Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Israeli-Hamas Conflict - A Roundup

  • 12-29-08: Hamas executes wounded Gazans charged with "collaborating with Israel":
    On Monday, Dr. Ashour was not the only official in charge. Armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes roamed the halls. Asked their function, they said it was to provide security. But there was internal bloodletting under way.

    In the fourth-floor orthopedic section, a woman in her late 20s asked a militant to let her see Saleh Hajoj, her 32-year-old husband. She was turned away and left the hospital. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Hajoj was carried out by young men pretending to transfer him to another ward. As he lay on the stretcher, he was shot in the left side of the head.

    Mr. Hajoj, like five others killed at the hospital this way in 24 hours, was accused of collaboration with Israel. He had been in the central prison awaiting trial by Hamas judges; when Israel destroyed the prison on Sunday he and the others were transferred to the hospital. But their trials were short-circuited.

  • 12-30-08: "A Fatah Friend Writes: I'm Supporting the Israeli Air Force" - Jeffrey Goldberg @ The Atlantic conveys the news by way of a Palestinian friend that Fatah has been assisting the Israelis by providing information on Hamas targets. (His friend is the subject of a book, Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror -- the memoir of an American-bred Zionist and his 15-year friendship with a Palestinian insurgent).

  • 01-01-09: The New York Times recently reported on Israel's targeting of tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle weapons, explosives and arms-making materials and the efforts the IDF is making to discriminate such tunnels from those used by Gazan civilians for economic purposes:
    Both Ahmeds are businessmen; they, too, have tunnels, through which they ship consumer goods like cigarettes and snacks, like the popular Egyptian potato chips called Chipsy and Crunchy, as well as larger products like generators, televisions and washing machines.

    “It’s the No. 1 economy here,” Hillal Ahmed said. “Dollars, pounds, shekels, it all comes from the tunnels.” He laughed and opened his wallet. “We work for dollars,” he said, showing four neatly folded $100 bills. ...

    Hamas, the residents said, controls other tunnels, conduits for guns, cement, explosives and fertilizers for explosives.

    Muhammad al-Zarb said that the Israelis somehow seemed to know which tunnels were commercial and which were run by Hamas, and that they seemed to be selective in their bombing. “If someone has a tunnel for Chipsy [snacks], it seems O.K.,” he said. “When a Hamas guy has a tunnel for weapons, they bomb it.”

  • 01-02-09: The Conflict's Root Cause (Powerline). Only one side of the present conflict is raising its youth from birth to hate -- to desire nothing less but mass murder.

  • 01-02-09: "Your mother is a whore! ... NUKE ISRAEL ... Go back to the ovens. You need a big oven. That is what you need ..." -- Pro-Hamas supporters enjoying their freedom of speech in the land of the free, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Powerline.

  • 01-05-09: Gaza priest's message at Mass for peace: 'We cry and nobody hears us', by Judith Sudilovsky. Catholic News Service:
    In a center pew of St. Catherine's [adjacent to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank], Victor Zoughbi knelt in prayer.

    He told Catholic News Service after Mass he was praying "not just for the people in Gaza but also for those in Tel Aviv. Every (Israeli) soldier going into Gaza now has a mother who is sitting glued to the television with her heart in her throat. He who truly has God in his heart loves everybody."

    Zoughbi said he did not understand the purpose of Hamas' rockets, given their inaccuracy, and he emphasized the fact that there is only one Palestinian government headed by Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. In June 2007, Hamas split with Abbas' Fatah movement and took control of the Gaza Strip. Abbas' government still controls the West Bank.

    "What are we fighting over -- for a piece of land? Take the land. In the end the land will swallow us all," he said, noting that, given the situation, he was not able to speak so freely with many of his friends and acquaintances lest his loyalty be called into question.

