Israeli missiles and Gaza’s bomb shelters
Few weeks ago, three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered. Two of them held dual citizenships, Israeli and American. Few days later, apparently to avenge the deaths, a Palestinian teen was kidnapped and killed. It was clear that the two incidents would spell disaster. In other words, four teens were murdered and there were more killings to come.
In the wake of the four killings, many in Israel and the West Bank including some mayors in Israeli and Arab towns urged both the Israeli government and Hamas not to escalate tensions but it looked obvious that things would not calm down and the rest of the story is known to all.
A question answer of which is not known to anyone is: Why Gaza does not have bomb shelter? Hamas took control of Gaza Strip in 2005 following Israeli withdrawal. However, hostilities never ended. In one of the conflicts around 1,500 Palestinians lost their lives and the Israeli side sustained few casualties. Undoubtedly, Israel is militarily powerful than Hamas. Had Hamas built bomb shelters, the causalities would have been reduced. It seems Hamas does not pat much attention to the number of dead Palestinians. Hamas is not gaining anything by locking horns with Israel.
In the wake of this current crisis, people around the world took to the streets, some supporting Israel and some opposing it. Reportedly many Jews around the world took part in protests slamming Israeli attacks on Gaza. Many Arabs criticized Hamas’ “irresponsible” approach that has put Palestinians in harm’s way. In other words, there are people from both sides who are not in favor of armed conflict. So why don’t these people sit together for a truce resulting in a lasting peace? Now, let us go back to the absence of bomb shelters in Gaza. Hamas either does not understand the rule of the game or simply just turn a blind eye to it. Hamas know well that Israel will hit back and hit hard if attacked. So, why Hamas was successful in spreading a sophisticated network of tunnels and fail to build simple bomb shelters if they knew there would be armed conflicts? Is Hamas willing to sacrifice Palestinians to get more Arab and foreign financial aid and what is more, does Hamas receive orders from abroad or they simply have no control over various factions within Hamas? As we have seen, some of Hamas missiles are either from Iran or used Iranian technologies. So, the question is, can Hamas use these missiles or its technologies without a green light from Iran and is the attack from Gaza planned by the Iranians to take some of the pressure off Bashar Assad?
Till the time of writing this article, the number of Palestinian dead is approaching over 200 and we have seen gruesome scenes of dead children but we all know that the dust will eventually settle and they will just become statistics in history books. What if the Israeli ground forces attack northern Gaza? How many casualties Hamas is willing to sustain?
Hamas had been in isolation from the day it took control of Gaza because of its behavior. So, maybe Hamas wanted to emerge from this isolation and catch world’s attention but other means should have been adopted to do that. Leaders of Hamas are now under more scrutiny from their people. Hamas leaders are jet setters. They travel high class, stay at the best hotels and eat the best food but their people are not paid their salaries on time and what is worse is that they are always under constant pressure from Hamas rule and the Israeli missiles. And Hamas did not even think of building bomb shelters. So, is Hamas looking for more innocent Palestinian casualties to gain more sympathy from the outside world?
Israel is using lethal weapons at a time when many countries in the Arab world are in chaos. There are more Syrian refugees and displaced families than there are Palestinians. There is more destruction in Libya and Yemen than there is in Gaza and there are far more gruesome killing scenes in Iraq than in Gaza. The Arabs are busy. So, the assets of Hamas could have been utilized to educate the Palestinian youths. But if Hamas really wanted an armed conflict, then they should have at least built some bomb shelters for the poor innocent Palestinians. Most of them don’t want this armed conflict.