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Those of you who have followed my blog on WordPress and Daily Kos Diary over the past few years are aware that I typically dedicate this space to a discussion of issues that are  related to national politics or issues confronting the American people.  However, there are times when I feel compelled to move beyond our borders to highlight an event that is of concern to me as a human being and a citizen not only of this country, but of the world.  This is one of those times.  The events in the Middle East, impacting on the lives of innocent victims, cannot be ignored.  The superficial picture provided by an often ill-informed and lazy media simply feeds the myths and helps to perpetuate the tragedy.  In order to appreciate the truth of Gaza, it is necessary to know the recent history and understand the geography of this prime piece of real estate.

While Israel assumed control of Gaza after the Six Day War in 1967, it gave that control up in 2005 and forced the Jewish settlers to give up their homes and their livelihoods and vacate Gaza.    It should be noted that when the Jewish settlers departed, they left all of their homes, and agricultural and industrial infrastructure intact.  As of that moment, Gaza was under the control of the Palestinians.  Among their first acts was to  demolish all that was left to them by the Israelis rather than utilizing it to grow their own economy.  There were thousands of families living in dismal refugee camps administered by the International Red Cross at the time Gaza was ceded to the Palestinians.  There are still the same camps teeming with thousands of families today.  The beaches of Gaza rival the beauty of any beach along the Mediterranean., yet there is no economic development to attract tourism.  I haven't just read or heard of these things, I have seen them.  I have seen the Jewish settlers' homes and industrial infrastructure, the refugee camps and the beautiful beaches.  I have seen the potential wasted and turned into hatred and bomb factories.  This is no accident.  The two million residents of Gaza are being used as pawns in an ideological battle by Hamas against Israel.  It is both tragic and cynical.

To appreciate the full extent of this victimization there are a few facts that are important to be aware of.  First, the average age of the population of Gaza is 27.  This means that most people living in Gaza never remember a time when they weren't either under the control of Israel or Hamas.   Second, the education received by the children of Gaza paints Israel as a relentless oppressor.  They are taught to hate Jews and Israelis both.  Third, there has been little investment in true economic development, while most investment has gone toward building and acquiring weapons.  Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a radical Islamic group, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States.  In order for Hamas to continue its control over this young and restless population it is necessary to maintain a siege mentality.  Thus the firing of rockets into Israel begets an Israeli response therefore fulfilling the need for constant vigilance and a sense of being under siege.    Consider the difference in reaction to the recent teenage murders between Israel and Gaza.  In Gaza, those who kidnapped and ultimately  murdered the three Israeli teenagers were held up as heroes and lauded for their achievement.  In Israel, those who killed the Palestinian teenager in revenge for the deaths of the three Israelis were apprehended and will be tried and punished.  The kind of thinking in Gaza, perpetuated by Hamas is dangerous and will lead to more violence.  As the residents of Gaza are encouraged to act as human shields protecting the rocket launchers cynically positioned in schools, mosques and hospitals by Hamas, they are clearly being used as pawns.    The press obediently then sends pictures across the world showing women and children who have been killed or severely wounded by Israeli bombs.  It is obvious that Hamas cares little for human life and values its ideological success above all.

It is time for the residents of Gaza  to harvest some of the fruits of the Arab Spring.  As long as they allow themselves to be controlled and manipulated by this group of radical Islamic extremists they will n poverty and danger.  Gaza has a great deal of potential.  It is time for the Gaza's residents to shed the yoke of Hamas oppression and work to realize that potential.
Cross-posted on rationalpolitics.co

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Comment Preferences

  •  to be fair, there were 21 settlements in Gaza (12+ / 0-)

    with some 8500 settlers.  The settlers who were relocated were compensated for their financial loss:
    http://www.democracynow.org/...

    Sharon determined the settlements were not sustainable and the Fort Apache doctrine was not operating as hoped (US and South Viet Nam governments also developed the idea of "safe villages" in order to try to control territory from static positions.  Other countries have tried this strategy but it is rarely successful)

    As far as Hamas oppression, without excusing any of their excesses or the excesses of their partners, Hamas was created and encouraged by the Israelis as a counterweight to the PLO
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Also, Fatah planned an abortive coup against Hamas which catapulted Hamas into the catbird seat.  It is another example of GWB's attempts at nation building in the region:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    There are many here far more qualified than I to comment on the current ME situation but to ignore the culpability of outside players in the current Gaza mess does no one any favors, as it merely ensures the same mistakes will continue to be made time and again

    •  And one of the largest outside influences (0+ / 0-)

      is religion....and that's the main reason I don't think there is or will be a resolution.

