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Gaza conflict is complicated

My wife, Karen, and I were in Israel in 2005 when the Israeli government began its removal of all Israelis from Gaza. We were staying 10 kilometers (about six miles) north of the Gaza border at the time. Hundreds of relocated Jews from Gaza were put in temporary housing near a beach that we liked to go to, not far from where we were staying.

When the last Israeli was removed, Israel left behind in Gaza a water filtration and sewage system, an electric grid and greenhouses that employed thousands of Gazans and that exported more flowers to Europe than any other country on the Mediterranean. Hamas refused to accept the plans to the public utilities from Israel to avoid giving Israel good press, and the greenhouses were taken apart and disposed of, leaving thousands unemployed.

In the waning days of the Clinton administration, President Clinton proposed the “Clinton Parameters” to settle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The Palestinians were to get a state with a capital in East Jerusalem and comprising Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank plus 3 percent of Israeli land adjacent to the border in a land swap for the 3 percent of the West Bank that would become part of Israel.

The Israeli government accepted President Clinton’s proposal. The Palestinians rejected the proposal and instituted an intifada. See “The Missing Peace” (2004) by Dennis Ross, President Clinton’s Mideast envoy and chief negotiator.

Since that time, suicide bombings, rocket attacks and kidnappings have been the methods used by Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction. See http:///www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-hamas-charter-20170501-story-html. We witnessed the aftermath of one suicide bombing at the entrance to a shopping mall in Netania where six teen-agers and a security guard were killed. In the most recent rocket attack, an Iranian-made rocket landed in the schoolyard of a preschool. Tunnels have been used to import weapons and bomb-making material, to launch attacks and for kidnapping.

Here are a few facts to consider: The first four fatalities in the recent storming of the border fence were Hamas militants who fired on an Israeli jeep with Kalashnikovs. The next two to die were Hamas militants who were placing explosives at the border fence. See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/15/world/middleeast/israelis-gaza-protests.html?emc=edit_nn_20180516&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=8553513520180516&te=1.

Of the 62 persons who died in the border fence conflict, Hamas acknowledges that 50 were Hamas “martyrs” and twelve were “of the people.” See https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16middleeast/hamas-members-gaza-deaths/index.html. A well-known tactic used by Hamas is to place its militants among civilians who serve as human shields.

In sum, the conflict is much more complicated than the mantra, “Israel bad. Palestinians good.”

Allen Drescher worked on a kibbutz in Israel in 1968. He opened his law practice in Ashland in 1973 and retired in 2017.

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