered the more militant of the two groups. Hamas does not recognize Israel and, unlike the PLO and other Palestinian factions, to this day, the Hamas remains committed to the total destruction of Israel.

Unfortunately, the leaders of Hamas aren’t really that interested in finding a political solution to the dilemma they are subjecting the people of Gaza to. They weren’t satisfied with just having the Israelis out of Gaza; they want to Israelis out of Israel.  And in trying to obtain that goal, they were attempting to play the role of a little shepherd boy throwing stones at the Goliath that stands before it.

The latest warfare in Gaza consisted of a series of battles between Palestinian militants and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) beginning in Mid-May of 2007. Palestinian forces fired more than 220 home-made Qassam rockets at the Israel town of Sderot and the western Negev region over the span of a week. The Israeli warplanes responded with air-to-ground missiles and bomb, targeting Hamas military and political infrastructure targets.

Israel had then halted the transfer of electricity, fuel, and other supplies into Gaza in an attempt to weaken Hamas. Despite all Israelis attempts at controlling the violence, Hamas forces continued to launch missile attacks at Israel.

In June of 2008, Egypt, acting as the go-between, managed to arrange a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. This cease-fire was broken several times by both sides, but it largely brought a measure of peace to the Israel-Gaza border. Israel maintained closed borders with Gaza, hoping to pressure the Hamas regime economically. While Israel indicated a willingness to extend the cease-fire, Hamas began increasing its Qassem rocket attacks on Israel, forcing the Israeli government to make a decision to respond.

I am not convinced that closing the border between Israel and Gaza at that particular time was the right choice on the part of the Israelis to make.  We shouldn’t forget what happened when the Allies after the First World War, placed extreme economic measures against Germany. That in my opinion is what prompted that egomaniac German leader, Adolf Hitler to start the Second World War.

On December 27, 2008, Israeli forces launched a major air attack on Hamas political and military targets in Gaza. Early reports indicated that between 200 and 255 Palestinians died on the first day of the attacks. News reports also indicated that Israeli ground forces were moving toward the Gaza border. Hamas forces responded with more Qassem rocket attacks, with some newer, longer-range rockets reaching the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Ever since independence in 1948, Israel has existed surrounded by enemies and literally has fought continuous wars along its borders ever since. Mid-East analysts viewed the massive Israeli response as a means of showing its enemies that Israel was still a military force to be reckoned with. After Israel lost the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Israel felt that Hezbollah, Hamas, and their Iranian patrons no longer feared Israel. To many Israelis, appearing weak, or acting weak in front of its mortal foes only invites further attacks. Thus, while the Qassem rocket attacks are a real danger to the quarter-million or so Israelis within range of the Gaza border, these Hamas rockets pose no real imminent threat to Israel's existence.

By responding so forcefully, Israel hoped to ward off other Arab enemies whose attacks could be more deadly, in particular, Iran, who has nuclear ambitions.

United Nations officials, as well as media outlets estimated that the Gaza War had seen 524 Palestinians killed and 2,600 wounded since the Israel began Operation Cast Lead on December 27, the majority of these casualties among members of Hamas security forces, but at least 200 of the dead were civilians. Israel reported one soldier and three civilians killed since December 27, with 30 civilians wounded by Hamas rocket attacks. Israeli artillery joined in the attacks on January 3, 2009. Despite the massive air attacks, Hamas was still able to launch thousands of rockets and missiles into southern Israel. It became apparent that air power alone would not achieve the stated Israeli goal of halting the cross-border attacks by Hamas upon Israel's civilian population.

On January 3, thousands of Israeli troops, in three brigade-size formations, backed by tanks and attack helicopters, launched the expected ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in what Israel calls the “second stage of Operation Cast Lead.” The Israeli military reported 30 soldiers received wounds in the opening hours of the offensive, and also reported dozens of casualties among the defending Hamas forces. It was also reported that Israeli naval vessels assisted with the invasion, providing fire into the Gaza Strip in support of ground troops.

Israeli troops pushed into a heavily populated area of Gaza City from the south on January 11th in hard fighting, in which Israeli and Hamas forces engaged in vicious unconventional asymmetrical warfare house to house, and street by street. On January 17th, Israeli announced a unilateral ceasefire, deciding to halt operations without first securing an agreement with Hamas. The next day, January 18th, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian militia groups declared they would halt the launching of rockets into Israel for one week, while demanding that Israel withdraw from Gaza within the week.  Israel agreed to those terms and peace reigned until 2011.