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 03:43:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And how does anyone operate a resort (5+ / 0-)

      when a military blockade stops all movement? And when construction materials are banned from import? Just asking.

      The beaches of Gaza rival the beauty of any beach along the Mediterranean., yet there is no economic development to attract tourism.

      War is costly. Peace is priceless!

      by frostbite on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 06:10:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  History of Hamas (0+ / 0-)

      I think it's incorrect to imply Israel armed or radicalized Hamas. Reading the wiki it's clear that Hamas at first did not express tendencies toward violence. Hamas at that time did not have the track record of terrorism, as PLO did. It wasn't until Olso accords that PLO was transformed, leaving Hamas as the main aggressor in the region.

      •  Israel assisted in the creation of Hamas as part (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ExpatGirl, entlord, protectspice, Lepanto

        of a divide-and-conquer policy against the Palestinians and Arab states in the region.

        How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas

        Moshav Tekuma, Israel

        Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.
        ...
        'An Alternative to the PLO'

        Clashes between Islamists and secular nationalists spread to the West Bank and escalated during the early 1980s, convulsing college campuses, particularly Birzeit University, a center of political activism.

        As the fighting between rival student factions at Birzeit grew more violent, Brig. Gen. Shalom Harari, then a military intelligence officer in Gaza, says he received a call from Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint on the road out of Gaza. They had stopped a bus carrying Islamic activists who wanted to join the battle against Fatah at Birzeit. "I said: 'If they want to burn each other let them go,'" recalls Mr. Harari.
        ...

      •  have you read Hamas' charter? nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  What 'investment'? (14+ / 0-)

    Per capita income in Gaza is at grinding poverty levels (something like $800/yr.) and falling like a stone under the crushing Israeli blockade. There is no capital to invest. The unemployment rate is insane; officially 40%+, but realistically much higher. An entire generation of Gazan youngsters have known only grinding poverty, hopelessness, and random extrajudicial execution by Israeli airstrikes. They don't need any 'education' to hate Israel; they live it every day. This degree of hopelessness and desperation basically guarantees radicalism and violence.

    None of this is an accident. Israeli policy, official or otherwise, remains one of endless brutal collective punishment.

  •  Load of crap (16+ / 0-)

    The ploy of starting the history of Gaza in 1967 is disingenuous, to put it extremely mildly.

    The history of Gaza started in 1948 with the 200k+ refugees being driven there after being ethnically cleansed from their villages and homes in other parts of Palestine.

    Then in 1967 Israel occupied Gaza after defeating Egypt which had administred the Gaza strip till then. Immediately Israel starting planting settlements (that is, stealing land) even in the already then overcrowded Gaza. And entirely neglecting the situation of the Palestinians there.

    Then in 2005 the Israeli settlements were pulled out not as an act of kindness, but because Israel realized that given the demographics the Gaza strip would always be too much to swallow. Since then Gaza has been blockaded, periodically starved, and on what has become a biennial basis has been bombed by Israel.

    What you have in Gaza now is 1.8 million refugees and descendants of refugees who have never been given a fair deal, least of all from Israel.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 03:50:06 AM PDT

  •  The events in the Middle East are meant (0+ / 0-)

    NOT to be ignored. Some population has to play the role of scapegoat to remind other populations that their situation could be worse.

    While it is often argued that people learn from others' bad experiences and this argument justifies the teaching of history, truth seems to be that only empathetic people are influenced by the negative experiences of others to "behave" themselves.
    "There, but for the grace of God, go I," is a protective and self-serving response upon which bad people intent on dominion through torture rely. It does nothing for the deprived.

    When authority stands silent in the face of abuse, it becomes complicit and justifiably guilty. However, authority should also take note that being complicit and wallowing in guilt are evidence that authority itself has been undermined. Which is not to say authority needs to act and engage in aggression in response to the challenge. Standing up and speaking loudly may be quite enough to encourage resistance until the aggressors and perpetrators of torture stand down.

