Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)

 By WILLIAM K. STEVENSPublished: October 24, 1989
AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California.Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.
Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower. 
Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California,  said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more  vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
 Many brownstones, he said, constructed as they are of unreinforced masonry walls with wood joists between, ”would just go like a house of cards.” Unreinforced masonry, in fact, is the single most vulnerable structure, engineers say. Such buildings are abundant, even predominant, in many older cities. The Scawthorn-Harris study reviewed inventories of all buildings in Manhattan as of 1972 and found that 28,884, or more than half, were built of unreinforced masonry. Of those, 23,064 were three to five stories high.
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
Tunnels Vulnerable
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

Who Sank One of Iran’s Largest Navy Ships?

Iran Investigates Fire That Sank One of Its Largest Navy Ships

Sinking of the Kharg follows a string of fires and explosions at security sites

By Updated June 2, 2021 3:13 pm ET

Oui Iran is investigating a fire that sank one of its largest navy ships early Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman, according to Iranian state media, the latest blow to the country’s vital infrastructure and military assets.

Hours after the ship fire, a large fire broke out at an oil refinery near the Iranian capital. Leakage in a liquefied petroleum gas pipeline at the facility caused an explosion and fire, the head of Tehran’s crisis management team told state television. He said that no one had been harmed. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire. Hot summer weather has caused similar fires in the past.

The ship, named the Kharg after an Iranian island, had been deployed to international waters to participate in a training exercise when it caught fire near the port of Jask, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency said. The fire started in the engine room and caused parts of the ship to melt and fall into the sea, state news agency IRNA said.

Rescue workers tried for 20 hours to extinguish the fire but couldn’t prevent it from spreading, Tasnim said, citing Iran’s navy. Nearly 400 crew members were evacuated safely from the ship, 33 of them with minor injuries, according to the Hormuzgan governor’s office, which oversees the area where the ship sank.

The commander of the Navy and several senior officers were in the region to investigate the incident, according to IRNA. Other Iranian media outlets broadcast footage from the Gulf of Oman of what they said was the ship burning in the distance. The spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations, Shahrokh Nazemi, declined to comment, and referred to comments made to Iranian media by the Hormuzgan governor’s office.

Enabling the Korean nuclear horns: Daniel 7

Could More Powerful South Korean Ballistic Missiles Actually Help North Korea?

The U.S. decision to lift restrictions on South Korean missile development could be a blessing in disguise for Pyongyang.

Following a meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on May 21, it was announced that the United States had agreed to lift restrictions imposed on South Korea’s development of ballistic missiles. These restrictions had been gradually relaxed since 2001 to allow South Korea to field longer ranged ground-based missiles with heavier warheads. The lifting of restrictions entirely opens up the possibility of a much more ambitious missile program capable of launching precision strikes across Northeast Asia – and possibly much farther.

North Korea responded on May 31 by condemning the relaxation of restrictions, with the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stating: “It is an apparently deliberate and hostile act that the U.S. lifted the firing range limit, not content with the removal of the warhead weight limit through the approval of several revised ‘missile guidelines.’ The termination of the ‘missile guidelines’ clearly shows who is behind the escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula.”

The article warned that this could allow South Korea to develop hypersonic, submarine launched, and even intercontinental ranged ballistic missiles in a short period, claiming that Washington was seeking to intensify the arms race on the Korean Peninsula by giving Seoul the green light to move ahead with its missile program. Such a possibility was described as “disturbing.” The North Korean state media outlet further claimed that the move was a sign of double standards regarding which of the Koreas is permitted to develop ballistic missile capabilities, stating: “The U.S., doggedly branding the measures taken by the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the official name of North Korea] for self-defense as violations of U.N. ‘resolution,’ grants its allies unlimited rights to missile development. It is engrossed in confrontation despite its lip-service to dialogue. The termination step is a stark reminder of the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and its shameful double-dealing.”

While an unrestricted South Korean ballistic missile program may initially appear to threaten the North, with which Seoul and Washington have been technically at war for over 70 years, assessing the full implications of a less restricted South Korea missile program indicates it may in fact strengthen Pyongyang’s position for multiple reasons.

First, the existing range restrictions for South Korean missiles already allow it to field munitions that can strike anywhere on the Korean Peninsula with warheads of any size – with its latest missiles deploying exceptionally large two ton warheads. This means a lifting of restrictions may not actually have any notable impact on the South’s ability to strike the North, in contrast to the previous loosening of restrictions in 2012 and 2017. The former amendment to restrictions allowed South Korea to field missiles with a range of up to 800 km, which was enough to comfortably cover all of North Korea from almost any launching point the South, while the latter removed all restrictions on warhead weight. Any missile designs that are actually affected by the recent abolition of restrictions will thus likely be focused on striking targets beyond the Korean Peninsula – a capability that will not necessarily harm Pyongyang’s interests.

