Gaza: ‘de dieren mogen weg, wij blijven achter’

 Posted by  
Aug 27 2016

 

GazaZoo

Monique van Hoogstraten heeft een nieuwe tranentrekker gemaakt voor het NOS journaal. Na droog nieuws over de aardbeving in Italië, verkiezingsitems, verzekeringen, koopkracht van ouderen en Colombia was het hoog tijd voor een stukje onvervalste emo-TV. Pak de zakdoeken er maar bij, want Van Hoogstraten zet goed aan in deze reportage van afgelopen donderdag.

Het gaat over ‘de meest armzalige dierentuin ter wereld’, die nu helemaal is opgedoekt. De 15 laatste dieren zijn geëvacueerd. Naast een tijger ‘een paar aapjes (eentje zwanger), een pelikaan, twee stekelvarkens, reuzenschildpadden en nog zo wat’. “Laziz was de laatste tijger die Gaza nog had. Nu is ze op weg naar Zuid-Afrika.” Van Hoogstraten gaat verder: “De dierentuin van Khan Younis is leeg. Helemaal leeg. De eigenaar kan het aan het begin van de dag al nauwelijks bevatten”; waarna de eigenaar in beeld komt en zucht dat hij niet meer kan. Arme man. Arme dieren. Arm Gaza.

De reportage gaat door op deze kinderlijk-emotionele toon, waarbij steeds duidelijker wordt dat het niet zozeer om de arme dieren gaat, maar om via de arme dieren in hun slechte hokken het verhaal van het arme Gaza en het boze Israel nog eens te vertellen. “De dieren kwamen Gaza illegaal binnen via de smokkeltunnels, de aapjes in een zak met uien”, zo vertelt Van Hoogstraten terwijl ze op de vrachtwagen naast de kratten met dieren zit: “De uittocht is legaal, maar daarmee niet per se minder makkelijk [sic]”. De immense papierwinkel en bureaucratie worden gehekeld en dan komt de uitsmijter, dat waar het Van Hoogstraten eigenlijk om gaat: “Maar toch, zij gaan Gaza uit, op weg naar de vrijheid. Dat is voor de meeste mensen hier een droom”, waarna een Palestijn hetzelfde nog eens herhaalt: “Het is verdrietig. De dieren gaan weg, wij zitten vast”.

Een ‘uittocht’ als benaming voor het evacueren van een paar apen, schildpadden, een tijger en een pelikaan lijkt wat overdreven en doelbewust gekozen in dit verband. Ook de slotzin druipt van het effectbejag. Ja ja, lieve kijkers, de arme mensen in Gaza zitten daar nog steeds vast, want Israel houdt de grenzen potdicht. Nee, over de grens met Egypte en de tunnels die Egypte opblies en onder water zette hebben we het niet, en over Hamas al helemaal niet. Of de directeur van de dierentuin zo brandschoon is valt ook te betwijfelen, maar verpest nou niet dit mooie verhaal met deze zo mooie op de emotie spelende vergelijking. En een aap in een zak met uien, want Israel gunt die arme Gazanen natuurlijk geen eigen dierentuin, dat is toch prachtig? Overigens is het onzinnig te beweren dat de dieren hun vrijheid tegemoet gaan, want ze komen gewoon in andere dierentuinen in hokken terecht. Onder stukken betere omstandigheden, maar toch. De enige reden dat dit zo werd gezegd lijkt dan ook te zijn om een contrast te suggereren met de mensen die Gaza niet uit zouden kunnen.

Andere onderwerpen worden op een normale, zakelijke toon behandeld, zoals het akkoord van de Colombiaanse regering met de FARC, en politiek nieuws uit Nederland. Opvallend overigens dat in het achtuurjournaal het VN rapport over Jemen onvermeld bleef. In het late journaal kwam dit wel kort aan bod. Als gevolg van de burgeroorlog lijden volgens de VN ruim 7,5 miljoen inwoners aan ondervoeding en zijn drie miljoen mensen uit hun huizen verdreven. Sinds maart vorig jaar zijn bijna3800 mensen gedood. Dit zijn heel andere cijfers dan we uit Gaza gewend zijn, maar in Jemen zit geen NOS correspondent en worden geen slachtoffers getoond met hun verhaal, het blijft dus bij een kort en afstandelijk item. En over dierentuinen in andere landen in conflictgebieden horen we al helemaal nooit. Ik maak me geen enkele illusies over hoe het er daar uitziet, als ze er al zijn.

