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Israel/Gaza issues reconsidered

  • Wainshilbaum



Sunday, August 12, 2018

I am troubled by the lack of fair and in depth reporting about events in Israel/Gaza. To understand what is now taking place, consider relevant history.

In 1948, five Arab armies invaded the new country of Israel, creating Arab refugees, (many of whom are still kept in camps in Arab countries).

In 1967, Israel won Gaza and the West Bank in a defensive war. In 1970, Israel set up an industrial zone along its border with Gaza to promote economic cooperation and provide Palestinians with jobs. It was shut down in 2004 amid terrorist attacks that left 11 Israelis dead.

In 2005, Israel forcibly withdrew all of its 8,000 citizens from Gaza, hoping for peace, (like it had achieved with Egypt and Jordan). Israel planned to evacuate the West Bank as well. There was an outpouring of support for Gaza from the international community. Jewish donors spent $14 million to buy greenhouses for Gazans. Upon Israel’s exit, these were immediately looted and destroyed by Gazans.

In 2007, Hamas, whose goal is the destruction of Israel, took control of Gaza. Since then, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups have fired thousands of rockets and mortars into Israel. Egypt and Israel placed a blockade on Gaza on materials that could be used for terror, and The Palestinian Authority stopped paying thousands of Gazans. Daily, about sixty supply trucks enter Gaza from Israel. Hamas siphons off aid for its members to the detriment of Gazans, and sometimes refuses the trucks or sets fire to the border crossing.

Israelis feared that the West Bank would become another terrorist haven like Gaza, from which to assault Israel. The Israeli Peace Movement and Two State Solution died. Unfortunately, the religious right then increased in power and Jewish settlements proliferated (and continue to increase) in the West Bank, at great expense to Palestinians there.

In 2014, I was in Israel during the Gazan war. We heard sirens and ran to bomb shelters daily, watching rockets overhead collide with the iron dome. (In Israel every building has a bomb shelter). Israelis watched the international news with bewildered distress as the world news twisted the story to make them look like the aggressors, although Gaza had broken each cease-fire and provoked Israel until it had to respond. It was discovered that 500 tons of cement from Israel, sent to Gaza for housing, had been used for the construction of 32 terrorist tunnels packed with explosives, weapons, and terror plot documents to kill or kidnap Israelis.

Had Hamas used their tens of millions of humanitarian aid dollars for their people, and not to produce weapons, train terrorists, fund martyrs’ families, and for enrichment, oceanfront Gaza could be a paradise today.

Israel invented the iron dome to defend itself against the rockets, and devised a technology to detect the terrorist tunnels, so Hamas came up with a new weapon to win a propaganda war; orchestrate events to get Gazan civilians killed on camera to garner Western sympathy and delegitimize Israel. During the recent “Great March to Return,” we saw headlines about “peaceful protests” and “massacres of innocents,” while few articles mentioned that some of the protesters had maps of nearby villages, guns, molotov cocktails, explosives, knives, and fire kites. They wanted to break through the border fence.

Hamas squelches dissent, channels people’s frustration instead against Israel, and puts civilians in harm’s way.

Headlines might have read; “40,000 Gazans try to breach fence to slaughter Israelis, and retake the homes their grandparents left in 1948, when they lost a war that they started.” Had the Israeli Defense Force spared gunfire and allowed a breach, thousands would have surged into Israel, and many more Gazans would have been killed.

Israel once again was in the terrible position of having to kill and face world condemnation. What would any country do? Israelis would rather be unpopular than dead. Since late April, flaming kites and firebomb balloons from Gaza, some connected to explosive devices, have ignited fires, decimating acres of Israeli forest, nature reserves, and agricultural land. Hamas fires rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel, wounding Israelis. Yet, we have not seen interviews with traumatized Israelis.