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WHY GAZA WILL GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER

Fire in an open field outside one of the southern Israeli communites near Gaza after Palestinians flew a kite laden with a Molotov cocktail over the border on May 2, 2018. (Screen capture/Rafi Bavian)

The violence along the Israel-Gaza border has spiraled out of control. In fact, it will likely get worse before it gets better. The background: in order to understand what is going on today it is necessary to put it in the Barbra Tuchman, "Looking back from the light on the stern." The two million or so Palestinians living in Gaza are led by Hamas, extreme as they get, focused on the destruction of the Jewish State. It's no two-state solution - it's winner takes all. In the Six-Day War, the IDF occupied Gaza and Israel came and built settlements there. However, in 2005, PM Ariel Sharon dismantled all the settlements and withdrew IDF forces to the Israeli border. Now, instead of exploiting Israel's pullback and seeking a similar withdrawal from the occupied West Bank, the Palestinians converted Gaza into a launchpad for terrorism against Israel. (This despite the fact that American officials quietly advised the Palestinians to call off the terrorism as this would enable them to seek a similar Israeli pullout from the West Bank.) However, this would have required the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. This would have meant the Palestinian refugees would not be returning to their former homes in Israel.

The unvarnished truth to this very day is that neither the Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank are ready to recognize a Jewish state on any border. There is one difference - the majority of Palestinians on the West Bank and the indigenous Arab residents there do not, as a rule, fire rockets into Israel or try to kill Israeli. In fact, the Palestinian police in the West Bank do cooperate with IDF in countering terrorism. Their leader, President Mahmud Abbas, says he supports a negotiated agreement, although he recently accused the Jews of being responsible for the Holocaust and rejected the notion that the Jewish people, one of the most ancient, are entitled to their own homeland.

In order to possibly understand where we're going, we need to look back at where we've been.

There was one vital security condition to the Israeli pullout from Gaza - Israel insisted that Hamas would not be permitted to sail ships into Gaza carrying cargos of rockets and weaponry for attacking Israel, as they had repeatedly attempted in the past. All cargos destined for Gaza had to be checked out for at the Israeli port of Ashdod, just up the Mediterranean coast.

Now, since the total Israeli land withdrawal, Palestinian terrorism has sparked three relatively short wars. They tried various tactics - suicide bombers, rocketing Israel, kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenagers, and capturing an Israeli soldier. More recently, they have also invested large amounts of foreign aid to digging attack tunnels under the Israeli border. Thwarted by Israel at every turn, the new Palestinian leader, Yahya Sinwar, adopted a new tactic ten weeks ago. He incited thousands of Palestinians, men, women, and children, to march to the Israeli border fence trying to tear it down and rush into Israel. They call it the march of return to their former Palestinian homes inside Israel. In some cases, armed terrorists mingled among the throng in order to approach and open fire on Israeli positions. In addition, the Palestinians have come up with another diabolical tactic of sending drones into Israel the burst into flames on contact with the ground. This has resulted in the torching of thousands of acres of wheat fields and orchids belonging to Israeli farmers who live along the border. Now, a birdseye view of the Israeli side shows a swath of black burnt out farmland and nature reserves. This standoff continued until Tuesday, May 29, when IDF soldiers shot dead three Islamic Jihad terrorists fleeing back to Gaza after blowing out part of the security fence. Then all hell broke loose. The Palestinians rocketed Israeli villages indiscriminately along the border. The IDF responded with a series of airstrikes - the tit-for-tat battle raged for some 22 hours before a ceasefire was brokered by neighboring Egypt.

Israelis sometimes have only time to fall on the floor and cover their heads with their hands.

However, this timeout lasted only three days. Hamas reverted to again sending thousands of rioters to the Israeli border and launching more drones to torch the crops of Israeli farmers. In one incident at the renewed rioting, a Palestinian female paramedic was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper. The IDF has launched an investigation because she was obviously not a terrorist. That night Hamas and the other terror organizations launched numerous rockets at Israeli villages across the border.

Bear in mind, each Israeli home is built with a safe room "reinforced against rocket attacks". In one case an Israeli family escaped death or injury after they made it to their safe room before a rocket came crashing through the roof. They had all of 15 seconds to do so. But in villages right on the Gaza border, Israelis may have only three seconds to make it to their safe rooms. The reason is the air raid sirens start blaring only when the alert system detects that rockets have been launched from Gaza, however, the terrorists are now using mortars - that are actually bombs that are propelled up in the air and then drop suddenly when their limited fuel runs out. This may take only three seconds. In this case, these Israelis sometimes have only time to fall on the floor and cover their heads with their hands.

So why will it probably get worse before it gets better?

Yahya Sinwar, who was actually released in the prisoner exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, is apparently now in cahoots with Iran. You may have guessed it - Tehran is inciting him to accelerate terrorism against Israel. This with the aim of diverting the IDF's focus of attention from the Syrian front, where Israeli and Iranian forces are now looking down the gun barrel at each other.

In this arena, Jerusalem has denied a Russian report that the Iranians have agreed to pull out their forces in Syria. Meanwhile, Israel has signaled that it is willing to ease up its border restrictions on Gaza, but only if Hamas halts the terrorism and agrees to exchange two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two IDF soldiers. However, if Ayatolla Khamenei and his revolutionary guards now have a greater influence on Hamas, it is hard to foresee a sustainable ceasefire in the near future.

Haley alongside President Donald Trump and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres (CC White House)

QED: Last but now least, in another impressive appearance in the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley vetoed a Kuwaiti proposal to condemn Israel, calling it grossly onesided, Haley also said, "The UN is always willing to blame Israel but unwilling to blame Hamas for violence in Gaza. It is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel."




 

Political Analyst David Essing

 

David Essing

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