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All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts. So read the script of “As you like it”. There seems to be a Christmas tradition that whilst it has some inevitability it is equally regrettable. The tradition is “Seek out the disaster and put it into every living room of the world by the media we call television”. In years passed the pen-lee life boat disaster and the Asian Tsunami were both prominent Christmas stories, this year it is The Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Strip is a tiny strip of land wedged between two historic adversaries, Egypt and Israel. At least they were adversaries until they miraculously began to settle their differences almost 40 years ago. The settlement was seen as an act of betrayal by many of Egypt’s former allies and not least by the then stateless Palestinians. Eventually the Palestinians were allowed a homeland but it was a homeland split into two distinct areas of land. One was the West Bank territory which Israel took from Jordan in 1966 and the other was The Gaza Strip taken from Egypt in the same conflict. The leaders of Israel knew then that the source of most of their future trouble would come from either or both directions. What they actually did was to create two buffer states but both were to be governed by their arch enemy Yasser Arafat. No one however lives forever and Yasser Arafat died on November 11th 2004 leaving a power vacuum between the two major factions of the Palestinian state Al Fatah and Hamas. Whilst he lived he was adept at destabilizing the rise to power of both by countering one intrigue with another whilst promoting his own chosen agenda. To some extent he was the fulcrum of the scales that held Al Fatah on one side and Hamas on the other. When the fulcrum no longer existed collapse was inevitable.
Hamas had been channeling their aggressive tendencies into winning the hearts and minds of Mr. and Mrs. Average Garzan citizen in the same way that the IRA had done in Northern Ireland and in the election of 2005 that followed the death of Yasser Arafat Hamas found itself elected to government. It was predictable that Al Fatah and Hamas could not live together in peace and something close to civil war took place. Al Fatah withdrew to their stronghold on the Jordanian West Bank whilst Hamas took unilateral control of the Gaza Strip in mid 2006. Hamas had not renounced violence and was still regarded as a terrorist organization by the USA. Part of the financial arrangements of the creation of the Palestinian State was that the USA would guarantee to support it with American tax dollars. The more astute in government circles in the USA quickly spotted that Hamas had never renounced violence and still denied Israel the right to exist which in American eyes made them as they always were, a terrorist organization. The State Department and the US treasury pointed out that in theory at least American tax dollars could be used to fund acts of terror against the American people. Politically it was a form of contractual suicide. A compromise between Israel and what remained of the Palestinian state was set in place and the crisis was stage managed to appear affable.

Hamas was left in complete control of the Gaza Strip. It was approximately 140 square miles of territory but its strategic importance was and still is much more. The Gaza strip is a “Buffer State” and it has been used as such in the past by Egypt to attack Israel. When Hamas took control Israel began to isolate their problem neighbor expecting trouble from that quarter at any moment. To be fair to Israel they did not isolate it completely, humanitarian aid and food was allowed free passage but arms and anything that could be used militarily was strictly controlled.
Naturally Hamas were not happy when they found themselves prosecuting a war against an enemy who were applying a stranglehold upon the means to carry out their objectives. An alternative route had to be found to supply the warlords of Hamas. In the past arms from Syria and Iran had been supplied to Gaza but with the Israeli controls the supply line was restricted. Hamas along with several factions of the terrorist cells in Gaza undermined the security of its borders with both Israel and Egypt and arms began to flow into once more, much of the ordinance is Iranian made Katousha rockets. An indiscriminate weapon with no guidance that is designed to explode and fragment upon impact.

Freshly supplied Hamas or factions it claims to have no control over began daily attacks across the border into Israel. They did not target military installations; their targets were known centers of civilian occupation which by the standards of any other country would be called terrorism. The attacks have no timetable; there is no prior warning just a growing list of Israeli dead and injured and it does not seem to matter whether the victims are women or children. The attacks have been a daily feature of the area for at least six months.

Two weeks ago the Israelis began to retaliate in kind except that where Hamas and its cohorts target indiscriminately the Israelis are targeting the source of their antagonism, the warlords behind the attacks. Would that it were so simple. The terrorist leaders surround themselves deliberately with women and children who are pawns in the scheme. Any attack upon them is calculated to incur collateral damage that will be reported by the world’s media. Of course the name of the intended target is often reported but then they always point out the collateral damage which carries more political weight than the death of one warlord. Yet whilst the world counts the Palestinian dead no one has counted the Israeli dead and injured. The difference between the two adversaries is that Hamas would have the world believe that the rockets they use are home made in desperation whereas they are actually made in a factory in Iran or at least parts of them are. Whilst they point to the devastation caused by the Israeli F17’s they make little mention of the attacks that preceded the retaliation. Of course, it should be remembered who taught the Israelis to respond in such a way but that would mean recalling all of the occasions that Israel’s neighbor’s have banded together to wipe it from the face of the Earth. The plain truth is that Israelis will either fight or die, they will not leave. Their unequal response to the attacks from Gaza is a message to all would be aggressors whether they be one lone suicide bomber which incidentally their first victim was in the habit of grooming and sending out to die or an army or even several armies bent on their total destruction. The response is consistent if nothing else.

Israel maintains that when the rockets stop falling upon their people their jets will cease their attacks. If Hamas are to be believed that these are home made weapons used in a conflict where they are sustaining high civilian casualties why have they continued to launch their rockets? If as the world now believes Israel is the aggressor why has Hamas not called their bluff and stopped the rockets? The answer is cynically simple, whilst the warlords of Hamas have the worlds press eating from their hand they will not stop. No matter how many of their own people are killed and if they happen to be women and children then it is so much better for their cause.
The F17's now attacking Gaza can only do part of the job and today is the Jewish Sabath with the clock of world opinion ticking against them it would be no surprise to see Israeli tanks in Gaza city by noon Sunday.

All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts.

Look more closely at the next news report, the stage management is beyond compare.


Posted: January 3, 2009 ,   Modified: January 3, 2009

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