Het is niet de eerste keer dat de dierentuinen van Gaza (de strook telt er drie of vier) aandacht kregen in de media. De NOS had hier in 2015 ook al verschillende items over, zoals een over de ‘horrortaferelen‘ die in dezelfde dierentuin werden aangetroffen door dierenartsen van de organisatie Four Paws. In een filmpje krijgen we de details te zien. Onder het kopje ‘Wat ging er mis?’ lezen we vervolgens de werkelijke oorzaak: niet wanbeheer van een eigenaar die zonder verstand van dieren, laat staan een vergunning, een dierentuin begon in zijn eigen achtertuin en de dieren illegaal uit Egypte importeerde, nee, de oorzaak ligt natuurlijk bij Israel: “De gevechten tussen Israël en de Palestijnen in de Gazastrook barstten afgelopen zomer weer los. Daarbij vielen meer dan 2200 doden, vooral veel Palestijnen.”

Juist ja. Als Israel zoveel mensen heeft gedood, is het vast ook schuld aan uitgemergelde en verwaarloosde dieren, nietwaar? Never mind dat de NOS hier de cijfers van Palestijnse bronnen gebruikt, die later terecht werden betwist toen onverdachte media als de BBC meldden dat wel erg veel Palestijnse ‘burgerdoden’ jonge mannen waren. Zelfs Monique van Hoogstraten gaf na de oorlog toe dat Hamas propaganda bedreef en journalisten alleen te zien kregen wat men wilde laten zien.

Het is een trend om nieuws klein te maken en het verhaal van gewone mensen in beeld te brengen, maar dat mag niet verworden tot propaganda en sentimentaliteit. De ‘arme’ directeur van de dierentuin leek mij niet heel erg begaan met zijn dieren, hij miste vooral de inkomsten van de busladingen kinderen die erheen kwamen in de hoogtijdagen. Verder blonk het item vooral uit in zijn gebrek aan informatie. Wanneer is de dierentuin opgericht, hoeveel mensen werkten er, hadden die verstand van zaken, hoe stonden de Hamas autoriteiten hier tegenover, etc. etc. We komen het in de reportage niet te weten.

In een eerder filmpje liet de NOS nog zien hoe een andere dierentuin in Gaza kleine leeuwtjes verkocht aan willekeurige Gazanen, die ze in huis namen tussen hun eigen kinderen. Een trotse vader vertelt dat ze met zijn kinderen samen in huis wonen: “Ze eten en drinken in de kamer en slapen samen op een bed. Ze kunnen ook voetballen”. De directeur vertelt dat hij niet anders kon vanwege de slechte economische situatie. Dit lijkt een wat eerlijker verhaal over hoe men met dieren omgaat, al werd je van dit filmpje ook niet wijzer over de dierentuin en de organisatie ervan. Misschien is het beter als men eerst het grote nieuws op orde heeft en de achtergronden geeft die nodig zijn om een conflict, land en situatie een beetje te begrijpen, voordat men met sentimentele verhalen komt over de verkoop van leeuwtjes of de ‘uittocht’ van een tijger en een paar apen. Het conflict is zo al ingewikkeld genoeg. En als men graag dierenleed in het Midden-Oosten in beeld wil brengen, ligt het meer voor de hand eens aandacht te besteden aan de grote aantallen zwerfhonden en katten of aan de onverdoofde slacht.

Ratna Pelle

Bron: http://www.israel-palestina.info

Gaza: A Port Is No Panacea for Poverty

Author: avatar

A boat off the Gaza port. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Attributed to Albert Einstein.

Just when you thought that you could not possibly hear anything more preposterous on how to help resolve the conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs, somehow someone always manages to prove you wrong — and comes out with a policy proposal so glaringly absurd that it transcends what you  mistakenly believed was the pinnacle of imbecility.

Harebrained and hazardous

Disturbingly, precisely such a hopelessly hare-brained scheme is now being repeatedly bandied about by Israelis in positions of influence.

This is the idea of providing Gaza with what, in effect, will be a detachable civilian port under Israeli supervision , built on an off-shore artificial island, connected to the mainland by a bridge over 4 kilometers long, which can, according to its proponents, easily be disconnected should the Gazans “misbehave.”

Actually, this nonsensical notion has been around for quite some time. Indeed as early as 2011 the British daily, The Guardian, reported that Yisrael Katz, Israel’s minister for transport, was pursuing the idea, which he estimated would cost $10 billion and take about a decade to complete.

Lately, however, it has been raised with increasing frequency in the media, and publically endorsed by both government ministers and senior IDF brass.

Thus, earlier this year, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, currently Construction Minister, formerly head of Southern Command expressed his support for the idea in an interview with Bloomberg (March 1).

