Tag Archives: Gaza Strip

Hamas-Israel–Plague On Both Houses!

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution asking the Palestinian Authority and Israel to investigate the Gaza Strip war in the winter of 2009 even though Israel has submitted its report and the Palestinians are still investigating. The resolution urges both parties to conduct separate investigations that are “independent, credible and in conformity with international standards.” The United States voted against the resolution. Israel’s UN Ambassador, Gabriela Shalev said the PA “cannot genuinely address the conflict between the state of Israel and the Hamas terrorist entity.” Actually, the PA has as much anger toward Hamas as does Israel.

There is scant doubt Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip entailed human rights violations on both sides. Why not a joint commission containing representatives from both sides which conduct the investigation?

Send In The Tanks Argue Israelis

The incessant bombing of Gaza continues causing huge devastation in terms of physical destruction of facilities and the death of hundreds, most of whom are members of Hamas security forces. There are reports that Israeli tanks are prepared to lead a ground invasion of the area. However, Israeli military officials do not wish to have their troops become embroiled in fighting in urban areas, and will most probably seize certain key points rather than a full scale invasion which would inevitably result in fighting the 15,000 well armed Hamas forces. White House sources refuse to respond to questions concerning America’s attitude towards a land invasion, preferring to simply state: “those will be decisions made by the Israelis.”

Secretary of State Condi Rice made clear she has no present plans to visit the Middle East in order to broker peace. However, throughout the Arab world demonstrations of anger reflect feelings of millions of people. Although people are demonstrating in the streets, their governments remain silent since most are furious at Hamas for provoking the current conflict.

Stranded In Gaza By Clueless Israel

Zohair Abu Shahan is among the hundreds of Gaza students who have been awarded scholarships to attend colleges in Europe or and United States but are prevented from leaving due to Israel regulations. Mr. Shahan won a Fulbright scholarship to attend the University of Connecticut and after losing that chance gained a scholarship to an English university after Israeli officials informed American officials he was a security risk. Mr. Shahan actually got on a bus that was halted at the Gaza border because connecting buses never arrived. His younger brothers have now lost hope in the power of education and will not pursue earlier dreams of attending a western university.

I feel deep connections to these Muslim students who are persecuted by an ignorant and short-sighted Israel government. If any nation in the world should oppose denying education to young people it is Israel. It was not that long ago, even in nations like the United States, quota systems limited Jewish youth access to college and housing restrictions denied them access to suburban communities. It was always the dream of education which drove so many poor Jewish children in nations like the United States and the UK. And, today, Israel denies access to education to poor children of Gaza because they are Muslims

One wonders what runs through the minds of Israel officials who deny a Gaza resident the opportunity to study at the University of Connecticut where he would interact with Jewish students and professors and form bonds of friendship. Instead, they apparently believe Israel’s security is furthered by making him bitter, and by denying him education compelling Mr. Shahan to remain in Gaza where he undoubtedly will spend time with other bitter students and become more radical. There is something both morally and intellectually sick about Israel leaders.

Madness Of Gaza Continues!

Last week, Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni sent a message to newly elected president Barack Obama to stay out of the Israel-Palestinian conflict because everything was under control and the last thing that needed was the introduction of new ideas to the bargaining table. In the meantime, chaos continues to be the rule in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Popular Resistance Committee(PRC) threatened to avenge a strike carried out by the IDF which they claim killed two people. The IDF denies ever operating in the area and believes the incident probably occurred when some terrorists blew themselves up. Rockets continue emanating from the Gaza Strip and hitting Israeli towns. Hamas took credit for firing eight of the Kassam rockets on Friday.

There is need for a real cease fire in the Gaza area and, most probably, it requires introducing new ideas since the current situation has reached the ridiculous stage. How about asking Turkey, which is trusted by both sides, to send several thousand troops into Gaza, assume control of border crossings, and restore peace and sanity to the area?

Egypt Urges Arab Force For Peace In Gaza

During the past year, this blog has been urging creation of an Arab Legion which would enforce peace in the Gaza strip. Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit in a magazine effort raised the concept of establishing an Arab force which would be stationed in Gaza in order to end violence within the strip as well as toward Israel. “The presence of an Arab force in the territory, ” he said, “could help stop violence and end the Israel-Palestinian conflict.” He emphasized his suggestion could only come about until after Fatah and Hamas have reached an agreement to end their violence against one another.

At this point, given the lack of enthusiasm among Hamas leaders to take vigorous action against militants who fire rockets into Israel, an independent Arab army would be the perfect force to guarantee peace. It might be beneficial to draw upon the Turkish armed forces as well as those from Egypt and Jordan to constitute the basis for an Arab Legion.

