Escalation in Gaza

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


Those who have long dreamed of a Palestinian state need dream no longer. Hamas-ruled Gaza, while not internationally recognized as a state, is now a self-governing entity in every meaningful sense. On Tuesday it even had its first official visit, with full pomp and splendor, by a foreign head of state—the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

The emir announced he would be donating to Gaza an aid package reportedly worth as much as $400 million. Part of the aid package, reports the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, will be “a $150 million housing project…called Hamad City—after the Qatari emir.”

Israel has been preventing building materials from entering Gaza that Hamas could use for bunkers or other military purposes. So “in order to get around the Israeli blockade, Qatar plans to ship in the materials through the Egyptian border.”

In other words, the winds of the “Arab Spring” are clearly blowing here.

To say Qatar plays a double or even triple geopolitical game would not do justice to its versatility. It hosts a major U.S. airbase with thousands of troops. It is one of the main suppliers of the antiregime rebels in Syria. It also maintains close ties with that regime’s crucial ally, Shiite Iran.

At the same time, Qatar is a key ally of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and supported it in the Libyan, Tunisian, and Egyptian (as well as Syrian) uprisings. And that, from Israel’s standpoint, is where the “Arab Spring” comes in: whereas Hamas-ruled Gaza already posed a serious security problem for Israel, the possibility of Qatar and the new, Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt collaborating with Gaza against Israel is more sinister in its implications.

And all this while Iran remains Gaza’s main patron—but with growing competition from the Sunni-Islamist bloc.

In any case, Israelis who live near Gaza have not been celebrating the advent of the Gazan Palestinian state. On Tuesday night, as soon as Sheikh Hamad had left, Gaza launched a major rocket barrage at Israel.

True, it was part of an exchange of hostilities that began Tuesday morning when an Israeli company commander was seriously wounded by an explosive device along the Gaza border fence. But Tuesday evening’s barrage was the start of a dramatic escalation; by Wednesday evening the Palestinian state of Gaza had fired 80 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian communities, wounding five including two critically injured Thai workers, and smashing into seven homes.

In other words, Gaza—with the Iranian and Muslim Brotherhood blocs now vying to be its backer, and with a huge new aid package on the way—appeared to react with enthusiasm and confidence. As for Sderot, the town mentioned by President Obama in his debate with Mitt Romney on Monday, it was closed down like all the other nearby Israeli communities, children home from school and waiting with their parents for the next rocket siren.

As always, Israel faces no attractive options regarding Gaza. Operation Cast Lead of 2008-2009 inflicted heavy damage on Hamas, but it was able to recover even before gaining Qatar as a benefactor. Israel is loath to reoccupy the Strip with its teeming, hostile population. Continuing the status quo means—if not worse—recurrent rounds of hostilities like the present one and a harrowing life for Gaza-bordering Israelis.

On Wednesday evening it was reported that on Tuesday night, an arms factory in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum was bombed by four planes. Sources in Sudan claimed the factory belonged to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard—confirming earlier statements to that effect in Arab media.

Reports on Israeli TV also claimed the factory was Iranian and stressed the fact that Khartoum is slightly more distant from Israel than Natanz and Fordo, Iran’s nuclear-enrichment plants.

Did Israel have a way to retaliate against the Gaza escalation and give Iran a message without attacking Gaza itself? Israeli officials including Defense Minister Ehud Barak stayed mum, neither confirming nor denying that was the case.

What is clear, at any rate, is that with so many forces arrayed against it and constantly boosting their capacities, Israel cannot afford to stay passive much longer.

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  • posse101

    tough neighborhood with scuzzy vermin like this at your border. wake up America!! look at their picture on the top of this article. look into their eyes. that's all you need to know about these murdering pigs.

  • Terry

    The Emir can build 'em, and the IDF can knock 'em down. At some stage Israel will have to deal with these meinkoran scumbags. And I hope they see the smoke on the horizon in Tehran when Israel does deal with them. Am Yisroel Chai. Bye bye gaza.

