On Sunday, November 11th, when many in the US were celebrating and appreciating the veterans who served and died for our country, an IDF-led secret surveillance mission in the Gaza Strip was compromised. Hamas fighters discovered the undercover soldiers and engaged a firefight. Knowing their lives were in danger, the Israeli soldiers fought back. An Israeli Lieutenant Colonel and seven militant Gazan fighters were killed. To retaliate, Hamas fired an anti-tank missile that hit a bus full of IDF soldiers, although thankfully none of the soldiers were killed. Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza fired around 460 mortars and rockets into Southern Israel, terrorizing civilians who were confined to safe rooms and bomb shelters. The Israeli Air Force launched missiles into Gaza in order to destroy weapon caches, media stations, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad strongholds. On Tuesday, November 13th, Egypt brokered a ceasefire between the terrorist groups of Gaza and the Israeli government; the firing on both sides came to a halt.
The almost war followed what many thought might have been the start of an improved relationship with Hamas-controlled Gaza. As a result of Egyptian brokered peace talks, Israel made concessions to improve living conditions in Gaza. Since Hamas, a violent terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction, took control of the Gaza Strip, Israel and Egypt have blockaded the enclave. Instead of using tax dollars to pay for necessities like water and electricity, Hamas uses the funds to advance its terrorist agenda. To address the electricity and fuel shortages Gaza faces, these peace talks allowed for shipments of diesel to be delivered. This enabled Gaza’s power plant to run sewage treatment facilities and deliver electricity to civilians. Additionally, $15 million of Qatari cash donations were trucked in and government employees were finally paid. However, relations quickly soured when the routine surveillance procedure did not go as planned.
In my opinion, the real issue that needs to be addressed is a question of responsibility. Why would anyone assume that Israel has an obligation to provide for the citizens of the Gaza strip? When Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip in 2005 under the leadership of Ariel Sharon, Israel ordered the IDF to forcibly evacuate all Israeli citizens who refused to leave on their own. At the same time, it relinquished responsibility to provide for the people of Gaza. Despite this, Israel allows items to be trucked into Gaza. Some of the daily shipments from Israel to Gaza include: electronics, medical necessities, food, furniture and building materials. Furthermore, Israel helps Gaza export products produced there so that it can succeed economically. Israel provides this aid because it cares more about people than politics. However, in a fantastic example of ingratitude, Hamas exploits the humanitarian aid materials intended for civilians in order to advance its terrorist agenda against Israel.
The terrorism experienced by our Jewish brethren in the Holy Land mirrors the extreme anguish felt by the American Jewish community when a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday morning, October 27, during services and murdered 11 innocent worshippers in cold blood. Sabbath observers were horrified to turn on their phones at nightfall and discover that the mass shootings which have been happening on an all-too-regular basis lately no longer exclude the Jewish community. The shock of the worst anti-Semitic attack on Jews in our country’s history is still reverberating. Measures have been taken to ramp up security in synagogues across the country. Gun law reform is once again an issue people are talking about.
Theodor Herzl believed that with the creation of a Jewish State, anti-semitism would end because Jews would no longer be nation-less squatters. However, as the above incidents clearly indicate, anti-semitism is not dead. Although America is a country that promises freedom of religion, this right was blatantly violated in Pittsburgh. Everywhere, Jews felt the reverberations of this anti-Semitic event. Two weeks later, anti-Zionism (i.e. anti-Semitism hiding behind a thin veneer of anti-Israel rhetoric) reemerged with the terrorist attacks from Gaza. In such an environment, is it a wonder Netanyahu commented in regards to the initial cease-fire discussion: “You can’t have a political resolution with people who are committed to your destruction”?