The crisis in Gaza leaves no time to dream of grandiose solutions, such as an artificial island or desalination plants, and only immediately allowing thousands of Gazans to work in Israel can alleviate the pressure.
A Palestinian woman sits outside her house as she escapes the heat during a power cut at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Gaza, Sept. 15, 2015.
We could wake up one morning soon and be pleasantly surprised to hear that a comprehensive agreement has been reached to save the Gaza Strip. Perhaps a reconciliation will be reached between Fatah and Hamas. Maybe the various global donors will increase their contributions. Gaza’s schools may even open their doors for the coming school year and the teachers fired by UNRWA for lack of funds could return to work. Israel and Hamas could reach an understanding regarding the release of bodies of the Israel Defense Forces soldiers held in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Perchance the fires that are lit daily in the Israeli fields surrounding the Gaza Strip will stop and no more Palestinian youths will be killed on the border fence. A port could be established on an island off the Gaza coast. However, the chances that any of these changes will come to pass on their own are not high, and there is a burning need for an immediate solution that will stop the dangerous deterioration in Gaza.
The shocking descriptions of life in Gaza today have lost their impact. Everyone knows that the unemployment rate is staggering. That the only water safe to drink comes from bottles provided by vehicles that circulate daily. That there is electricity for only four hours a day, meaning that people without generators cannot preserve food, even if they have money to purchase it. That the schools are closed. Everyone says they want to help. Everyone seems to understand the danger of people having nothing more to lose.
The Israeli government understands the need for normalization, but some of the families who lost soldiers in the 2014 Gaza war insist that no steps be taken to improve the living conditions of the Strip residents. There must be no easement of the closure, they say, until Hamas returns the bodies of the Israeli soldiers it still holds. The families oppose a prisoner exchange deal and demand that the government put ever more pressure on the Strip’s residents until Hamas caves and returns the bones of their sons. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts their demands.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stubbornly vetoes all ideas for improving Gaza’s infrastructure. All such programs need the authorization of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah, and Abbas will not authorize such plans until he receives full control of the Strip. He is not willing to serve only as treasurer of Gaza, but wants to control Hamas’ weapons and ammunition and insists that the PA’s control must be “aboveground and below ground as well,” hinting at the tunnels constructed by Hamas.
The Egyptians, who assumed an important role in the last cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, are going out of their way to promote Palestinian reconciliation, which they believe is the key to solving the Gaza problem. They created a proposal and sent it to the two warring Palestinian sides. However, it does not demand that Hamas gives up its weapons and it does not allow the PA to collect taxes in Gaza. Therefore, the chances that Cairo will coax the two sides to bury the hatchet are very small indeed.
The United Nations’ coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, has been working overtime this summer between Cairo, Jerusalem, Gaza and Ramallah, offering imaginative infrastructure projects such as desalinization plants the length of the seashore. Mladenov came to an agreement with the World Bank to increase its yearly assistance to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza from $55 million to $90 million. He also developed a strong relationship with Egypt’s General Intelligence Service director, Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel, who holds the internal Palestinian reconciliation as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict portfolios.
Mladenov is one of the more optimistic players in the Gaza saga. He has especially good connections with the region’s leaders who do not talk to one another but do talk to him. However, even Mladenov has faced harsh criticism from the PA. In Abbas’ inner circle, one hears that Mladenov is prone to making promises regarding infrastructure projects without coordination with Ramallah, which will not agree to any project until it is given control over the entire Strip.
The Israeli government seems helpless. Politicians compete against one another in boastful statements regarding what will be done there should the Gaza-sponsored violence continue. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman continues to threaten Gaza, saying that should the missile sirens sound, they will be heard in Gaza as well. But after Liberman’s infamous 2016 threat to eliminate the Hamas leaders within 48 hours should they not hand over the bodies of Israel’s 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict victims, it is hard to imagine that anyone still believes his threats. Netanyahu, by contrast, clearly understands the significance of reconquering Gaza, and that’s the last thing he wants to take on in the sunset of his political career. After all, it is likely that he will be indicted soon in one or more of the affairs he’s being investigated for. Meanwhile, fires continue to scorch the Israeli side from the flaming balloons and kites launched from the Gaza side.
