By Shimon Z. Klein

The siege on Gaza continues. Gaza has become an overcrowded prison – a boiling pressure cooker on the verge of exploding. Gaza is choked by Israel and now by Egypt as well. There is an element of “collective punishment” while many innocent Gaza Palestinians are living in severe poverty and in squalor with no hope for a better future. How can we as Israelis ignore this tragic situation without a care or conscience?

The fault for the siege not being lifted must be laid on the doorstep of the Hamas regime! Hamas has no desire to recognize Israel’s right to exist or to negotiate with Israel. As far as they are concerned every terrorist action against Israel is justified in order to bring Israel’s destruction closer! They have stated this ad nauseam!

Israel has security needs that must not be underestimated. However does this justify the siege on Gaza? It will not weaken Hamas tyranny on Gaza. It will only strengthen it. As I mentioned before in a previous article, Hamas survives in a siege situation. Their freedom is not curtailed. Their leaders meet with their chief, Khaled Mashal in Syria – he who sets the tone and ideology of this terrorist, Islamist, fascist movement. He is “brave” – far from the Palestinian people, resident in his luxurious home in Damascus where he can spew out his demagogic hatred against Israel and the Jewish people. He is cruel, ruthless and does not intend to ever release Gilad Shalit as his ransom increases daily. In Gaza innocent Palestinians are trapped by his folly and fantasies of destroying Israel and the Jews.

While the siege continues, the evil Hamas regime is strengthened. The chances of a change in the Hamas regime are decreased. The economic situation in Gaza will worsen.

Whatever decision is taken on Gaza will have its risks and its problems.

However, from a long term point of view, it would be advantageous to both Israel and Gaza that the siege be lifted without compromising on the security needs of Israel. This would weaken Hamas in the long term. In this context, an international force as well as observers should be maintained on the borders of Gaza coordinating with the IDF. This would serve the purpose of side lining and weakening Hamas who are not accountable to their people as they are a terrorist group of Islamist fascists with its own hate agenda bolstered financially by the evil Ahmadinajad regime in Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Innocent Palestinians are entitled to basic human rights. These rights include the freedom of travel. Why should they be punished? Opposition to the Hamas regime ought to be encouraged.

The enemy of Hamas is prosperity and economic stability. If Palestinians in Gaza could be helped financially to become economically viable, this would go a long way in improving the desperate situation in Gaza and would be a start in the rehabilitation of Gaza which is more than overdue. While under siege, Gaza can never be rehabilitated and Hamas’s hand will only be strengthened in the long term. It will remain a vicious circle.

One of the severe tragedies of the siege is the fact that the Palestinian people resident in Gaza have very little access to humanitarian aid whether it is medical, food supplies and economic improvement. Israel claims that essential goods and humanitarian aid are coming into Gaza but the facts on the ground show that it is insufficient. The reason is crippling burocracy on both Israel and the Egyptian sides.

As we all know a terrible earthquake of disastrous dimensions occurred in Haiti resulting in the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of people as well as destruction of gigantic proportions. Israel, as always, responds generously by sending medical personnel and building a field hospital to treat the injured as efficiently as possible. Of course this is praiseworthy. As Israelis we are proud of the efficiency and achievements of Israel in its life saving mission and the fantastic field hospital Israel had built.

On the other hand, in Israel’s backyard conveniently forgotten is the chronic human tragedy in Gaza that nobody wishes to discuss.

Politics aside and Hamas aside, Israel could have made an effort to establish a field hospital there. It would of cost them far less and it would have helped a lot in alleviating the desperate health situation in Gaza. There are innocent Palestinians in Gaza who are suffering while Israel turns a blind eye. Hamas does not need Israel’s help and Israel owes these bloodthirsty terrorists nothing. They could be isolated in an army action preventing them from interfering with a massive humanitarian effort to improve the situation in Gaza. Hamas does not want humanitarian aid or improvement of conditions for Palestinian people resident in Gaza. They know that it world weaken their status amongst the Palestinian people. Israel by her behaviour is actually playing into the hands of Hamas. Hamas can only survive when the Palestinian people are facing inhuman hardships.

An old Zionist friend (who does not live in Israel but tours Israel frequently) wrote the following to me in anger:“You forget the daily humanitarian aid given to Gaza as we speak and please don’t forget the daily supplies during the war last year. Where is your sane and logical criticism of Hamas, what they do, and what their aims are? The two situations are not the same, nor are they comparable. Haiti doesn’t fire rockets at us, try to infiltrate and murder our women and children and doesn’t have as part of its constitution the destruction of Israel. If Hamas in Gaza didn’t want to kill us, I have no doubt Israel would do everything it can to help them build themselves up”.

However, we must differentiate between the evil Hamas regime in Gaza which is preventing aid from reaching the victims of the war as it does not serve their agenda. The children of Gaza are in a crisis and are not responsible for Hamas terror. They are conveniently forgotten and the suffering of innocent people there is overlooked by Israel while they get all the accolades for their praiseworthy actions of saving lives in Haiti. When it comes to basic humanitarian aid – this goes beyond politics even to the children of Gaza. We must never view all the residents of Gaza as terrorists and deny them the aid that they need. Israel is capable of helping these people in a massive humanitarian effort no less. The political situation of course is different – but what is the same and is the lowest common denominator that both Gaza and Haiti share and that is the immense human suffering. In the former the suffering was created by Hamas and Israel shares some responsibility, while the latter is a natural disaster of horrendous proportions.

It is very sad that a situation has been reached whereby Israel does overlook the suffering on its doorstep – barely an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. It is neither politics nor support of Hamas but simple humanitarian aid to those caught up in a war for which they were not responsible.

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