Just prior to that, Haaretz (February 24) reported that “Senior Israel Defense Forces officers are in favor in principle of a port for the Gaza Strip,” and just last week the Jerusalem Post (May 21) wrote: “High up within the defense establishment, some believe that the time has come for Israel to set up a civilian seaport for the Gaza Strip.”

Detachable port? Detached from reality!

Indeed, at a conference held this weekend in New York, Yisrael Katz, who now, in addition to his former transport portfolio, holds the newly created post of intelligence minister, reiterated his previous support for the construction of a port of Gaza on an artificial off-shore island: The off-shore project could provide Gaza with an economic and humanitarian gateway to the world without endangering Israeli security.”

This, of course, is demonstrably detached from reality — but more on that a little later.

I confess that the first time I heard of this appallingly absurd idea was in a private conversation several months ago with someone (whom I shall leave nameless) recently designated as a serious contender for the position of head of the Mossad, to replace previous director, Tamir Pardo.
I remember at the time being taken aback by an idea, so clearly ill-conceived and ill-fated, being promoted by someone so senior – but took (false) comfort in the belief that it was so wildly outlandish that it would never be given serious consideration by those in authority.

As it turns out, I was sadly mistaken — as this perilous proposal continues to enjoy sustained attention in the discourse.

Soldiers turned sociologists?

Perhaps most disturbing are the reports of the support the idea received from senior IDF officers – both past and present — and the rationale that this support appears based on. For typically, it has nothing to do with any military considerations or operational advantage Israel might gain from the provision of such port facilities to the terrorist-controlled enclave — but rather on a (highly questionable) assessment of socio-economic trends in Gaza, the ramifications this may have for the Gazan public, and how a port might allegedly address it.

Thus one well-informed correspondent on military affairs describes reasons that underpin that “rationale” for want of a better word: “Hamas, the argument goes, would be hard pressed to careen down the slope of a new war with Israel, even if it wanted to, if the Gazan economy were to begin to take off, enjoying imports and exports, allowing for jobs and income, and giving the civilian population something to lose. While there is no doubt that Hamas is responsible for Gaza’s dire economic state by insisting on jihad with Israel rather than investing in its people’s welfare, Israeli defense officials still feel that they can and should assist the Gazan people attain a better life.”

While some may find this professed concern for the welfare of enemy civilians both noble and a reflection of “enlightened self-interest,” in truth it portends ominous outcomes for Israel and Israelis.

For it is a position that is so diametrically at odds with past experience, and flies so directly in the face of the facts of recent decades that it is difficult to know what is more disturbing: Whether the supporters of the proposal really believe what they are saying; or whether they are saying it despite the fact that they don’t.

Reinforcing the rationale for terror

Of no less concern is that this position echoes the sentiments expressed by both Ministers Katz and Galant  that “The biggest danger to Israel is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza…If Gaza had the ability to bring ships, and goods, without posing a security problem, that is in everybody’s interest.”

For it is a message that strongly reinforces the rationale justifying terror, implying that it is largely economic privation that is the primary cause of the Judeocidal terror emanating from Gaza, and if the residents of that ill-fated strip were afforded greater prosperity, this would operate to stifle the motivation to perpetrate acts of terror.

This is a thesis that is wrong on virtually every level. Firstly, it is risible to believe that Hamas, that has deliberately put its own civilians in harm’s way, gives a hoot about their economic well-being. After all, if it has scant regard for their lives, why should their livelihood be of greater concern?

Indeed, it is far more likely that if the general economic situation were to improve, Hamas would coercively appropriate much of this new found wealth for its own belligerent needs — with prosperity thus making it more potent — not more pacific.

Perversely, perhaps a more effective, but heretically politically-incorrect, suggestion for removing Hamas would be to allow socio-economic conditions to deteriorate so drastically that the general populace would rise up against it, depose it and ensconce a hopefully more amenable regime, with greater sensitivity for its needs.

But I digress.

To suggest that by alleviating economic hardship, Israel could alleviate terror is, in effect, not only inverting the causal relationship between the two, but it also implies that the victim of terror is to blame for his attackers’ aggression against him. Little could be more counterproductive — and misleading for Israel.

Port no panacea for poverty 

Of course, as I have demonstrated at length elsewhere, the allegedly dire situation in Gaza is not the cause of the terror that emanates from it. It is the consequence of that terror. The onerous measures that Israel is compelled to undertake to ensure the safety of its citizens is not the reason for, but the result of that terror. If the latter were eliminated, there would be no need for the former — and far more rational solutions than a multi-billion dollar artificial island could be found to facilitate the flow of goods and people to and from Gaza.

