Israel’s Government is currently using the argument that Hamas in Gaza are entrenched and unrelenting terrorists while their government has been the “good” players in Gaza surrendering the Gaza Strip territory in 2005 including the forced removal of nearly 8,000 illegal Jewish settlers in 2005. “Our reward for this good deed” – constant suicide bombers and now rocket attacks coming from the Gaza Strip. I have no sympathy whatsover for the indiscriminate ambush, suicide and bomb attacks by Hamas – it is as wrong now as it was when the Israelis did it against the British troops in Palestine prior to 1947 (for example: beginning in February 1944 The Irgun, now led by Menachem Begin, ended the wartime truce and began blowing up British offices related to immigration and tax collection. In November 1944, Etzel assassinated Lord Moyne, the British minister in Cairo, etc ….).
But the larger point is that the Israelis have not surrendered Gaza to the Palestinians. The Israelis control all of Gaza air space and sea ports and commercial access. There is no Gaza airport and no seaport for Palestinian commerce. So Gaza Palestinians have no way to import oil, food, medicines and other life sustaining commerce. Nor to export their crafts and products to the world. Thus crushing poverty and unemployment runs rife in the Gaza Strip The Israelis argue that weaponry to attack Israel could be included in such shipments – and have the proof of such attempts. But there are feasible and low cost work arounds such as an internationally monitored oil pipeline and sea terminal. It is remarkable that international negotiations have not established these lifelines to Palestine.
The crux of the arguments that Israel has against Hamas is that Hamas’ leaders are unyielding terrorists bent on the destruction of Israel – and there can be no doubt that sentiment has some support in parts of Hamas leadership. But as can be seen in this debate in the Irish Times, there clearly appears to be some failure to see changing Hamas conditions and positions by the Pro Israel argument.
This Israeli position would have much greater credibility if they had started to exercise some serious control on expansion of Jewish settlements (let alone the inevitable withdrawals) in the Palestinian West Bank. But as you can see here there has been none whatsoever. The Israelis appear to be relying on Handy’s Law ->you can’ cook a live frog by throwing him into a boiling kettle; but if you slowly raise the temperature … slowly take over the West Bank with Jewish settlements, ahh the LebensRaum. Likewise on the question of Right of Return the Israelis appear to be blinded – full right of return of nearly any Jew to Israel at anytime (and hence the need for LebensRaum); but not so for the Palestinians. And these are the two sticking points in all Palestinian-Israeli negotiations over the last 10-15 years.
So in Israel’s Gaza actions there is a yawning credibility gap on what Israel says its intentions are – elimination of the Hamas Rocket Attacks in the most humane way possible, and what its real intentions and means are.