Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Jim Shipley
Shipley Speaks 

The fire next time


Hamas won this one. The universal condemnation of Israel in almost every newspaper in the world; the thousands of people taking to the streets of major cities to protest the “senseless” killing of innocent civilians has made great fodder for the 24-hour news cycle.

Truth? Who cares about truth? Who cares to take the time to dissect the causes and the actual events on the ground? Blood and crying and mass destruction makes for great video. When people ask where is the video from Israel? Who wants to watch as the Iron Dome saved hundreds, maybe thousands of Jewish lives?

Look, the strain of anti-Semitism that runs so deep in Europe it can hardly contain itself in quiet times, finds the ideal outlet when the all-day news shows crying children with no context other than destruction and death.

Understand, Hamas and its offshoots have never stopped sending missiles into Israel. For years. Ask the citizens of Sderot which has received the brunt of these “skirmishes” to the point where JNF had to build an indoor playground for the children of the town.

Maybe it’s time again to look into the history of this sad strip of sand on the Mediterranean. At the end of World War I, the British had a “mandate” over all of what is now Israel and Jordan as well as parts of Egypt. When the British left in 1948, Gaza was supposedly under the Palestinian Authority. However, Egypt was in actual control with Egyptian troops and police on the ground.

A typical Egyptian tactic for keeping the peace was to leave up to five men hanging in the public square of Gaza City as a reminder as to who is really in charge. Israel took it in the 1967 war. When Begin and Sadat signed the peace accord in 1979, one of the main arguments was over Gaza. Sadat did not want it. Neither did Begin. As a part of the deal, Begin finally agreed to take Gaza—not as a part of Israel, but to leave a small military presence and allow the Palestinian Authority under Arafat to rule.

This resulted in a period of corruption and graft that makes old time Chicago and present day Russia look like paradise. Literally billions of dollars were stolen. Finally, in 2005, Sharon decided enough was enough and decided that all Jews should leave the Strip. This included a booming greenhouse fruit and vegetable business in Northern Gaza.

Israel left the greenhouses, the electrical systems, the planted fruits and vegetables ready for the Palestinians to take over and begin their new self-government with at least one thriving industry. Instead, Hamas, which took over the Strip after fighting the Palestinian Authority for control, destroyed every single greenhouse, stealing the machinery and electrical equipment.

All of the Jews left. Many not peaceably for understandable reasons. They relocated grudgingly, but they left. Israel does not want to go back. Egypt does not want to go back. That leaves this bleeding sore that is an incubator for terrorism and a tempting morsel for ISIS on their quest for a new caliphate.

What does Hamas demand? An end to the “blockade” of Gaza. “Blockade”? You mean the strict border security to prevent the Arab suicide bombers from walking across into Israel so they wouldn’t have to use the inconvenience of tunnels?

It is a basic tactic of urban warfare to hide and shoot from innocent civilian homes and alleyways. If your opponent has any of the milk of human kindness, he hesitates to shoot which is what the bad guys are hoping for. Our son was in the IDF during the first Lebanon war. His patrol was on an urban street and was fired upon. His buddy looked up at a window from which the gunfire was coming. He aimed, saw a child’s head pop up and lowered his gun. A sniper behind the child killed my son’s friend.

Gaza is only a warm up. Iran has packed a huge store of weapons including thousands of rockets in Lebanon. ISIS is the only extreme Muslim group to take and hold ground. Their immediate goal is to kill Christians and other Muslims in a reign of terror.

ISIS does not have the problem of financing, manpower or weaponry. They are a sophisticated movement with well-trained officers (most from Saddam’s army), money aplenty from the Iraqi banks they looted (mostly our taxpayer money). They are armed with American armor, left for them by the retreating Sunni members of the Iraqi army who decided that they do not have a dog in this fight.

So, it is a confusing confluence when you see ISIS with its 12th century philosophy using twitter and Facebook and websites to promote its values. Hamas? The basic philosophy, platform and operating procedure for Hamas is the destruction of the Jewish State. How do you negotiate yourself around that?


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