Saturday, April 07, 2012

7-Apr-12: Living and dying in a tough neighbourhood

The Hamas regime has its own distinct ways of imposing
its will on Gazan Arab society [Image Source]
The vipers' nest of religiously-incited haters and killers might not be making the headlines where you are. But here in Israel, notwithstanding the calm and peace of the Passover week that has just gotten underway, Gaza continues to be in the news and on people's minds. In the last hour, the IDF reported that it had detected a couple of Palestinian Arabs preparing to launch yet another in a seemingly limitless supply of rockets into Israel from an undisclosed site in southern Gaza.

Israeli surveillance of Gaza is done by one of the world's most advanced combinations of purpose-specific technology including unmanned camera-bearing aircraft (drones or UAVs) and fixed-location long distance vision systems, all operated from a distance on a 24x7 basis by service personnel, very often young women.

Tonight's timely intervention [see "IDF strikes rocket launchers in southern Gaza, thwarting attack" in the online Times of Israel] in two men on a motorcycle being hit. Palestinian sources say they are injured and being treated in a Rafah hospital. Since it's always something of a lottery when these fanatics fire into the air with their exploding tubes, it's hard to know who was saved and what possible damage was prevented. But one thing needs to be abundantly clear: the terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and the other ambitiously-named Gazan street gangs that are equipped like small and not-so-small armies by their sponsors outside Gaza, have one thing on their mind: dead Israelis. Thankfully, tonight (so far at least) they failed. Note that the difference between a tragically-successful outcome for the jihadists and frustration like tonight is in no sense a function of restraint or cool-headedness on the Gazan side. It's entirely due to Israeli vigilance.

This past Tuesday night, an armored unit of the IDF killed another aspiring Gazan terrorist. As the Times of Israel reported then, he was detected crawling towards the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. Alert forces fired a shell at him, achieving a direct hit. A previous attempt by a terrorist crossing into Israel from Gaza took place a week ago - he was killed. And a cluster of explosives found near the border fence were found by an IDF patrol and neutralized in a controlled explosion.

The deaths in Gaza - as indeed throughout the turbulent Arab world - are not always a function of cross-border hostilities. Three Gazan Arabs were put to death at dawn today in a regime-sanctioned hanging. AP points out that the Islamists of Hamas have "executed at least 18 men since seizing power in 2007". The BBC's Middle East correspondent notes that
"it is impossible to assess the quality of the evidence presented against the three men who have been executed. Court proceedings in the Gaza Strip are not held in public, and defendants are identified only by their initials, so it can be difficult event to match announcements of executions even with previous news of arrests or convictions, our correspondent says. It is not even possible to know what specific charges the executed men faced".
Meanwhile to our north, in the blood-soaked killing fields of Syria, the al-Assad regime's armed-to-the-teeth soldiers today are reported to have killed 121 people, all of them Syrian citizens, evidently trying to "stamp out as much of the year-old uprising against him as he can before next week’s ceasefire [source]" proposed by a UN mediator. CNN quotes sources that say the deaths include "eight women and five children... 59 in Hama, 28 in Homs, 13 in the Aleppo suburbs, 19 Idlib, one in Daraa, and one in Douma in the Damascus suburbs".

Syrian protesters express their feelings about Syria's
President Bashar Al-Assad  in Kafranbel, near Idlib, Syria,
March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Raad Al Fares 
[Image Source
The daily death toll in these Syrian-government massacres of their fellow Syrians is maddening. It keeps going on and on and on, while international agencies and famous politicians and human rights organizations keep tut-tutting. The latest round of Al-Assad-inspired barbarism, underway for a year so far, has caused more than 9,000 Syrian deaths according to the UN and more than 11,000 according to a Syrian source, the Local Coordination Committees.

Barely fifteen months ago, serious newspapers (the Sydney Morning Herald, for instance) were reporting that the Obama administration believed a comprehensive Israeli-Syrian peace treaty was possible and close, and that there was ''unprecedented Syrian co-operation'' to reach a peace agreement. Notorious Al-Assad crony Walid al-Muallem, the Syrian regime's leading foreign policy voice for the past quarter century, was quoted then saying ''the Syrians are ready to re-engage in dialogue with the Israelis to reach peace'', which evidently was the basis for the US appointing an ambassador, Robert Ford, as Washington's ambassador to Damascus, the first since 2005. The White House was said to be asserting that this any-moment-now Israeli-Syrian peace agreement would be ''a breakthrough in the peace process as a whole to achieve peace in the Palestinian territories''.

Imagine if anyone serious on the Israeli side had decided to act on that.

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