  •  Excellent diary, one of the first that I see push (6+ / 0-)

    back on the overwhelming majority of diaries at this site that see  Israel  as the only bad actor in these horrendous events. You raise great points about the education of Gazans being taught to fundamentally hate both israelis and Jews  as a whole as well as the destructive behaviour  from 2005 when  Israel abandoned any settlements and ceded control of Gaza to the Palestinians. Their reaction was to desroy the infrastructure left to them.

    Imagine the condemnation of the world if Israel had left scorched earth  to Gaza from its settlements!

    •  This diary is a piece of crap. Read the responses (6+ / 0-)

      for some facts

      •  My point exactly. . . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JNEREBEL, Hey338Too

        all you get to hear is (in my belief) biased anti Israel commentary here, and I  for one, am happy to see a diary that discusses the other side of the story. That is what a discussion of issues  is about. you may not like the diarest's facts,  but  you don't dispute any of them either.

        •  Exactly how much control of Gaza do the (5+ / 0-)

          Palestinians have?

          Israel abandoned any settlements and ceded control of Gaza to the Palestinians
          That's a stinking piece of hasbara. Palestinians have about as much control over Gaza as prisoners do with their living conditions.
          Noam Chomsky: My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison
          Friday, 09 November 2012

          The Gaza Strip could have become a prosperous Mediterranean region, with rich agriculture and a flourishing fishing industry, marvelous beaches and, as discovered a decade ago, good prospects for extensive natural gas supplies within its territorial waters. By coincidence or not, that's when Israel intensified its naval blockade. The favorable prospects were aborted in 1948, when the Strip had to absorb a flood of Palestinian refugees who fled in terror or were forcefully expelled from what became Israel – in some cases months after the formal cease-fire. Israel's 1967 conquests and their aftermath administered further blows, with terrible crimes continuing to the present day.

      •  The diary presents hard facts. Where are yours? (0+ / 0-)

        I haven't seen anything but meaningless blather from you in response.

        •  This diary presents "hard facts"???? (9+ / 0-)

          You only need to read the many responses to understand the diarists has manipulated the "hard facts".

          What does he give to back up the following statement?

          In Gaza, those who kidnapped and ultimately  murdered the three Israeli teenagers were held up as heroes and lauded for their achievement.
          There is more evidence that the cheering in this bloody conflict is coming from the Israeli side.
          Israelis Watch Bombs Drop on Gaza From Front-Row Seats

          Last Wednesday night, as he stood on a hilltop outside the Israeli town of Sderot and watched the bombardment of Gaza on the plain below, a Danish newspaper reporter snapped an iPhone photo of about a dozen locals who cheered on their military from plastic chairs while eating popcorn.
          ...
          The image of the Israeli spectators was taken after 9 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the reporter said, about the same time that what was intended to be a “precision strike” from Israel’s military killed at least eight of their Palestinian neighbors, seated in similar plastic chairs at a beachside cafe in Gaza, waiting to watch the World Cup semifinal between Argentina and the Netherlands.
          ...

          Bombing of Gaza children gives me “orgasm”: Israelis celebrate slaughter on Facebook

          “What an orgasm to see the Israeli Defense Forces bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.”

          “Sweet settlers, next time you kidnap an Arab boy, call me and let me torture him!! Why do you get to have all the fun?”

          “Gaza, Gaza a graveyard! Very soon!”

          •  Here you go..fresh from their press. (0+ / 0-)
            In Gaza, those who kidnapped and ultimately  murdered the three Israeli teenagers were held up as heroes and lauded for their achievement.
            Palwatch

            Lots more on their Arabic language media, which the West ignores. Note these are official government channels, rather than a few radical civilians on the Israeli side.

            As for the spectators of Sderot? As residents of a city that has been terrorized for YEARS by Hamas, yes, they might want to look at Israel finally dealing with the situation. I'd note that the killing of that Palestinian child as viewed as inexcusable by almost ALL OF Israeli society. Numerous Israelis called on the child's mother to pay their respects, the perpetrators were tracked down and arrested, and will face murder charges. The Hamas kidnappers? Local heroes being hidden by the general population.

  •  Without taking sides (16+ / 0-)

    But this is incorrect.

