More Children Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Palestinian toddler dies from wounds in Gaza as premature Israeli baby killed after West Bank shooting | The Independent

1 day ago

Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza attended the funeral of a four-year-old boy who died after being injured by Israeli gunfire during a protest at the border, health officials have said.

On the same day 70 miles away a baby, who was delivered prematurely to an Israeli woman wounded in a Palestinian drive-by shooting in the West Bank, also died.

Israeli pregnant mother Shira Ish-Ran, her husband and five others were injured in an attack at a bus stop outside the illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra in the West Bank on Sunday.

Doctors said she was shot in the abdomen and that her son was born in critical condition. The Palestinian gunman apparently fled the scene.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Wednesday evening that the baby, who was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, had died in hospital.

“My heart, our hearts, are with Shira and Avihai at the death of a four-day-old baby who does not even have a name,” Mr Netanyahu told foreign media and diplomats in a speech. “The security forces are in pursuit of the murderer.”

Meanwhile in Gaza, Palestinian health officials reported that Ahmed Abu Abed, 4, had succumbed to his injuries apparently sustained by Israeli fire. He was buried in Khan Younis, at the southern end of the strip on Wednesday afternoon.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said he “was hit by shrapnel from Israeli gunfire” during protests near to the border fence with Israel on Friday.

Reuters footage from the protest showed the boy being carried by a medic into a field hospital not far from the border after being injured.

“There was one piece of bullet shrapnel in the eye that settled at the bottom of the brain, that was the most serious of all, and that what most likely killed him,” said Mohammad Abu Hilal, director of emergency department at Khan Younis hospital.

The boy’s father, Yasser Abu Abed, who suffered a leg injury, said they were among a hundred other protesters nearly 300 metres from the fence when Israeli forces opened fire. “We did not expect anything bad would happen as things were calm,” he said.

Israel’s military said it did “everything possible to avoid harming children” and accused Hamas, the militant group that runs the strip, of “cynically” using Gaza’s residents as human shields.

“[It] places them at the forefront of the violent riots, terrorist attacks and the terror of arson, demonstrating their contempt for human life,” the statement added.

Hamas denies the allegations and together with rights groups has accused Israel of using excessive force against protesters

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since March according to health ministry in Gaza.

Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

Palestinians have been marching regularly on the border since March, protesting against an 11-year-old Israeli siege of Gaza and for the right to return to the ancestral land they fled or were forced from during the 1948 conflict that surrounded the creation of Israel.

After Mr Netanyahu spoke about the West Bank incident, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said troops shot and wounded a suspected militant who tried to evade arrest near the Palestinian city of Ramallah. It said he was in custody, but did not immediately confirm or deny Israeli media reports that he was sought in connection with the Ofra attack.

More Children Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

The sister of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed is comforted as she mourns during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 12, 2018.

Gaza boy, 4, dies from Israeli fire: Palestinian medics

Nidal al-Mughrabi


Relatives of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed mourn during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 12, 2018.


GAZA (Reuters) – Hundreds of Gazans on Wednesday attended the funeral of a four-year-old boy who died after being hit by Israeli shrapnel at a border protest last week, according to Palestinian medical officials.

Wrapped in a Palestinian flag, the body of Ahmed Abu Abed was carried on people’s shoulders as mourners threw flowers into the procession in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.

Reuters footage from the protest last Friday showed the boy being carried by a medic into a field hospital not far from the border after being injured.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said he “was hit by shrapnel from Israeli gunfire”.

“There was one piece of bullet shrapnel in the eye that settled at the bottom of the brain, that was the most serious of all, and that what most likely killed him,” Mohammad Abu Hilal, director of emergency department at Khan Younis hospital, told Reuters.

Gaza’s health ministry, run by the Islamist militant group Hamas, said more than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since March at border protests demanding an end to an Israeli-led blockade of the coastal strip.

Israel’s military said it did “everything possible to avoid harming children,” and accused Hamas of endangering the lives of civilians by orchestrating the protests.

“The Hamas terrorist organization cynically uses Gaza residents, especially women and children, as human shields and places them at the forefront of the violent riots, terrorist attacks and the terror of arson, demonstrating their contempt for human life,” the military statement said.

