Crocodile tears over Gaza violence

Israel has been left with no option but to retaliate after Hamas made it amply clear by its behavior that it had no genuine intention of returning to the cease-fire of 2012.

Hamas operatives in Gaza. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas operatives in Gaza.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Ordinary mortals like me must have been deeply disturbed at the loss of innocent lives in the Gaza Strip and Israel in the temporarily halted Israeli strike on terrorist Hamas infrastructure. I, however, wonder if those who matter in world politics today have ever cared at all. Contemporary history shows they are just shedding crocodile tears over the reports of recent deaths and destruction in the region. They have, as a matter of fact, conveniently ignored what Hamas, the root cause of the present conflict, has been preaching and practicing around ever since it came to control the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Hamas remains ever committed to its charter to destroy the entire Jewish state. Its doctrine of the muqawama (“resistance”) – fighting together with other Islamist politico-military outfits to destroy Israel—is intact. Deriving its sustenance from this fanatic ideology, Hamas has been firing rockets on the civilian population, Jewish and Muslim and others alike, in Israel. Middle East expert Eado Hecht finds that since 2007 Hamas has built a maze of underground concrete bunkers and tunnels underneath the residential areas of Gaza .
He says: “Their purpose is to enable the Hamas command structure to reside safely underground while their armed forces conduct a mobile defense against Israeli forces. Many of the tunnels are interconnected to enable traveling underground from one to the other with multiple camouflaged openings to emerge above ground in different locations (inside civilian houses, mosques, schools and other public buildings). This enables surprise attacks on the IDF units from different directions, allowing the attackers to then disappear again underground to emerge and attack somewhere else.” Hamas first used these tunnels during Operation Cast Lead through December 2008 to January 2009. After the failure of its rockets in inflicting any significant damage on Israeli towns, in November 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, Hamas decided to build a large offensive tunnel capability to infiltrate into Israeli villages within a few kilometers of the border and plant large bombs underneath these villages.
Media reports confirm that some of the regional players have been party to what Hamas has been up to. The movement has been part of a Muslim Brotherhood regional alliance financed by the reactionary Emirate of Qatar. Its leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh are having a great time in their mansions in Doha. In the recent past, the Qatari money helped the Al-Jazeera television channel to help the Brotherhood rise to power in Egypt and Tunisia. Ankara, ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood-associated AKP, also forged close links with Egypt’s then-Morsi government. It offered support to Muslim Brotherhood-kind militias in Syria too. When the Brotherhood was in power in Egypt (and Tunisia), Cairo provided Hamas with all kinds of aid. Pertinently, the reports add, Hamas was formerly closely aligned with Iran. The movement distanced itself from Iran-allied Syria when it supported the rebellion against the Assad regime.
The Israeli-Palestinian scenario could have been far better if the leading regional and international actors had been vigilant and not encouraged the terrorist group Hamas. Iran , Syria and now Qatar have been the obvious parties to Hamas activities. The notorious Hamas leaders are all sheltered in Qatar today and the latter has funded their program well. Ironically, Qatar continues to sit in the American lap.   
In the recent conflict Israel was left with no option but to retaliate after Hamas made it amply clear by its behavior that it had no genuine intention of returning to the cease-fire of 2012. Hamas continued firing its rockets after rejecting the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. It cared a fig for the humanitarian cease-fire initiated by the United Nation.
Will those who really want peace and development in Palestine be conscientious enough now to back Israel in its action against Hamas? Presently, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi alone seems to be following his conscience in the matter. His dispensation has recently dismantled the tunnel system long used by the rulers of Gaza to smuggle goods, money and weapons for their own benefit alone. Other actors in the region could follow suit. A Hamas-targeted military enterprise joined by various regional and international actors could be chalked out to minimize the casualties in the present situation. It is the right time to do so. Hamas seems to be in bad shape at the moment. Its ideological mentor the Muslim Brotherhood has been losing its clout very fast in the region. Why not strike the iron when it is hot ?  
The author is a senior Indian journalist based in New Delhi.