In 2011, the more-or-less quiet Gaza front exploded into action as Israel responded to a resumption of Hamas rocket attacks into Israel.

The Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) is a relatively small Palestinian resistance group that has at times served as an ally of Hamas. On August 18, 2011, squads of heavily-armed PRC guerrillas from Gaza travelled about 120 miles through the Egyptian Sinai to attack Israeli citizens near the southern Israeli city of Eilat, killing eight Israelis. Israel retaliated with airstrikes on targets inside Gaza.

On January 8th, 2012, during a visit to Tunis, Gazan Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told The Associated Press on that he disagrees with the anti-Semitic slogans. “We are not against the Jews because they are Jews. Our problem is with those occupying the land of Palestine. There are Jews all over the world, but Hamas does not target them.” He was right. Hamas has not attacked Jews outside of Israel.

I don’t know if the land he was referring to was all of Israel or whether it was the Palestinian West Bank that Israel is infringing on while building its Israelis settlements.  I can appreciate the frustration of the Palestinians with respect to those settlements cropping up in the West Bank.

On August 10, 2012, Ahmad Bahr, Deputy Speaker of the Hamas Parliament, stated in an address that aired on Al-Aqsa TV
“If the enemy sets foot on a single square inch of Islamic land, Jihad becomes an individual duty, incumbent on every Muslim, male or female. A woman may set out [on Jihad] without her husband's permission, and a servant without his master's permission. Why? In order to annihilate those Jews.  O Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. O Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. O Allah, count them one by one and kill them all, without leaving a single one.” unquote

Now that was a really a stupid statement to make. That was not unlike a gnat striking the eyeball of an elephant. That is really asking to be trampled on under the feet of the elephant.

And to add pain to the elephant’s other eye, another gnat, Marwan Abu Ras, a Hamas MP in an interview with Al-Aqsa TV in September 12, 2012 stated:

“The Jews are behind each and every catastrophe on the face of the Earth. This is not open to debate. This is not a temporal thing, but goes back to days of yore. They concocted so many conspiracies and betrayed rulers and nations so many times that the people harbor hatred towards them. Throughout history from Nebuchadnezzar until modern times, they had slain the prophets, and so on. Any catastrophe on the face of this Earth—the Jews must be behind it.” unquote

There was another fool who made similar statements. It was Adolf Hitler. He made this statement, “This thinking and striving after money and power, and the feelings that go along with it, serve the purposes of the Jew who is unscrupulous in the choice of methods and pitiless in their employment.”

Hitler also made this statement, “I have also made it quite plain that, if the nations of Europe are again to be regarded as mere shares to be bought and sold by these international conspirators in money and finance, then that race, Jewry, which is the real criminal of this murderous struggle, will be saddled with the responsibility.” unquote
Now in 2014, the Hamas were at it again. Rogue members of the Hamas military entered Israel and murdered three young men. They also began firing more Qassem rockets into Israel. Some could reach as far as 50 kilometres south of Haifa. As to be expected, the elephant was enraged and anyone who has ever been in Africa will attest that you don’t want to be anywhere in the vicinity of an enraged elephant. The Israelis rhetorical enraged elephant trampled over everything—including the four small children (all cousins) killed recently by a shell fired accidentally by an Israelis ship onto a beach in Gaza.

That incidentally brings to my mind a similar incident when I was serving on board a Canadian destroyer in the mid 1950s. I and 14 of my fellow classmates were taking a course on how to control four-inch guns with radar and had been assigned to the ship for a day so that we would get hands-on experience with the radar-gun-control equipment. We were passing an American city and after we twiddled the knobs on the control panel, we fired a shell. Somehow, the shell went further than it should have and it landed harmlessly into that city’s harbour. Our captain immediately sent a radio message to the American navy and apologized. The following message came back from the Americans. “Carry on, brave Canada.” It is an unfortunate aspect of war when collateral damage is often the direct result of mistakes. Fortunately, our mistake didn’t kill anyone.

A cease fire was agreed upon by both the Israelis and the Hamas that would last for five hours on the morning of the 17th of July so that the injured could be transferred to a hospital and the people in Gaza could leave their homes safely to buy food and water and go to their banks to withdraw money.  After the five hours passed, the fighting began again.