Hamas denies the allegation and Palestinians accuse Israel of using excessive force against protesters.

The boy’s father, Yasser Abu Abed, who suffered a leg injury, said they were among a hundred other protesters nearly 300 metres (1,000 feet) from the fence when Israeli forces opened fire. “We did not expect anything bad would happen as things were calm,” he said.

(Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Even Kushner Recognizes the Battle Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)


President Donald Trump’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner stated during his interview with Sean Hannity on Monday night that the living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza are not acceptable.

“We are focused on the broader region, which is figuring out how to hopefully bring a deal together between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That conflict has gone on for way too long. The president has been very focused on trying to bring all of the different parties together,” Kushner began.

“We are hopeful in the next couple of months we will put out our plan which, again, not every side is [going to] love, but there is enough in it and enough reasons why people should take it and move forward. This plan will keep the Israeli people safe, give them a good future, but also give a real opportunity and hope for the Palestinian people so that they can live much better lives,” he continued. “I’ve been saying a lot that there … you should not be hijacking your children’s future because of your grandparents’ conflict.”

Last week, a U.S.-sponsored resolution to condemn the Gaza-based terror organization Hamas failed to receive the necessary votes.

“This is a conflict that has been going on for way too long. And the way the people are living in Gaza and West Bank right now is not acceptable,” Kushner added. “There is a lot that we could be doing to improve the quality of life, but it comes with resolving some of these core issues. And it is not just the Israelis that want it, it’s not just the Palestinian people who want it, it is all of the people I speak to throughout the entire Middle East who would like to see the issue resolved so they can start focusing on a brighter future.”

Palestinians Trampled Under Foot Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Scores of amputations in Gaza as Israeli troops aim at legs

Gaza’s Health Ministry has carried out 94 amputations since protests began in March, 82 of those involving lower limbs.

Raed Abu Khader, right, holds a wet cloth on the forehead of his 12-year-old son Mohammed in Gaza City; Mohammed was shot in the leg at one of the demonstrations in Gaza by the perimeter fence with Israel [Associated Press]

Israeli forces deployed along the fence that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip have fired live rounds at rock-throwing Palestinian protesters ever since demonstrations demanding the right to return began in March.

And for eight months, Israeli snipers have targeted one part of the body more than any other – the legs.

The Israeli army says it is responding to weekly assaults on its frontier by Palestinians armed with stones, grenades and firebombs. It says it opens fire only as a last resort and considers firing at the lower limbs an act of restraint.

Still, 175 Palestinians have been shot dead, according to a count by the Associated Press news agency. And the number of wounded has reached colossal proportions.

Of the 10,511 protesters treated at hospitals and field clinics in Gaza so far, at least 6,392, or roughly 60 percent, have been struck in the lower limbs, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. At least 5,884 of those casualties were hit by live ammunition; others have been hit by rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters.

Mahmoud Abu Assi, who was shot in the leg during a demonstration, has his bandage changed in a clinic run by MSF in Gaza City [Associated Press]

The upsurge in violence has left a visible mark on Gaza that will likely remain for decades to come. It is now common to see young men walking through dilapidated streets on crutches. Most have legs bandaged or fitted with a metal frame called a fixator, which uses pins or screws that are inserted into fractured bones to help stabilize them.

The wounded can often be seen gathering at a treatment clinic run by the Paris-based medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Gaza City, where Associated Press photographer Felipe Dana took portraits of some of them.

Some of those he photographed acknowledged throwing stones towards Israeli troops during the demonstrations. One said he had hurled a firebomb. But others said they were unarmed bystanders; one paramedic said he was helping rescue the wounded, while another man said he was waving a Palestinian flag and another said he was selling coffee and tea.

Patients with leg injuries they attained during demonstrations, gather outside a clinic run by MSF  in Gaza City in September 2018 [Associated Press]

International human rights groups have said the military’s open-fire rules are unlawful because they allow the use of potentially lethal force in situations where soldiers’ lives are not in immediate danger.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, rejected international criticism that Israel’s response has been excessive. Instead, he said that firing at people’s legs was a sign of restraint.

