April 12, 2006 - Israel took an important step toward peace last summer when it withdrew from all of its settlements in the Gaza Strip. With Gaza now completely under their control, the Palestinians had a chance to start building a functioning society. The next step might have been a move toward engaging Israel in negotiations to resolve the remaining problems. Israel had just conducted a major withdrawal from Palestinian territory. Is that not what the Palestinians wanted?
But even before Israel completed its withdrawal, rocket attacks from Gaza against Israeli communities began to increase.
Just before the withdrawal was to take place, Palestinians fired Qassam rockets at Israeli towns in the Western Negev, hitting the city of Sderot. That was only the beginning of the escalation.
Sderot has become a favorite target of Palestinian missiles. Dozens of Qassams have been fired at Sderot since Israel left Gaza. Israel took a real risk by withdrawing, leaving its southwestern cities vulnerable to attack. If the Palestinians are trying to encourage further Israeli withdrawals, they are hardly sending the appropriate message.
Other locations have also been hit. In December a Qassam rocket hit near a kindergarten Hanukkah party in Kibbutz Sa'ad. Rockets have also been fired at Ashkelon.
In February of this year a Qassam injured four people, including a baby, when it hit their home in Kibbutz Karmiya. The baby's mother, suffering from anxiety, was also taken to the hospital.
Just last month a man and a boy were killed in a direct hit near Kibbutz Nahal Oz. A girl standing nearby reported hearing a "whistling sound and an explosion." She was treated for shock. Two days later two Qassams hit a soccer field in Kibbutz Karmiya only hours after children finished playing a game there.
Palestinian terrorists have gone beyond the Qassam. At about the same time Islamic Jihad fired a Katyusha rocket from Gaza into Israel. The Katyusha is bigger than the Qassam, has a longer range, and a heavier payload.
And here is proof, if any were needed, that the Palestinians are not simply "resisting an occupation" but are conducting a war to destroy Israel. A recent Associated Press news item published in the Kuwait Times reports that Islamic Jihad now claims to have many Katyushas, which it will use in an effort to force Israel to evacuate Israeli towns close to the Gaza Strip. In the words of Abu Abdullah, spokesman for Islamic Jihad, "These rockets, God willing, will be the reason for liberating the villages adjacent to the Gaza Strip." Clearly the fight against "occupation" is a smokescreen for the true Palestinian goal of wiping out Israel altogether.
The Palestinians have tried, with considerable success, to portray themselves as the "underdog" in the public consciousness. But their words and actions prove otherwise. If their true goal were ending an occupation, they would have responded constructively to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. Instead they have used that withdrawal as a military advantage in pressing their war against Israel itself. Their, concerted attack against Israel's cities, intentionally targeting civilians, proves that this war is not about an occupation. It is about destroying a country and massacring its citizens.
One is not an "underdog" if one purposely attacks the weakest members of a community. One is not an "underdog" if one has the backing of several of that community's worst enemies. One is not an "underdog" if one fires rockets at children.
One is not an "underdog" if one has options. The Palestinians had many options to negotiate. They chose violence instead. If the Palestinians truly wanted a state of their own to coexist peacefully with Israel, these rocket attacks would make no sense. They make sense only when one understands the Palestinians' real agenda. This agenda is not hidden. It is stated in the Hamas charter. It is the unending struggle to dismantle Israel entirely, making Jews once again a persecuted minority in an Arab land.
The Palestinian "peace" process requires Israel's disappearance as the one acceptable way to end the conflict. How do partisans of the Palestinian cause justify squandering an opportunity for real peace for the sake of gratifying this hatred?
Associated Press. Islamic Jihad Claims Having Many Russian-Made Rockets." Kuwait Times, March 30, 2006.
Dadon, Tova. Three Hurt in Rocket Barrage on South." YNETNews.com, September 24, 2005.
Fendel, Hillel. Two Killed by Kassam Rocket Explosion." IsraelNationalNews.com, March 28, 2006.
Greenberg, Hanan. Baby Hurt in Rocket Attack." YNETNews.com, February 3, 2006.
Greenberg, Hanan. Navy Joins War on Qassams." YNETNews.com, March 29, 2006.
Hadad, Shmulik. Rocket Lands Near Kindergarten." YNETNews.com, December 26, 2005.
Klein, Aaron. Terror Rockets Fly from Gaza." WorldNetDaily.com, August 25, 2005.
Qassam Rocket." Wikipedia.org.
Peace with Realism