The lifting of missile restrictions notably comes as part of a growing trend toward greater autonomy for South Korea’s armed forces, with Seoul expected to gain wartime operational command over its military in 2022, when a decades-long arrangement that placed its assets under U.S. wartime command comes to an end. This trend could well lead to a reduced dependence on Washington for protection, and in turn provide Seoul with greater room to conduct policy independently. This has particularly significant implications for its relations with China and North Korea.

China is South Korea’s largest trading partner by a significant margin, but Seoul has come under increasing U.S. pressure to take a hard line against Beijing. The U.S. deployment of THAAD air defenses to South Korea from 2016, and the serious harm this did to diplomatic and economic ties between Seoul and Beijing, provides an example of precisely the kind of situation South Korea hopes to avoid as China-U.S. relations worsen – and greater military independence could better allow it to stay out of a similar predicament in the future.

Furthermore, with South Korea’s ability to improve ties with the North effectively restricted by the U.S., despite the Moon administration having had a strong popular mandate for inter-Korean rapprochement, greater independence from Washington in defense could well facilitate more independence in this area of policymaking as well. South Korea is already considered by some assessments to be one of the world’s five or six most capable military powers, and with command of its own armed forces, an increasingly self-reliant defense sector, and a long-range ballistic missile deterrent the argument that it need depend on U.S. protection would be weakened – thus potentially loosening Washington’s leverage over policy.

Beyond the potential effects the removal of ballistic missile restrictions could have on Seoul’s strategic position, it could also go a long way toward effectively legitimizing North Korea’s own ballistic missile program. Western-led efforts to arbitrarily label North Korea’s development of ballistic missiles as “provocative” have often struggled to stand up to scrutiny, with very similar missile tests in India, Pakistan, Israel, and the West itself treated as normal and legitimate and receiving entirely different coverage. The only outstanding difference between North Korea’s missile program, and those of the three other nuclear weapons states not sanctioned by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, is that Pyongyang’s program is aimed at restricting the military freedom of action of Western states through deterrence. The others, by contrast, are all aimed at deterring non-Western neighboring states in South Asia and the Middle East, and are therefore considered acceptable in the Western-dominated discourse on the issue.

A powerful South Korean missile arsenal would emphasize these double standards with an example much closer to home for Pyongyang, and effectively underline that claims a North Korean missile deterrent is provocative and unacceptable are arbitrary – since the South would be doing precisely the same. A South Korean long ranged missile program could make that of the North look much more legitimate – and do so without significantly harming North Korean security.

While Pyongyang will protest the possibility of an expanded South Korean ballistic missile deterrent, and will seek to use Washington’s green light to an expansion of Seoul’s arsenal and capabilities to highlight the double standards under which its own arsenal has been condemned, in the medium term North Korea’s position is likely to only be strengthened. The extent to which Seoul may seek to increasingly assert its independence from Washington as the country takes greater responsibility for its own defense, as trade with China becomes increasingly central to its economic interests, and as the economic benefitsof potential rapprochement with Pyongyang remain alluring, is yet to be seen.Authors

Guest Author

A. B. Abrams

A. B. Abrams is the author of “Immovable Object: North Korea’s 70 Years at War with American Power” and “Power and Primacy: A History of Western Intervention in the Asia-Pacific.” He has published widely on defense and politics and is proficient in Chinese, Korean and other East Asian languages.

China’s nuclear showdown with Babylon the Great

China warns of ‘nuclear showdown’ with the United States

JUNE 3, 2021 7:46AM

The Chinese government’s mouthpiece newspaper has launched a blistering attack on the United States threatening it with a “high intensity showdown” possibly involving nuclear weapons.

Hu Xijin, the editor of the Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times, said enhancing China’s nuclear program was now vital to the country’s “strategic deterrence” against the United States.

His comments came shortly after US President Joe Biden called for a further investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

We must be prepared for an intense showdown between China and the US,” Mr Hu wrote in an op-ed for the Global Times. “The number of China’s nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes US elites shiver should they entertain the idea of engaging in a military confrontation with China.”

Mr Hu – who once called Australia “gum stuck to China’s shoe” – doubled down on his war cry in a series of posts on the Weibo social media platform.
“Given the intensifying US strategic containment of China, I would like to remind once again that we have many urgent tasks, but one of the most important is to keep rapidly increasing the number of nuclear warheads and strategic missiles like the Dongfeng 41 with extremely long-range and high survival capabilities,” Mr Hu wrote in a post translated by Chinese human rights activist Jennifer Zeng.

“This is the cornerstone of China’s strategic resilience against the United States.

“We must be prepared for a high-intensity showdown between the US and China, at which point a large number of DF-41 and JL-2 and JL-3 will be the backbone of our strategic will. “Our nuclear missiles must be so numerous that the US elite will tremble at the thought of military confrontation with China at that time.

“On such a basis, we can calmly and actively manage our differences with the US and avoid all kinds of gunfire.

“As US hostility toward China continues to burn, we need to use our strength and the unbearable risks they would face if they took the risk to force them to remain calm.”

His comments come days after US President Biden ordered the US intelligence community to investigate whether the Covid-19 virus first emerged in China from an animal source or from a laboratory accident – stoking fury from China.

