There is a growing danger of a major escalation in violence occurring between Israel and Hamas. Hamas seems to be true to its foundation charter which states: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it …. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.” The organisation’s representatives in Iran have stated that the Dimona bomb is a warning that Hamas will launch more terror attacks in Israel.
Hamas is enjoying an increased popularity resulting from its recent successes, namely:
a. Its landslide election victory amongst the Palestinians
b. It’s well-planned takeover of Gaza
c. It’s equally well-planned destruction of the wall between Gaza and Egypt which humiliated both the Israelis and the Egyptians.
Now, after every IDF reprisal attack on Gaza, Hamas fires a barrage of rockets into Israel for several days. Israel has suffered casualties, including an 8-year old boy who has lost one leg and might lose the other. Palestinians have also been killed and injured. Israel has complained to the UN Security Council about the rocket attacks.The Egyptians have warned that any Palestinian crossing the border will have his legs broken, but they are maintaining dialogue with Hamas because the organisation has extensive influence in the Arab press. The Egyptians are afraid that Israel is trying to dump Gaza on them so that it becomes an Egyptian problem. They see Hamas as furthering that plan.
IDF reprisals on Gaza continue and attempts to assassinate Hamas leaders are being stepped up. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak stated that Israel aims to destroy Hamas in Gaza.
Israel is considering the possibility of allowing an international force in Gaza. But it is thought that countries would only agree to send troops if Gaza were stabilized through the demise of Hamas.
The spectre of a major Israeli military attack on Gaza looms. Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has survived the Winograd Report. Prior to that, political instability in Israel discouraged such an invasion. In addition there is the increase in Qassam attacks, the Dimona bomb and the Hamas threats of further terrorism. It is known that the IDF are making preparations. Obviously no sovereign state can sit by and allow its innocent citizens to be killed and maimed by attacks from adjoining territories. But such a military attack on Gaza would cause a great deal of bloodshed.
And yet, the constant vicious circle of attacks and reprisals will achieve nothing positive. If only Hamas, or the Gaza population, would realise that the attacks on Israel will not achieve their ideal purposes. Israel is not going away. On the other hand, Israel could seek to improve the lot of the Gazans by stopping the reduction of supply of electricity etc., and perhaps by opening the border under strict security controls. Could this undermine popular support for Hamas and force them to negotiate? Maybe Israel should remember that the amount of their exports to Palestinians is second only to their exports to the US.
Meanwhile, the Syrians have acquired more sophisticated missiles and other military hardware. Hezbollah has smuggled may Katyusha rockets into Southern Lebanon under the noses of the UN security forces.
1. For the population on both sides to become sickened by the vicious cycle of bloodshed and to press their leadership to negotiate.
2. For Hamas and the Gazan population to realise the attacks will not achieve the aim of removing Israel, but rather will continue to bring suffering upon themselves. 3. That Israel will take action to improve the lot of the people of Gaza so that a military strike on Gaza, and an increase in terrorism in Israel, might be avoided.