    • johnnywoods

      And don`t forget Damascas.( Isa. 17:1).

  • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

    Obama could have easily persuaded the emir of Qatar not to give the 400 million to Hamas.

    And he should have done so if he cared the slightest about the Israelis in Sderot (the town in Southern Israel that attracts lots of the rocket fire of Hamas).

    Here is what Obama said about Sderot in the debate:

    "And then I went to the border town of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas and I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children's bedrooms."

    But when Obama says he has Israel's back, what he really means is that he has been stabbing Israel in the back.

    Something that American Jews should take into consideration.

    • posse101

      Dionissis,
      excellent point, and frankly i was disappointed Romney didn't jump on that and other obvious signs of Obama's neglect of Israel and his bending over backwards to cater to the despotic and America/Israel hating Arab countries of the Middle East. Newt would have nailed him (in a New York second)on that point and many, many others. so would Santorum and even Bachmann.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

        posse101

        I get the feeling that, for Obama, an empty room decorated with Stars of David would look like Room 101!

        I mean, Obama must be harboring really negative emotions about Israel.

        You are probably aware of what i'm going to say right now but it is worth it anyway: Obama was befriended by Rashid Khalidi, a Columbia University prof. that used to be a spokesman for the terrorist PLO.

        Well, hanging around with Jew haters tends to make one want to hang Jews, i guess.

        Here is a link of all the writings of prof. Martin Kramer (one of the best scholars on the Middle East) on Obama's relationship with the anti-Semite Khaledi:
        http://search.atomz.com/search?sp_q=khalidi&s

        • johnnywoods

          As time psses we are seeing Obummers "inner-Muslim" coming out.

      • Simcha Aliyah

        Giuliani would have done more. He did tell the sheik who offered millions to N.Y. to put the money where the sun don't shine.

    • Mary Sue

      of course Obama isn't going to do any such thing as persuade Qatar not to give Hamas money. It's a telling thing that Obama's brother George, the one he pretty much shuns, is Christian, while Barack is really cosy and close with the Muslim side of his Kenyan family. According to Walid Shoebat, Obama's "favorite uncle" is a wahhabist muslim extremist!

      Now, Michael Coren, who was interviewing Mr. Shoebat, believes that Obama is no more a Muslim than he is a Christian, his family connections are very worrying!

      • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

        Hello Mary Sue

        I don't know much about his family connections, but Obama's actions certainly belong to the Islamophile variety.

  • Indio Viejo

    With so much hostility in the neighborhood, what should Israel do in the Syrian situation? I believe it is in everyone’s interest to stoke the fires.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

      Indio Viejo

      Israel doesn't have to stoke the fires.

      Happily, the Syrians will keep on killing each other anyway for a long time.

      You made a really good point, one that is usually missed by the Press, that it is in both the West's and Israel's interest for that conflict to keep simmering.

      • Kufar Dawg

        I find myself wishing the Iran-Iraq war was still ongoing.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

          Kufar Dawg

          Now that you mention it, me too.

          We would have been spared the Iranian nuclear machinations, since they wouldn't have the time to build a bomb.

  • BS77

    Nothing new here…..war, war and more war…the gift that keeps on giving from those wonderful cuddly Gaza thugs. How many rockets were fired into Israel yesterday? Forty? Seventy? Who cares? However, if israel fired just one rocket into Gaza, oh how the leftist journalists would howl in rage!!!!

    • Kufar Dawg

      Don't the citizens of Israel have the right to defend themselves from islamofascist terrorism? The muslimes are trying to kill people w/these rockets and mortar rounds.

  • amused

    Dionissis says Obama could have easily persuaded Qatar from giving the Palestinians $ 400 million . Really ? Do you have an inside track on the situation ? We have bases in Qatar , Qatar is arming Syrian Rebels , how do you suppose that will be done ? The Saudis another of our duplicitous allies has been paying "grants " to the families of palestinian suicide bombers , yet they're on our side with the Iran issues. I suspect Dionissis that you are unaware that as much as the muslim sects slaughter and kill each other , that ALL of them find agreement on one issue -Israel and the Palestinians , Kuwait included -promote the palestinians and destroy Israel .

    • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

      amused

      "Dionissis says Obama could have easily persuaded Qatar from giving the Palestinians $ 400 million . Really ? Do you have an inside track on the situation" ?

      No, i don't have inside information.

      But if Obama demanded that no money be given to Hamas by Qatar, the emir would have obliged.. It's common sense not to go against the will of a USA President if he voices the demand seriously enough.

      Speculation in Israel has it that the grant to Hamas was done with Obama's blessings, because Obama wants Hamas as a partner in the peace process. Sounds pretty convincing to me.

      "I suspect Dionissis that you are unaware that as much as the muslim sects slaughter and kill each other , that ALL of them find agreement on one issue -Israel and the Palestinians , Kuwait included -promote the palestinians and destroy Israel".

      Of course i am aware that the Arab world hates the Jews.

      • Kufar Dawg

        I'd suggest a small correction to the last sentence: put muslim in place of Arab. After all, Judaism is officially outlawed in Indonesia, as it's not listed as one of the 5 government approved faiths.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

          Kufar Dawg

          True.

  • StoptheOccupation

    I condemn terrorism from Hamas, just I condemn it from the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). The difference is that the IOF has far more Palestinian blood on its hands than Hamas has Jewish blood. Also, Hamas is a group formed to resist the illegal Israeli occupation. But the most important thing to remember is that Israel has turned Gaza into a concentration camp, and the human rights situation there is appalling. Please watch this and support the BDS movement. Israel must be stopped. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArnYokaSe_w

    • Zionista

      that's only because Israel invests in protecting her citizens from savages while the PA does nothing – in fact, they like it when there are arab casualties so they can use it as propaganda. You're fooling nobody by being a sycophant for the BDS – a movement dedicated to one thing: demonizing the one Jewish nation

    • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

      Stoptheterrorism

      " the IOF has far more Palestinian blood on its hands than Hamas has Jewish blood".

      This is so because the Israeli Army is superior to the terrorists.

      And as far as the Palestinian civilian casualties are concerned, it is Hamas' fault in that it hides among them so as to use them as human shields.

      "Hamas is a group formed to resist the illegal Israeli occupation".

      In case you had bothered to read their charter, you would have seen that their aim is to destroy Israel.

      But even if its agenda were only to "liberate" the Palestinians, since when such an agenda justifies the targeting of children?

      "But the most important thing to remember is that Israel has turned Gaza into a concentration camp".

      Not really.

      In concentration camps people had to labor, and were exterminated.

      In Gaza, there has been only a blockade, one that does not allow terrorists to import rockets, or materials required to make rockets.

      As soon as Hamas stops the terrorism, the blockade will be lifted.

      "and the human rights situation there [in Gaza] is appalling"

      Indeed the human rights situation is terrible:

      Because Hamas, who has ABSOLUTE ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL over Gaza, suppresses dissidents, journalists (not to mention gay, women or religious minorities).

      There are NO Israelis in Gaza to suppress human rights since 2005, the year that Israel unilaterally surrendered Gaza to the Palestinians.

      But i guess that you don't really mind such details.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

      My deleted comment was not deleted by an administrator.

      It was immediately deleted as soon as i pressed the "submit comment" button.

      This happened because system filters (being computer programs) have no sense of irony.

      I just want to make sure that none of the readers thinks that i engaged in profanities or hate speech.

      • Drakken

        There is no such thing as hate speech, so you have nothing to opologize for.

    • Drakken

      Yes I agree Israel should stop screwing around with those effing islamic savages and level the bloody place, give Gaza a taste of Carthage. I really hope your there when they do so Darwin can give you your trophey. You and Rachel Corrie can enjoy your trip together. Side with islamic savages, perish with them with the wests compliments.

      • Kufar Dawg

        That would definitely, finally stop the rocket and mortar rounds from flying into Israel, but I wonder if an invasion, followed by forced, but compensated deportations might be more politically palatable?

