Tag Archives: Kassam rockets

Hamas Agrees To Cede Border Control In Gaza

Amid continuing chaos in Gaza, Hamas has agreed to cede control over border crossing in Gaza. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh spoke as thousands of Gazans crossed over into Egypt following destruction of the wall by gunmen. They were seeking to purchase goods made scarce by the Israel blockade. Haniyeh called for “an urgent speecy meeing” in Egypt that could result in opening border crossings “on the basis of national participation.” This apparently means Hamas would work with the Palestinian Authority. President Abbas of the PA denounced the Hamas statement and insists Hamas return all control over Gaza to his authority.

Hamas has come to the realization they have created mass chaos in the Gaza area by acting with arrogance in their dealings not merely with the Palestinian Authority but with Israel. Hamas can cede control of border crossings to Egypt or the PA or whoever, but until they take control and halt Kassam rockets from hitting Israel, the situation will remain onerous for the people of Gaza. Syria is attempting to persuade the UN Security Council to denounce Israel for its actions in Gaza and, most probably, the US will veto the resolution. Perhaps, it is time for a UN force to enter Gaza and ensure an end to rocket attacks as well as assume control of border crossings.

Conflict Continues In Gaza

The Gaza situation took another turn as Egyptian troops opened fire on Gazans demanding that Egypt open the border to allow needed supplies to enter. About sixty people were wounded in the melee. Kassam rockets continued being fired, Israel slightly relaxed the blockade, and the UN began discussing the situation. A UN discussion must include all facets of the issues ranging from closing borders to prevent supplies from entering to the firing of rockets at civilian targets in Israel. To discuss one without the other leads only to failure at identifying solutions. On a more hopeful note, President Abbas said he would continue negotiations for peace with Israel. Abbas even offered to assume control over Gaza if Hamas would allow this to happen.

Secretary of state Rice urged Israel not to provoke a humanitarian crisis by halting shipment of needed supplies into Gaza. The International Red Cross warned medical supplies were running out and urged an end to the embargo on shipment of needed materials. Israeli tanker trucks were already pumping needed fuel into Gaza.

A group of Israel Arabs gathered at the Erezx border crossing to urge an end to the blockade and found themselves engaged in violent arguments with right wing Israel extremists. A possible outcome of the continuing crisis in Gaza is to radicalize Israel Arab youth who may well identify with the people of Gaza. It is the view of this blog that silence is not golden. There is need for all parties, including Hamas, to become engaged in dialogue. This dialogue should also include members of the Arab League who have a stake ensuring that peace exists in the Gaza area.

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.”

War Of Words, People Die In Israel And Gaza

The war of words has escalated in Israel and Gaza even as the war between opposing forces continues to result in death and destruction. Gaza has been cut off from the outside world as Kassam rockets from it continue to hit Israeli cities. Sharp exchanges in the Israel cabinet led Internal Affirs Minister Meier Sheetrit to blast Hizbullah’s leader by exclaiming: “We shouldn’t be afraid of Nasrallah, we should eliminate him.” Public Security Minister Avi Dichter complained the Israel armed forces were not doing enough to halt Kassam rockets and urged taking action “whatever the cost to the Palestinians.” Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded by insisting the IDF was hitting terrorists and was also planning new ventures. Gaza’s only electrical plant closed on Sunday insisting they had run out of fuel while Barak claims they have plenty of fuel but are only trying to gain world sympathy.

Hamas spokesperon, Sami Abdul Zhuhri defiantly told Israel, “we will not raise the white flag, we will not surrender.” The dueling banjo voices of extremists on both sides only ensures there will be no peace for either Palestinians or Israelis. The two immediate actions are an end to Kassasm rockets and opening Gaza to humanitarian supplies as well as access to needed fuel. It is time for Israeli and Hamas leaders to end their verbal exclamations and declarations and focus on what is needed for momentary peace. On one hand, the US and Israel insists they will never negotiate with Hamas, on the other hand they want Hamas to cease firing rockets. These are incompatible foreign policy objectives. There is need to involve prominent Arab leaders in a comprehensive approach to dealing with these issues and it is critical that Hamas be involved in any discussions. Ironically, lost in the anti-Hamas policy of Bush and Israel is the reality they are allowing Hamas to dictate what happens in the Middle East.

Gaza Turmoil Threatens Peace Negotiations

Within a week after the departure of President Bush from the Middle East, there has been a surge in operations by the Israel Defense Force in Gaza including closure of crossings through which much needed supplies were being trucked by the United Nations UNRWA operation. President Abbas strongly criticized the Israel closure and his emotions revealed that Palestinian leaders were gravely concerned as to whether or not they could continue negotiations with Israel. “In these days,” he said, “we can only condemn gravely wha hapens in our cherished Gaza, the brutal a ttack on this cherished part of our land, every hour, which targets women, children and the elderly.” Kassam rockets continue hitting Israel and IDF forces are sweeping into Gaza seeking those who fire the weapons.

UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon urged restraint on the part of both sides asking for a cease in rocket attacks and an end to the closure of crossings. It is time for the UN to appoint a well known meditator like Nelson Mandela in order to bring together Israel and Hamas leaders, as well as President Abbas, in an effort to halt the rocket attacks and IDF attacks on Gaza. The Israel Defense Ministry claims there are sufficient food stocks in Gaza, a statement that bears slight resemblance to reality. The people of Gaza and the people of Israel need peace. The people of the Middle East may well wonder if there is a connection to the acceleration of IDF attacks and the Bush visit.