Indeed, no great analytical acumen should be required to swiftly bring us to the conclusion that a port in Gaza will never be a panacea for the poverty of the population.

Hamas, and its other terrorist cohorts, are not burrowing tunnels because Gaza has no port. They are burrowing them despite the fact it does not have one.

After all, Gaza does have a modern port, under Israeli supervision, at its disposal barely 35 km. north of it, in Ashdod.

Under conditions of peace (or even credible non-belligerency), Ashdod can supply all Gaza’s supervised civilian needs, without squandering billions on a fanciful floating island port.

However, under conditions of on-going belligerency, even under the strictest Israeli supervision, there is no way — short of taking control of Gaza — that dual purpose material such as cement, fertilizer and steel will not be used for belligerent objectives.

“Hamas stealing 95% of civilian cement…”

The intensity of this problem — and the futility of a Gaza port as a means of solving, or even alleviating it, was vividly highlighted by a recent report in the International Business Times (May 26).

It cited the director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dr. Dore Gold, who speaking at the UN World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, revealed that Hamas has been siphoning off 95% of the cement transferred into the Gaza Strip intended to rebuild homes, so that it can use it for military purposes and tunnel construction. Gold told the conference: “From our own investigations we found that out of every 100 sacks of cement that come into the Gaza strip … only five or six are transferred to civilians.”

So, even if the island port were under tight inspection, how could Israel ensure that the building materials that went to construct the recently discovered tunnels would be used for more benign purposes? How could it ensure that steel was not being used to fabricate missiles and the means to launch them? Or fertilizers being diverted for the manufacture of explosives?

Moreover, one might also ask how, as opposed to the case of Ashdod port, is Israeli supervision to be maintained, and the safety of the Israeli personnel be ensured in the isolated off-shore port, should they — as is far from implausible — be set upon by a bloodthirsty local mob?

Humanitarian solution for humanitarian crisis 

The grave economic situation that plagues Gaza will not be alleviated by giving Gaza access to port facilities, which it, in principle, already has available to it.

As noted earlier, Israeli restrictions on the flow of goods are not the cause of Arab enmity, but the consequence thereof. The crippling unemployment, reportedly above 40%, will not be alleviated by transferring Israeli supervision from Ashdod and the Gaza border crossings to an off-shore islet.

There is soaring unemployment because any creative energies that might exist, are not channeled by those who rule Gaza toward productive/constructive goals, but into fomenting violence against the hated “Zionist entity.” A port will not change those realities.

Indeed, it is likely to exacerbate them.

The penury of the enclave is not due to lack of resources, but to the preferences and priorities of the brigands who govern it, and as events have shown, the only way Israel can determine who governs Gaza – and who does not – is by governing it itself.

Katz, Galant and IDF senior brass are , of course, right that Israel should defuse the brewing humanitarian crisis in Gaza – which is demonstrably the consequence of the ill-conceived two-state approach and misguided attempts to foist statehood on the Palestinian-Arabs.

But it is a humanitarian crisis that requires a genuine humanitarian solution: Generously funded humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population elsewhere, out of harm’s way, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region.

“Perhaps now would be a good time…

Indeed, there is no other approach – whether with a port or without it — that can:

• Provide a durable solution to the problem of Gaza;

• Eliminate the threat to Israel continually issuing from Gaza; and

• Preclude the need for Israel to “rule over another people.”

Indeed, as one appraisal of the port proposal in the Jewish Press (March 24)  concluded its critique: “Perhaps now would be a good time to put into action one of those programs that advocate paying local Arabs to [e]migrate to better places..”

Indeed, perhaps it is.

Bron: http://www.algemeiner.com

Amnesty geschokt door oorlogsmisdaden van Hamas

Tijdens het gewapende conflict tussen Israël en Gaza van vorig jaar heeft Hamas zich in eigen kring schuldig gemaakt aan schokkende oorlogsmisdaden, zegt Amnesty International. In een rapport schrijft de mensenrechtenorganisatie dat tientallen Palestijnen werden ontvoerd, gemarteld en doodgeschoten.

In veel gevallen zijn Palestijnen ervan beschuldigd dat ze samenwerkten met Israël, maar onder de slachtoffers waren ook leden van Fatah, de politieke tegenstander van Hamas, schrijft Amnesty.

In juli en augustus vorig jaar woedde er een gewapend conflict tussen Israël en Hamas. Israël nam met luchtaanvallen en bombardementen wraak voor raketbeschietingen vanuit Gaza op doelen in Israël.