Israel had enough. The Israelis forces had crossed into most of Gaza with the aim of destroying the tunnels that go into Israel and destroying the Hamas military equipment and rockets and if possible, capture Hamas leaders. Of course seizing Hamas leaders would be a pointless exercise. They previously released over a thousand terrorists just so that a live Israelis soldier could be returned to Israel. Some or perhaps many of those released terrorists were still committing terrorist acts against Israel. Unfortunately, innocent citizens in Gaza suffered terribly from this new invasion just as they did in the previous invasion. But in one sense, they helped to bring this conflagration to Gaza on their own heads when they voted the Hamas into power.

The situation of the Gaza Strip, and of the entire Middle East for that matter, has proven intractable to any political solution. A new approach is required, one which mobilizes religious and cultural resources of peace that can change the attitudes of the populace. A popular and religious-based movement is needed to enable the people of Israel and Gaza to seek a world without the boundaries and barriers raised by faith and the identities of nation, race, or ethnicity. Such a spiritual concept, that human beings are one family under God, could guide political leaders and give them the support needed for a breakthrough.

Unless the Hamas either change their ways and their attitude towards Israel or they are voted out of office, the people of Gaza will continue to suffer from the ravages of war. Unfortunately, Israel is complacent of their own wrongdoings with its practice entrenching onto Palestinian territory so on the West Bank where the Israelis can build more Israelis settlements. This is a direct invitation to the Hamas to continue its anger against Israel.

A major concern I have about this latest war between Israel and Gaza is the methods in which these two warring factions were fighting one another.

Gaza had deliberately fired rockets from locations near hospitals and schools where Gazans who were wounded were being treated. The UN refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) said that a routine inspection in one of the vacant schools in Gaza resulted in them finding 20 hidden rockets. The Hamas had also fired rockets near UN protective schools where Gazans had fled inside them for protection.  This clearly is evidence that the leaders of Hamas didn’t give a tinker’s dam what happens to the citizens of Gaza just so long as the Hamas can fire their Iranian made and homemade rockets into Israel. Their plea that the Israelis are deliberately killing women and children was falling on disbelieving ears around the world. The Hamas statement in this regard was as stupid as blaming the driver of a train for running over a person who suddenly jumps in front of the oncoming train.

Israel’s aerial assaults on targets in Gaza included the bombing of the Hamas headquarters of the Al Aqsa Satellite radio and TV station, the  home of the number two leader of the Hamas and Gaza’s electricity plant that had left Gaza without electricity, running water or sewage disposal. The electricity supplied by Egypt is not enough to even supply Gaza’s southern city of Rafah. It will take a year to repair the damaged plant.

Why didn’t the IDF send its troops into many of the structures bombed or shelled to retrieve the rockets stored there instead of bombing and shelling the homes and office buildings in Gaza from a distance? The reason is obvious. To do so would put their troops at risk. Hey! That is what war is all about. In the Second World War in which Hitler’s henchmen were murdering Jews by the millions, Allied soldiers fought hand-to-hand with the German soldiers and they won the war.  Yes. I am aware that the Allies carpet-bombed German cities but their fight with the German soldiers was more hand-to hand than using bombers to kill them. That is why so many of the German soldiers ended up as prisoners of war and were able to return to Germany and live as free citizens after the war ended.

In my opinion, despite what the Israelis say, I don’t believe that the Israelis government really concerned itself as to how many Gazan citizens died in their war with Hamas since they were lobbing bombs shells into the immediate areas close to the hospitals and the schools and on their homes anyway knowing that innocent Gazan adults, children and babies would be killed in the explosions. In my respectful opinion, the Israelis bombing of the woman and children of Gaza is a coward’s way to fight a war.

The Israelis were spinning us a tale that that their fight was only with the Hamas and not the innocent Gazan people. If the Israelis Defence Forces (IDF) commanders had any respect for the lives of women and children in Gaza, they would have sent in their troops to rout out the Hamas hand-to-hand in a firefight and retrieve the rockets, thereby sparing the lives of the innocent Gazan citizens living or hiding in those buildings that would otherwise be bombed or shelled. Of course that would mean that more Israelis soldiers would be killed and since the IDF didn’t want to put their soldiers at risk, they simply destroyed the buildings and killed or injured the Gazans inside them from a safe distance with their Israelis bombs, rockets and shells.
Sami Abdu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman really displayed his stupidity for all to see when he announced to the world; “The (Israeli) ground offensive does not scare us and we pledge to drown the occupation army in a sea of blood.” It didn’t happen. What did happen was that a great many people in Gaza (Hamas and other terrorist groups included) were buried in a sea of rubble.

