Sunday, July 27, 2014

Reality in Gaza

In relation to the current war in Gaza it is important to remember certain facts.  Although Hamas is a threat to Israel, Israel has 8 million people now and Gaza has ca. 1.6 million.  Israel has a well-disciplined and highly effective military force, the IDF, while Hamas has some militias, mostly made up of irregulars, but hardly a disciplined force.  Israel has a technologically developed air force, the IAF, while Hamas has unguided missiles.  Yes, it is asymmetrical warfare.  Another crucial difference is that Israel tries to protect its civilian's lives, with shelters, the Iron Dome anti-missile system, the Code Red sirens and even text messages to warn of danger.   By contrast, Hamas does nothing to protect Gaza civilians, on the contrary they deliberately use them to provide human shields when they fire missiles and shoot from civilian areas, including schools, hospitals and mosques.  A high civilian death toll is a war aim of Hamas, because they know they have the sympathy of the western liberal media and public opinion.  They play to that sympathy.  So far 40 Israelis have been killed and 1,000 Gazans, of which only about 400 were civilians.  This is not an unexpected ratio.
Several years ago, following a previous outbreak of fighting in Gaza, Israel extended its blockade of Gaza to include building materials cement, concrete, mortar, bricks, etc.  Chris Gunness the spokesman for UNRWA in Gaza went on a PR campaign to embarrass Israel by pointing out that the destruction that the IDF had wrought in the fighting needed to be repaired.  As a result Israel agreed to allow the import of building materials into Gaza.  This was paid for by the UN and donations from the US, EU and elsewhere. Building materials were trucked into Gaza from Israel, together with the hundreds of other trucks taking food and medicines into Gaza every week. We naievely thought that this was being used to re-build Gaza and improve the lives of ordinary Gazans.  Wrong!
Now we know that most of this material, to the tune of millions of dollars worth of cement and other building blocks, were used to construct a massive amount of tunnels throughout the Gaza strip.  There are three kinds of these underground constructions: 1. Bunkers in which the leaders of Hamas are hiding and organizing the attacks against Israel; 2. Missile firing positions that are underground to avoid detection by Israeli drones, and are often located in populated urban areas, in houses and mosques; 3. Attack tunnels that lead from Gaza under the Israeli border to come up very close to Israeli settlements and villages, some several km long.   It has been learned from captured terrorists and intelligence that Hamas was planning to use these (so far over 30 have been found) to mount a huge coordinated attack on border towns and villages.  It was only luck that due to the rocket barrages fired by Hamas into Israel, that the IDF was forced to go into Gaza and found these tunnels.  The IDF says that it could take weeks to check and destroy all of them.  To prevent a further frenzy of tunnel building, Israel and Egypt will have to block such building materials from being imported into Gaza again.
According to reports, the main condition that Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and "the Palestinian people" demand in order to agree to a  ceasefire is the removal of the Israel blockade of Gaza and similarly from Egypt at the Rafah crossing.  There is essentially no possibility that Israel and Egypt will agree to this, given the gross violations of previous agreements (the import of missiles and other offensive weapons) and their human rights violations (firing into Israeli populated areas and using their own population for human shields).  There is no way that they can be trusted, they are a bunch of terrorist thugs, would you agree to trust your lives to them?
There has been the usual wave of anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian riots in Europe and elsewhere, operating under the banner of "Human Rights."  Most political extremists are using this as an excuse to push for their own objectives.  Among the usual Muslims and anti-Semites, there are extreme left-wing groups, including the Communists, the Socialist Workers Party, the Anti-Capitalist Association and the Anarchists, who just want to cause mayhem and destruction.  In Paris, they have tried to ban these "demonstrations" and Pres. Hollande has said that Frenchmen must not bring the Gaza conflict onto the streets of France, but it is too late for that.  There have been grotesque murders of Jews in France by Muslim terrorists and they don't intend to stop now.  No wonder Jews in France fear for their lives and emigration from France to Israel is doubling every year.  In London, they found that there was a large group of "football hooligans" who have nothing to do with the Gaza situation but who just wanted an excuse to fight the police and commit mayhem. Such are our enemies. 
However, although there has been some rioting of Palestinian youths on the West Bank, throwing petrol bombs and even firing on IDF troops and police, mostly around Jerusalem, the outbreaks have not been as extensive as previously.  It seems that since Israel arrested the majority of the Hamas leadership in the West Bank following the murder of the three Israeli schoolboys, the riots have been mostly leaderless.  To date 7 youths have been killed by IDF fire, but this is no third intifada.  Most of the Palestinians on the West Bank support Fatah and are probably glad that Hamas is being hit hard.  There is essentially no support for Hamas from the traditional Arab States, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait.  Only Qatar and Turkey are actively supporting Hamas.


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