SPECIAL REPORT- Updated January 6, 2009

With the blessing of Iran and Hizbollah, Hamas has turned Gaza into a theocratic nightmare.”

 “The Islamists would kill Jewish children anywhere in the world in revenge for Israel’s devastating assault.” 

By Alan Simons

JANUARY 5, 2009 –  In an article published last week in The Daily Telegraph (UK), written by Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Prosor reminds us that:

“In August 2005, Israel left Gaza. Every soldier was withdrawn. Every Jewish settlement was evacuated, in a process requiring 45,000 police and costing $2.5 billion. Politicians staked their reputations on a courageous step towards peace. They hoped Gaza could provide a blueprint of Palestinian autonomy, a precursor to a Palestinian state.

Tragically, Hamas chose violence, rejecting the chance to develop Gazan society and opting instead to attack ours. Missiles from Gaza have blighted the lives of Israeli civilians since 2001. The withdrawal should have brought calm, but 5,000 missiles and mortars have since rained down on Israel.”

He adds:

“As I write, Hizbollah flags flutter in the Kensington streets outside my Embassy. Agitators hail the Hamas leadership that created the crisis. In Gaza, protestors dissenting against Hamas face the death sentence. With the blessing of Iran and Hizbollah, Hamas has turned Gaza into a theocratic nightmare.

Al-Hayat last Wednesday reported Hamas’s new laws enforcing punishments of whipping for drinking, dismembering for theft, and executions for a host of ambiguous crimes. ‘Games of chance’ are also to be punished with the whip. Ironically, Hamas continues to gamble with Palestinian lives.

Hamas is committed to Islamism at its bloodiest, and Israel is not its only target. In June 2007 Hamas turned its weapons on its brethren, chasing the Palestinian Authority from Gaza. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 161 people died during the bloody coup, including 41 civilians. Brutality has characterised Hamas’s rule. In November 2007, seven demonstrators were killed, as Hamas police fired into an unarmed Fatah rally commemorating the death of Yasser Arafat. Last summer, Hamas killed 11 Fatah members as 200 more fled to Israel for safety. Yet while Hamas kills Palestinians, the megaphones remain mute.

500,000 Israelis live within range of Hamas’s missiles. The piercing warning siren dominates the daily routine in towns like Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod. Anywhere within 40km of Gaza, communities raise their children in bomb shelters. Israel cannot sit back while Hamas improves the size and range of its arsenal.

No democratic government in the world would tolerate this. No population would permit it. No army would allow an implacable foe to launch missiles at its citizens and improve its capabilities.”

Yet, the humanitarian trucks still continue to roll into Gaza from Israel.

As reported by BICOM:

Since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza for the period August 2005-December 2008, 5,769 identified rocket and mortar shell hits have been launched from Gaza into Israel.

Both the Grad and split engine Qassam 2 can strike over 12km, placing the cities of Ashkelon (population 110,000), Netivot (27,000), Sderot (23,000) and the other population centres in the western Negev within range.

This effectively places close to 190,000 Israeli citizens at risk, which in a country of 7,250,000 makes up about 2.6% of the population. Given the difference in population size, in the UK the equivalent would be 1,560,000 citizens.

45% of the rocket attacks have been fired on the southern Israeli city of Sderot.

Sderot has a population of 23,000, which is similar in the UK to Teesdale (24,900). In a country of 7,250,000, Sderot’s residents make up roughly 1/300 of Israel’s population. Given the difference in total population size, a comparable UK city would have a population of 190,000, such as Newcastle, Preston, or Derby.”

[In Canada: Thunder Bay 109,000;  USA: San Jose 940,000; France: Bordeaux 213,000;  Germany: Kalsruhe 277,500; Egypt: Kafr el-Dawwar 265,000;  Iran: Sabzevar 226,200 – jewishinfonews]

From 2001 to 2008, 8,455 identified rocket and mortar shell hits were launched from Gaza into Israel.

