Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 29th anniversary of the founding of the Hamas movement, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip December 16, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Now that the Six Day War jubilee commemorations are over, it is time to mark another event that is integrally linked to that historic victory’s aftermath.
This week is the 10th anniversary of the bloody Hamas coup that enabled the creation of an Islamist, terrorist quasi- state on Israel’s southern border. It is an anniversary that few Gazans can celebrate.
On June 10, 2007, fighting between Hamas and Fatah began. Within days, Fatah had lost control of the Strip and Ismail Haniyeh became the effective leader of a new terrorist state in the Middle East.
Since those five days of Palestinian civil war resulted in the separation of the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority in the West Bank from the Hamas regime of Gaza, Hamas has forced its people to suffer several destructive wars with Israel. It continues to prepare for another conflict in the deluded hope of vanquishing the IDF.
It had alternatives. When Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 it left behind millions of dollars’ worth of hothouses that could have been used to grow produce. Instead they were used to grow rockets and roadside bombs and to hide entrances to cross-border attack tunnels into Israel.
Due to this continued focus on terrorism, Hamas has succeeded in achieving the highest unemployment rate in the world for a population that has electricity for only a few hours a day and lacks a regular supply of drinking water.
Hamas has used its 10-year rule to turn Gaza into the very prison camp its supporters accuse Israel of running.
Instead of using the foreign aid funds that support its rule to build homes to replace those destroyed in the 2014 war it provoked with Israel, the terrorist leadership diverts essential construction materials to rebuilding its network of attack tunnels for another pointless round, in an apparent attempt to divert public attention from its abuse of power.
Hamas shows off underground Gaza tunnels in video
Hamas is essentially holding its own people hostage, preventing an improvement of their lives by deciding to dedicate its resources and attention to destroying the Jewish state instead of to the prosperity of its people.
Israel, for its part, has warned the UN that Gaza is on the brink of either a water or an electricity crisis – or both.
The Independent reported recently that Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the IDF coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian territories, sent letters to the UN’s envoy for the Middle East peace process and others urging action to prevent the situation for civilians from deteriorating further. It was the second warning he issued in six months.
“Instead of worrying about the welfare of residents, Hamas is harming them and making it difficult for the international organization that worked hard to supply drinking water,” he wrote.
“Hamas must immediately provide needed electricity to operate the desalination plant for the good of residents, but instead the terrorist organization has chosen to send electricity to its terror tunnels and the homes of its leaders.”
Nevertheless, Israel continues to transfer hundreds of truckloads of supplies into Gaza daily even though it shouldn’t have to. Gaza shares a border with Egypt which should take responsibility for the Palestinians. The problem is that Cairo doesn’t want that headache.
An important indication that Hamas maintains its commitment to its declared goal of destroying Israel was the recent appointment of hard-core terrorist Yahya Sinwar as the Hamas warlord. A veteran of more than 20 years in Israeli prisons, Sinwar is a harsh enforcer of loyalty within the group and an unstinting enemy of Israel.
A decade after seizing Gaza, Hamas is a complete failure on all accounts. It doesn’t provide for its people and it doesn’t succeed in its sworn mission to destroy Israel.
Israel should not expect a change anytime soon. While it recently issued a revised policy document, it did not amend its charter: Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction.
What should change is the Arab world’s attitude toward Gaza. For the last 10 years, Arab states have stayed away from Gaza due to its volatility and an understanding that there is no good outcome there on the horizon.
Nevertheless, if they really care for the Palestinians and genuinely want to see a peace deal with Israel, they can start by working on changing Gaza. It’s been 10 years. We hope it’s not too late.
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