by Bassam Tawil
- The result of this UN report -- and all the previous reports -- only perpetuates the Palestinian problem. All the UN agencies condemn Israel, but no one ever helps the Palestinians. It is scandal of global proportions that the UN in general and UNRWA in particular -- as well as the EU -- ignore the hundreds of thousands of killed and maimed and the millions of refugees desperately in need of aid in the neighboring Arab countries. It hurts us because it gives Hamas moral legitimacy at the expense of the Palestinian Authority.
- Hamas wanted to use the national consensus government as a conduit to transfer funds from Qatar to the Gaza Strip, because the president of Egypt had closed the tunnels Hamas needed to smuggle arms and money into the Gaza Strip.
- The sad truth is that Hamas started the last war against Israel. The real question is, Why was all this necessary? Why did Hamas not use the billions it had received over the years to build what should have become the Singapore, or the Riviera, of the Middle East?
- It is no wonder the Israelis feel that if they withdraw from the West Bank, they -- and Jordan -- will have to contend not only with another Hamas-run state on their eastern border, but with ISIS on their border as well.
- Hamas, ignoring its damaged buildings in Gaza, clearly has sufficient funds (supplied by Qatar and Turkey) to rebuild its attack tunnels and replenish its rocket arsenal -- while it exports its terrorism to us on the West Bank, with the goal of toppling the Palestinian Authority. It remains unclear why Americans remain silent in the face of Qatar's continuing activity as a global terrorism-sponsoring state.
The Islamic world is currently marking the month of Ramadan with day-long fasts; during this time every Muslim must give a reckoning to Allah on the personal level, the familial level, the local level and the level of the nation of Islam. Like the Israelis, Palestinians are now taking stock of the year that has passed since the 50-day war between Hamas and Israel -- what the Israelis call "Operation Protective Edge," and Hamas calls "Operation Solid." The report of the commission that investigated the conflict, written by pro-Palestinian Prof. William Schabas and signed by Ms. Mary Davis, did not surprise anyone in Palestine.
Even before the report was published, we knew what it would say: every investigatory committee dealing with the Palestinian cause always sides against Israel, but never changes anything or influence the situation on the ground. As a Palestinian, I was glad the report made both Hamas and Israel equally responsible for the aggression, but to what avail? The result of this -- and all the previous reports -- only perpetuates the Palestinian problem.
All the UN agencies condemn Israel, but no one ever helps the Palestinians. UNRWA has its own reasons for not resolving the issue of the Palestinian refugees (it is nearly impossible to close down a jobs program) and it provides Hamas terrorists with convenient installations from which to attack Israel with rockets.
It is scandal of global proportions that the UN in general and UNRWA in particular -- as well as the EU -- ignore the hundreds of thousands of killed and maimed and the millions of refugees desperately in need of aid in neighboring Arab countries. Apparently Qatar has bought their leaders, as it bought the World Cup from the heads of FIFA.
The UN's Schabas-Davis Report is biased in favor of the Palestinians, which at first glance would seem to serve our interests, but in reality it hurts us, because it gives Hamas moral legitimacy at the expense of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Thus Hamas's popularity accelerates, so the various Palestinian factions will never be able to overcome their differences, resolve our internal issues and establish a state.
The sad truth is that Hamas started the last war against Israel. It began close to the time when Hamas and the Palestinian Authority had decided to establish a national consensus government. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas was willing to establish a government with Ismail Haniyeh's illegal de facto administration in the Gaza Strip, and conveniently to forget that in 2006, Hamas had thrown Fatah leaders and commanders from the roofs of the highest buildings in the Gaza Strip, expelled some and shot others.
Abbas's motives for establishing a national consensus government were honest. He wanted to be the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and to mend the deadly internal schism that had created two Palestinian states, one in the Gaza Strip and one in the West Bank. His motives were positive, but Hamas's were negative. Hamas wanted to use the national consensus government as a conduit to transfer funds from Qatar to the Gaza Strip, because the president of Egypt had closed the tunnels Hamas needed to smuggle arms and money into the Gaza Strip.
Thus, as soon as the national consensus government was established, the Gazans demanded that the PA transfer funds from Qatar to pay for the weapons and tunnels used to attack Israel, and to pay the blood money of its terrorist operatives and the bloated "administration" of its cronies.
Abbas agreed, but conditioned the transfer on using Palestinian Authority representatives as middlemen who would man checkpoints on the Gaza Strip's borders with Israel and Egypt. He assumed that in this way, the PA would be able gradually to return to control the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, Hamas rejected the proposal, and to this day Hamas refuses to allow any senior Palestinian Authority official to enter the Gaza Strip.
Part of the national consensus government agreement was that elections would be held within six months of its forming, but Hamas abducted three Jewish youths and murdered them to effect the release of Palestinians from Israeli jails, to gain more popularity and to take control of the elections in the West Bank.
Hamas also planned a putsch in the West Bank to kill Abbas in case its electoral plan failed, but its terror cells and their weapons were exposed by the Israelis in collaboration with the PA security forces, and the plot failed.
In response to Israel's actions after the three youths were murdered, Hamas initiated a barrage of rocket fire targeting Israeli towns and cities, and infiltrated squads of its terrorists into Israel through the tunnels under the Israel-Gaza border, and by sea, exploiting Gazan civilians as human shields.
