Browsing Posts tagged Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this evening referred to the anticipated agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas:

“The Palestinian Authority needs to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas.  Peace with both is impossible because Hamas aspires to destroy the State of Israel and says so openly.   It fires missiles at our cities; it fires anti-tank rockets at our children.

I think that the very idea of this reconciliation shows the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and causes one to wonder if Hamas will seize control of Judea and Samaria like it seized control of the Gaza Strip.

I hope that the Palestinian Authority chooses correctly, i.e. that it chooses peace with Israel.  The choice is in its hands.”

On Tuesday evening on Highway 60, near Hebron, four Israeli civilians, one of whom was pregnant, were gunned down in their car in a hail of gunfire. “The vehicle was sprayed with dozens of bullets,” a paramedic at the scene told Israel’s Channel Two. “There were numerous shell casings around. We found four bodies and there was no chance whatsoever to help them; all we could do was to pronounce [their] death.”

The victims included two men, ages 25 and 40, along with two women of similar age. continue reading…

Gilad Shalit turns 24 tomorrow. It has been over four years since Gilad was kidnapped from Israel by Hamas. None of his family or even the International Red Cross has been permitted to see him since. Not for his birthday, nor even to provide for his most basic humanitarian needs as international law demands.

When Gilad was 11, he wrote a story called “When the Shark and the Fish first met.” The words of a small boy, a maritime allegory, have come to represent the entire conflict. In the video below, posted originally two years ago, a group of 11-year-olds from the Bronx read this story whose author was just like them when he wrote it, except that he hailed from Israel instead of New York.

While the terrorists who hold Gilad captive have taken away his freedom, they have not silenced his voice.

Unfortunately, the international community still has not spoken forcefully enough to secure Gilad’s release. While the world looks on, nothing has changed — four years since he was kidnapped, Gilad is still a hostage, Hamas still refuses to allow the Red Cross to visit him, and there is still no end in sight.

In a small Jerusalem café, I sat with Noam Shalit and tried to discuss his son, Gilad. I say tried because each time Noam, a soft-spoken, bespectacled man, began a sentence, the owner of the café rushed over with complimentary plates of humus, salads and desserts. Passersby, glimpsing Noam through the window, burst inside to embrace him. “We are with you,” they cried. “We will get our Gilad home.”

That our is the key to understanding the devotion that Israelis feel for Gilad Shalit. The Israel Defense Forces is a citizens’ army in which most young men serve for a minimum of three years, followed by several decades of reserve duty. Young women serve for at least two. Our soldiers are literally our parents, our siblings, our children. Israel is also a small country with few if any degrees of separation between families. Even those who have never met the Shalits know someone who has. And all of us have loved ones—a brother, a son—who could suffer the same ordeal that Gilad began four years ago today. continue reading…

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Albert Einstein once said.

Since 1993, successive governments, supported by the international community, have tried to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict using the flawed paradigm of land for peace. Each time, the same formula was attempted, but failed every time because of Arab recalcitrance. continue reading…

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Following the release of Israel’s updated policy on civilian goods entering Gaza,  “things that people are trying to bring in by flotilla you can bring in through the legitimate existing crossings, [so] do it that way” said Quartet Envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Israel is currently letting in all civilian goods enter Gaza, with the only outright banned items being weapons and explosive materials. The goal has always been to weaken Hamas but not to the detriment of the Palestinian people living in Gaza. The updated policy will come with a public, universal list of what is not allowed to fall into the hands of Hamas, which continues to mount rocket attacks at Israeli and Palestinian civilians. continue reading…

Over the past few months, Israel began easing restrictions on the flow of goods into Gaza. This was met with approval by UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon during his visit to the region. Israel’s policy towards the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is not stagnant and is always changing in response to regional security. Over this past weekend, the Israeli Cabinet voted to approve a number of measures which will create a much simpler policy towards the closure of Gaza.

The goal of the closure has always been to eliminate the flow of combatants and deny Hamas weaponry which it has, and will continue to use against Israelis and Palestinians. However, the updated policy will make the distinction between what is and what is not allowed into Gaza clearer. All goods, food products, medicine etc. will continue to enter Gaza with no restrictions. But rather than publish a list of what is allowed, the Israeli government has decided it will be simpler to have only a list of what is not allowed. This way, there is no confusion and the world can see that Israel has no intentions to deny Gazans needed goods. Again, everything that is not on the published list of banned materials (grenades and rifles etc.) will pass through any and all Israeli-operated crossings. continue reading…

The only ship that was violent was not carrying any aid. Of the six ships in the flotilla which announced their intentions to break Israel’s legal maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, five were redirected without incident. The one vessel, Turkish-operated Mavi Marmara, was the only ship which ambushed Israeli soldiers. Over the past 10 days, it has been obvious that the dozens of  “peace activists” came ready and eager for a violent skirmish and were thus anything but peace loving individuals.

After contents of the ship were unloaded, it has been discovered that the Mavi Marmara did not contain a single ounce of aid. Not one box of food or medicine for the people of Gaza. continue reading…

Airport security makes all travelers put their bags through the X-ray machines, remove their laptops from their cases and walk through the metal detectors. It doesn’t matter if you’re a diplomat, a nun or a peace activist.

So imagine being an airport-security worker faced with a man who refuses to be searched. He explains that he means no harm and is simply bringing gifts to his loved ones. Would you just let him through? What if he then assaults you or your staff, runs to his terminal and tries to board the plane. Would you let him? After all, he’s only bringing gifts.

From the time Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 until June 2007, the situation there improved. European inspectors and the Fatah governors of the Palestinian Authority worked together to inspect goods coming into Gaza. But that cooperation didn’t fit with Hamas’ objective of working to destroy Israel and build an Islamic theocracy in its place. Hamas violently took over Gaza, expelled the Europeans and kicked out or killed Fatah members. The thugs also explicitly announced that they planned to bring more weapons into Gaza to continue their attacks on Israel. continue reading…

The most recent ship carrying supplies to Gaza docked at the port of Ashdod on Saturday, bringing the total number of aid-carrying vessels to seven in the last week. Israel is delivering the goods aboard the ships using the same channels which 100 trucks full of aid enter Gaza daily.

Due to the fact that the thousands of tons of aid, including cement, must first be offloaded onto trucks from the boats, not all of the aid has been delivered yet. This process, which includes screening goods for weapons, takes time.  The maximum capacity for a truck is roughly 25 tons, so while only 45 trucks have been prepped and loaded, it is still a great amount of aid.

Unfortunately, Hamas is currently refusing entry to trucks which are waiting at the Kerem Shalom border crossing. As Hamas has a history of hijacking aid, it is vital that Israel is assured that construction materials are going to be used for peaceful, civilian purposes. To that end, we are working with the humanitarian organizations in Gaza that can insure that all cement, construction materials, and other aid will go to humanitarian projects.

The rumors that Israel is not letting in cement are categorically false. Our goal is to make sure the aid is distributed to the people. While distribution would normally be the role of the government, the “government” of Gaza is a terrorist organization whose declared mission is the destruction of the State of Israel. While we will not let Hamas build bunkers and military sites, we will also not allow the people of Gaza to go without adequate supplies. With our partners in the international community, we will make sure that the goods are distributed to the people of Gaza.

We are working as hard as we can to offload all supplies and send them to Gaza. Please stay tuned for future updates.