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November 14, 2018 1:07 pm

The 13-Year Tragedy of Gaza

avatar by Justin Amler / JNS.org

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A man stands near a house damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Nov. 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

JNS.org – The United Nations — the incredibly morally defunct, hypocritical organization that thinks it has some kind of higher moral authority to dictate to others — said that a new war in Gaza would be an “incredible tragedy.”

“An incredible tragedy.”

Once again, they have it wrong about what exactly a tragedy is. Because the tragedy is what has been brewing in Gaza for the last 13 years.

In 2005, Israel left Gaza, pulling out all soldiers and all civilians — uprooting peoples’ homes and uprooting their lives and families. When Israel withdrew, it left behind good working infrastructure to give the Arabs in Gaza a chance to make something of their lives, to build a largely independent entity that would allow them to determine their own destiny. Israel gave them opportunities, including a successful greenhouse business with crops ready for export.

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But instead of embracing the golden opportunity presented to them — an opportunity for self-determination never offered by any of their “Arab brothers” — they chose not to take it. Instead of lifting themselves up with the greenhouses, they looted them. Instead of inhabiting the previous Jewish community settlements, they ransacked them. They carted off materials such as irrigation hoses, water pumps, and plastic sheeting.

The money and the materials that were poured into this coastal strip, meant to help the Arab residents of the Palestinian Authority become a successful model of the so-called Arab dream of yet another Arab state, turned out to be a nightmare instead.

In the 13 years since Israel left, the focus of the Arabs in Gaza, under their thuggish terrorist dictatorship, has never been about the future. It’s never been about building a better life. It’s never been about helping their people. It’s never been about making the future one of hope and opportunity and aspirations.

It’s been the polar opposite. The infrastructure of hope that was supposed to have been built has been replaced with the infrastructure of hate. The precious minds of engineers, rather than being focused on building vital civilian infrastructure such as water plants and electricity stations, have been maliciously tuned to building rockets and tunnels — each of them designed for the sole purpose of bringing death to men, women, and children. They have built purely to kill.

The tragedy is not if a war is coming, because it is. The tragedy is that all the billions of dollars the Arabs have received, the support and hopes and sheer will of much of the world for them to be successful, has been squandered, but not by mismanagement, but rather a deliberate national goal of destroying the only Jewish state on earth.

How many hospitals and schools and universities could have been built? How many centers of excellence of science and development could have flourished? How many dreams could have been fulfilled and opportunities made?

None of that will happen because for the Arab leaders, their future is not determined about what they can build, but only by what they can destroy.

Meanwhile, in Israel’s southern communities, rockets continue to fall on innocent people, hurting, terrorizing, and killing them. Terror tunnels continue to be built beneath sleeping children. Kids continue to be traumatized along with their parents, who just want to protect them, as all parents do.

For children to grow up thinking that it is normal to run to bomb shelters, knowing that getting there within seconds could be the difference between life and death — well, that is the real tragedy.

War is not the tragedy, as the United Nations seem to think. War is the inevitable result of what happens when a terrorist entity is allowed to flourish without reprimand or consequences. Because where was the international community during these last 13 years?

Where was the condemnation of what the Hamas rulers were doing — the way they hid rockets under UN-funded schools? Or the way they purposely and cynically used civilians as cannon fodder on the Gaza border fence? Or the way they even intimidated UN staff and press? Where was the UN secretary-general calling for restraint as they built their terror tunnels night and day?

And accountability? Where was that, as the funds of the international community meant for reconstruction instead became the funds of blood and death, destined for deconstruction? And even still, Israel continues to supply power and water and even money in the hopes that things will change.

But things will not change, because until generations are educated for peace rather than war, and until there are consequences for building terror infrastructure, why should things change at all?

No rational people want war, but we are not dealing with rational people. We are dealing with an evil entity that will not stop, no matter how nice you are to them. They will not stop, no matter how much money you give. They will not stop, no matter how much water or electricity you supply. They will not stop on their own, because no one is forcing them to. And until they are forced to stop, the rocket attacks and the border infiltration attempts and the violence will continue.

Egyptians and other international players are furiously working for a ceasefire, but you cannot have a ceasefire with evil, because evil does not cease its fire. It only waits in the shadows to launch again.

War is coming, but that’s not the tragedy. The tragedy is that it was allowed to get to this stage in the first place.

Justin Amler is a noted South African-born, Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues. You can find more in-depth articles on Israel and the Middle East @en.mida.org.il.

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