    It should be noted that when the Jewish settlers departed, they left all of their homes, and agricultural and industrial infrastructure intact.  As of that moment, Gaza was under the control of the Palestinians.  Among their first acts was to  demolish all that was left to them by the Israelis rather than utilizing it to grow their own economy
    From the Washington Post, 20 June 2005:

    Israel Agrees To Demolish Its Settlers' Gaza Homes

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    "The course ahead is going to require even more coordination," Rice said. "There need to be no surprises between the two sides in terms of what's going to happen in the Gaza."

    Under the housing plan, once the disengagement begins Aug. 15, the Israeli military will begin to destroy the 1,200 homes over at least the following three weeks as settlers leave -- or are forced from their homes. The cleanup and removal of the debris will be handled by Palestinians,

    The Israeli Parliament demanded the destruction of the homes as a condition of approval.  That is well documented.
    In order to win a parliamentary vote on the Gaza withdrawal last year, Sharon had pledged to dismantle the homes. Palestinian officials were not eager to keep the red-roofed, middle-class homes, and there are not enough of them to house the 1.3 million Palestinians who are struggling for housing in the narrow coastal strip. But some Palestinian officials have been hesitant to coordinate too closely with Israel on the issue, believing it would undermine claims that Israel was driven from Gaza.

    Under international law, Israel is required to return the property as it had been when it seized it during the 1967 war, which would mean a costly and time-consuming cleanup and leave Israeli soldiers vulnerable to attack for months. Moreover, indiscriminate destruction of the homes could ruin water and sewer lines necessary for future development.

    The greenhouses were also to be destroyed, but a US Philanthropist (Lauder) gave the Israeli government money to prevent their destruction.   Looting and deterioration due to repeated crop failures due to power outages and lack of spare parts doomed the enterprise.

    In the interests of truth, will you correct your diary regarding the home demolitions in Gaza?

    The fundamental issue, as I see it, is that after Hamas" electoral victory in 2006, and the failed US sponsored coup by Fatah, Israel determined that it could not accept or work with a Hamas led government and sought to frustrate economic and political development by blockading Gaza and arresting Hamas politicians and MPS.

    It is unknown, really, how economic growth would have proceeded in the absence of the blockade.

    Here is Hamas 2006 Electoral platform, anti zionist, pro Sharia, anti corruption, but also rights of women and minorities, a progressive income tax, and environmental remediation.

  •  Greenhouses (15+ / 0-)

    From the NY Times.

    At least half of the Greenhouses were dismantled by the settlers before leaving, according to this report.

    Israeli Settlers Demolish Greenhouses and Gaza Jobs

     

    By STEVEN ERLANGER
    Published: July 15, 2005
    JERUSALEM, July 14 - About half the greenhouses in the Israeli settlements in Gaza have already been dismantled by their owners, who have given up waiting to see if the government was going to come up with extra payment as an inducement to leave them behind, say senior officials working on the coordination of this summer's Israeli pullout from Gaza.
    Israeli Settlers Demolish Greenhouses and Gaza Jobs

    In light of your commitment to truthiness, will you correct your diary?

  •  No. Just no. (14+ / 0-)

    I'm am reaching my limit with diaries like this one. They are so self-serving and selective with facts that if they weren't I/P related they would be HRed into oblivion.

    Here are some facts that you missed:

    Hamas came to power in a free and fair election.

    Ismail Haniyeh requested US recognition of his new government and offered a long-term truce if the 1967 borders were reestablished.

    “We are an elected government which came through a democratic process.”

    “We are so concerned about stability and security in the area that we don’t mind having a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and offering a truce for many years.”

    “We are not warmongers, we are peace makers and we call on the American government to have direct negotiations with the elected government.” Haniyeh also urged the American government to act to end the international boycott “because the continuation of this situation will encourage violence and chaos in the whole region.”

    In a leaked 2007 correspondence with Washington, Israeli Director of Intelligence, Amos Yadlin stated that “Israel would be happy if Hamas took over Gaza, as then the IDF could treat Gaza as a hostile country.”

    President Bush never responded to Haniyeh's letter and the United States continued its boycott of Hamas and of Gaza while Israel continued to be the top recipient of US foreign aid.