Wrede behandeling

“In die periode hebben troepen van Hamas in Gaza zelf de fundamentele mensenrechten geschonden. Het martelen en wreed behandelen van gevangenen tijdens een gewapend conflict geldt als een oorlogsmisdaad”, zei Philip Luther, de directeur van de afdeling Midden-Oosten en Noord-Afrika van Amnesty International.

Luther noemt het schokkend dat Hamas de Israëlische militaire actie aangreep om op brute manier af te rekenen met politieke tegenstanders.

Leugen

Dat er alleen collaborateurs zijn geëxecuteerd, noemt Luther een leugen. Van de tientallen doodgeschoten Palestijnen zaten er zeker zestien al in een gevangenis van Hamas ver voordat de zomer-oorlog begon.

In het Amnesty-rapport wordt het lot van een aantal Palestijnen beschreven die werden ontvoerd, gemarteld en gedood. Dat gebeurde volgens de organisatie met instemming van de leiders van Hamas. “In plaats van gerechtigheid was er juist sprake van het aanmoedigen en faciliteren van deze oorlogsmisdaden”, zegt Amnesty International.

Bron: http://www.nos.nl

 

Israel, Gaza and “Proportionality”

By May 23, 2016 , 10:00 am

It appears that several major Palestinian terror groups have begun to prepare for mega-terror attacks on Israel.

The authoritative rules of war do not equate “proportionality” with how many people die in each side of a conflict. In war, no side is ever required to respond to aggression with only the equivalent measure of force. Rather, the obligations of proportionality require that no side employ any level of force that is greater than what is needed to achieve a legitimate political and operational objective.

Under pertinent international law, the use of one’s own people as “human shields” — because such firing from populated areas is intended to deter Israeli reprisals, or to elicit injuries to Palestinian civilians — represents a codified war crime. More specifically, this crime is known as “perfidy.” This is plainly an attempt to make the IDF appear murderous when it is compelled to retaliate, but it is simply a Palestinian manipulation of legal responsibility. Under law, those Arab residents who suffer from Israeli retaliations are incurring the consequences of their own government’s war crimes.

International law is not a suicide pact. Instead, it offers a universally binding body of rules and procedures that allows all states to act on behalf of their “inherent right of self-defense.”

Already, calls from various directions have begun to condemn Israel for its recent retaliatory strikes in self-defense at Gaza.[1] The carefully-rehearsed refrain is all-too familiar. Gazan terrorists fire rockets and mortars at Israel; then, the world calls upon the Israel Air Force (IAF) not to respond.

image: http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/BIN-OpEd-Experts-300×2501.png

Although Israel is plainly the victim in these ritualistic cycles of Arab terror and required Israeli retaliations, the “civilized world” usually comes to the defense of the victimizers. Inexplicably, in the European Union, and even sometimes with the current U.S. president, the Israeli response is reflexively, without thought, described as “excessive” or “disproportionate.”

Leaving aside the irony of President Obama’s evident sympathies here — nothing that Israel has done in its own defense even comes close to the indiscriminacy of recent U.S. operations in Afghanistan[2] — the condemnations are always unfounded. Plainly, Hamas and allied Arab terror groups deliberately fire their rockets from populated areas in Gaza at Israeli civilians. Under pertinent international law, this use of one’s own people as “human shields” — because such firing from populated areas is intended to deter Israeli reprisals, or to elicit injuries to Palestinian civilians — represents a codified war crime. More specifically, this crime is known as “perfidy.”

“Perfidy” is plainly an attempt to make the IDF appear murderous when it is compelled to retaliate, but it is always simply a Palestinian manipulation of true legal responsibility. Hamas’s intent might be to incriminate the Israelis as murderers of Gaza’s civilians. Legally, however, the net effect of Arab perfidy in Gaza is to free Israel of all responsibility for Arab harm, even if it is Israeli retaliatory fire that actually injures or kills the Gazan victims. Under law, those Arab residents who suffer from Israeli retaliations are incurring the consequences of their own government’s war crimes. Palestinian suffering, which we are surely about to see again in stepped-up, choreographed Arab propaganda videos, remains the direct result of a relentlessly cruel, insensitive, and criminal Hamas leadership.

Significant, too, although never really mentioned, is that this Hamas leadership, similar to the PA and Fatah leadership, often sits safely away from Gaza, tucked away inconspicuously in Qatar. For these markedly unheroic figures, “martyrdom” is allegedly always welcomed and revered, but only as long as this singular honor is actually conferred upon someone else.

Moreover, the authoritative rules of war do not equate “proportionality” with how many people die in each side of a conflict. In war, no side is ever required to respond to aggression with only the equivalent measure of force. Rather, the obligations of proportionality require that no side employ any level of force that is greater than what is needed to achieve a legitimate political and operational objective.

