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Much has been made — including by us — of the similarities between a previous Iranian weapons-laden boat bound for Gaza, the Karine A, and the ship captured last week. Now, Elliott Abrams, former National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush, writes at the Council on Foreign Relations that the incident reminds us about the foolishness of U.S. diplomatic efforts with the Palestinians (half of their putative state is controlled by the entity meant to be on the receiving end of the arms) and Iran (the origin of the weapons):
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Whatever peacemaking Secretary Kerry is undertaking with Palestinian authorities in Ramallah, Hamas remains in charge in Gaza and is dedicated to violence. But the larger issue this time is the donor rather than the recipient. While we talk of outreach to Iran and unclenched fists, Iran continues to be the largest state sponsor of terrorism.
Monday, March 10th, 2014 at 8:21 AM | Stand For Israel
Yossi Melman, writing at The Jerusalem Post, says that the recent upsurge in violence along the Gaza border is a result of Hamas’ popularity problems, not of a desire by the terrorist group to engage in another all-out fight with Israel. Interestingly, Melman contends that starting a fight that forces Israel to really open fire would exacerbate a problem Hamas is already having:
One would be remiss not to mention that Hamas has been playing a dangerous game these past few months. While it has no interest in sparking a large conflagration similar in scale to Operation Cast Lead (five years ago) and Pillar of Defense (just over a year ago), the movement’s financial and political standing is at an all-time low. Perhaps this can explain why it is seeking to demonstrate its relevance, refusing to surrender, that it is alive and kicking.
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Thursday, December 26th, 2013 at 9:01 AM | Stand For Israel
The bombing of Bus 240 from Bat Yam to B’nei Brak could have been a significant tragedy – which is not to diminish the injuries suffered by an Israeli police officer in any way. But, had passengers not noticed the suspicious package, alerted the driver, and immediately cleared the bus, we would be talking about a much larger human toll.
Of particular interest to us was the quote from a Hamas spokesman praising the bombing – an attack which took place while Israelis and Palestinians are (theoretically) amidst peace talks. “It would be best,” said the Hamas apparatchik, “if Israel would come to understand that it will know no stability as long as the Palestinians live in instability.”
Let’s compare – or, rather, contrast – the stability of Israel with the instability of its neighbors in Gaza (which has been ruled by Hamas since 2006 and in which not a single Jew has set foot of his or her own accord since early 2009):
According to the UN Human Development index – which aggregates life expectancy, literacy, education, and quality of life – Israel ranks 16th of the 185 UN members, placing the Jewish state in the “very highly developed” category. Gaza ranks 110th, good enough for “medium human development.”
Israel’s overall GDP is around $250 billion. Gaza’s is less than $10 billion.
Unemployment in Gaza is over 25% – well above that if you took out those who work for the Hamas government or the UN. There is virtually no private industry. Unemployment in Israel is 5.6% and there are more Israeli companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country but the US.
I think most of us would happily take a healthy dose of Israeli “instability.”
The emptiness of Hamas’ rhetoric is both nauseating and hysterical. Nauseating because it suggests that Israel is dealing with an enemy so self-unaware and self-delusional that they think they’re causing instability … for Israel! Hysterical because, while the “leaders” of the Palestinians continue to rain misery and ruin on their own people (which is decidedly not hysterical), Israelis continue to win Nobel…Read More » Comments (25) »
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
There are plenty of existing problems with books used in Palestinian schools (including those run by the U.N.), and Max Boot writes in Commentary magazine that, while the new Hamas textbooks are no exception, what should surprise us is that the West and the U.S. are surprised by these books and continue to engage with Palestinian leaders as if they are serious about peace:
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It is a mystery which perhaps only Kerry can answer: What in the current configuration of power makes him optimistic that a breakthrough could be achieved now? Why on earth does he imagine he will succeed where all of his predecessors have failed?
Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Stand For Israel
Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary, notes that – although the international community still frequently refers to the impending humanitarian disaster in Gaza – the recently discovered tunnel under the border with Israel indicates that Hamas still thinks that building supplies are more important to use in fighting Israel than in helping the people of Gaza:
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But those who assumed that the concrete was being used to help the people of Gaza got a wakeup call today when the Israelis revealed the discovery of a tunnel they had discovered that Hamas [was] digging under the border with the Jewish state. The structure was 18 meters deep and 1,700 meters long (including 300 that were underneath Israeli territory. Built with 500 tons of cement that had been allowed into Gaza for civilian uses, the purpose of the tunnel was clear: provide easy access into Israeli territory for terrorists to kill and/or kidnap Israelis. So will everyone who opposed Israel’s blockade of Gaza now realize they were wrong? Don’t bet on it.
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 at 8:07 AM | Stand For Israel
Avi Issacharoff, one of the best Israeli reporters when it comes to Gaza due to his mastery of the language and connections inside the Strip, breaks down the meaning of the state-of-the-art tunnel discovered over the weekend by Israeli forces leading from Gaza into Israel. His conclusion: although Hamas doesn’t want a clash now, there is one coming, and Hamas plans to be prepared:
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The ability of Hamas to dig tunnels is impressive, and it is no secret that under Gaza City, the organization built a network of trenches and tunnels that its leaders used to hide from the Israeli bombs during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 and even during Cast Lead in 2009. Hamas, it seems, has not stopped preparations for the next conflict with Israel for so much as a second, and the question about that next round is not one of “if” but of “when.”
Monday, October 14th, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Stand For Israel
At the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Danin writes an article suggesting that Gaza must be reconnected politically to the West Bank and the West must stop isolating it in order for there to be peace. Isolation, he argues, strengthens Hamas.
It’s a common theme among Middle East experts, safe at their think tanks in countries far from the region where people have to live with the decisions made by their leaders. The problem with this concept is that the people who run Gaza and the people who run the West Bank don’t want to be reconnected with one another. And, even if you set aside that minor inconvenience, the only thing Hamas and Fatah can agree on is how much they hate Israel and Jews – how does reuniting them get us closer to peace?
In the fantasies of the Western academics, of course, it’s Israeli intransigence and Palestinian political division that are at fault for a lack of peaceful resolution to the conflict. In the reality on the ground, Palestinian political division and Israel’s reticence to make any irrevocable concessions are products of the violent, corrupt, Jew-hating rot that has infected so much of Palestinian society. And here’s a newsflash for the folks at the Council on Foreign Relations: the West can’t fix that.
We’ve said it before: there will be peace between Israelis and Palestinians when Palestinians want it and not until. No amount of wishful thinking will change that fact, nor the fact that Israel is the only party in this conflict that remains open to sincere negotiation and meaningful dialogue.Comments (18) »
Thursday, October 10th, 2013 at 7:53 AM | Stand For Israel
Writing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Jacques Neriah (a retired colonel in the Israeli army) notes that signs point to a number of problems for Hamas rule in Gaza – and all because of internal politics and disaffection on the streets and not because of anything Israel is doing. In time, could we see an Egypt-style uprising in Gaza?
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For the first time in more than two decades, Hamas has no regional political allies in positions of power – a huge problem for a movement that is heavily dependent on alliances that provide financial, military, and political support.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Stand For Israel
Gaza’s at it again.
Hamas has a history of “educating” its youth in the ways of war. First it was new school curriculum, then a chilling graduation ceremony for kindergartners, and finally a jihadist military academy for children as young as age 12 (the academy includes a Bachelor degree program!). Now it’s summer in the Strip, and camp is in session.
According to YNet, this year’s Islamic jihad summer camp for kids ages 6 to 16 includes shooting practice (with AK-47s), fire jumping, and even a “kidnap the Israeli” simulation. The images taken of the camp are astounding. Young and frightened-looking children run through an obstacle course of explosions to the sound of rapid fired charges, and the guns they hold are nearly as tall as the boys themselves.
We really wonder how Israel will be able to make peace with the Palestinians, as future generations are being bred on violence, and current leaders are the ones teaching them to hate.
You can see photos of the camp here.Comments (14) »
Thursday, June 13th, 2013 at 2:03 PM | Stand For Israel