Stop the rockets

I woke up recently to see that prominent Hamas armed wing leader Ahmed Al-Jaabari had been assassinated when an Israeli missile hit his car in the Gaza Strip. This has come after at least a week of escalation in violence between Israel and Gaza militants that have seen an increase in rockets being fired into southern Israel and retaliation by Israel.

So, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, may I ask, how has firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel worked out for you and the people of Gaza? At what point will you see that these rockets are suicidal? How many times must Gaza be struck by Israel before the point is made that the rockets achieve nothing? How many people must die? For some reason, there are those in Gaza and those who support Palestinians who believe that these rockets are justified.

They are seen as an act of defence instead of what they really are, which is an act of offence that leads to retaliation. And, when Israel does retaliate because rockets are fired at them, the world screams, “Israel is attacking Gaza!” Well, no kidding! They are trying desperately to stop these rockets! You can’t fire rockets into Israel and expect no response.

The common argument is that these rockets are just small, crude devices and Israel is showing disproportionate force. The answer then: don’t fire rockets! There are those who say that Gaza has been treated poorly. Yes, I can see that. However, the grip tightened significantly—and understandably—when Hamas took over power of the strip. Hamas has virtually dedicated itself to the destruction of Israel. Can people not see the connection here? Again, what is Israel to do? At what point will people see that Hamas is not helping Palestinians as a whole in any way, shape, or form.

They are not offering security, that’s for sure. They are not offering a better life for the people of Gaza. They are offering war and destruction. And for all the talk of Israel’s iron grip, there is little mention of the grip Hamas has over its people – who take part in, for example, stealing UN supplies that are meant for the people of Gaza as a whole and diverting it towards militants or Hamas supporters. How is this helping Gaza? This is just one example of the kind of actions that Hamas takes part in that I find appalling.

Am I a firm supporter of Israel? No. I support its existence; I see it as an independent country. But at the same time, I believe that it has done many wrongs over the years that are intolerable, such as extending beyond its borders. Israel is no angel and in this conflict there truly are two sides doing ridiculous, horrible things. But for Gaza, I believe strongly that the answer to progress is to get rid of Hamas, get rid of Islamic Jihad, get rid of rockets, and work on becoming a state that Israel can live beside peacefully, like it does with most of its other neighbours. At the same time, Israel has a responsibility to stop expanding beyond its borders.

I have little faith that we will see peace in the Middle East anytime soon. Divisions are so deep, polarized and steeped in a cycle of violence. Both sides in the Israel/Palestine conflict have shown to be stubborn and hot headed. There are solutions. I believe I have presented a few. There is, however, much more to do beyond that. But, as long as rockets are being shot off into Israel indiscriminately and Hamas is in power, there is little hope of peace, little room for negotiation.

It’s time for Gaza and Palestinians to step back and rethink their futile strategy.

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