If the rule of proportionality were genuinely about an equivalent number of dead, America’s use of atomic weapons against Japanese civilians in August 1945 would represent the greatest single expression of “disproportionality” in human history.

It appears that several major Palestinian terror groups have begun to prepare for mega-terror attacks on Israel. Such attacks, possibly in cooperation with certain allied jihadist factions, could include chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Over time, especially if Iran, undeterred by the July 2015 Vienna Pact, should agree to transfer portions of its residual nuclear materials to terror groups, Israel could then have to face Palestinian-directed nuclear terrorism.

One message is clear. If Israel, pressured by outside forces, allows Palestinian terror from Gaza to continue unopposed, the state could become increasingly vulnerable to even greater forms of Arab aggression.

Also important to keep in mind is that nuclear terror assaults against Israel could be launched from trucks or ships, not only from rockets and missiles.

What about Israel’s active defenses? In its most recent defensive operations, Protective Edgeand Pillar of Defense, Israel accomplished an impressively high rate of “Iron Dome” interceptions against incoming rockets from Gaza. Still, it would be a mistake to extrapolate from any such relatively limited successes to the vastly more complex hazards of strategic danger from Iran. Should Iran “go nuclear” in ten years or sooner, that still recalcitrant Islamic regime could launch at Israel missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

image: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/pics/746.jpg

In its most recent defensive operations, Israel accomplished an impressively high rate of “Iron Dome” interceptions against incoming rockets from Gaza. Still, it would be a mistake to extrapolate from any such relatively limited successes to the vastly more complex hazards of strategic danger from Iran. (Image source: IDF)

Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military thinker, already understood — long before the nuclear age — that too great a reliance on defense is always misconceived. Today, Arrow, Israel’s core ballistic missile defense (BMD) interception system, would require a 100% rate success against offensive nuclear missiles. At the same time, such a rate is impossible to achieve, even if enhanced by Rafael’s new laser-based defenses. Israel must therefore continue to rely primarily on deterrence for existential nuclear threats.

Although unacknowledged, Israel has always been willing to keep its essential counterterrorism operations in Gaza consistent with the established rules of humanitarian international law. Palestinian violence, however, has remained in persistent violation of all accepted rules of engagement — even after Israel painfully “disengaged” from Gaza in 2005.

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority still speak indignantly of “the Occupation?” But where, precisely, is this “occupation?” After all their agitated umbrage about Israeli “disproportionality,” shouldn’t the Palestinians and their allies finally be able to answer that core question? There are no Israelis in Gaza.

International law is not a suicide pact. Instead, it offers a universally binding body of rules and procedures that allows all states to act on behalf of their “inherent right of self-defense.”[3]When terrorists groups such as Hamas openly celebrate the “martyrdom” of Palestinian children, and when Hamas leaders unhesitatingly seek their own religious redemption through the mass-murder of Jewish children, unfortunately these terrorists retain no legal right to demand sanctuary.

In response to endless terror attacks from Gaza, Israel, with countless leaflets, phone calls, “knocks on the roof,” and other warnings to its attackers, has been acting with an operational restraint unequaled by any other nation and according to binding rules of war. In these obligatory acts of self-defense there has not yet been the slightest evidence of disproportionality.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute

About the Author

Louis_Renes_Beres

Louis René Beres lectures and publishes widely on matters of terrorism, strategy and international law. The author of several early books on nuclear war and nuclear terrorism, he is closely involved with Israeli security issues, and is Chair of “Project Daniel,” a group advising Israel’s Prime Minister on existential nuclear questions. Professor Beres’ most recent articles have appeared in International Security (Harvard), and in the Policy Paper series of the Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel). His opinion columns appear in such major newspapers as The New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Indianapolis Star, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz (Israel).

Bron: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

UN admits Hamas stole cement in Gaza

Middle East Eye reports:

Israel said late on Sunday it was lifting a ban imposed last month on private imports of cement to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

More than 1.2 million tonnes of construction materials have entered Gaza since the mechanism was set up in 2014, much of it for war reconstruction. According to an Israeli official, 80 truckloads of cement enter Gaza weekly, each carrying 40 tonnes.

The ban was imposed in early April, with Israel accusing Imad al-Baz, deputy director of the Hamas economy ministry, of diverting supplies.

“In accordance with the security assessment and the understandings reached with the international community, as of today Sunday May 22 the re-entry of cement into Gaza has been approved,” said a statement from the government body responsible for implementing policies in the Palestinian territories, COGAT.