  • 01-05-09: US couple in Israel using tub to protect kids against Hamas missiles, by Judith Sudilovsky. Catholic News Service:
    JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Americans Robin and Matthew Umberger, both 32, have been putting their three children to sleep each night in the bathtub of their home in Beersheba, Israel, to protect them against incoming Palestinian missiles.

    As the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip expanded, the militant Islamic group Hamas' resolve to hit Israeli targets continued and expanded, and for the first time Beersheba, Israel's fourth-largest city, became a target for incoming rockets, mortars and missiles.

    "The worst part is you never know when or where one will fall so we stay inside the house all day," Matthew Umberger, who is originally from Thayer, Kan., told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview. "The kids were afraid of the sirens at first but they have gotten used to it. It has been stressful for the kids. We are all tired."

    Robin Umberger said she told her children, ages 1-8, that some "bad people" wanted to hurt others but that God was taking care of their family.

    "I emphasized that when they are frightened they should pray for the kids who are in Gaza who are in danger and whose situation is worse than ours. It is very sad," said Robin Umberger, originally from Oklahoma.


    Having experienced fear for his family for a few days, he said he can now begin to comprehend the experiences of Israelis in border communities like Sderot.

    "Your perspective changes a little when the missiles start landing in your backyard," he said.

  • 01-06-09: How the U.N. Perpetuates the 'Refugee' Problem, by Natan Sharansky:
    Of course, it is easy to blame Hamas. It is they, after all, who deliberately put their weapons caches in mosques, their rocket launchers in schoolyards, and their command centers in hospitals -- all with the explicit goal of maximizing the tragedy of an Israeli response.

    Yet Hamas is not the only Palestinian group at fault. In 2005, shortly after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, I met with the chief of staff to the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. My question to him: Now that we have uprooted thousands of Jews and empowered Gazans to be masters of their own fate, can we hope that within a year's time there will be fewer refugees in the camps? "Absolutely not," he said. "The refugees will be relocated only in the context of the final status [agreement]. How can we move them if we do not know where they will live? Maybe they will live in Israel."

    In withdrawing from Gaza, Israel made painful concessions for peace by forcibly removing Jews from their homes. And yet even the Palestinian Authority, the most moderate among Palestinian political groups, would not consider easing their own people's plight in the wake of Israel's compromise. This is because the suffering of the refugees is essential to their broader political struggle.

  • The Israeli Embassy in London has established a blog, Aid2Gaza "which aims to give as much information as possible on all the international aid being sent into Gaza."

  • 01-06-09: The Jerusalem Post reports that Hamas has set up an independent hospital in the Gaza Strip to treat its own wounded - and, according to Israeli estimates, is pilfering a significant portion of the medicine allowed into the Strip. Nonetheless, the Israeli Defense Ministry said it would continue faciliating the transfer of food and medical supplies to the people of Gaza.

  • 01-07-09: This past Friday, the Hamas television show Pioneers of Tomorrow (a child-indoctrination version of "Sesame Street") depicted the bunny Assoud dying in a Gaza hospital after an Israeli attack.

    Assaud the Jew-eating Bunny was introduced to Gazan children in February 2008:

    The Pioneers of Tomorrow children’s series produced by Palestinian group Hamas and made famous by a Mickey Mouse-looking character declaring jihad on Israel and the US, introduced Assud the Bunny.

    Assud - who said in his first episode that he would “get rid of the Jews, Allah willing, and… will eat them up” - replaced his brother, Nahoul the Bee, according to the translation from the Middle East Media Research Institute.

    [...]In an interview with the program’s host, a young girl purportedly named Saraa Barhoum, Assud talked about becoming martyrdom.

    "We are all martyrdom-seekers, are we not, Saraa?” Assud said on the show.

    Saraa said: “Of course we are. We are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of our homeland. We will sacrifice our souls and everything we own for the homeland."

    Assoud will join Farfour, Hamas' copycat version of Mickey Mouse, in Paradise. (Farfour was "martyred" by an Israeli on May 11, 2007).

    Yes, I wish I was joking.