Yet, the humanitarian trucks still continue to roll into Gaza from Israel.

BICOM states:  “Since 2001 [to 2008], rocket and mortar shell fire has been directly responsible for the deaths of 24 Israelis and the wounding of 620. This statistic does not take into account the massive psychological cost borne by the 190,000 Israelis who live within striking range. With a population almost ten times that of Israel, the corresponding UK figures would be 240 killed and 6,200 wounded in a city the size of Newcastle [in the UK].

[In San Jose, California the corresponding figure would be over 25,000 wounded. – jewishinfonews]

90% of Sderot residents have experienced a Qassam falling on their street or one street adjacent. 30% of Sderot residents suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Children in Sderot exhibit higher levels of fear (62%), avoidance behaviour (50%), behavioural problems (22%), problems in school (28%), somatic (stress-related) problems (26%), regression (31%) and difficulty sleeping (47%) than any comparable Israeli city by population size and socio-economic demographics.”

Yet, the humanitarian trucks still continue to roll into Gaza from Israel.

Notwithstanding the frenetic media frenzy egged on by numerous negative NGOs, whose mandate is clearly to make sure they stay in business, Israel continues to have “ongoing contact with humanitarian agencies and enables the constant flow of goods and supplies into the strip,” including those from Arab states.

As already reported by jewishinfonews, last week three Qatari planes landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport carrying aid, to which one Arab paper said:  “This is an unprecedented and unusual step, as aid used to be transported to Gaza through Rafah Crossing and not through Ben Gurion Airport.” Egypt Daily News. January 1, 2009.

Since the beginning of operation in Gaza, up to January 2, 2009, BICOM reports:

335 truckloads of humanitarian aid (7,800 tons) have been transferred at the request of the international organisations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. Israel does not wish to see the humanitarian situation in the strip further deteriorating. Preparations are underway to facilitate further shipments expected to arrive in the coming days.

January 2, 2009:  Israel transferred 64 trucks carrying 1,530 tons of humanitarian aid (including basic foodstuffs, medicines and medical supplies, tents and generators) via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

January 1, 2009:  60 trucks, with approximately 1,360 tons of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and medication were conveyed through Kerem Shalom cargo terminal.

December 31, 2008:  93 truckloads carrying some 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and medications were transferred through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The World Food Programme notified the Israeli authorities that their food warehouses in the Gaza Strip are full, with a two-week supply, and they do not require further shipments.

The Nahal Oz fuel crossing remains closed due to continuing fire in the area.

Twelve Palestinians, including two children, were transferred to Israeli hospitals

December 30, 2008:  93 truckloads carrying 2,366 tons of humanitarian supplies as well as five ambulances donated by Turkey were transferred to the Gaza Strip. A Red Cross plane arrived with medical supplies for the hospital operating room. The aid included food and medicine provided by the World Food Programme, UNRWA, UNICEF, the ICRC, the World Health Organisation, Doctors without Borders, and Care International, as well as donations from Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey.

December 29, 2008:  63 trucks with 1,545 tons of humanitarian goods (food, medicines and medical supplies) were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing. Most of the aid was provided by the International Red Cross, UNRWA, Doctors without Borders, and Care International. Five ambulances from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Ramallah passed through, at the request of the International Red Cross (ICRC). 1,000 units of blood donated by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan were also delivered. Erez crossing: Four people (patients and their escorts), and ten international staff, including a pregnant employee of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and her Palestinian husband, left the Gaza Strip and crossed into Israel.

December 28, 2008:  At the request of international organisations (the International Red Cross, UNRWA, WFP) and of the Palestinian National Authority in Ramallah, 23 truckloads of humanitarian goods such as flour, medicines and medical supplies, were transferred via Kerem Shalom crossing.