The move hints at growing impatience with waiting for a conclusive World Health Organisation (WHO) investigation into how the pandemic that has killed more than 3.5 million people worldwide began.

During an ongoing meeting of WHO member states, European Union countries and a range of others also pressed for clarity on the next steps in the organisation’s efforts to solve the mystery, seen as vital to averting future pandemics.

The WHO finally managed to send a team of independent, international experts to Wuhan in January, more than a year after Covid-19 first surfaced there in late 2019, to help probe the pandemic origins.

But in their long-delayed report published in late March, the international team and their Chinese counterparts drew no firm conclusions, instead ranking a number of hypotheses according to how likely they believed they were.

Russia Enlarges Her Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Russia plans to revive the world’s largest new uranium project

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(Kitco News) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev said yesterday that the state nuclear corporation Rosatom, which has suspended the development of the gigantic Elkon uranium project in Russia’s Yakutia region since 2017, must submit a plan to resume this work, the Russian news agency RBC reports. 

According to RBC, back in 2017, the licenses were suspended for the following deposits of the Elkon uranium field in Yakutia: Elkon, Elkonskoe Plateau, Kurung, Neprokhodimoe, Druzhnoe and Severnoe. These deposits comprise the Elkon project and have total resources of 357 thousand tonnes of uranium (approximately 928 million pounds of uranium oxide), making Elkon the largest new uranium project globally. 

RBC noted that Elkon licenses were suspended by the initiative of Rosatom due to deteriorated uranium market conditions. 

RBC said that investors expect that the global trend towards “green” energy will support interest in nuclear energy and uranium as a raw material for the production of nuclear fuel. According to the Financial Times, since the beginning of 2021, the market index of uranium mining companies has shown an increase of 35%. This is a record for the past six years.

The Iranian Horn ends UN nuclear monitoring: Daniel 8

Iran ends UN nuclear monitoring after failing to account for trace uranium

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, and the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi inspect the nuclear technology on the occasion of Iran National Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran in 2019. EPA

Iran on Monday said it would not renew its inspection agreement with the UN nuclear watchdog but would continue to record data for one more month.

The decision was made public after an accusation earlier in the day by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Tehran had failed to account for uranium traces.

“We have done our best to co-operate with the [IAEA] and provide all clarifications,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation.

Mr Salehi said the decision to extend maintaining data for another month was aimed at making progress and concluding “technical talks” between the two agencies.

Iran’s failure to explain traces of processed uranium found at several undeclared sites was revealed in the IAEA’s quarterly report, released on Monday.

Three months ago Britain, France and Germany scrapped a US-backed plan for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation board of governors to criticise Iran for not fully explaining the origin of the particles.

The three countries relented when IAEA chief Rafael Grossi announced new talks with Tehran.

Mr Grossi hoped to report progress in the talks before the board meets next week and as negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal continue in Vienna, Austria.

“After many months, Iran has not provided the necessary explanation for the presence of the nuclear material particles at any of the three locations where the agency has conducted complementary accesses,” he said in a report to member states.

In another report, the agency said Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium was about 16 times the limit allowed in the 2015 deal with world powers, which tried to limit Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons.

It gave an estimate of a stockpile of 3,241 kilograms but said it could not verify the total.

Iran began increasing production after president Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal in 2018. 

Under the pact, the IAEA placed about 2,000 tamper-proof seals on nuclear material and equipment. Those seals communicated electronically with inspectors.

Automated measuring devices also provided real-time data from Iran’s nuclear programme.

But the IAEA’s report said it had not been able to access monitoring data since late February, when Iran started restricting international inspections of its plants.

The IAEA said it has “not had access to the data from its online enrichment monitors and electronic seals, or had access to the measurement recordings registered by its installed measurement devices” since February 23.

While Iran and the UN watchdog earlier acknowledged that the restrictions limited access to surveillance cameras at Iranian centres, the latest report indicated they were tougher.

The IAEA said it could only provide an estimate of Iran’s nuclear stockpile as the country enriches uranium at a much higher level.

The IAEA’s latest report leaves Britain, France and Germany with a decision on whether to revive their push for a resolution criticising Tehran, which could undermine the talks to revive the deal.

The Israel-Hamas Conflict Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

The Israel-Hamas Conflict: Truth and Reasonableness Lost

I am not as concerned about the rise of antisemitism as I am worried that Israel’s detractors in the West, particularly on the left, always find justification for Israel’s enemies’ actions.

When Hamas bombed Israel after the latter withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the argument was that Israel still controlled the air space. When Hamas attacked, again and again, the rationale that justified it was that Israel had imposed a blockade on Gaza. What was not sufficiently mentioned was that Hamas used the territory from which Israel withdrew to attack Israelis or that Hamas’ charter calls for Israel’s destruction. The argument about the blockade recently recurred even though Israel, in an agreement with Qatar, allowed the passage of merchandise and funds for hundreds of millions of dollars from Israel to Gaza.