Tag Archives: Gaza Strip

Hamas Celebrates Murders In Jerusalem!

The Jordan Times reports news of the massacre of eight young Israelis was greeted with celebrations in the Gaza Strip. Hizbullah’s Al Manar television said the attack was carried out by a membr of the “Phalange of Free Men of Galilee.” Lebanese Shiite Muslims blamed the killing on Israel although President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority expressed sorrow at the slaughter. In Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, gunmen fired in the air to celebrate the attack and Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, said the group “blesses the heroic operation in Jeruslaem which was a natural reaction to the Zionist massacre.” Hundreds of Palestinians poured into the streets of Gaza City as new of the attack spread, they fired automatic rifles into the air in celebration. A loudspeaker in Gaza City blared the message: “This is God’s vengeance.”

The ongoing conflict with Israel has warped the spiritual values of many Muslims in Gaza and elsewhere. For a person who believes in God to utter the inane comment that killing children is an act of “God’s vengeance” is an insult to the very concept of God. Exactly, what is the conception of God that is believed in by such people?

The cycle of violence continues. Death will be met by death. Massacres will be met with further massacres. Hopefully, at some point, those on both sides who cherish spiritual beliefs in the dignity of the human experience will put a halt to the endless killings of innocent people.

Gaza Crisis Reaches Critical Stage

A coalition of eight British-based human rights organizations released a scathing report which claims the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at the worst point since Israel captured the territory in 1967. Of the approximately 1.1 million people in the Strip, about 80% now depend on food aid as opposed to 63% in 2006. The unemployment rate is at least 40% and close to 70% of the 110,000 workers employed in the private sector have lost their jobs. Hospitals are suffering from power cuts which may last up to 12 hours, and the water and sewage systems are close to collapse.

Israel blames Hamas for the rocket attacks on Israeli cities which have created conditions of fear and anxiety among their inhabitants. The Israel Defense Ministry challenged the report’s conclusions and argued each day truckloads of medicines and equipment enter the Gaza Strip. This week NGO Monitor which is based in Jerusalem called on NGOs to cease using their authority in order to further political efforts which take the side of Palestinians.

Perhaps, it is time for all sides to end rhetorical battles as to whether Israel or Hamas is the one responsible for the current crisis. Perhaps, it is time to bring in outside mediators who have no connection with either side. Kofi Annan spent a month working to resolve the Kenya crisis and put together a nonpartisan group of Elder Statesmen to assist in his efforts. It might be time for such a group to bring together Hamas, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority to work out a cease fire which would be a prelude towards obtaining a peace settlement. It is important to keep out the Bush administration from further efforts to achieve peace.

Israel Warns Palestinians To End Rocket Attacks

Israel warned the Palestinian Authority there would be no independent Palestinian nation unless the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip come to an end. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, said, “There is no hope for any kind of peace or the vision of the Palestinian state which includes the Gaza Strip without real change on the ground.” Prime Minister Olmert, refused to respond to angry calls for action against the Kassam rockets and urged calm. “We need to act in a methodical and organized fashion” rather than allow emotions to take over.

It is pleasantly surprising that Olmert is remaining calm in the face of those seeking revenge. Interior Minister Meier Sheetrit, said an entire Gaza neighborhood should be wiped out so “those in Gaza will understand that we are serious.” The rhetoric of violence plays to powerful emotions but leads nowhere. A mistake was made by the Bush administration in not having Hamas at the Annapolis conference where they would have been forced to confront Arab nations and defend the rocket attacks. This blog urges formation of a Muslim Legion composed of soldiers from Turkey and Morocco who would ensure the end of rocket attacks from Gaza.

Don’t Violate Gaza Borders-Or Else, Warns Egypt

Egyptian ‘foreign Minister Ahmed Abdul Gheit made clear there will be no more violations of its borders in the wake of the 12 day breach on the frontier with Gaza. He said “anyone who violates Egypt’s borders will get his legs broken.” He added his nation only allowed the Palestinians to cross the border after Hamas blew up the wall because of fears over the humanitarian situaiton resulting from Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Gheit blamed both Israel and Hamas for the situation warning Hamas to cease sending missiles into Israel. “After Hamas’s takeover of Gaza it has decided to clash with Israel though this clash is a laughable caricature because clashing with an opponent in battle is supposed to mean damaging them. You do not go into battle just to damage yourself.”