However, the transfer of additional aid through the crossings is being delayed by the high risk of terrorist attacks on the crossings themselves. There is a long history of such attacks, including:

May 29, 2008:  a Palestinian bomber blew up an explosives-laden truck on the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing, causing substantial damage.

April 20, 2008:  Hamas gunmen wounded 13 Israeli soldiers in an assault with mortar shells, explosives-laden vehicles and gunfire against the Kerem Shalom crossing.

April 9, 2008:  Two Israeli civilian fuel truck drivers working at the Nahal Oz fuel depot – which supplies fuel to Gaza – were killed in an attack by Gaza militants.

Yet, the humanitarian trucks still continue to roll into Gaza from Israel.

Melanie Phillips, the respected British journalist, in an article published today in The Daily Mail (UK) headlined, “Yes, the war in Gaza is terrible. But the alternative was worse – for all of us,” explains it this way:

“What people find so hard to grasp is that Hamas actually wants to maximise the number of Palestinians who are killed because, as they boast: ‘We desire death as you desire life.’

Despite this fanaticism, many fear that Israel’s attack will merely create yet more suicide bombers. There is a grain of sense in this – but only a grain.

This is because every single act of self-defence against Islamist aggression is used as a recruiting sergeant for the Islamic holy war. So if this is allowed to dictate world responses, it follows that no one can ever defend themselves against Islamist rockets and bomb attacks – not just in Israel but in Afghanistan or against Al Qaeda anywhere.

Islamists such as Hamas are galvanised into battle by the perceived weakness of their victims, and are deterred only by implacable strength. That’s why the ferocity of suicide bomb attacks actually rises after peace initiatives. Gaza’s rocket barrage against Israel went up by 500 per cent after Israel ended its occupation.

And the 2000 Intifada which killed thousands of Israelis was the Palestinians’ response to being offered more than 90 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza for a state of their own.

What is so distressing is the desperate unfairness of so much Western reaction. Thus Israel is accused of causing a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, even though it is allowing hundreds of trucks of supplies through the crossing points – so that at one stage aid agencies in Gaza said their storehouses were full.

Few are aware that wounded Gazans – 65 per cent of whom voted for Hamas – are continuing to be treated in Israeli hospitals.

Nor are they aware that in a Gaza hospital, by contrast, Hamas shot dead five suspected Palestinian ‘collaborators’ – and murdered a further 30 elsewhere.”

Phillips adds:

“No other country on the planet has ever been expected to make suicidal concessions to its enemies even while they continue to try to destroy it. Yet that is what the world expects of Israel.

Now the British Government, among others, has called for an immediate ceasefire. But this would effectively mean victory for Hamas. Gordon Brown wouldn’t dream of calling for a ceasefire with Al Qaeda. So why the double standard where Israel is concerned?

Most important of all, this war is not actually about Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas is controlled by Iran. Unless Hamas is stopped, Iran’s growing influence in the region will be entrenched and put Britain and the West in even greater danger from Islamist aggression and blackmail.

Israel may or may not eventually manage to stop the Hamas rockets. But the Middle East conflict will not end until and unless the West comes to realise that Israel is in the frontline of the West’s own fight for survival, and starts properly defending the country struggling to defend civilisation instead of siding with those waging holy war against it.”

Yet, the humanitarian trucks still continue to roll into Gaza from Israel

And if you still have any doubt as to Hamas intentions, the co-founder of Hamas,  Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar- that’s Dr. as in medical doctor,  was quoted in The Times (UK) January 6 as saying:  “the Islamists would kill Jewish children anywhere in the world in revenge for Israel’s devastating assault.” 

Ron Prosor’s article can be read in its entirety at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/4045000/Hamas-is-the-obstacle-to-Middle-East-peace.html

Melanie Phillips’ article can be read in its entirety at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1105228/MELANIE-PHILLIPS-Yes-war-Gaza-terrible-But-alternative-worse–us.html

(Statistical data supplied by BICOM) http://www.bicom.org.uk


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