I woke up a few mornings ago to see that prominent Hamas armed wing leader Ahmed Al-Jaabari had been assassinated when an Israeli missile hit his car in the Gaza strip. Blammo. This has come after at least a week of escalation in violence between Israel and Gaza militants that had seen an increase in rockets being fired into Israel and then retaliation by Israel. Hamas has a missile problem. They like to randomly fire these things into Israel with seeming no rhyme or reason and with no particular destination. Sometimes it is in retaliation, sometimes it is for....I have no clue what reason.
Anyway, since then, of course, all hell has broken loose, with rockets being fired wildly into Israel, some reaching Tel Aviv and at least one reaching Jerusalem. Meanwhile, in Gaza, Israel has bombed the snot out of several hundred targets, which they claim are key militant sites which, for the most part, I tend to believe. However, clearly the population of Gaza are getting the brunt of the destruction with at least 16 dead and a hundred injured. Seems not all of the bombs are hitting their mark, and/or the dense population of the strip means that injury and death is unavoidable. If Israel is, for some ridiculously stupid reason, intentionally targeting civilians, then clearly they are idiots. I don't believe however that this is what they are doing. Regardless, people in Gaza are dying and being injured and it is a sad, sad situation. At the same time, the Israeli death toll is at three. Of course it's not as high, but these deaths as well are very sad. The fact that anyone is dying here is unfortunate.
So all of this leads me to ask: Hamas and Islamic Jihad (and whatever other militant groups there are in Gaza), may I ask, how has firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel working out for you and the people of Gaza? At what point will you see that these rockets you insist on shooting off are suicidal? How many times must Gaza be struck by Israel before the point is made that the rockets achieve nothing? How many people must die? For some reason, there are those in Gaza and those who support Palestinians who believe that these rockets are justified and show strength and determination or some crazy thing. They are seen as an act of defense instead of what they really are which is an act of offense that leads to retaliation. And, when Israel does retaliate because rockets are fired at them, the world screams “Israel is attacking Gaza!” Well, no kidding! They are trying desperately to stop these rockets! You can’t fire rockets into Israel and expect no response. Whether you like it or not, Israel can outgun you! Be reasonable!
The common argument is that these rockets are just small, crude devices and Israel is showing disproportionate force. The answer is, don’t fire rockets! There seems to be an implication that Israel should just accept rockets being fired into it because, meh, they aren't that big of a deal. That is completely unrealistic. There are those who say that Gaza has been treated like a concentration camp and that their grip on power over the strip is inhumane. Yes, I can see that. However, the grip tightened significantly, and understandably, when Hamas took over power of the strip. Hamas has virtually dedicated itself to the destruction of Israel. Can people not see the connection here? Again, what is Israel to do? At what point will people see that Hamas is not helping Palestinians as a whole in any way shape or form. They are not offering security, that’s for sure. They are not offering a better life for the people of Gaza. They are offering war and destruction. And for all the talk of Israel’s iron grip, there is little mention of the grip Hamas has over its people. Somehow, Hamas gets a free ride in how it treats it's own citizens at times and the way it has dealt with Fatah, it's rival in the fight over control of Palestinians. Their actions against their own citizens, such as a heavy crackdown not long ago against protesters in Gaza that dared to call for peace and reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah makes me scratch my head at how anyone can not see that Hamas are a bunch of dicks!
Am I a firm supporter of Israel? No. I do support its existence. I do see it as an independent country. I see Israel as a move by Jews to have an independent state where they were no longer at the mercy of the rest of the world, including the Muslim world. It seems that as long as Jews were under Muslim control, paid their taxes to their overlords and knew their place everything was cool. But when Jews said "enough is enough" and declared independence, that's wasn't cool. The fact is, many Jews have also been expelled from "Arab" lands, having their property taken and being sent off, generally as refugees to Israel. Over 50 percent of the population of Israel are Jewish refugees pushed out of "Arab" lands. This seems to be forgotten for some bizarre, strange reason.
But at the same time, I believe that Israel has done many wrongs over the years that are intolerable and disgusting. Israel is no angel that is for sure! In the saga of Israel/Palestine, there truly are two sides doing ridiculous, horrible things. But for Gaza, I believe strongly that the answer to progress is to get rid of Hamas, get rid of Islamic Jihad, get rid of rockets and work on becoming a state that Israel can live beside peacefully, like it does with most of its other neighbours. At the same time, Israel has a responsibility to stop expanding beyond its borders and to not be quite as heavy handed as they can sometimes be. It would be nice to see the blockade and sanctions against Gaza lifted, but how can they be as long as Hamas is determined to destroy Israel? At the same time, should all in the strip be forced to live in an intolerable state because of Hamas? Can Israel afford to lift the blockade? Can Israel afford not too as public opinion sways against it?
I have little faith that we will see peace in the Middle East anytime soon. Divisions are so deep, polarized and steeped in a cycle of violence that it is entrenched in the societies and cultures. Both sides in the Israel/Palestine situation are stubborn and hot headed. There are solutions. I believe I have presented a few. There, however, is much more to do beyond that. But, as long as rockets are being shot off into Israel indiscriminately and Hamas is in power, there is little hope of peace, little room for negotiation. It’s time for Gaza and Palestinians to step back and rethink their futile strategy. Then, hopefully, life can improve for Palestinians.