Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gazans Resume Tunnel Work

Even on the Muslim day of rest, the Gazans resume their work to build smuggling tunnels that Hamas uses to bring weapons and equipment needed to carry out their war with Israel.
“Everybody’s busy rebuilding now,” said a manager of one digging team. “In a month, it will be back to normal.”

The defiant pose seemed surprisingly brazen in light of recent events: Israel said smuggling tunnels were a prime concern, after Hamas rockets, in attacking Gaza, and it hit dozens of them in airstrikes during the war. But the tunnels are the principal livelihood for many people here, and as soon as the bombing stopped, they were right back in them with their shovels.

The revival may challenge what Israel sees as one of its main accomplishments in the war, crushing Hamas’s ability to rearm, and has drawn bitter reactions from residents, who say it is proof the war was a useless enterprise.

“The war was for nothing,” said Mahmoud Abu Adnan, a grocery store owner.

But Israel argues that very soon the tunnels, restored or not, will not matter as much. It has secured agreements with Egypt and the United States that will make this smuggling route far less important. The details have not been made public, but Israel says it is confident they will work.

“What is different today is that there is a good international commitment to prevent the link-up between Iran and Hamas,” said Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli government. “We believe that Hamas will not be allowed to rearm.”

That commitment has yet to be tested. While Israel said that about 80 percent of the tunnels were out of commission after the bombing, Gazans seemed skeptical that anything would change.

“They can destroy as much as they want, but the tunnels will just come back,” Mr. Abu Adnan said.

That spirit of defiance is at the center of the Gazan psyche. Many people here do not condemn Hamas rockets, arguing vociferously that they are the only way Gaza can protect itself from Israeli aggression. The economic blockade, they argue, and the Israelis’ unwillingness to lift it, is justification for the attacks.
The Gazans rationalize the smuggling tunnels because Israel has blocked economic activity with Israel, but ignore that Egypt has likewise done the same. The Gazans ignore that the reason Israel doesn't want anything to do with Gaza is because Hamas controls Gaza and seeks Israel's destruction.

The Gazans complain about the lack of economic opportunities and blame Israel. It's typical. Let's just ignore that Gazans could have used the disengagement in 2005 to build economic bridges with the rest of the world, turning the seaside enclave into a hub of tourism and trade, but instead pushed for Hamas to take over and supported jihad against Israel. Economic opportunity never had a chance.

As for the part about Israel's aggression, we'd just have to ignore that Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005. No Israelis were in Gaza from that point forward. Hamas and the other terrorists in Gaza used that fact to upgrade their terror infrastructure and commence a rocket war against Israel. Israel only responded in force when the rocket attacks became so brazen that Israel had no choice but to respond. Such was the case with the latest Gaza battle; a six-month hudna lasted all of five days when Hamas and other terrorists fired rockets and mortars at Israel. It was when Israel finally responded that the world took notice.

While we're at it, the world wont take much notice of the fact that the terrorists were again busy today attempting to hit Israel with mortars. They fell short, but the intent was there. It's only a matter of time before Hamas and the other terrorists start lobbing rockets and mortars at Israel and we'll be back to reporting on an Israeli operation to attack Hamas targets in Gaza. The jihad waits for no one.

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