Carter’s Version Of The War In Gaza

Jimmy Carter starts his article in the Washington Post this way:

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.

After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism.

To that point, Mr. Carter and I were in agreement. Of course knowing it was Carter writing this piece, I knew there had to be a huge “but” coming soon. And, of course, I was right.

As usual, Mr. Carter presents a rather contextless one-sided view of what what happening at this time and ignores the recent (and inconvenient to the thrust of his article) past. He much more subtle in his accusations than usual (he’s apparently learned from the criticism he’s received and adapted his style). This time he crafts his fiction carefully so as to lead the reader to conclusion that it is all the Israeli’s fault. But there are plenty of red flags which pop up that give away the game.

Bottom line, Carter essentially implies that Israel was starving the Palestinians for no good reason and Hamas as well as the PA were desperate for a peaceful solution. The rockets? Although condemned initially as an inexcusable act of terrorism, they’re now essentially excused as acts of frustration and desperation. And besides, not that many Israelis were killed.

Carter then writes:

After extended discussions with those from Gaza, these Hamas leaders also agreed to accept any peace agreement that might be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the PLO, provided it was approved by a majority vote of Palestinians in a referendum or by an elected unity government.

Since we were only observers, and not negotiators, we relayed this information to the Egyptians, and they pursued the cease-fire proposal. After about a month, the Egyptians and Hamas informed us that all military action by both sides and all rocket firing would stop on June 19, for a period of six months, and that humanitarian supplies would be restored to the normal level that had existed before Israel’s withdrawal in 2005 (about 700 trucks daily).

We were unable to confirm this in Jerusalem because of Israel’s unwillingness to admit to any negotiations with Hamas, but rocket firing was soon stopped and there was an increase in supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel. Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.

A “defensive tunnel”? Heh, you’ve got to be kidding me. The tunnel was part of a plan to kidnap Israeli soldiers. What was defensive was the operation to take it out. The tunnel was a perfect example of Hamas using the truce as cover to continue its aggression against Israel.

And we know from Hamas’s own words that they had no wish whatsoever for a truce of any kind with Israel. We also know that the PA and other Palestinians blame Hamas for what is going on, not Israel.

What Carter leaves out of his version of events is the level of attack Israel has sustained during Hamas’s rule in Gaza and the fact that Hamas immediately resumed that level at the end of the cease fire.

To give a little context to what has caused Israel to finally act against Hamas in Gaza after 3+ years let’s look at what Hamas has actually done.

Let’s start with the period of Aug. 15, 2005 – Jan. 25, 2006. That’s the period between Israel’s evacuation of Gaza and the election of Hamas. In that period of time, Israel was attacked by rockets and mortars an average of 15 times a month.

Between the time of the Hamas election and it’s Gaza coup (Jan. 25, 2006 – June 14, 2007), the attack average was 102 a month, an increase of 650%.

From the Hamas’ takeover and the start of the Tahadiya or State of Calm (June 14, 2007 – June 16, 2008), the average increased to 361 attacks per month. That’s an additional 350% increase.

Now, those rocket and mortar shells were coming from someone and somewhere. And while there are those who would like to pretend they were homemade, we’ve since found out that they’ve come in from Iran and China.

Unless those two countries are giving these things away, Hamas has been buying them. So instead of spending money for food and humanitarian supplies, apparently Hamas opted for weaponry and aggression. Somehow, however, it is Israel’s fault that the humanitarian flow of goods into Gaza is down to a trickle, in the face of an average of 361 rocket and mortar attacks a month of imported weaponry.

Carter is correct that this war could have been avoided, but not for the reasons he’d have you believe. All Hamas has to do is disavow aggression, violence and its stated mission of the destruction of Israel. All it has to do is spend its money on food and medicine instead of rockets and mortars.

The reason this war wasn’t avoidable is Hamas has an intransigent position that refuses all efforts at a peace accord with Israel. Until they change that position and enter into good faith peace negotiations then, at least as I see it, the onus of the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza rests solely and squarely on them and no one else.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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