Friday, 5 September 2014

Blame for Gaza import restrictions lies with Hamas, not Israel

Palestinian militants from Islamic Jihad take part in a military parade following a ceasefire in Gaza City.
Photo: Xinhua
A sensible letter:
I refer to the letter by Dr Mego Terzian, president of Doctors Without Borders ("Lift blockade on Gaza to facilitate urgently needed reconstruction", August 22).
Dr Terzian notes the devastation in Gaza due to the current war (which Hamas started and repeatedly renewed by breaking 11 ceasefires) but blames it on "the deleterious effects of the Israeli blockade that began in 2006". Dr Terzian incorrectly describes Gaza as "occupied territory".
Israel left every inch of Gaza in the summer of 2005, forcibly evicting 9,000 Israelis who occupied 21 settlements in an experiment (which failed miserably) in order to see what the Palestinians would do in the interests of peace if they had their own territory with no Israeli occupation or citizens.
The Palestinians responded by destroying all 21 settlements, including US$13 million of greenhouses donated to them by several New York-based Jewish philanthropists.
One year later Hamas was elected to rule Gaza. It attacked and eliminated the "moderate" Palestinian Authority and began attacking Israel, which is why both Israel and Egypt control their borders with Gaza.
Every day, Israel allows more than 100 trucks loaded with food and other civilian products into Gaza, but inspects them to ensure that no military weapons or contraband are brought in. This has continued without interruption all summer during the current conflict.
Incredibly, Hamas leaders and soldiers in Gaza have consumed food and used civilian products brought in from Israel while launching 6,000 missiles at non-military Israeli town and city targets. Israel's actions hardly constitute a "blockade", as Dr Terzian wrongly alleges.
Dr Terzian's plea to Israel is misdirected: instead, it should be addressed to Hamas, which occupies Gaza and is only interested in war. Hamas has turned Gaza into a missile launching pad, using civilian homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. It constructed 32 underground tunnels leading into Israel for a murderous invasion planned for September to slay Israeli civilians in their settlements close to the border.
These tunnels were lined with cement intended for use in the building of civilian homes, schools and hospitals, but which instead was misappropriated by Hamas to attack Israel.
Hamas' incessant attacks have necessitated Israeli and Egyptian monitoring of goods brought into Gaza. There is no Israeli blockade and all blame for import restrictions into Gaza is on Hamas.
Robert L. Meyer, Mid-Levels