Sunday, September 07, 2014

07-Sep-14: In Gaza, they're at work on the next war

Residential tower destroyed in Gaza City, August 26, 2014 [Image Source]
While we're under the relatively fresh influence of news reports focused on the devastation in Gaza [BBC video here], on photos of dead children and of their parents and clans-people screaming with agony and anger, and on social action NGOs clamoring for more funds to rebuild and revive, it's good to take a moment to remind ourselves of how the terrorist leadership that has turned Gaza into a vast underground arsenal is selling the events of the past two months - and their plans for the future.

This report by Barak Ravid comes from Haaretz this evening: "Israeli official: Hamas has begun repairing Gaza tunnels":
Israel has received intelligence indicating that Hamas has begun reconstructing the attack tunnels that were destroyed during Operation Protective Edge, a senior Israeli official said on Sunday.
Two weeks have passed since the cease-fire went into effect, the official said, and Hamas has already begun preparing for the next confrontation with Israel and is focused on replenishing its arsenals.
The senior official said that Hamas militants have returned to arms smuggling through several tunnels that remain intact under the Philadelphi Route in Rafah. He said that the smuggling continues despite the Egyptian security forces' more concentrated and effective efforts to stamp out the tunnels.
The official added that production of the M75 rockets – capable of reaching the Gush Dan region in central Israel – has resumed in factories inside the Gaza Strip. He said that even after Operation Protective Edge, 40 percent of Hamas' capability to produce rockets locally remain intact.
A Friday article in the Chcago Sun-Times ["Decimated Hamas makes ludicrous claims"] captures some of the madness in the moment:
While the truce holds, the propaganda war continues. Despite the many funerals, the hospitals filled with the wounded, the loss of hundreds of combatants, and the rubble of collapsed high-rises and other buildings and homes, Hamas ridiculously claims victory. 
Yes, it is ridiculous. Actually it's far worse than that because it is clear to rational onlookers that the absent Hamas political leadership, issuing commands from luxurious hotel suites in Qatar and Dubai, fully intend that as many as possible Palestinian Arab Gazans should die at the hands of the Israelis. Their utter absence of remorse would be breathtaking if we were not already so familiar with it. And tragically - leaving morality and humanity out of things, which is what they do - it has to be said their calculation is right; dead children advance their side's interests.

Over there in Gaza, the Palestinian Arab masses are thoroughly in the grip of victory fever. It even has numbers by which it can be quantified; we posted about this two days ago: "5-Sep-14: A society steeped in the ethos of terror, and the poll results to prove it".

In another part of the Arab world, where there's much more money, they see victory and loss differently. Here's an August 10, 2014 article ["What the world builds, Israel bombs"] from The National, published in the Emirates:
International donors are wary of funding another rebuilding effort in Gaza, with the European Union divided over increasing pressure on Israel for a lasting solution to the Palestinian issue... An international donor meeting for Gaza is to be held in Norway next month. Yet, there is concern about a repeat of the donor conference after the 2008-2009 war, where only a fraction of the nearly $5 billion pledged for rebuilding came through. “We hope to receive help, but promises aren’t always kept here,” said Naji Sarhan, Gaza’s deputy minister of public works. “It’s hard to convince people to come here when they know Israel acts as our agent of destruction.”
Whether viewing Israel as the problem (something of a constant theme in the UAE's media), or seeing the issues as more nuanced and influenced hugely by the terror-addiction of the Hamas leadership, the outcome might be the same. In reality, there is no bottomless well out there of funding available to restore what gets devastated when Hamas takes on Israel. At some point, the emerging middle class in Gaza - the customers of its classy restaurants, the buyers of its luxury vehicles, the owners of its penthouse apartments - may demand to be heard, and to have their interests brought into consideration. Once there is a significant part of Gaza that has something to lose, some interests to protect, the game changes. At that point, declaring victory in the face of utter defeat may get harder to do.

But not yet.

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