Wednesday, October 01, 2014

01-Oct-14: Gaza's rockets and how Palestinian Arab sentiment about them points to where we are heading

By popular demand, children are thoroughly integrated within the
Islamist Palestinian Arab strategy: scene at a Hamas
event in Nablus, August 29, 2014 [Image Source: AP/Nasser Ishtayeh]
A reminder (one of several we could offer) of why this blog has the name that it does.

Or Heller, in an article published yesterday by, says the rocket people in Hamas have just fired off a test rocket for the fifth time since Operation Protective Edge ended a month ago. Their launch site is where the now-destroyed Israeli agricultural community of Netzarim (a mango plantation, a vineyard, hothouse-cultivated yams and cherry tomatoes, an etrog plantation - plus day care centers, kindergartens, a primary school, a kollel, a yeshiva) used to be.
Hamas seek to restore the rocket lathes, of which 50 percent were destroyed during the fighting in Gaza. In the IDF, they monitor the situation and say that this is not new rockets with new ranges. Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon also addressed the issue of Hamas' rocket stockpiles, saying that the IDF destroyed 80% of the rockets and mortars in Gaza... Today about 20 percent remained of the rockets and mortars stock (that existed) at the beginning of the operation; then there were about 10 thousand rockets and mortars... Ya'alon made these comments at a conference, "Military and Political Lessons of Operation Protective Edge," that was hosted by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University.
Quoted in a syndicated JNS report from yesterday, emanating from the same conference, Ya'alon implies that preventing local production of Gazan rockets is on the IDF's agenda:
The success of Operation Protective Edge will have to be measured in time. We need to see how we prevent Hamas and other groups from growing stronger.” According to Ya’alon, most of the rocket-manufacturing facilities in Gaza were destroyed during the operation, something that will “make it harder for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to return to their course of rearmament as they did after [the battles of 2008 and 2012]
This July 2014 image of children playing next to Hamas rocket launchers
was a key piece of PM Netanyahu's speech to the UN General Assembly
this week.
The consensus view is that there are now about 2,000 rockets still in Hamas hands in Gaza. Will they keep re-arming? Everyone says yes. The Arabs of the Gaza Strip are overwhelmingly in favour. Not only that but they still strongly support the firing of Gazan rockets from deep inside their own residential neighborhoods, placing their own lives and those of their children in jeopardy. The evidence is in a Palestinian Arab opinion poll, the results of which were published on Monday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research based in Ramallah:
...An overwhelming majority of 80% supports the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel if the siege and blockade are not ended. Support for launching rockets drops in the Gaza Strip to 72%. A majority of 57% believes that launching rockets from populated areas in the Gaza Strip is justified and 39% say it is unjustified. Among Gazans, belief that it is justified to launch rockets from populated areas drops to 48% while increasing in the West Bank to 62%. [PSR Palestinian Public Opinion Poll Number 53, published September 29, 2014]

The Hamas Al-Aqsa satellite television channel screened this video clip in mid-August when 
morale among Gazans was a major issue. It takes a look inside Gaza's indigenous 
rocket-making industry. The Arabic commentary is explained in English here.

Jonathan Tobin who writes sharp and incisive commentary for Commentary Magazine provides some context for this public opinion finding in a column ["Human Shields Aren’t Rethinking Hamas"] he posted yesterday:
So long as Hamas’s human shields are ready to vote for more war, any further efforts toward peace are doomed to failure. While President Obama unfairly accused Israelis of not being willing to work for peace, this is a reality that most Israelis have accepted, albeit reluctantly. It’s something the administration, as well as those left-wingers eager to save Israel from itself, need to come to terms with. [Commentary Magazine]
Another insight from the same Tobin piece:
Though enthusiasm for Hamas is not unanimous, it remains more popular than its Fatah rivals. Why? Because the unchanging dynamic of Palestinian politics is that whichever party spills the most Jewish blood will always have the upper hand. Since its inception a century ago, Palestinian Arab national identity has been inextricably tied to the war on Zionism. [Commentary Magazine]
So long as there is a Hamas, there will be new and ever more powerful rockets.

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