“The exploitation by Hamas is a severe violation of the construction mechanism and the agreement between COGAT, the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations,” said Sunday’s English-language statement, in response to an AFP query.

Al-Baz has denied the allegation, saying that the imports were conducted in line with a UN-brokered Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, aimed at allowing for reconstruction after a devastating 2014 war with Israel.

In April, the UN implied that Hamas indeed was diverting cement:

Deliberations between Israeli and UN officials, including Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, yielded an agreement to allow cement to be imported anew. Stipulations included al-Baz’s dismissal and an increase in the number of Palestinian inspectors on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to the sources.

The information about al-Baz’s actions came to light via international actors taking part in the reconstruction effort in Gaza, COGAT said in April.

“We are disappointed that Hamas continues to harm and take advantage of the Palestinian population, only to advance the personal interests of the organization,” COGAT wrote on its Arabic-language Facebook page.

The United Nations condemned the “deviation of materials” in a statement released at the time, but refrained from naming Hamas as responsible.

“Those who seek to gain through the deviation of materials are stealing from their own people and adding to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza,” said Mladenov.

Haaretz says that this admission has of Hamas stealing cement has become a little more explicit:

Following a hiatus lasting some six weeks, Israel agreed to resume supplies to the private sector in Gaza after UN special envoy Nickolay Mladenov promised to ensure it doesn’t reach Hamas. One of the preventative steps involves stationing additional Palestinian inspectors on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

Mladenov also told Israel that the cement Hamas had stolen from private-sector contractors has been returned to them.

Whether we can trust any of this is another story. My impression is that Hamas doesn’t usually steal the cement for tunnels, rather Gaza homeowners are choosing to sell the cement that they receive on the black market rather than rebuild their homes, and Hamas is buying it. That is very difficult to stop.

Bron: http://www.elderofzion.blogspot.com

 

Spanning met Gaza loopt op

hamaslid met raket bij tunnelDe afgelopen week is er een escalatie van geweld te bemerken in de Gaza-regio. Vanuit de Gazastrook zijn meerdere raketten op Israel afgeschoten en Israel heeft hierop gereageerd met bombardementen op doelen die het als terroristische infrastructuur heeft aangemerkt. Ook vanmorgen nam de Israelische luchtmacht doelen van Hamas onder vuur na raketbeschietingen. Een overzicht.

Woensdag werden Israelische soldaten beschoten met mortieren vanuit de Gazastrook. Israelische tanks schoten terug. De Israelische legerwoordvoerder luitenant-kolonel Peter Lerner verklaarde diezelfde dag dat de mortieraanvallen vanuit de Gazastrook “de meest serieuze” escalatie van geweld is sinds de Gazaoorlog van 2014.
Donderdag bombardeerde het Israelische leger in reactie op het incident vier Hamas-doelwitten in de strook.
Vrijdagochtend was er een uitwisseling van geweervuur bij het grenshek van Gaza tussen Hamas en het Israelische leger. Het leger legde een tunnel bloot naar Israelisch grondgebied; de tweede binnen een maand. De tunnel zat op een diepte van ongeveer 26 meter.

Premier Netanyahu heeft zijn veiligheidskabinet bijeengeroepen om de escalatie van geweld te bespreken; ook generaal Gadi Eizenkot zal bij de vergadering aanwezig zijn.

Bron: http://www.cidi.nl

How to bring peace to Gaza

Hamas continues to prepare for war. It’s a matter of when, not if.

In the news this week was a report that Israel foiled an attempt to smuggle tons of ammonium chloride into Gaza. It can be used for rockets (in the production of ammonium perchlorate, an oxidizer used in rocket fuel), but it also might be used to make explosive materials for warheads, suicide belts, and more.

It’s also speculated that Israel’s recent breakthrough in tunnel detection technology might cause Hamas to accelerate its timetable and strike soon, in order to use the already-built tunnels before they are uncovered and lost.

All this makes me think about the overall problem of Hamas and how to deal with it. The simplest approach, crushing it with military force, has the major disadvantage of placing Israel in the position of needing to govern and provide services for the hostile population on the day after. The IDF would need to dedicate a great deal of manpower to creating a true army of occupation, which doubtless would immediately be faced with a violent insurgency.

The operation would also cause a great number of civilian deaths and destruction of property in Gaza, as well as casualties to IDF troops and danger to our own population in Hamas’ increasingly expanding rocket range. It would be spun as yet another ‘disproportionate’ act.

On the other hand, the present alternative of ‘mowing the grass’ every few years has similar risks, along with the possibility of a coordinated attack from Hamas and Hezbollah and a multi-front war.

