A Palestinian human rights activist has inadvertently confirmed what Israel has always insisted, that terrorist groups live, train, operate and run riot throughout the Gaza Strip’s residential neighbourhoods.
In a piece written for the Palestinian news service Maan, Gaza human rights activist Mahmoud Abu Rahma reveals that the “resistance movements” are so entrenched and widespread in residential areas that civilians are suffering frequent injuries because of their activities.
There is a training site in the town of Beit Lahiya that threatens people every day, including a girl who was injured inside her school when an explosion occurred in this site on Sep. 20 2011.
Explosions also occur frequently in densely-populated areas around Gaza and have their victims; many of whom are children. Shootings occur by mistake inside homes from weapons owned by the resistance. Military training sites function and are located in places very close to neighborhoods and/or schools, from where acts of resistance; including firing rockets, also occur.
The article undermines the main accusation that was central to the Goldstone Report (later rejected by the report’s namesake, Justice Richard Goldstone) that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in the 2008/09 war. Israel has always argued that its efforts to neutralise the terrorist infrastructure was complicated because of the blatant disregard shown by Hamas and other groups for its own civilian population.
[By the way, this revelation makes doubly impressive Israel’s achievements in Gaza over the past year, where Israeli retaliation reportedly killed only nine civilians as opposed to 91 combatants, numbers almost unprecedented in modern asymmetrical warfare. As Yaakov Katz noted, that makes a “civilian-combatant ratio of nearly 1:10. #UN says world average is 3:1”].
As Abu Rahma reveals, the relationship between the Hamas government in Gaza and the resistance groups operates on a quid pro quo basis.
It is clear the government is not willing to take the smallest act. It does not open investigations or even hold talks with the resistance groups to ensure that steps are taken to protect the vulnerable people. It is equally clear that the resistance continues to show the same carelessness towards violations committed by the government against the people.
Abu Rahma is smart enough to largely limit the scope of his accusations to the lack of justice and transparency for people who are victims of resistance groups that are negligent in how they conduct themselves. However, it is apparent that Gaza is a police state:
It is safe to assume that neither the government nor the resistance is willing to step in to protect people who dare to criticize them.
Every day we see detention and summoning of citizens by the dozens; not for unlawful acts they committed, but mostly for who they are and what they think, or for their mere political affiliation.
But clearly a prophet in his own land, Abu Rahma knows what a generation of corrupt Palestinian self-rule since 1994 has bequeathed:
Power and authority with a poor moral foundation are doomed to fail. They will destroy themselves and lead their people to corruption and injustice.
Senior Hamas member Mahmoud al-Zahar dismissed a statement made by Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal, who claimed recently that the group will hold mass rallies against Israel within the Gaza Strip.
“Popular resistance is inappropriate for the Gaza Strip,” al-Zahar said. “Against whom exactly would be rally? Such resistance would be fitting if Gaza was occupied.” However, he claimed that all forms of resistance – including the armed kind – are appropriate for the West Bank, as it is “still under occupation.”
This knocks on the head another foundation of the Goldstone Report, as well as an absurd claim all too common even today at the UN, as Hillel Neuer of UN Watch has pointed out.
– Allon Lee