Egypt Works For Gaza Truce Success

The fragile cease fire agreement in Gaza raises questions as to whether or not Israel and Hamas can succeed in resolving a problem without causing violence in the region. The Israel government agreed to reopen Gaza crossings due to the urging of the Egyptian government. An Israel Defence Ministry statement said: “In response to a special request by the Egyptian Intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, agreed to open the crossings…” Under truce provisions, militants in the Gaza Strip are required to halt firing rockets into Israel territory, but rocket attacks continue which has resulted in periodic closing of crossings by the Israel government.

Hamas officials will be in Egypt early next week to discuss with Egyptian authorities issues concerning the truce, Israel actions, and violations on the part of Palestinians. Hamas leaders insist they are abiding by truce provisions but individuals are responsible for the rocket attacks. Hamas undoubtedly is now experiencing the reality of power. It is one thing to make demands when not in power, it is another when placed in authority to crack down on those among your own people who seek violence. Hamas, welcome to the world of reality!

Year Later-Gaza A Hamas Controlled Territory

A year ago, Hamas forces attacked the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and during the ensuing conflict there was brutality on both sides including rival fighters being thrown from rooftops. Adel Zaanoun, reporting for the Turkish Daily News from Gaza, describes the poverty and poor living conditions a year after the Hamas coup. About 33% of the people are without jobs and at least 40% live in poverty while the area struggles to define itself as to the meaning of democracy. He quotes Hamdi Shakuren, of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights: “This year we have gone through a dangerous and unprecedented decline for human rights in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.”

Zaanoun is pessimistic as to the prospect for peace in the Gaza Strip. “But the Islamic movement remains defiant as Israel prepares for a wide scale assault while still holding off on a major operation to give Egypt medicated truce efforts a chance.” An Israel assault will provide temporary respite but the process of anger and hate and violence will continue until all parties in the conflict engage in genuine peace and reconciliation efforts that entail compromise.

Israel Agrees To Egyptian Negotiated Truce

An Israel delegation arrived in Cairo today to pursue further discussions with Egyptian mediators and Hamas officials for a long term cease fire in Gaza. The Israel Cabinet has decided to call off plans for a full blown invasion of Gaza and will work with Hamas in order to end violence in the Gaza area. General Amos Gilad will draw upon the talent of Egyptian Intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, to finalize details on the cease fire. The cease fire entails an end to rocket attacks from Gaza, an end to any terrorist attack emanating from Gaza, and assurances that all terrorist groups in Gaza agree to these ideas. In return, Israel will lift its blockade of Gaza.

The agreement is composed of three stages. In stage one, all rocket and terrorist attacks will end. After a few weeks, Stage 2 will kick in with Israel gradually lifting the blockade. In stage 3, all aspects of the blockade will end and Gazans will have freedom to move in an out of the Strip.

Fortunately, calmer heads have asserted themselves and hindered efforts by war hawks for violence which would have made impossible any peace between Israel and Palestinians leaders.

Hamas Has Developed Powerful Fighting Force in Gaza

An Israel Think Tank report issued on Thursday describes how Hamas has built up a powerful fighting force that will confront any Israel invasion of the Gaza Strip. The Inteligence and Terrorism Information center believes Hamas now controls about 20,000 well-armed men who are prepared to fight until death. Hamas military capabilities are based on the Izzedin al-Kassam Brigades, the group’s military arm. The Hamas strategy should Israel invade would be avoiding any fighting in open areas and compel Israel troops to fight them in urban areas where guerrilla warfare is more effective.

The assumption of Hamas is that Israel has not learned anything from its Lebanon experience. In all likelihood, Israel forces will avoid getting sucked into a bloody street fight with Hamas. Most probably, the IDF will resort to bombing attacks which will result in the death of thousands of innocent civilians.

The scenario of death can be replaced with a scenario of peace It is now imperative for the Bush administration to shift emphasis from refusing contact with Hamas to a Middle Eastern conference in which Israel takes the first step by announcing an end to further housing construction on the West Bank or in East Jerusalem.

Hamas Offers Cease Fire As Rockets Hit Israel Preschool

The on a gain off again story of possible cease fire in the Gaza Strip continued as exiled Damascus based Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, sent a messatge to Arab leaders offering to consier the possibilit of an over all calm with Israel. According to th daily Al Hayat, the message was timed to coincide with the Arab League summt scheduled to take place in Syria’s capital over the weekend. Mashaal defended the policy of firing rockets although his actions have come under severe criticism from Arab leaders who regard it as pointless and merely making more difficult attainment of any form of peace in the region. Mashall wrote use of rockets was meant to defend the people of Gaz, but added, “all of the factions of the Palestinian resistance have expressed their willngness to seriously examne the issue of a calm, provided that is overall, concurrent and mutual.”

Egypt, which has been working to broker a peace, has been informed by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, of a willingness for a cease fire provided it includes the West Bank. However, there are as yet no signs the Israel government will accept that proviso. There are risks in any agreement, but continuation of the present situation is a greater risk. A rocket hit an Israel preschool and luckily no one was killed. If a rocket kills Israel children there is no doubt, Israel forces might well strom into Gaza. Everyone needs a period of calm.