Eye on the Middle East Jan/Feb 2015

In baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. In Gaza, it’s three strikes and keep the money coming. In October, about 50 diplomats pledged $5.4 billion to rebuild Gaza.

Strike one took place from December 27, 2008, to January 18, 2009. After months of enduring Hamas rocket fire, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead to degrade Hamas’s rocket supply. Afterward, Gaza received millions of dollars in international aid.

Strike two occurred in November 2012, after Hamas launched 100 rockets in a 24-hour period. Israel responded with Operation Pillar of Defense. Then, Gaza received more money.  

Finally, for 50 days in the summer of 2014, Israel was forced into Operation Protective Edge. Like its predecessors, Protective Edge was a response to the thousands of rockets Hamas launched into Israel’s southern cities. However, by then, the range of Hamas rockets had increased. If not for Israel’s Iron Dome intercepting them, many would have hit Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

In addition, Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli boys, using one of at least 40 tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel. After again degrading Hamas’s rocket supply and destroying the tunnels, a ceasefire was called.

Hamas struck and Israel responded. Yet the international community rewards Hamas and condemns Israel.

One would think that after the third conflict, the world would pressure Hamas to stop this madness or face retribution. But, unlike baseball, after three strikes in Gaza, no one is out. In fact, the third seems to be a charm for the Arabs.  

At a conference in Cairo in October, Gaza was promised $5.4 billion. The largest pledge, $1 billion, came from Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera TV and has connections to Hamas. Other contributors include the European Union: $568 million; the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Turkey: $200 million; and the United States: $212 million.

The New York Times reported, “Half of the $5.4 billion that was promised is to be used for rebuilding efforts in Gaza, while the remainder is intended to support the budget of the Palestinian Authority (PA) through 2017.” Since the PA and Hamas have a joint government, Hamas likely will receive a cash reward for its efforts to destroy Israel. The Jerusalem Post’s Carolyn Glick said Hamas probably will receive $1 billion.  

Apparently, that information did not concern the diplomats at the conference. PA President Mahmoud Abbas referred to “the most recent Israeli attack on Gaza.” Wait a minute––there was no Israeli attack. There was a response to an attack.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “This is the third time in less than 6 years that we’ve seen war break out and Gaza left in rubble.” War did not break out; Hamas’s rockets forced Israel to defend itself.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s interpretation: “We must not lose sight of the root causes of recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negations.”

If the “root cause” were “occupation,” why in 2000 did the PA under the leadership of the late terrorist Yasser Arafat reject an offer of 97 percent of the land? In 2008, he rejected the same offer again.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said, “I tell the Israelis, both citizens and government––the time has come to end the conflict without further delay to grant rights and establish justice so that prosperity and security can prevail.”  

The conflict would never have started if Hamas had not fired on Israel.

It is frustrating, sad, and annoying that none of these world diplomats acknowledge the truth. If they did, they might stop giving money to PA leaders who are not interested in a future country but are merely bent on destroying another: Israel. Instead of punishing Hamas, they reward it, turning strikes into home runs.

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