As many as 14,000 homes were destroyed by the Israelis bombs and shells and at least 1,900 known Gazans were killed which includes 400 children. As many as 9,500 Gazans have been injured which includes 2,800 children. I don’t think we will ever know how many of the victims were actually members of the Hamas military and other jihadists. The women and children represent 71% of the population of Gaza and they represent 33% of the casualties. There were 6 infants younger than one year old and 82 children ages 1 to 5 that were killed. Also, a 99-year-old man was killed. There were probably more that still haven’t been found in the rubble.

The Hamas refer to the innocent victims of the Israelis bombing and shelling as martyrs. What gall. A martyr is someone who willingly gives up his or her life for a cause. I don’t think the innocent victims (including babies) of the bombing and shelling had chosen to be martyrs for the Hamas cause.

Unquestionably, the Hamas and the Israelis are both fighting a dirty war where human rights along with human beings are going up in smoke.

The Hamas have no qualms about using innocent Gazans as human shields by placing rockets in their homes knowing that the Israelis will destroy those homes with people inside them with their shells and bombs. 

However, I would be less than honest if I didn`t mention that the Israelis (with some exceptions) did notify the people in those homes in advance that their homes were about to be destroyed so that they could flee and be saved from the ensuing expl0sions that followed. Unfortunately, there were instances when the Hamas was prohibiting many of the citizens from leaving their homes.

A special session of the UN’s top human rights body voted 29-1 to authorize an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged war-related abuses since the war between Israel and Gaza began this summer.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that international humanitarian law was being violated in a manner that could amount to war crimes. Other UN agencies are suggesting that the Israelis were targeting the Gazans per se as collective punishment. That sort of thing was done during the Second World War when 82 children from the Czech village Lidice were murdered in the gas vans of Chelmno, as part of the collective punishment by the Nazis for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Czechovakia on May 27, 1942.

To fight the war in Gaza the way the Israelis’ IDF is fighting it doesn’t place the Israelis on the moral high ground. I don’t believe that the Israelis want to kill Gazans indiscriminately but their methods of fighting were doing just that. 
A great many Palestinians agree that Gaza should be demilitarized. It has been suggested that Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinians could order the Hamas to stand down. That suggestion is ludicrous. He has about as much authority over the Hamas as a horse has over flies. He can swat all he wants but the flies will still be there biting him on the ass.  However, a survey of Gazans asked as to whether they would like the Palestinian Authority to send officials to take over Gaza or not; as many as 87.8 % said yes. This begs the question; “Why then did the majority of Gazans vote the Hamas into power in the first place?” Was the election rigged?

The Hamas had stated that they would be agreeable to a ceasefire and the Israelis were in favour of it. The Israelis were concerned however that during the ceasefire, the Hama would use that time to move about freely, placing their remaining rockets in safer locations. Quite frankly, I had the same suspicions. The Hamas are recognized as terrorists since they took over Gaza in 2007 and the have breached past ceasefires by sending more rockets into Israel as they did hours prior to the ending of the latest ceasefire.  
A survey showed that 87.8% of Gazans would like to see a permanent ceasefire and I can see why. They don’t want any more Gazans killed and homes and businesses destroyed. During the Second World War, Germans were being killed by the hundreds of thousands and their cities were being bombed into smithereens so for these reasons, the German citizens wanted an end to the war as they too were suffering terribly.  But they brought this onto themselves because they voted Hitler into power just as the Gazans voted the Hamas into power. Now they are whining that Hamas is corrupt and causing them all this grief. My message to them is; “Stop whining. You put them in office in the first place, you damn fools.”

Qutar is financing the Hamas’ war with Israel and with that source of income; the Hamas are buying their rockets from Iran. If those two countries had stopped doing what they were doing and butted out of Gaza’s affairs, then this problem with the Hamas would not have begun in the first place.

I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit that the demand of the Gazans is reasonable to some extent. Many Gazan residents say the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas seized Gaza in 2007 is like a slow death: It prevents them from traveling, from importing cement to build homes and from earning enough income to feed their families. Unfortunately, the Hamas had been using the cement to make concrete for their many tunnels that were several kilometres in length and which were going into both Israel and Egypt from Gaza. The Hamas military had spent $30 million dollars to pour 600,000 tons of cement and other materials to build the tunnels. That money would have been better spent in other ways. Now you can see why Israel and Egypt didn’t want cement being brought into Gaza.