Hamas is responsible for orchestrating violent riots where thousands of Palestinians assault our borders with the goal of breaching our defensive lines and attacking Israeli forces and civilian communities,” he said.

“Israeli soldiers use live fire only as a last resort, after written and verbal warnings, as well as extensive use of tear gas and other non-lethal means have been exhausted. It is our duty to defend our civilians and sovereignty, and we do it with the minimal use of force possible,” he said.

Raed Abu Khader, right, carries his 12-year-old son Mohammed as they return from the hospital in Gaza City [Associated Press]

MSF said this month that the huge number of patients was overwhelming Gaza’s healthcare system, which has already been severely weakened by a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt that has fueled economic stagnation and rampant unemployment, and devastated water and electricity supplies.

The aid group said the majority of the 3,117 patients it has treated have been shot in the legs, and many will need follow-up surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

“These are complex and serious injuries that do not quickly heal,” the group said. “Their severity and the lack of appropriate treatment in Gaza’s crippled health system means that infection is a high risk, especially for patients with open fractures.”

“The consequences of these wounds … will be lifelong disability for many,” the aid group said. “And if infections are not tackled, then the results could be amputation or even death.”

Gaza’s Health Ministry says it has carried out 94 amputations since the protests began, 82 of them involving lower limbs.

Another 33 Shot Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Health officials: Israeli fire wounds 33 Gaza protesters

Medics evacuate a wounded Palestinian during Gaza’s March of Return. (Photo: Abdallah Aljamal, PC)

At least 33 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces’ live fire during the 37th Friday of “The Great March of Return” protests alongside the eastern fence separating Israel from the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces fired live, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs against Palestinian protesters.

“The Great March of Return” protests were launched on March 30 by thousands of Palestinian civilians in besieged Gaza, which has suffered from a decade-long Israeli blockade.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

More Palestinians Shot Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Palestinian medics move a wounded youth who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Health officials say Israeli army gunfire has wounded 33 Palestinians protesting along the Gaza-Israel perimeter fence.

Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated Friday despite wintry weather, throwing rocks with slingshots at Israeli troops deployed behind the fence. The soldiers repeatedly fired volleys of tear gas and live fire, witnesses say.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group controlling Gaza, has maintained such protests on a weekly basis since March, accelerating or scaling them down to pressure Israel and mediators into easing Gaza’s crippling blockade.

Some 175 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed in the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, thousands of Hamas’ civil servants queued outside banks to collect paychecks donated by Qatar.

For the second straight month, Israel allowed Qatari mediators to inject cash for the much-needed salaries, hoping it would calm tensions.

The Gaza Powder Keg Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Palestinian demonstrators gather during the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstration near Israel-Gaza border, in Gaza City, earlier this month. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Temporarily Defused, The Gaza Powder Keg Cannot Be Ignored

Palestinian demonstrators gather during the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstration near Israel-Gaza border, in Gaza City, earlier this month. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

While the focus has shifted to Hizbullah’s terror tunnels in the north, the situation in the south remains unstable and no concrete agreement has been forged with Hamas

The launch of Operation Northern Shield to uncover and destroy Hizbullah’s network of cross-border tunnels contextualizes the Israeli government’s decision last month to swallow some tough pills and a little pride in order to avert full-blown conflict against Hamas. At the time, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, under significant political and public pressure, spoke cryptically of Israel already being engaged in a military campaign and that an “unnecessary war” in the Gaza Strip would derail this undefined endeavor.

While the move was still panned by an overwhelming majority of Israelis and led to the resignation of defense minister Avigdor Liberman—who called the choice a “capitulation to terror”—it is now clear that Netanyahu, with the backing of the military, was prioritizing the northern threat that evidently demanded immediate action.

That plans to destroy Hizbullah’s terror tunnels were discussed during security meetings ahead of a final decision on Gaza dispels the notion that the premier is acting out of political interest in order to deflect attention away from the criminal investigations against him. His trip to Brussels on Monday to provide advanced warning of the IDF operation to American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reinforces that current developments have been weeks-in-the-making.