    • maher

      The Arabs occupied peoples since the 7th century A.D. The nature of their rule never change: ethnic and religious cleansing. It still going on under our eyes.
      In 1925 the Chaldeans (non Arabs, non Muslims) were a majority in Iraq (British census); less than 1% today. Same for the Copts in Egypt,the Tamazights in Marocco, the Kabyles in Algeria and so on .The Jews were indigenous to the region 2,000 years before the Arab occupation, zero today..
      So you are lecturing us about what?
      The arabo-islamic world is a huge cesspool.

      • Kufar Dawg

        Anwar Shaikh wrote Islam, the Arab Imperialism that has pretty good argument that islam is nothing more than a vehicle for just that, Arab imperialism. Anwar Shaikh was a Pakistani muslime, who freely engaged in the slaughter of Hindus following the partition in '48'. He then moved to the UK and renounced islam for Hinduism for which he received slews of death threats.

    • Kufar Dawg

      LOL, a "concentration camp". Maroon.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Self defense is not terrorism. If your muslime brethren were to STOP, as in CEASE AND DESIST, their muslime pastime of firing rocket and mortar rounds into Israel w/o provocation Israel would have no reason to put the palesimians back in their place.

      Happy eternal Nakba DB!

  • benjabo

    PALESTINIAN’S ARE “INVENTED PEOPLE”
    Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security Fathi Hammad Slams Egypt over Fuel Shortage in Gaza Strip, and Says:
    "Half of the Palestinians Are Egyptians and the Other Half Are Saudis"
    Al-Hekma TV (Egypt) – March 23, 2012 – 03:09

    HIS VIDEO IS ON YOUTUBE
    “FATHI HAMMAD”
    Hamas official reveals where Palestinians came from
    "Half of the Palestinians Are Egyptians and the Other Half Are Saudis"
    Al-Hekma TV (Egypt) – March 23, 2012 – 03:09
    —————————-
    Another of his Video’s brags about Hamas using their own people for Human Shields

    If you should want to dispute what Fathi Hammad has said, please take it up with him, since he said it

    Hamas trains future terrorists in Kindergarten, several Videos are also on Youtube, showing their Gradation Classes as Terrorist’s of the future

    The bare basics:
    There is no Palestinian culture, language, nor cuisine. There has never been a land called "Palestine" ruled by "Palestinians."

  • Ghostwriter

    The majority of Palestinians are pretty anti-American as well as anti-Israeli. Those who support them should think long and hard BEFORE throwing ANY support behind them.

    • nina

      But those Americans who support them, are also anti American. So there is no dichotomy here.

  • Drakken

    Israel, how long are you going to sit there and take rocket and mortar fire and islamokazis before you do something about it, you can only turn the other cheek for so long before retribution is in order. Want to stop the islamomaniacs? Push that rats nest called Gaza into the sea and world opinion be damned for no other nation on earth would tolerate hostile savages firing into their terroritory. The retards in the west bank will get a reminder of what happens when you screw with you folks. Get a damn backbone and make it happen.

  • Kufar Dawg

    Good if the Qatari islamofascist tyrant is supporting Hamas then the US government doesn't need to be anymore. Personally I'd rather see US tax dollars burned then sent to support the islamofascist entity in Gaza.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    All of these phony Palestinians should be sent back to Egypt or Jordan, there is no truth
    in these people but lies built upon lies and hate that festers and lines the borders of
    the sewer they create by thier presense. It is understandable to feel sorry for the women
    and children but thier society is built on murder and hate from cradel to grave……….William

  • JAIME

    Who pays for the water, electricity, food, consumer products, building materials, health care of Gaza residents in Israeli facilities, cars, trucks spare partes, etc. Israel should set a date, let us say six moths, and stop all these services. Egypt can not provide these items to its population and would not be able to keep the current standard of living to the Gaza residents. Close the gates and throw away the keys.

  • BS77

    The ultimate oxymoron: The Peace Process. What a travesty.