“Was Hamas Provoked?”. International Jewish News. January 8, 2009 – The argument is heard that just as Israel was provoked by Hamas, Hamas was provoked by Israel. Israel’s ferocious attack on Hamas in Gaza is not justified because Hamas had a just grievance. Hamas rocket fire into Israel was in response to Israel’s choking Gaza’s economy. Israel controlled Gaza’s borders and purposely deprived its residents of all but minimal food and fuel. Israel did this to generate popular resentment of Hamas, so that an uprising would topple the Hamas government. Hamas had no choice but to fight back. So runs the “Hamas was provoked” argument.
It doesn’t hold water. It yanks facts from context, it is ahistorical, it conveniently ignores all that preceded Israel’s attempt to choke Hamas, designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization. The sequence of events in Gaza since Israel’s withdrawal in August, 2005, demonstrates the argument for Hamas to be not only specious, but malicious.
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in August, 2005. Not only did Israel not attempt to defeat economic recovery in Gaza, Israel went out of her way to give it an initial boost. Israel left behind an extensive network of greenhouses.
Palestinians in Gaza destroyed them. Mark that as the first step in Gaza’s descent into economic crisis. Palestinian malice was so pure, its rage so blind, its self-interest so irrelevant, that it destroyed a first basis of its economic flowering.
It is true that Israel controlled the borders of Gaza after her withdrawal from the territory. The purpose of this, however, was not to choke off Gaza’s economy, but to choke off the import of weapons to be used against Israel. The import of all industrial and agricultural items was allowed by Israel — but not weapons. So what did the Palestinians in Gaza do? Not build an economy based on the industrial and agricultural imports that Israel freely allowed. Hamas built tunnels. Weapons-smuggling tunnels. Mark that as the second step in Gaza’s descent into economic crisis. Society building: ignored. Weapons smuggling: top priority.