There is little argument among analysts that Hizbullah poses a far greater danger to Israel than Hamas. Indeed, Netanyahu over the past two months repeatedly has warned that Iran’s Lebanese terror proxy is constructing underground factories capable of producing precision-guided missiles that can target critical infrastructure anywhere in Israel.

Notably, the prime minister described Operation Northern Shield as a “small piece of the big picture of our efforts and actions to ensure security on all fronts,” a comment construed as an indication that the mission may be a precursor to confronting what is viewed as the more acute threat of Hizbullah’s arsenal of some 120,000 projectiles.

Then there is the broader and more important strategic goal of curbing Tehran’s regional expansionism—foremost its effort to establish a permanent military presence in Syria—as well as preventing its nuclearization.

Accordingly, Israel’s decision-making process and related courses of action appear well-calculated and correct.

Which would be truer if the situation in Gaza was actually stable.

In fact, news about the diplomatic push to achieve a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas has conspicuously disappeared from the headlines. It seems that the Egyptian-, Qatari- and United Nations-mediated negotiating process has reached a standstill and, instead, the parties have resigned themselves to the return of the longstanding status quo of “quiet-for-quiet.”

“We are slowly moving back to some sort of regularization that re-establishes the rules of the game set following Operation Protective Edge, [the 50-day war in 2014],” Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly the director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and presently head of the Project on Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, explained to The Media Line.

A long-term cease-fire, however, is not realistic because Hamas is unwilling to give up its jihadist identity and its rule over Gaza. Because of this, they are not ready for the type of truce that includes serious conditions.”

But while rockets are not indiscriminately raining down on Israeli civilian centers, the so-called “March of Return” protests nevertheless are ongoing and one incident along the border can easily enflame tensions. Additionally, there is always the possibility of external interference, as the mullahs in Tehran might be tempted to instruct their Palestinian proxies in Gaza to resume terror operations with a view to diverting Israel’s military focus from north to south.

Moreover, the IDF undoubtedly will continue to monitor and pursue objectives in the Palestinian territory, which carries the risk of a botched operation similar to that of November 11, when an elite Israeli unit was identified three miles deep in Gaza. The ensuing firefight killed one senior IDF officer and seven Hamas members and was a catalyst for the next day’s largest-ever 24-hour barrage of some 500 missiles fired into Israel.

“The Israeli government has not forgotten about Gaza but right now the overall situation is more under control. There is Qatari money and fuel going in so things are less sensitive,” Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, former director of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and prior to that deputy commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division, explained to The Media Line.

“A long-term cease-fire would be a ‘win-win’ scenario and create a totally different environment but this cannot happen yet because of [the intra-Palestinian divide and Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to re-assume control over Gaza so long as Hamas retains its weapons.] However, the current Hamas leadership knows two things: namely, that they will not be able to defeat the state of Israel and that compromises will need to be made.

“In the long-run,” he therefore concluded, “solutions will be found. Until then, there can always be mistakes that could lead to another round of violence.”

The interplay of so many variables and competing interests means the Gaza conundrum remains as complex and potentially volatile as ever. Many argue that absent formal understandings between the sides, accompanied by an international plan for improving the humanitarian conditions in the enclave, the Gaza powder keg is bound to be reignited.

Israel Continues to Attack Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Report: Israeli special forces’ cover was blown in botched Gaza op because of their accents – Israel News –

03.12.2018 | 15:47

Report: Israeli Special Forces’ Cover Was Blown in Botched Gaza Op Because of Their Accents

Israeli special forces, who were joined by a woman, posed as a medical team and had used IDs of local Gazans to enter Gaza, Hamas sources tell The Independent


Jack Khoury

03.12.2018 | 15:47

Israeli special forces who entered Gaza last month to carry out an operation that fell through were reportedly exposed by Hamas fighters because of their accents, British online newpaper The Independent reported Sunday.

The Israeli special forces tried to disguise themselves in the Strip by entering as medical team with ID cards of Gaza residents, the report alleged.

Meanwhile, Hamas announced on Sunday that its security forces arrested several people suspected of collaborating with Israel in the Khan Yunis operation. Hamas stated that it also hurt infrastructures of other collaborators in Gaza.

