Feeding the hand that bites you: Reconsidering aid to a Gaza regime at war with Israel

During the second week of March, 2012, while the Gaza regime launched more than 300 aerial attacks against southern Israel, driving one million people to cower in shelters, Israel announced to the world that it was bolstering that same Gaza regime, dispatching 180 trucks filled with Israeli merchandise crossing into Gaza under fire, with Israel announced that that this massive amount of building materials were crossing into Gaza under fire.

In other words, Israel announced that it was facilitating the economic growth of an entity  in a full scale state of war with Israel, whose overt purpose is to overthrow the Jewish State.

To explain such an anomaly, Israeli Defense Ministry’s civil administration spokespeople repeated the mantra that Israel aids Gaza because it distinguishes between terrorist organizations and a civilian population in need

Yet such a distinction does not take into account that the all of Gaza is ruled by a terrorist organization, defined as a terrorist organization by all members of the Quartet that barters Middle East negotiations

While these gestures were designed to demonstrate that hostilities did not impede the transfer of humanitarian goods into Gaza. However, the merchandise, however, did not consist solely of such items as food and medical supplies.

After all, studies published by Israeli intelligence confirm that massive cement supplies to Gaza are used by the Gaza regime in its war against Israel.

See;”Reliable intelligence indicates that Hamas uses cement for military needs” http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/18091

In other words, Israel facilitates development of an entity in a state of war with Israel, as defined by Israel.

The Israeli business mentality would have you believe that Israeli investments  would produce grateful Arab support for the Jewish state.

Yet that is not what is going on here.

A case in point: During the summer of 2009, two seminal conferences took place in Bethlehem.

Our agency covered both conferences.

The first conference was convened by the Fatah its first gathering in more than twenty years, where Fatah, no longer a PLO in exile in Tunisia used the occasion to reiterate the renewal of the armed struggle to liberate Palestine, albeit in stages.

Israeli security cabinet minister, Z’ev Benyamin Begin, commented after that conference that the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority promotes a two stage solution – not a two state solution.

The second conference was an impressive gathering of Israeli and Palestinian Authority business people who promote business cooperation.

That Israel-PA business cooperation now produces more than 25 billion shekels in Israeli exports to the PA – a lucrative relationship for both sides – especially for those whose business interests will  net them a substantive profit.

At Israel-PA business conference, our correspondent  asked PA business people if they favored the conclusions of the other conference, which promoted the armed struggle to liberate Palestine.

The universal answer from PA business people, all of whom do business with Israel, was that they indeed supported the armed struggle to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, and that they could not see any contradiction between a war to liberate Palestine and a business like relationship, in the interim, with Israelis.

Israeli response to business with the PA is also filled with surprises

One day last December,  Israel Defense Ministry declared that schools in Gaza are breeding grounds for terrorists

Yet two days later, that same Israel Defense Ministry declared that it was facilitating the construction of more than 20 UNRWA schools in Gaza.

Wait a second. If the Israel Defense officials define schools in gaza as promoters of terror, why would Israel facilitate the building of these schools?

What is more, why does Israel allow building material to enter  Gaza when there is reason to believe that 1) not all building materials necessarily go to construction of schools, and 2) the Gaza economy-which is to say the Hamas economy-is indirectly enhanced in other ways by virtue of this material?

All the building materials come from Israel, and all cement for this construction emanate from Nesher, the Israeli corporation that controls 90% of the Israeli cement industry.

In early February, 2012. Israel’s Channel TEN TV reported on the practice at Nesher of employing former high-ranking officials of the Israeli Defense establishment and ex. politicians, including ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and ex-Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, to gain a foothold into the Palestinian cement market.

It may not be a coincidence that Olmert and Lipkin-Shahak lead the chorus of voices against any Israeli punitive actions against any aspect of the Gaza economy.

Yet Israel is responsible to its citizens to prevent the Gaza regime from launching more lethal attacks against Israel.

Israel could take that first step by bombing hundreds of tunnels that smuggle munitions into Gaza.

Israel could take a second step by stopping the monthly Brinks cash trucks into Gaza from Israel which Hamas uses to pay for those smuggled munitions.

But such sanctions would have an adverse effect on major Israeli corporations, especially NESHER as well as on the financial windfalls for Israelis connected to this lucrative trade.

The time has come for the decision makers of Israel to ask themselves: Do Israeli commercial interests override the  well being of Israel’s civilians?


There are consequences to feeding the hand that bites you.

About the Author
David Bedein, who grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Israel in 1970 at the age of 20, is an MSW community organizer by profession and an expereinced investigative journalist. In 1987 he established the Israel Resource News Agency, with offices at the Beit Agron Int’l Press Center in Jerusalem, where he also serves as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research. In 1991, Bedein was the special CNN middle east radio correspondent. Since 2001, Bedein has contributed features to the newspaper Makor Rishon. In 2006, Bedein became the foreign correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. He is the author of " The Genesis of the Palestinian Authority" and "ROADBLOCK TO PEACE- How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA policies reconsidered"and the director and producer of the numerous short films about UNRWA policy which can be located at: http://tinyurl.com/lxc6xvs