The Egyptian foreign minister finally came out and said what any intelligent person knows–Hamas has done damage to the Palistinian cause and prevents achievement of a reasonable settlement with Israel. Hamas has no strategy of bringing peace to the Palestinian people. It should halt Kassam rockets and agree to enter into a new dialogue with President Abbas in order to present a united front if the Palestinian people are to achieve their goal of having an independent nation free from control of Israel authorities.

Mubarak To Israel– It’s Your Gaza Problem!

President Mubarak of Egypt in an interview with the Italian newspaper, La Republica, made clear that Israel’s dream of “throwing the Strip” at the Egyptians was “only a dream” and would not be achieved. The Egyptian president insisted the Gaza Strip was an Israeli problem and the government of Israel had continually made mistakes in dealing with Hamas. He believes its policy of strangling the Gaza area in order to weaken Hamas has backfired resulting in the present chaotic situation. Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, was in Cairo discussing with Egyptian security officials ways in which to restore some semblance of law and order in the area. Al-Jazeera denied a Reuters report of a massive explosion in the Gaza area saying somehow a reporter transformed a policeman firing of a bullet into the air as being a major incident.

At some point, Israeli officials have to make contact with reality in its efforts to isolate and marginalize Hamas. These strategies simply have not worked. Targeting key Hamas leaders and killing them has yet to result in any significant decline in Hamas strength and it certainly has not reduced the firing of Kassam rockets. Perhap, it is time to talk with Hamas leaders regardless of whether or not they will tone down their angry rhetoric against Israel. Hopefully, talks and some form of compromise solutions may eventually result in a reduction in the level of threats. It might also even end the firing of Kassam rockets.

Building Rockets In Gaza-Nonstop!

Ulrike Putz, correspondent for the German publication, Der Spiegel, made contact with Palestinian militants who spend each evening making Kassam rockets. He talked with several young men connected with the Islamic Jihad who are dedicated to risking their lives making the bombs. “It’s a long journey,” says the German newspaperman, “through the pitch-deark night as the taxi heads towards he secret rocket factory in the Gaza Strip. Since Abdul(not real name) and his two friends got in, it has become a life-threatening trip. The young men prodfuce rockets for the Islamic Jihad. Day after day, their rudimentary bombs land on Israel villages, fields and kibbutzum.” Israel ordinarily retaliates by attempting to kill leaders of the group by targeting cars. The men claim they get supplies from the Sudan or eastern Europe which go through secret tunnels from the Egyptian border and they are receiving money, but they would not reveal the sources of those funds.

The team claimed they could make up to a 100 rockets each night. They send rockets to unknown destinations and blame Israel for the misery of the people of Gaza. At no point in this story is their any recognition on the part of these young men how they are creating misery for the people of Gaza. Their minds simply block at their connection to chaos in Gaza since they refuse to blame any other party but Israel.

Their continued existence will most probably at some time result in an Israel invasion to ensure the end of rocket attacks.

Israel To Blame For Gaza, Says Arab League

An ongoing problem in any discussion of the Palestinian-israel conflict is the tremendous need on the part of both sides to blame the other as the sole source of problems. Arab League foreign ministers said Israel was fully responsible for the deterioration in the Gaza Strip and demanded the jewish state lift the blockade immediately and allow humanitarian suppies to enter. They issued a statement insisting Israel “stop all continued aggressions against the civilians and end the blockade and collective punishment policy.” Even as the foreign ministers issued their statement, Egyptian troops were stringing up a wire fence to prevent Gazans from leaving and entering Egypt.