The military court in Gaza announced that it has sentenced six people to death over collaboration in other cases, and sentenced an additional seven to life in jail with forced labor. “We tell all collaborators to make their own calculations and turn themselves in, because sooner or later we will get to them. Our job is to protect the forces of the resistance, and it’s an important task for us,” the group stated.

“Collaborators ought to understand that Israel can’t provide them with protection, and they can’t escape the law and justice, we will get to them everywhere.”

According to Hamas sources, the Israeli troops may have entered Gaza through the Erez crossing.

A 41-year-old Israeli officer, idenitified as Lt. Col. M., was killed and another was moderately wounded during the operation, and at least seven Palestinians were killed. Massive fire exchanges ensued between Israel and the Palestinians in the days following the failed raid, until a cease-fire was finally reached.

The residents whose IDs were reportedly used by the Israeli soldiers live in a different area than the Khan Yunis spot where the operation took place; their identities were allegedly used so as to make it harder to identify the soldiers in case they were discovered.

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said that the Israeli forces were posing as NGO workers. He also told The Independent that Palestinian security forces had questioned the Gazans whose IDs were found in the destroyed military vehicle that was left behind by the Israeli troops.

“They had detailed but fake ID cards of Gaza residents which were found [in the wreckage]. Those who the Israelis were posing as were detained but they had no idea their names had been used,” Qassem said.

Qassam refused to comment on the purpose of the Israeli operation in Gaza.

The spokesman also claimed that a woman had joined the Israeli team. “They used [her presence] to try to justify their entry into Gaza, and they had a story ready should they be questioned,” he said.

A different Hamas official, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed that the Israeli team said at a checkpoint that it was returning patients to their homes and that they had a wheelchair in the back of their car

According to him, the soldiers presented their fake IDs but Palestinian security personnel suspected them “because of their accents” and their intonations that didn’t match the area they claimed to come from

The official added that there was a “high possibility” that the team entered Gaza legally through a checkpoint.

Senior officers were summoned to the scene then decided to take the Israeli force to further questioning, at which point the Israeli team reportedly opened fired and killed a Hamas commander and his deputy.

The Israeli Defense Forces declined to comment on any of the Hamas official’s allegations.

Last week, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. appointed Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon to head a general assessment of the army’s special operations.

Findings from an army investigation on the Gaza incident are to be submitted to Eisenkot and Military Intelligence head Maj. Gen Tamir Heyman in the coming weeks, according to the IDF Spokesman’s Office.

Announcement of the team headed by Maj. Gen. Alon followed a request from the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to receive a classified briefing on the Gaza operation on November 11, which precipitated massive rocket fire on Israeli border communities from the Strip.

Amnesty International Warns of Collapse Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Gaza: new armed conflict risks accelerating territory’s ‘full collapse’

Amnesty International UK

If the situation escalates into a fully-fledged armed conflict it would have a disastrous impact’ – Saleh Hegazi

Responding to an escalation of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza overnight – with two Palestinian civilians killed and 20 wounded in Israeli airstrikes, and one Palestinian civilian from the West Bank killed in Israel and 70 others wounded by rocket fire from Palestinian armed groups – Saleh Hegazi, Amnesty International’s Middle East Deputy Director, said:

“If the situation escalates into a fully-fledged armed conflict it would have a disastrous impact on the almost two million residents of Gaza who are already living in dire conditions of poverty and deprivation of rights.

Gaza is already on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, caused by the 11-year brutal and unlawful blockade, and the devastation caused wantonly by three previous armed conflicts.

“Another armed conflict risks accelerating the full collapse of Gaza.

“Israeli forces must refrain from carrying out indiscriminate attacks and do everything in their power to ensure civilian lives are spared and damage to civilian homes, facilities and infrastructure is prevented.

Israel has a history of carrying out serious violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza – including war crimes – with impunity and displaying a shocking disregard for Palestinian lives.

“Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas, must also stop indiscriminate rocket fire, and direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects. These are serious violations of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes.”