    In our criminal justice system, a Republican is presumed innocent until the 2nd Coming. - Gooserock

    by ExpatGirl on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 06:03:08 AM PDT

  •  I can only grimace sardonically... (13+ / 0-)

    when I read such pure hasbara here. Not even the digital warriors assailing Wikipedia pages would be so brazen to lie as follows:

    It should be noted that when the Jewish settlers departed, they left all of their homes, and agricultural and industrial infrastructure intact.
    As for the "truly" of the diary's title? Risible...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 06:23:01 AM PDT

  •  Missing the point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ortheother

    The voting for Hamas was in its own form an "Arab spring" event. The vote was against the corruption and indolence of the Fatah leaders in Gaza who had diverted aid funds for their own purposes. Fatah was able to organize through their social works in both clinics and welfare programs.

    Israelis will be unfamiliar with the concept of voting out the corrupt, though they do share the frustration of having their own politicians constantly fundraising and their propensity to own their own "ranches".

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 06:43:40 AM PDT

  •  Rational Politics (4+ / 0-)

    is Fair and Balanced.  

    May you always find water and shade.

    by Whimsical Rapscallion on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 07:09:27 AM PDT

    •  Maybe FOX news will pick him up (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Lepanto, cybrestrike
      •  wow, a lot of anti Israel folks came out to play (0+ / 0-)

        I seemed to have poked a stick right into the anti Israel/pro Hamas wasps nest.  It is obviously necessary to respond.
        First however, my assertion that the Israeli settlers left everything intact as they exited Gaza has been questioned by friend and foe alike.  I therefore defer to all of you and eliminate that from the equation. But that doesn't eliminate your responsibility to respond to issues you have just seemed to ignore as you blasted me with defensive excuses.
        1) Why does Hamas maintain thousands in the refugee camps that are nothing more than incubators of hatred?
        2) Why does Hamas refuse to change the words in its Charter that call of the total distraction of the Jewish State?
        3)Why does Hamas continue to teach hatred of Israel and the Jews in its schools?
        4)Why does Hamas utilize all of its resources to build weapons as the people of Gaza live in poverty?
        5)Why does Hamas continue to fire rockets indiscriminately  and without provocation into civilian populations of Israel?
        6) Why does Hamas continue to instruct the civilian population of Gaza to ignore Israeli warnings and stay in locations that are going to be bombed?
        7)Why does Hamas continue to place its rocket launchers and artillery in schools, residential areas, hospitals and mosques, showing a total disregard for human life?
        8)Why does Hamas celebrate acts of terror, such as the kidnapping and murder of 3 innocent Israeli teenagers?
        9)Why do those who support Hamas become their apologists, rather than their advocates?
        10)Why has Hamas failed so terribly in the task of governance, while concentrating so heavily on the art of terror?
        Stop buzzing and start answering the real questions.

        •  OK, I will try to answer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stargaze, cybrestrike

          my understanding of these questions, unless are rhetorical, after to correct or update your diary to correct the mis statement of Israel leaving the settler infrastructure intact after withdrawl.  And if you provide credible links that support your claims and characterizations.  Truthy ones, preferably.

          Here's one answer to #3.   The US State Department funded a study of the new textbooks used by Hamas, conducted by two scholars of education using rigorous subjective methods.  Reported by Isabel Kershner in the NY Times if February.

          Academic Study Weakens Israeli Claim That Palestinian School Texts Teach Hate

          JERUSALEM — An academic study of the contents of Israeli and Palestinian Authority textbooks, to be published Monday, finds that each side generally presents the other as the enemy, but it undermines recent assertions by the Israeli government that Palestinian children are educated “to hate.”
          It found that extreme examples of dehumanization and demonization were “very rare” on both sides. The few examples given included one from an ultra-Orthodox textbook describing an Israeli settlement established on the ruins of an Arab village that “had always been a nest of murderers.” A Palestinian language textbook included a reference to “the slaughterhouse,” explaining it as the nickname prisoners had given to an interrogation center “due to the brutality of the interrogators.”
          NYTIMES Academic Study Weakens Israeli Claim That Palestinian School Texts Teach Hate

          Yes, the texbooks on both sides do not treat each other with love and respect, but it would be surprising in a conflict zone, wouldn't it?

  •  This Hasbara business is silly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pilsner

    Come on, you can disagree with the diarist without labeling him an Israeli operative propagandist.  Look at his diary history: his posts are always about national issues, and I think he is correct that he has never diaried about I/P before.

    Labeling any I/P diary you don't agree with as 'hasbara' really smacks of tinfoil-hat conspiracy-theory BS.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 10:19:27 AM PDT

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