Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Terrorists expand their power in the Middle East while Americans focus on the primaries

With attention on selection of candidates for president by the two major parties, there is little notice about what is happening in the Middle East. Although it has been reported that Arabs from the Gaza strip have invaded Egypt by destroying the wall separating them, the significance of this action has not been addressed.

A number of terrorist groups; the Palestinian Hamas, Jihad Islami, Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades, and Popular Resistance Committees - plus al Qaeda - overran northern Sinai in just 24 hours. Leading the advance from Gaza were several hundred thousand Palestinian men, women and children, with the result that the terrorists took control of an enclave 50 km long and 55 km wide in northern Sinai. Without a single casualty and at no cost to them, a terrorist stronghold was established on Egyptian territory in an area adjoining the Gaza Strip; twice the size of Gaza.

Egyptian border police did not stop the Palestinian mob from Gaza from entering Egypt after Hamas blew up the concrete border wall. Remarkably, the American, Egyptian and Israeli governments appear to have been surprised by the takeover, even though they ought not to have been surprised because it is reported they had received a warning from US and Israel intelligence services but did not appreciate what was happening until events had gone out of control.

While this was going on, officials in Washington, Cairo and Jerusalem described the incident as merely “a demonstration by hungry Gazan Palestinians” that would disperse quietly if left alone. Hamas and al Qaeda took good advantage of the non-resistance of Egyptian troops to consolidate their grip on their new stronghold. With minimal effort Hamas opened the way for the ‘poor’ Palestinian population to reach the shops and markets of Egyptian El Arish, which they emptied in a few hours and returned home with bulging bags and full containers. While the world speaks of the “starving Palestinians” of Gaza, and of “a humanitarian crisis”, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians spent the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars in a few hours’ intensive shopping.

By acquiring new territory appropriated across the Egyptian border, Hamas has doubled the size of the area under its control. Since Egypt has decided not to contest the Hamas invasion, there is now no border control between Gaza and Egypt and Hamas and its allies are free to bring goods and arms into Gaza without any oversight or limitations. Hamas and Jihad Islami are supported by Iran, Syria and Hizballah with weapons, training and cash. This means that Iran, Syria and Hamas’ partner, al Qaeda, have established a beachhead at a key Middle East crossroads between Israel, Egypt and Palestinian territory on the Mediterranean coast, within operating distance of the Suez Canal. The Palestinian extremists are now able to engage in hit and run attacks on Israel and escape out of Israel’s reach across the border to their new base in Egypt. This spells disaster for Israel as Hamas is sworn to total destruction of the only democracy in that area of the globe. Unfortunately for Israelis their government once again has failed to take action to protect the country.

Of critical importance to the United States is that Al Qaeda, which in the last two years depended on certain Bedouin nomadic elements for its foothold in Sinai, has acquired a base in Egypt largely immune from U.S. military action because to do so would amount to an attack on Egypt. It is now clear that the Palestinian terrorists and al Qaeda will not be dislodged from northern Sinai within the foreseeable future.

While ‘negotiations’ have been going on between Israel and the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority and his prime minister Salam Fayyad, (actually the leader of only the West bank, not all of Palestine) for a ‘peace’ agreement, Hamas continues to send rockets into Israel without any serious intervention by the Israeli government. The lack of action to halt the rocket attacks is very bewildering. One can imagine the response by the United States to daily rocket attacks from a neighboring country; such action would not be tolerated and would be immediately silenced. However, not only does the Israeli government take no action to halt the attacks, it engages in peace negotiations while it is under bombardment.

The people of Israel are reminded daily of their vulnerability to attack and the absence of bomb shelters by the escalating Palestinian missile blitz against Israeli civilians living in the southwest, within range of the Gaza Strip. If the government does not react to the relatively primitive missiles used by Hamas - how will they manage to defend against Iran’s more sophisticated long-range ballistic missiles?

Can Israel survive; only God knows?

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