One cannot help but be moved by the suffering of Gaza’s population, who live a life under siege. The Electronic Intifada reports how Gaza’s hospitals struggle to save lives amid Israel’s siege. The pathetic plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is not an enviable one, but it did not have to be that way.
It should be noted that not only Israel maintains a tight watch on what and who enters Gaza but the Egyptians are doing precisely the same thing. They too are fearful of Hamas fermenting unrest and creating havoc in the Sinai Peninsula.
It wasn’t always that way. When the 8,600 Israeli settlers were evicted by the IDF from Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip back in 2005, some 200,000 square meters of greenhouse space, which had been purchased by international donors, were left intact, but Palestinian militants ransacked them.
Not everyone knows that the blockade on the Gaza Strip was only imposed by Egypt and Israel two years later after Hamas took control of the area replacing Palestine National Authority government officials with its own.
Of course, the siege is not really a siege. Israel supplies electricity and water to Gaza’s inhabitants, grants the critically ill access to intensive care units in its hospitals and allowed no less than 1,200 truck loads of goods to enter the Gaza Strip during just one week during the week prior to Operation Protective Edge.
That having been said, Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip is not an open one and no one has the right to expect that it should be. We are at war with Hamas and they call for our annihilation. Over 1,000 rockets and mortars have been targeted at Israel’s civilian population since the commencement of the current conflict.
To cap it all, IDF forces this morning identified approximately 13 terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israel near Kibbutz Suffa via an underground tunnel constructed by Hamas using construction materials imported via Israel.
By all means, let’s have an open border with the Gaza Strip in the way that one can travel freely from France to Holland. However, for that to happen, we need neighbors who respect the notion of “live and let live”. Until that takes place, one can hardly criticize Israel for wanting to protect its citizens and for taking whatever measures it deems appropriate to ensure that Gaza does not become a terrorist’s haven with weapons and jihadists flooding in from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.