This week I talked to a highly placed source in the Gaza Strip. I asked him what could change things for the better, short of making peace between Fatah and Hamas and initiating a tourism project along a newly lovely Gaza shoreline.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, my source made the following statement: “There is one thing that can be done without the need for prior agreements between the sides. Your army understands the urgent need to take action, therefore it proposes to allow 5,000 men to leave the Strip every day and work in Israel. The Shin Bet opposes this because it is concerned that there will be those who will take advantage of the opportunity to carry out violence. We can’t promise 100% it won’t happen, but if nothing is done, then what will go on in Gaza is likely to be much worse. It became known that the Shin Bet prepared a list of 5,000 people that you are willing to give work permits to. Don’t wait, let them go.”
According to my source, “5,000 workers means an annual income of at least 360 million shekels [$97.5 million] a year. To this we have to add another 2 million shekels [$542,000] a day for transportation. This would be a significant boost to the Gazan economy. It’s relatively simple, and it’s important to the Israelis who need workers. Every day that passes without the go-ahead on this constitutes danger to you and to them.”
The Shin Bet list is prepared, claims an Israeli security source. The plan’s chances for alleviating pressure on Gaza are high, and Israelis in the south repeat that they need manpower, and not only in agriculture. The existing security dangers in Gaza today are greater than the dangers of bringing Gazan workers into Israel. There are tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank who already work there.
Making such decisions is what the government exists to do.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration — which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration — is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.
One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab.
The waterfront in the Chilean city of Valdivia. Photo: Arvid Puschnig via Wikimedia Commons.
Top Jewish groups have welcomed a Chilean government decision made earlier this week to ban municipalities across the country from boycotting Israel.
The ruling — issued by the Comptroller General of Chile – stemmed from a complaint filed by the Chilean Jewish community over a move of the Valdivia municipality to ban the city from signing contracts with Israel-linked companies.
Spurred by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s resignation and the realization that elections will likely be moved to early 2019, the leaders of the Druze community are determined to fight against the Nationality Law.
Leaders from the Druze minority and others take part in a rally to protest the Jewish nation-state law in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Aug. 4, 2018
It certainly seems like Israel is headed toward early elections. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who resigned Nov. 14, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett were both part of the current right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, competing over which of them was its most right-wing member
Israel has started uncovering and destroying Hezbollah’s attack tunnels under the Lebanese border, but destroying the group’s ambitious precision missile project will be much more difficult.
The Israel Defense Forces placed a camera into Hezbollah’s secret cross-border attack tunnel before sunrise on Dec. 4. They pushed it into the Lebanese side, under the Blue Line that separates the two countries. At dawn, two Hezbollah operatives reached the spot on their morning rounds. In the video disseminated by the IDF on Tuesday evening, one of the operatives is seen approaching the camera with suspicion. He stuck his nose in its direction and started to sniff around until something exploded in his face and he ran back the way he’d comVisibilitye.
The timing of Operation Northern Shield, to destroy Hezbollah tunnels leading from Lebanon into Israel, suggests that considerations other than security were behind the decision to launch it.
An Israeli commando from Yahalom, an engineering unit, takes part in a tunnel-hunting drill near Tel Aviv, March 7, 2012.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Likud activists on Dec. 2 that was both defensive and combative toward law enforcement authorities. He complained about the supposedly suspicious timing of the police announcement recommending his indictment for taking bribes in Case 4000, coming as it did one day before Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh concluded his term in office.
This week, for the first time, Israel made public its discovery of the tunnel constructed by Hezbollah and reaching into Israel’s sovereign territory. This brought to an end a long period during which a large number of Israelis living in communities adjacent to the Lebanese border reported hearing sounds of digging as well as feeling tremors in the walls of their homes.
Attack tunnels are intended to allow for significant numbers of armed infantry bearing weapons, artillery and supplies, to traverse them within a minimal time span, avoiding Israeli lookouts and thereby gaining the element of surprise.
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity Conference.
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
It was clear that with the onset of Operation Northern Shield—meant to neutralize terror tunnels Hezbollah has constructed along the Israel-Lebanon border—some would call it a public relations stunt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Those who believe the timing of the police’s recommendations in Case 4000—announced on the last day of Roni Alsheikh’s tenure as the police commissioner—was reasonable, somehow complain about the timing of the operation.
On Sunday evening, December 2, the people of Sderot, Israel – a town located a mere kilometer from the Gaza border – gathered to light the first candle of the town’s menorah to commemorate the first day of Hanukkah. Jews around the world celebrate this holiday, which marks the time some two millennia ago when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Second Temple.
What makes the candle lighting in Sderot worth mentioning is the fact that it is particularly symbolic of how the Jewish spirit looks for ways to turn tragedy into triumph.
This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)