ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Gaza Humanitarian Issues in the Service of Islamists

Gaza Humanitarian Issues in the Service of Islamists

 

28 January 2008

By Yisrael Ne'eman

Last week any pretense of a border between the Gaza Strip and northeast Sinai were literally blown away by the Hamas as they detonated explosives toppling the wall marking the international line with Egypt. Previously tunnel traffic in arms, ammunition and terrorists between the two made a mockery of the “border” yet there were those who continued to insist that some sort of barrier existed. The “breakout” engineered by the Hamas showed they were in full control of the Strip and in the showdown with Egypt they had the upper hand. In essence Israel’s cutback in fuel and supplies to the pro-Hamas/Jihad Palestinian population is cited as the reason for the internal pressure cooker leading to the “escape” into Sinai. Lacking in supplies, but nowhere near a humanitarian crisis the Hamas directed the destruction of the border barrier so scrupulously filmed by the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera. Hundreds of thousands streamed across into Sinai to buy basic necessities and the obligatory cartons of cigarettes.

Let us recall that Israel curbed fuel supplies as a result of increased rocket attacks into Sederot, Ashkelon and the western Negev by the Hamas/Jihad. In Israel claims are made that the Gaza Philadelphi border line should never have been ceded to the Palestinians during the 2005 Disengagement. Widening and defending the 14 kilometer line would have meant the displacement of thousands of Palestinian families living on the Gaza side. Whether it could or should have been done is very much a theoretical question.

But as usual the real issue is being overlooked. The true intentions of the Hamas (the Palestinian wing of the Moslem Brotherhood – Hamas Covenant: Article 2) have little to with the physical comfort of the Palestinian people. The objective of the Moslem Brotherhood is the rule of Islam worldwide. The first targets for overthrow are the secular regimes in the Arab/Moslem world. Egypt is the key to dominance in the Middle East. Cairo refused to halt contraband weapons shipments into the Gaza Strip, but apparently tried to regulate them instead. The price would be paid by Israel in a smoldering border war between Gaza and the northwest Negev. Israel had no real choice but to comply while all involved understood that the stability of the Egyptian regime might be at stake. Outright Egyptian opposition to Hamas could backfire into an Islamic challenge to Hosni Mubarak’s Arab nationalist secular regime.

Massive Hamas/Jihad shellings into the Negev forced Israel’s hand which in turn led to the well planned “breakout” into northern Sinai. For months the several meter high iron border wall was being cut at its base. Simultaneously the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood has gotten their message out through interviews with the Hamas media in Gaza (even before the collapse of the wall). In Egypt they are denied media access. With Al-Jazeera permanently in Gaza, no better event could be planned, not only to dramatize the Palestinian “plight” so well orchestrated by Hamas but to spread the Islamic message. Talk shows and interviews on Al-Jazeera constantly pit Islamicists representing “the people” against officials (former or present) from the pro-West secular Arab state regimes who are presented as repressive. Reporting is pro-Islamist.

Today there are hundreds, if not thousands of Hamas and Islamist activists racing around Sinai challenging the Egyptian authorities to curtail their activities. Sinai is the new terror haven (at least until the Americans leave western Iraq). Sinai is the springboard to Cairo - the gateway to the Arab world.

As much as Israelis are worried about terror attacks across the Sinai-Negev border, Israel in essence is only the secondary target. No doubt Hamas/Jihad terror attacks are being planned along the border region with Egypt forcing Israel to redeploy military units to the area. Furthermore Gaza is now fully armed with weapons and ammunition including anti-aircraft shoulder launched rockets according to some reports. A major Israeli military incursion into Gaza seems unavoidable, even if not during the winter months.

The full ramifications for Egypt are not yet clear. But within a year or so one can expect an emboldened Moslem Brotherhood to challenge the Mubarak regime. They have much to learn from the Hamas and will work tirelessly, step by step to undermine the pro-Western secular regime in Cairo.

The Hamas and Islamic Jihad have three short to medium term objectives: Consolidation of Islamist power in Gaza and the West Bank, the export of the revolution leading to the overthrow of secular regimes in the Arab world, in particular Egypt and Jordan - and once the first two goals are accomplished the full confrontation with Israel will begin. Such an eventuality would be a catastrophe. The broad strategy is explained below:

“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realized.” (Intro to Hamas Covenant)

Furthermore throughout the Hamas Covenant secularism is condemned (Art. 26) along with any attempts at peace agreements (Art. 13) while the call to Jihad is made clear as the only alternative (Art. 15).

The Western media continues to take the Al-Jazeera lead and report the “humanitarian crisis” while ignoring the true story. The only way to confront the local Islamist threat is for Israel and Egypt to cooperate and to put an end to the Hamas regime in Gaza. To do this the West must be convinced of the necessity of crushing the international Jihadist movement and lend both nations unconditional support in this effort. Unfortunately due to naiveté, apathy and in some cases cowardice, Western nations are trying to stay out of the fray or negotiate compromises. Due to continual shelling of the western Negev Israel will be forced into a large scale military operation in Gaza while Egypt must fully commit to crushing Islamic extremists while halting all military supplies to Hamas.

Israel and particularly Mubarak may not get the foreign support they need but even more worrying is the question as to whether the Egyptian government has the willpower and the ability to halt the Islamists.