The Israeli response to Hamas's attack was harsh and determined: more than 2,500 Gazans were killed, about half of them terrorist operatives, and the destruction wreaked upon the Gaza Strip and its infrastructure was unprecedented.
The money promised by the Arab states for Gaza's reconstruction never arrived, and the real question is: Why was all this necessary? And why did Hamas not use the billions it received over the years to build what should have become the Singapore, or the Riviera, of the Middle East?
It is therefore no wonder the Israelis feel that if they withdraw from the West Bank, they -- and Jordan -- will have to contend not only with another Hamas-run state on their eastern border, but with ISIS on their border as well. It is no secret that Hamas and ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula are presently menacing both Israel and Egypt.
Despite being in the middle of Ramadan, introspection or not, Hamas has evidently learned nothing from the past year. Hamas has stopped attacking Israel with rockets -- not only because it fears Israel's response, but because Israel allows food and cement to enter the Gaza Strip. Hamas and Israel are apparently are holding discussions for a long-term hudna [temporary cessation of hostilities]. However, discussions or not, Hamas, while ignoring its damaged buildings, clearly has sufficient funds to rebuild its attack tunnels and replenish its rocket arsenal -- while it exports its terrorism to us on the West Bank. It operates terrorist cells to attack Israeli civilians and to embroil the Palestinian Authority in another intifada, with the goal of toppling it. And Hamas does it all under the sanctimonious aegis of investigatory commissions that arrive from the clueless West, and end up justifying its actions.
Israeli security forces recently detained 80 Hamas terrorists in Nablus, in the West Bank. Shortly thereafter, the Palestinian preventive security forces detained 104 Hamas operatives and dismantled a giant Hamas network that had been planning to overthrow the Palestinian Authority, all funded by Qatar (again) and Turkey.
To this day, it is unclear why the Americans remain silent in the face of Qatar's continuing activity as a global terrorism-sponsoring state. Is it because an American military base is stationed there, or is there is some other reason?
During the war last summer, which took place during Ramadan as well, Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem, home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the holy sites of the other monotheistic religions. As a Muslim, I hang my head in shame when Palestinians claim "Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger" under the Israelis, when it is we who endanger it.
This year Ramadan is again rent by mutual Palestinian accusations, with senior Palestinian Authority security official Adnan Damiri claiming, logically, that Hamas wants to destroy the PA and collaborate with ISIS. Hamas spokesmen Musheir al-Masri and Izzat al-Rishq claim, on the other hand, that the Palestinian Authority collaborates with Israel and, during Ramadan, is "stabbing Hamas in the back."
Hamas spokesman Musheir al-Masri (left) says that Palestinian Authority collaborates with Israel and is "stabbing Hamas in the back." Senior Palestinian Authority security official Adnan Damiri (right) says that Hamas wants to destroy the PA and collaborate with ISIS.
Hamas's hypocrisy has gone beyond the confines not only of good taste, but of logic. While Hamas is currently in the process of discussing a hudna with Israel, Israel allows cement and other humanitarian merchandise to enter the Gaza Strip, and Hamas uses them to rebuild terrorist tunnels.
While Hamas's leaders are afraid to take direct action against Israel, they are trying to use Hamas and ISIS terrorists to destroy the West Bank, and then they have the nerve to accuse the Palestinian Authority of collaborating with the enemy.
Adnan Damiri was right: if we look around, it is clear that the only safe places in the Middle East are Israel and the occupied territories in the West Bank. We cannot allow ISIS to visit mass destruction on the Palestinians and destroy what we still have left in the West Bank.
Given the current situation, it is obvious why the Israelis are afraid to abandon their control over the border with Jordan, and why they trust only themselves. If they abandon the border with Jordan, millions of Palestinians, along with ISIS and Hamas operatives and other terrorists, will flood the West Bank and destroy both us and the Israelis.
Anyone who believes in international guarantees need only look at the massacres in the Arab states: these slaughters are carried out openly without anyone lifting a finger to stop them. The UN forces in the Golan Heights also do nothing to stop the massacre of Syrians, just as the UN forces in south Lebanon did nothing to prevent Hezbollah from rearming. In fact, about a week ago, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Maliki courageously referred to the collaboration of Hamas and ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula as part of the Muslim Brotherhood's war against the regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Do we really want to endanger the Jordanian Kingdom in the same way?
When we take stock this Ramadan, another surreal situation made its presence known. While Mahmoud Abbas and his followers are afraid to enter the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, Basel Ghattas, joined an international flotilla trying to break Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The blockade was put in place to keep weapons from entering the Gaza Strip by sea. The stupidity of Basel Ghattas, who swore allegiance to the Israeli Knesset, strengthens Hamas -- which would destroy the Palestinian Authority before it would destroy the Jews and the State of Israel. What was Ghattas thinking? Does he want to strengthen Hamas, which will mean the collapse of the PA in the West Bank and harm to Jordan -- all while Hamas and ISIS threaten the security of Egypt?
Meanwhile, the recent declaration of Saudi Arabia's Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal regarding open Saudi-Israel cooperation is a good beginning for a new alliance -- and there is no better time than Ramadan to do it.
Bassam Tawil is based in the Middle East.Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6126/western-scandals-middle-east
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.