But there is another strategy that we might adopt which could achieve the desired objective of eliminating the threat with few or zero civilian or military casualties, and without the need to take control of the population. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that Israel will choose it, and the reason is instructive.

So here is the strategy: Israel informs Hamas that if it does not turn over all of its weapons and ammunition with the exception of small arms needed for normal police operations, disband its army, provide a complete map of its tunnel system and the locations of its rocket launchers and command and control centers, we will impose a realsiege on Gaza (as opposed to the limitations on military-use imports they call a siege).

We will turn off electricity, water, internet and phone service, and close the border crossings to the trucks that bring supplies.

All Hamas would need do to end the siege would be to demonstrate adherence to a timetable for meeting our demands that we will provide. It can keep its war-criminal leaders and control of the territory. In fact, if it did follow the timetable, many restrictions that are now in place (like on building materials) could be lifted.

If Hamas agrees, nobody in Gaza needs to miss one meal or one episode of Arab Idol. If it does not agree, then any resultant suffering will be entirely its fault.

This is a completely peaceful way of ending the dispute. It is a program to improve the lives of Gazans (and Israelis), and increase stability in the region. Not only that, but there is no intention to interfere with Palestinian self-rule, just to stop their aggression.

Given the fact that Israel has the military capability to turn Gaza into a depopulated wasteland, this peaceful alternative to war should be welcomed in the halls of the UN, the EU and the White House, where peace is worshipped above all.

But if we were to do this there would be howls of protest from the ‘civilized’ world (and also the less civilized part). “Collective punishment! What about the children?” And so on. Ban Ki Moon and Barack Obama would demand an immediate end to the barbaric policy. The pages of Ha’aretz would be splashed with the furious words of Amira Hass and Gideon Levy.

The 1907 Hague regulations state that “No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible.” A good argument can be made that the residents of Gaza, who overwhelmingly voted for Hamas in the last Palestinian election, are “jointly and severally responsible.”

Sieges have been a part of warfare since ancient times, although usually the results of a successful one have been tragic for the losers. In 1948, Arab forces, including the British-commanded Arab Legion, blockaded Jerusalem, cutting off supplies of food and ultimately water. The Jews of the Old City were under siege (and sniper fire) for months, until they surrendered on May 29 and were expelled from their homes. They would have been massacred by local Arabs if the Legion’s British officers hadn’t prevented it. During the 19-year illegal occupation that followed, the Jordanians repurposed synagogues as stables and desecrated Jewish graves, using headstones to pave urinals. There were no war crimes prosecutions against the Arabs.

Since then moral sensibilities have changed even further, in such a way as to empower those defined as ‘oppressed’ to violate accepted laws of war (such as the prohibition on deliberate attacks on civilians and the use of human shields), while forcing supposed ‘oppressors’ to hew to ever more strict standards of behavior. The playing field has been tilted against the West in favor of those who assume the mantle of the colonized, oppressed, “people of color.”

No group has done this better than the “Palestinians.” Nowhere has this phenomenon been more striking than in relation to Israel’s repetitive wars against terrorist militias. So it is hard to imagine that the hypocrites of the West would sit still for Israel’s use of the siege tactic against Hamas. The next round of warfare with Hamas seems unavoidable.

It’s ironic that a system intended to reduce the suffering of noncombatants in war will have the effect of making it worse.

Bron: http://www.abuyehuda.com

 

Hamas Official Slams Group, Says It Is Responsible for Dire Situation in Gaza

JERUSALEM – A senior Hamas official recently issued a strong criticism of his movement, saying it is responsible for the dire conditions of life in the Gaza Strip.

Ahmed Yousef, formerly an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, who served as Hamas prime minister in the Strip, wrote in a column published over the weekend that Hamas preachers are using their podiums in mosques to make statements that have no meaning, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post.

Yousef called upon the preachers to “live the bitter reality and stop deluding people that we are living in a reality of a utopia.”

“Everyone is shocked because of the reality we are living in and people don’t stop talking about the pain and tragedy,” the Hamas official was quoted by the Post as saying.

Hamas rulers, Yousef charged, have failed to improve living conditions in Gaza.

“We have waited 10 years to see the Virtuous City that some promised us,” he said, referring to Hamas’s decade-old control of Gaza following its overthrow of the Palestinian Authority. “But unfortunately, conditions have worsened and the poor have become even more poor.

“We have terrified students, who were dreaming of getting a job, offering them a bleak future. We drove these students to ride boats of death in the hope of living.”

Yousef’s last comment referred to the many Palestinians who have tried to flee the Gaza Strip aboard smugglers’ boats, hoping to reach Europe.

Bron: http://www.breitbart.com