War is on the Horizon Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Posted Dec 2, 2018 at 3:01 AM

For Israelis living along the southern border with Gaza, the past several months have been stressful and tense, and the past hours have been impossibly difficult as more than 460 rockets have been fired from Gaza into the region. Rocket attacks, aerial arson attacks, and huge riots along the Israel-Gaza border have terrorized residents of southern Israel every single week since March. Thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and nature preserves have been burnt in arson attacks. Tunnels have also been uncovered, built to strike into Israeli communities.

Hamas, the terror group that has ruled Gaza since 2007 instigated these recent hostilities under the guise of protests where tens of thousands of Gazans have attacked and rioted along the border. During these riots massive tire-fires and fire bombs have provided cover while attempts were made to destroy the security border fence so that attackers could rush into Israel–to murder and kidnap Israelis.

Since just before 5 p.m. on Nov. 12, over 460 rockets have been fired, triggering an endless stream of sirens, and causing hundreds of thousands of Israeli families to spend the night in shelters. In the worst incident, a residential building in Ashkelon was hit by a rocket, killing a 48-year old man and severely injuring two women. In total, at least 55 Israelis have been wounded by the effects of the rockets since the attacks began yesterday.

While Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System successfully intercepted more than 100 rockets that were headed to populated areas, eight residential buildings were hit in Sderot, six in Ashkelon and two in Netivot.

The escalating hostilities have brought the Israeli military to the brink of war. Warnings and attempts to get Hamas to end their hostility have largely gone unheeded. Even the recent ceasefire talks should be approached with caution. Several times over the past weeks ceasefires were declared only to be broken hours later. After months of patience an IDF operation is on the horizon.

Any military activity against Hamas is difficult and necessitates precision targeting in a dense urban environment. Israeli military policy dictates that civilian casualties must be avoided but any operation will likely cause unintended destruction. If Hamas has any semblance of humanity and care for the people of Gaza they should immediately halt all attacks and rioting against Israel, make peace, and live a normal coexistence. Will this happen? Almost certainly not.

Hamas began firing on Israel more than a decade ago- after Israel unilaterally left Gaza, and after Hamas violently took total control of Gaza from the Palestinian group Fatah. They were given and opportunity to choose peace, to choose negotiation, and they rejected it. They have consistently and repeatedly attacked Israel since then.

The Hamas charter calls for violently destroying Israel and advocates for killing Jews worldwide. Gaza is under blockade from Egypt and Israel, and Hamas leaders are in hiding. Billions of dollars intended for humanitarian aid have been stolen. Gaza is arguably the most mismanaged, corrupt piece of land on Earth, the people there suffer through it, and yet Hamas still seeks the destruction of Israel as their primary goal.

Hamas has another reason for terrorizing Israel. Their authority and economic model essentially relies on extortion. They attack and don’t stop until they get what they want- their goals are usually money or the lifting of the blockade [to import goods that they sell for revenue to fund more terrorism]. The good news is that Hamas is significantly weaker today than it has been in years. The Palestinian Authority has put pressure on them, and their ISIS-like rule is resented by many Gazans. The bad news is that Hamas’s real weapon is its public relations campaign. Firing hundreds of rockets forces Israel into military action, and by using schools and hospitals as weapons depots and tunnel entrances, and by using human shields Hamas is leaving the IDF with very limited options.

Hamas is entrenched in the very heart of Gaza which puts its own citizens right into the midst of the battle. Israel recognizes this is Hamas’s endgame and does all it can to avoid playing into their hands. But this type of conflict is messy and Hamas ensures that collateral damage will happen. What we must not fail to recognize is the longer Hamas and its affiliates remain in control of Gaza, the longer they attack Israel, the more severe the consequences will be.

It would be helpful for all of us, for the sake of the people of Gaza and Israel, to demand that Hamas put down their rockets, stop the arson attacks, the digging of terror tunnels and let the people whose lives have been so severely disrupted live again – both Israelis and Gazans. Hamas is so obsessed with the destruction of Israel that they have failed to realize they are destroying their own people.

– Steven Schimmel is executive director of the Jewish Federation of Central Mass. The views represented here do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Jewish Federation or its members.