Disagreement over whether and how to lift the Israelis blockade of Gaza was a key stumbling block to ending more than a month of fighting between the Islamic militant Hamas and Israel. During the discussions in Cairo between the Hamas and Israel, the Hamas stated that they wouldn’t stop firing rockets into Israel until the blockade was lifted in its entirety. That wasn’t going to happen.

If the Western Allies and the Soviets had not overrun most of Germany in the Second World War and Hitler had told them that he would stop fighting the Allies and the Soviets if they backed off, does anyone really believe that the war with Germany would have come to an end? Not likely.

Egypt nevertheless told everyone that they would like an immediate end to hostilities, followed by undefined talks about easing access to Gaza. Israel previously accepted their suggestion but Hamas wanted international guarantees that Gaza's borders would be opened before it stopped fighting with the Israelis. That is dumb. Imagine if you will that the fighting continues because the blockade isn’t lifted and in the end, every building in Gaza is destroyed and thousands of more Gazans are killed. How will the Hamas benefit from opened borders after the entire country in in shambles?

The Hamas distrusted both Israel and Egypt, whose head of both states tightened the Israelis and Egyptian blockade of Gaza even more over the previous year, pushing Gazans and the Hamas into a severe financial crisis. Unfortunately for the people of Gaza, the Israelis distrust the Hamas and rightly so since they kept firing rockets into Israel every time when the fighting has been put on hold as agreed by both Israel and the Hamas.

That is not a peaceful way to resolve the problems between Israel and Gaza. The Hamas said that they would cease sending rockets over Israel if the Israelis armed forces withdraw from Gaza. Since the Israelis were convinced that the Hamas’ tunnels leading into Israel were destroyed, they pulled their forces out of Gaza. That was a big mistake. They took the word of the Hamas—known terrorists.  No one in his right mind accepts the word of terrorists. That is about as dumb as telling a wasp heading towards you to back off. 
A 72-hour cease fire was recently put in effect and as a sign of goodwill, the Israelis pulled all of their forces out of Gaza. The peace talks in Cairo were obviously difficult because the Hamas was insisting that the blockade by both Egypt and Israel that had almost bankrupted the Gazans and the Hamas government, be lifted. There is no doubt that the blockade on land, sea and in the air has caused a great deal of financial grief for the people in Gaza and their Hamas government. But the Hamas brought this financial crisis onto themselves and the people they govern.  Let me give you some history about the blockade or the siege as the Hamas calls it.

Since 2007, Israel has maintained a land, air and maritime blockade around Gaza of which its purpose was to keep rockets and other weapons out of the hands of Hamas, while at the same time, they were letting food and other humanitarian aid into Gaza. Further, Gaza was not cut off from the outside world. In 2009, the markets of Gaza have been flooded with produce and merchandise. In fact, in 2009, a total of 30,576 truckloads of humanitarian commodities passed from Israel into Gaza. Gaza under Hamas control continued to receive supplies of goods via the border crossings with Israel. 

Further, in August 2005. Israel dismantled its settlements in Gaza and withdrew all of its forces and civilians to its own territory. Ironically, many of the rockets fired from Gaza were being fired from the area where the Israelis had previously forced their own settlers to leave to the people of Gaza. The Disengagement Plan transferred full responsibility for administering Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, without any Israel presence, military or civil. However, Israel reserved the right of freedom of action to abort any terror activities from Gaza.

International donors (many of them American philanthropists) donated $14 million to purchase hundreds of greenhouses from evacuated settlers who left Gaza for the sole benefit of the Palestinians in Gaza. According to Palestinian and international sources involved in operating the greenhouses, armed robbers belonging to two militias, the Assistance Committees and the Popular Army, affiliated with former Palestinian ruling party Fatah had been hired by the Palestinian Authority to guard both the ruins of the former settlements and the greenhouses, which were all under cultivation.

But instead of guarding the greenhouses, the guards decided to rob them. The robbers used bulldozers to break the iron supports of the buildings' frames and then they swarmed over the equipment inside, which included piping and irrigation computers. The damage to the greenhouses, which were meant to provide employment for hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza and grow vegetables so that it would increase the Gaza`s exports—became irreparable.

Israel also had agreed to the construction of seaports and an airfield in Gaza at the Rafah crossing under international supervision.

