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On Gaza and the imminence of war with Hamas, by Arlene Kushner

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Feb. 6, 2018

an excerpt from Arlene Kushner’s blog:(https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/)

There has been much written in the news in the past days regarding Gaza and the imminence of war with Hamas.

At one point it was implied that the humanitarian situation was so dire, that war might be just days away. This, it was said, would happen because of a breakdown of systems in Gaza that would generate violence, with Hamas seeking to distract the populace by turning on Israel.

Certainly, in a statement to the Cabinet on Sunday, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot predicted that war was likely some time this year if the situation did not improve.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-chief-said-to-warn-gaza-war-likely-if-humanitarian-crisis-persists/

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Following this, there was talk of the possibility of Israel providing Gaza with direct humanitarian relief in the form of food and medicine for the first time, in order to prevent violence. Eisenkot made a suggestion in this regard but predicated relief from Israel on Hamas release of bodies of our two soldiers, as well as of three live civilians being held hostage.

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Now Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has had the final word on this (emphasis added):

Times are very difficult in Gaza, he declared, and the economic situation has to be addressed, but there is no humanitarian crisis.

He said he was speaking on behalf of the entire defense establishment, including COGAT, the Defense Ministry agency that administers the crossings into Gaza; and the Shin Bet security agency.

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COGAT oversees the passage into Gaza daily of hundreds of trucks carrying supplies for the residents that have been provided by a variety of sources. This is something most people do not realize. Last Thursday alone, more than 12,000 tons of goods entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing in more than 400 trucks.

See: http://www.cogat.mod.gov.il/en/Pages/default.aspx

It should be noted that this past week, supplies intended for building explosive weapons were detected hidden in with medical equipment that was going to pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Everything is checked before it is allowed in; there is even a lab on the site to determine the nature of suspicious material.

http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/02/04/security-forces-foil-attempt-to-smuggle-bomb-making-materials-into-gaza/

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Leiberman declared that Israel would not impede any internationally funded projects intended to improve the quality of life for Gazans. However, he said:

We will not spend a penny from the Israeli budget. I refuse to allow any penny of Israeli tax money to go to the Strip. There are enough wealthy Arab countries

We cannot take responsibility for the Strip.”

Lieberman pointed out that Hamas has spent $260 million in manufacturing rockets and digging tunnels just in the past year. The Hamas leadership is unwilling to “divert even a shekel” to fix Gaza’s water and electricity problems, while the terror group’s leaders have electricity “24 hours a day.”

Hamas is sure, he said, that “Israel will blink first” and step in.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/liberman-theres-no-humanitarian-crisis-in-gaza-we-wont-spend-a-penny/

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US envoy Jason Greenblatt had similar harsh criticisms of Hamas on Sunday:

Hamas should be improving the lives of those it purports to govern, but instead chooses to increase violence and cause misery for the people of Gaza.”

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There are, contradictorily, reports that the leaders of Gaza have gone into hiding over fear that Israel is about to launch assassination attempts, promoted by the recent US declaration that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is now on a terror list.

And there is also a report that Hamas fears an Israeli attack — this spurred by major exercises by Israeli paratroop units in the south.

Although there is reason to believe that some of this “fear” may be feigned in an effort to paint Israel as the aggressor.

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/eye-on-palestine/palestinian-authority/report-hamas-terrified-of-israeli-assassinations-surprise-attack/2018/02/05/

Israel has no intention of initiating hostilities now. As to assassinations, who know? Not I, although I do think it splendid if they should be afraid.

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