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Summaries of a number of articles by Daily Alert re: Gaza & Hamas & the “March of Return”

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May 18, 2018

Gaza and Hamas – Elliott Abrams

Hamas has tried pushing masses of Gazans to the border fences, mixing its own armed men among them carrying grenades, guns, and other weapons. The goal was obviously to overrun the border, get into Israel, and kill and destroy as much as possible. Israel defended its border: no one got through and all the loss was on the Palestinian side.
Hamas has shown no interest in a transformation from an Islamist terrorist group into a responsible government of Gaza. This should be no surprise. Yasser Arafat could never make that transformation either. Hamas is dedicated to eliminating Israel and will never agree to transform itself into a “normal” government. The writer, a senior fellow at the CFR, handled Middle East affairs at the U.S. National Security Council from 2001 to 2009. (Council on Foreign Relations)


Don’t Blame Embassy Opening for Gaza Violence – Blame Hamas – Max Boot
If the U.S. Embassy had stayed in Tel Aviv, it doesn’t mean that peace and tranquility would have prevailed in Gaza. Hamas would not accept any U.S. Embassy anywhere in Israel, because it doesn’t accept the State of Israel.
If Hamas wants to ease the suffering of its people, it needs to do what the Palestinian Authority has already done: Accept the existence of Israel. But if it does that, Hamas will lose its raison d’etre. This, ultimately, is why the 1.8 million people of Gaza are consigned to an “open-air prison.” Their jailers are in Hamas, not Israel. The writer is a senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Washington Post)


Hamas’ Failed Strategy – Zev Chafets
Hamas’ strategy of bleeding its young people was aimed at influencing three target audiences. First, it hoped to incite the masses of the West Bank and east Jerusalem to rise up in solidarity, but they didn’t take the bait. Compared to the residents of the Hamas mini-state in Gaza, they are relatively free and prosperous. The Palestinian Authority, whose security services control West Bank cities, hates Hamas even more than Israel does.
The second audience was the “international community.” Bloody Monday got the media coverage it expected. But Egypt and Saudi Arabia are allies with Israel in the fight against Iran. Europe is preoccupied and demonstrably weak. Russian President Putin and Netanyahu have a respectful relationship. And never before has any American administration been so supportive of Israel.
Hamas’ third target was Israeli public opinion. That hope, too, was misplaced. Israelis have been hardened by decades of intifada, Iraqi Scud missile attacks, Iranian threats of genocide, Hamas and Hizbullah rocket barrages, and the failure of even “moderate” Palestinian leaders to compromise for peace. (Bloomberg)


Why Gaza Is No Selma – Thane Rosenbaum
Welcome to the Promised Land of Dreadful Optics, where Hamas employs a deliberate strategy of inciting a disproportionate loss of Palestinian life in a bid to garner sympathy and demonize Israel. By emboldening Gazans to place themselves directly in the line of fire and embedding terrorists among civilians, Hamas baits Israel and then waits for the world’s outrage. Calling the March of Return a peaceful protest unfairly demonizes Israel and romanticizes Palestinians.
What is a proportionate response? Yes, more Palestinians have died in these clashes, but it’s not for a lack of Hamas’ trying to kill Israelis that Israeli lives have been relatively spared. These were not peaceful gatherings, and Americans, at least, should know better than to judge them as if they were.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a protest movement that rejected violence and never glorified death. And yet, some headlines are treating Gaza like a Middle Eastern Selma. King, who is memorialized with a forest in Israel, would be surprised that we now somehow couldn’t tell the difference. The writer is a distinguished fellow at NYU School of Law where he directs the Forum on Law, Culture & Society. (CNN)


No Victory for Hamas – Ben Caspit
When the clouds of tear gas and burning-tire smoke dispersed, Hamas had zero achievement and very little international attention. The Qataris mumbled something, Turkish President Erdogan gave his two cents, and in between were the voices of concerned Europeans. There was no infiltration into Israel, the Palestinian protesters failed to reach Israeli towns or military positions, not a single Israel soldier was even scratched, Palestinians in the West Bank did not rally to their brothers’ aid, and the Arab world shrugged its shoulders, managing only to send a feeble condemnation. (Maariv-Jerusalem Post)


The Gaza Protest Is about Ending Israel – Einat Wilf
For several weeks, people in Gaza have been marching on its borders with Israel with the declared intent of marching into Israel and exercising what the Palestinians consider their absolute and superior “Right of Return.” While many in the West have explained away the Palestinian statement about “return” as an expression of anger at the deteriorating conditions in Gaza and the maritime blockade, the Palestinians have not marched for any of these issues. If they had, they would have stormed the Gaza border with Egypt. What they demand is “return.”
Having failed to prevent the UN partition vote diplomatically, and having failed to prevent Israel’s emergence militarily, the demand for “return” was shaped as a continuation of the war against Israel by other means, a war that continues to this day.
If the war is ever to end with true peace, the Palestinians as well as the Arab and Islamic world at large have to come to accept the Jewish people as an indigenous people who have come home and who have an equal and legitimate right to their ancestral land. This is the core issue.Former Knesset member Dr. Einat Wilf served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. (Forward)


Palestinians in Gaza Are Dying for a Photo-Op – Liel Leibovitz
When Israel withdrew every last soldier and settler from Gaza in 2005, only the most hardened cynics predicted that the end of Israel’s occupation of 1.3 million Palestinians would bring even greater misery to Palestinians and Israelis alike. The only way things could possibly get worse in Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal would be if the Palestinians themselves chose leaders who were determined to sacrifice the welfare of every single person living in Gaza to a hopeless yet continuing campaign of cross-border terror against Israel. Sadly, that is exactly what has happened.
It is alarming that so many in the media and foreign policy establishment pretended as if the riots had something to do with Trump and then chastised Israel for defending its borders from rioters who openly admitted that their goal was to randomly murder Jews. The position that the mobs attacking Israel’s borders were “protesters” is an equally cynical lie. To suggest otherwise is to ignore observable reality. (Tablet)


Tell Gaza’s Masses the Truth: There Will Be No “Return” – David Horovitz
After Monday’s terrible violence and loss of Palestinian life on the Gaza border, the world owes the Palestinians some painful but simple truths. Hamas’ riots at the border are not going to work. Israel will defend its borders. What the terror group calls “Palestine” – i.e., Israel – is not going to be “liberated.”
Israel will not be pressured to commit national suicide as a Jewish state by absorbing millions of descendants of Palestinians who used to live in what is today Israel. Want to prevent the endless repetition of horror days like Monday? Make plain to the Palestinians that they have no “right of return.”  (Times of Israel)


The Day Jerusalem Won – Amb. Ron Prosor
The opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, carries historic and diplomatic weight that could affect the entire region. The American step lets the Palestinians know that time is not necessarily on their side, and their ongoing refusal to hold real negotiations with Israel could hurt them. The reality is that the Palestinians are being left behind, and if they won’t come to the negotiating table, they could find themselves without any allies at all. The writer, who holds the Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, is a former Israeli ambassador to the UN. (Israel Hayom)

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