Ergo, does anyone really believe that if the Israelis didn’t return and finish the job once and for all, the Hamas and other terrorist organizations would never attack Israel again? Not likely. When civilized countries are fighting terrorists, if they are close to their quarry, they should finish the job so that the world can be rid of them. The hunt for and successful extermination of Osama bin Laden is an example that should never be forgotten. He will never be a problem to anyone anymore since his body is rotting at the bottom of the sea.
Israeli public opinion continues to strongly support the offensive against the terrorists in Gaza. With calls from Israeli hard-liners to crush the Hamas, it was hard to determine just how far Israel would go to put an end to this terrorist group.

As I see it, the Israelis military as a first stage should have gone back into Gaza and finish the job they began. It is not enough to bomb the tunnels from the air. They have to go into every still standing structure and look for the entrances of tunnels and bunkers that may still exist. If they still exist, it is quite conceivable that a great many rockets will be still stored in those tunnels and bunkers. Once all those rockets are found and disposed of, then the second stage of Israeli occupation of Gaza can begin.

The second stage as I see it is that the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of the current President Mahmoud Abbas should exercise his authority as the president of the all the Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza and appoint a long-term resident of Gaza (other than anyone who is or has been a member of the Hamas) to act as governor of Gaza under the direct authority of the president. Later, an election for the position of governor by citizens in Gaza could be held.

As part of the second stage, the Israelis should choose qualified residents of Gaza to be trained as police officers in Gaza. (All former and current members of Hamas need not apply)

Further, as part of the second stage, the borders should be open between Israel and Egypt but until both Israel and Egypt are convinced that there will be no further terrorist attacks from Israel from Gaza, all means of transportation by land, air or sea will be searched for illicit goods such an guns etc.
During a third stage, the citizens of Gaza should be able to visit friends and relatives in the West Bank, Further, both the businesses in Gaza and Israel shuld be able to do business with each other.  Further still, passports issued by the Palestinian Authority to citizens in Gaza should be available to them if the United Nations is convinced that Gaza is at peace with Israel and Egypt and not a threat to any other nation.

Gaza has the potential of being a nation separate from the West Bank and if it does become its own entity, it is to both Gaza’s and Israel’s benefits to be trading partners and I believe that is the hope of both the Gazans and the Israelis.

But to have this come about, Israel and most of the nations around the world have to believe that terrorists are not the governing the people of Gaza. Unless that belief comes to fruition, Gaza will never be a trading partner with Israel or most of the other nations worldwide. Gaza will continue to be isolated and that is a sad outcome for the innocent Gazans living there.

Gaza has the potential for great prosperity, through green house agriculture, tourism with some of the finest beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, and local industry. Economic development, not UN handouts, should be able to provide employment, wealth and self-respect for the people of Gaza.

Hopefully in the future, Gaza will be trading partners with other nations. Gaza, as Palestinian entity like the West Bank, will be part of a functioning Palestinian nation unless of course, the Hamas and the other radical jihadists that are cut from the same cloth as the ISIS in northern Iraq re-emerge in Gaza like boils on one’s backside. If that happens, then again, the innocent Gazans will be isolated in their Islamic prison, guarded by terrorists who don’t have any empathy at all for their innocent victims.

The Hamas are spinning a tale that nothing got through other than what they brought into Gaza via their tunnels. That is an outright lie.

Since Israel had become a nation in 1948, the Arabs have repeatedly underestimated the Israeli resilience, social solidarity, their military capabilities and their determination to remain as a sovereign entity where they are. The Hamas can fight all they want with Israel but they will lose all their battles just as a gnat will lose its battle with an elephant. 

Israel is distressed with the loss of innocent Gazans in its current battles with the Hamas but they are determined to put an end to the Hamas military’s insistence in firing rockets into Israel at all costs if necessary. Any country that is the recipient of thousands of rockets fired from its neighbor has the right to take whatever steps are available to it put an end to that ongoing onslaught of rockets. It is my belief that the Hamas know that they will lose the war with Israel if they don’t stop firing rockets into Israel. Why then continue the fight with Israel?

The Hamas is aware that Israel’s reputation in the world is its Achilles heel and they will keep exploiting it by forcing Israel to incur more Palestinian deaths until the last Palestinian in Gaza as breathed his last breath. Nevertheless, despite the enormous costs in human life, the Hamas will fight to the last Palestinian without any concern whatsoever about the loss of lives of innocent Palestinians and the destruction of many and possibly all buildings in Gaza which will cost billions of dollars to rebuild—all of that just to bring shame on the Israelis. Terrorist think that way—the way of suicide bombers.  

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