Israel has made numerous mistakes ranging from refusing to engage in discussions with Hamas without insisting on preconditions, it has repeatedly utilized a program of killing leaders on the assumption this would end violence, and its policy of collective punishment is hardly in accord with international policies of warfare. On the other hand, Hamas has refused to budge an inch in its policy of refusing to recognize Israel, it has ended any cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and it has refused to halt Kassam rockets. All sides are at fault and attempting to cast blame on one nation may result in feelings of righteousness, but this is not the road to peace. Until each side can accept responsibillity for its mistakes there will be no peace in the Middle East.

We Wll March On Erez Says Hamas!

Thousands of Gazans again went into Egypt after another section of the border wall was demolished by a bulldozeer. Egptian troops are now confronting their worse nightmare, beng compelled to take action against fellow Arabs. Further north on the Israel-Gaza border, Israeli troops appeared unconcerned that Egyptians are dealing with the Gaza mess that stems from Hamas seizure of power from Fatah. A Senior Hamas offical, Ahmed Youssef, threatened Israel with the prospect of a 500,000 people march against the border opening at Erez. “This is not an imaginary scenario and many Palesltinians would be prepared to sacrifice their lives.” Hamas rhetoric of bravery somehow always involves innocent people being placed in dangerous situations.

The last thing Egypt will allow to happen is being charged with full responsibility for keeping order in Gaza. They intend as quickly as possible to restore some sense of normality and thrust back on Israel’s shoulders the onerous task of keeping law and order in an area in which chaos appears to be the order of the day. For a moment, Israel is content to stand by and watch Egyptian troops deal with a situation they have been confronting.

This blog believes it is time for the United Nations to assume contol of the mess that has become Gaza. Rocket attacks have to end and Israel has to open up all crossings and allow trade and commerce to resume. Perhaps, a UN force composed of Turkish or Moroccan troops might be able to ensure peace is restored to the people of Gaza.

Mubarak Warns Israel About Crisis In Gaza

President Mubarak of Egypt called Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert to warn him a potential humanitarian crisis was looming in Gaza due to closure of entry points. Olmert told visiting Dutch Foreign Minister, Maxine Verhagen, that Hamas has deliberately provoked the crisis and Israel is “trying to hit only those involved in terrorism, but also signaling to the population in Gaza that it cannot be free from responsiblity for this situation.” Israel’s Defense Ministry told Gazans they could turn to Egypt if there is need for food and other supplies, and insists the area is obtaining at least 70% of its normal electrical needs.

Telling civilians they can halt military action is hardly sound advice. People are terrified that assisting Israel forces will result in punishment from those involved in terrorism. Part of the problem in Gaza is the failure of freezing oout Hamas leaders from any involvement in peace negotiations by both President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Civilians can not turn around Hama leaders, that can only occur when Arab nations exert pressure upon Hamas leaders. The first step is getting Hamas involved in negotiations because they will have to deal with Arab leaders rather than standing apart from the peace process. As Winston Churchill once said, “Jaw, jaw, not war, war.”

Israel Closes Gaza Strip To World

Israel tightened its control over access to the Gaza Strip in response to continued rocket attacks, by closing crossings into the area. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which provides food to Palestinian refugees said it was not allowed to deliver truckloads of humanitarian spplles on Friday morning as it usually does. A spokesperson for the agency said, “Gaza is completely shut down. This will only add to an already dire situation.” Under the decision of Israel’s Defence Ministry, Gaza’s crossings were closed to all goods except for so-called “humanitarian cases” that must receive prior approval from Defence Minister Ehud Barak. The closure is definitely a signal to Hamas to take some action regarding rocket attacks. Yesterday, Prime Minister Olmert pledged to wage a “war” on militants, unfortunately, the only direct victims of the war are innocent civilians.

This decision will not only impact the people of Gaza, but will make it extremely difficult for President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to continue the process of negotiating peace with Israel. He will be under extreme pressure to do something that indicates his support for the people of Gaza. Perhaps, it is time for the Arab League, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority to bring together all groups with Hamas leaders in an effort to find a solution which both protects the people of Gaza and puts an end to rocket attacks. As part of such an agreement, Israel might pledge to cease attacking Hamas leaders as long as no rockets are fired.