The argument is heard that just as Israel was provoked by Hamas, Hamas was provoked by Israel. Israel’s ferocious attack on Hamas in Gaza is not justified because Hamas had a just grievance. Hamas rocket fire into Israel was in response to Israel’s choking Gaza’s economy. Israel controlled Gaza’s borders and purposely deprived its residents of all but minimal food and fuel. Israel did this to generate popular resentment of Hamas, so that an uprising would topple the Hamas government. Hamas had no choice but to fight back. So runs the “Hamas was provoked” argument.
It doesn’t hold water. It yanks facts from context, it is ahistorical, it conveniently ignores all that preceded Israel’s attempt to choke Hamas, designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization. The sequence of events in Gaza since Israel’s withdrawal in August, 2005, demonstrates the argument for Hamas to be not only specious, but malicious.
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in August, 2005. Not only did Israel not attempt to defeat economic recovery in Gaza, Israel went out of her way to give it an initial boost. Israel left behind an extensive network of greenhouses.
Palestinians in Gaza destroyed them. Mark that as the first step in Gaza’s descent into economic crisis. Palestinian malice was so pure, its rage so blind, its self-interest so irrelevant, that it destroyed a first basis of its economic flowering.
It is true that Israel controlled the borders of Gaza after her withdrawal from the territory. The purpose of this, however, was not to choke off Gaza’s economy, but to choke off the import of weapons to be used against Israel. The import of all industrial and agricultural items was allowed by Israel — but not weapons. So what did the Palestinians in Gaza do? Not build an economy based on the industrial and agricultural imports that Israel freely allowed. Hamas built tunnels. Weapons-smuggling tunnels. Mark that as the second step in Gaza’s descent into economic crisis. Society building: ignored. Weapons smuggling: top priority.
Furthermore, after Hamas won electoral control of Gaza on Jan. 25, 2006, Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice forced Israel to relinquish control of Gaza’s border with Egypt. This facilitated still more arms smuggling by the Palestinians in Hamas-controlled Gaza. Point blank: It is false to say that Israel controlled Hamas’ borders when Israel controlled three of the territory’s borders, but not the fourth. Egypt controlled that. And because Egypt turned a blind eye to Hamas’ arms smuggling beneath Gaza’s border with Egypt, Israel did her best to keep arms from being smuggled across Gaza’s other borders.
That’s it: Israeli control of Gaza’s borders was a response to Hamas’ exploitation of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza to turn it into an armed, Islamic state dedicated to the destruction of Israel above all else, even its own economy. Hamas was not provoked. Quite the contrary. Hamas’ arms smuggling was the provocation. Then, on top of this provocation, Hamas fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel. The idea that Hamas was provoked leapfrogs the facts.
Bottom line: Hamas has been preparing for war, and waging war, from the day Israel withdrew from Gaza in August, 2005. Hamas wanted war — and Hamas got it. Spare us the emotion-laden spurious claims of “mutual provocation” and “economic starvation.” The economic starvation in Gaza began the day after Israel withdrew, when Palestinians destroyed greenhouses Israel left behind. The responsibility for the economic crisis in Gaza lies with Gaza brought on by Gazans.
As usual, the counter argument set forth by Palestinians ignores history, in this case, the short, three-and-a-half year history since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. The cause-and-effect since then reduces to this: Withdrawal was met with malice; vineyards and greenhouses were destroyed in favor of smuggling tunnels. Then, rocket fire into Israel was transmogrified into a narrative of “provocation.”
Israel is finally acting to put an end to this malice. May Israel succeed in destroying every weapon, and every weapon supply line, of Hamas. That is Israel’s goal — a sina qua non for normal life in southern Israel, and good reason for Iran and her other puppets, such as Hezbollah, to think twice.
All who object to Israel’s invasion should ask themselves: Do they want Iran controlling the Middle East?