“Rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli cities must stop.” – Russian Foreign Minister.

JANUARY 22, 2008  –  Today’s strongly worded editorial in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper goes a long way to explain the justification as to why Israel briefly interupted the flow of fuel to power the Gaza plant and not as has been misinterpreted, cutting off power to the electric grid.

In fact, it has been reported that in Gaza City it was Hamas officials who shut down the territory’s only power plant.

Hamas, it would seem, is finally receiving  some harsh criticism.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged Hamas to stop missile attacks against Israeli cities.  “Rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli cities must stop.”

Hamas  responsible for the suffering of some 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip 

Abdel Rahman Rashed, a Saudi national serving as general manager of the pan-Arab Arabiya news channel, said Hamas was responsible for the suffering of some 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.  Rashed is regarded by many Arab journalists as an unofficial spokesman for the Saudi royal family.  And PA Information Minister Riad al-Malki said the latest crisis was the result of Hamas’s “insistence on creating an Islamic republic in the Gaza Strip.” (Jerusalem Post).

Here’s what the Globe and Mail had to say on the situation: 

Israel agreed Monday to allow diesel fuel and medicine into Gaza on a one-time basis, easing the blockade it imposed because of rocket attacks on Israel’s southern towns. This concession will not be enough to placate critics who had jumped all over the country earlier in the day, accusing it of exacting, in the words of European Union external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, a “collective punishment of the people of Gaza.” Nor will the gesture in any way encourage Hamas to order its thugs to rein in their attacks on civilian targets in Israel.

Never ones to let a good turn go unpunished, one of the terrorist group’s leaders, Mahmud Zahar, made as much clear yesterday, promising “to continue on the path of jihad and resistance, whatever the sacrifices and suffering, until victory or martyrdom.” The villains in the tawdry drama being played out at the expense of the impoverished and downtrodden Gazans should be obvious. But in case it’s not, here’s a hint: It’s not Israel.

Last week, 100 rockets rained down on Israel’s southern towns. Israel could have defended itself against the attacks launched by militants in Gaza by responding with a bombardment of its own, endangering civilians. It could have sent the Israeli Defence Forces into Gaza, endangering civilians. Instead, Israel opted to enforce a blockade of Gaza to put pressure on Hamas.

The strategy worked. On Thursday, 40 rockets were lobbed at Israel from Gaza. By Monday, only one rocket was fired. But the improved security comes at a price. Not only the EU but officials from the United Nations and other organizations have condemned the blockade. They accused Israel of risking the safety of Gazans as a result of mounting fuel and food shortages and power outages at hospitals. They demanded that fuel be flown to the one power plant in the Gaza Strip. In fact, the power Israel provides to Gaza through the electrical grid was never cut; the interruption was to the flow of fuel used to power that plant. As Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni aptly put it, “Israel is the only country in the world that supplies electricity to terror groups which in turn fire rockets at it.”

If the situation in Gaza is really as bad as some, including a spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, describe it – “a desperate humanitarian situation that continues to deteriorate alarmingly” – there is a simple way to end the misery. If life in Gaza is to return to normal – at least what passes for normal in the terrorist statelet – all Hamas needs to do is call off its dogs and end its attacks. As Ms. Livni said, this would change the situation in Gaza “in a minute.”

The truth is, Hamas prefers it the way it is.


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