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March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
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Contentions Why Gaza Doesn’t Have Bomb Shelters

Bomb Shelter

Photo Credit: IDF

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow none of the talking heads on TV ever ask why there are no bomb shelters in Gaza.


There’s no question that Hamas is outgunned by Israel. The Islamist terror group that still rules over Gaza has thousands of rockets, but Palestinians eager to cheer news of Israeli casualties have been disappointed as the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system has knocked down most of the rockets shot over the border from Gaza at Israeli cities in the hope that carnage will result. But even though Israel has gone to unprecedented lengths to avoid killing Palestinian civilians as it attacks the missile launch sites and Hamas command centers and ammunition storage areas that are embedded in packed neighborhood and especially in or around schools, mosques, and clinics, some civilians have died. Given that the Israelis have pounded the Islamists with nearly a thousand strikes this week, the approximately 150 Palestinian fatalities is actually pretty low. But still, fewer Palestinians would have died had there been places for them to seek refuge during the fighting.

The assumption is that the Hamas-run strip is too poor to afford building shelters and safe rooms for its civilians, a point that adds to the impression that the Palestinians are helpless victims who deserve the sympathy if not the help of the world in fending off Israel’s assault on Hamas’s arsenal.

But the assumption is utterly false. Gaza’s tyrants have plenty of money and material to build shelters. And they have built plenty of them. They’re just not for the people of Gaza.

As is well known, Gaza is honeycombed with underground structures from one end of the strip to the other. This doesn’t only refer to the more than 1,400 tunnels that have connected Gaza to Egypt through which all sorts of things—including rockets, ammunition, building materials as well as consumer goods–came into the strip until the military government in Cairo stopped the traffic. The chief problem facing the Israel Defense Forces in this campaign is the same one they faced in 2008 and 2012 when they previously tried to temporarily silence the rocket fire. Hamas’s leaders and fighters are kept safe in a warren of shelters build deep underneath Gaza. There is also plenty of room there for its supply of thousands of rockets and other armaments. Moreover, they are also connected by tunnels that crisscross the length of that independent Palestinian state in all but name ruled by Hamas. Indeed, when you consider the vast square footage devoted to these structures, there may well be far more shelter space per square mile in Gaza than anyplace in Israel.

If these structures were opened up to the civilians of Gaza, there is little doubt that would lower the casualty figures. Indeed, if the leaders of Gaza and their armed cadres emerged from their safe havens under the ground and let the civilians take cover there they could then show some real courage. But lowering casualties isn’t part of Hamas’s action plan that is predicated on sacrificing as many of their own people as possible in order to generate foreign sympathy. Instead, they cower behind the civilians, shooting missiles next to schools, storing ammunition in mosques (as today’s explosion in Gaza illustrated) and, as I previously noted, are actually urging civilians to act as human shields against Israeli fire on Hamas strongholds. Indeed, they have enlisted the people of Gaza as part of their misinformation campaign in which they attempt to conceal the presence of missile launching or masked, armed Hamas fighters in civilian neighborhoods.

But I have a question for the Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders. What if, instead of devoting all of their resources and cash to an effort to turn Gaza into an armed fortress, bristling with thousands of rockets and honeycombed with tunnels and shelters where only Hamas members and their dangerous toys are allowed, the people of Gaza had leaders who had devoted their efforts to improving the lot of the Palestinian people since they took over the strip after Israel’s complete withdrawal in 2005? What if instead of importing missiles and other arms from Iran, Hamas had decided to try to turn their tiny principality into a haven of free enterprise instead of an Islamist tyranny built on hate and which survives on the charity of Israel (yes, Israel, which every day—including when there is fighting going on—sends trucks laden with food and medicine into Gaza to prevent the humanitarian crisis that the Palestinians claim has been happening there from occurring) and the West?

Hamas has sown the wind with its cynical decision to start a war against Israel and the people of Gaza are reaping the whirlwind. Gaza doesn’t have bomb shelters. What it does have is a ruling terrorist movement that uses civilians as human shields. By tolerating such a government and by cheering when their Islamist rulers provoke Israeli counter-attacks by shooting rockets at Israeli civilians, the people of Gaza cannot entirely blame the Jewish state or the world for their fate. But whatever we may think about their decision to accept this situation, the lack of bomb shelters in Gaza should not argue against Israel defending its people.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.

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44 Responses to “Contentions Why Gaza Doesn’t Have Bomb Shelters”

  1. Cant they hide in their terror tunnels? Its about priorites isnt it.

  2. Make sure that you care for your people, like Israel does

  3. Israel protect its people in bomb shelters. Hamas hides bombs in theirs

  4. Peter Resz says:

    How does a people have the money to hoard thousands perhaps ten thousands of rockets and not enough to supply itself with food and fiber??

  5. Instead of using the aid US sends them to better their peoples lives instead of attacking Israel they continue using the money for instruments of destruction. They don’t have shelters because they love death & use these citizens deaths for propaganda against Israel. Palestinians are so brain washed they actually believe Israel is the source of misery when it’s

  6. WR – The only innocents are Israeli’s in this case. You monkey feces are the ones that started this and then are cowards, using women and children as shields. No, you monkey feces muzzies need to die and be forgotten in history. You monkey feces muzzies wouldn’t even make a footnote.

  7. Tell them to quit shooting rockets at Israel. Tommy.

  8. And use women and children as shields. What cowards. Tommy.

  9. Maybe they should not shoot rockets at a well prepared peaceful nation.

  10. Meir Groen says:

    The price for a human being is zero, that’s why they guard their rockets in bomshelters, maybe they are so stupid they take the word bomshelter literally

  11. If the leaders would use the $for the people instead of their bank account s the people would be better off.

  12. take the weapons out of the shelters

  13. Jews, no matter where they are, contribute to the good of humanity. Jews have won more Nobel prizes for advancement in technology, medicine, science, the arts than any other people, group or nation. I think Esau and Ishmael are a tad jealous.
    If we had depended on the spawn of these two evil men, we would still be living in the Stone Age.
    Waseem seems to be unaware that his computer and cell phone were invented, as well as enhanced, by Jews.
    All islamists have ever contributed is hate, murder, rape….not only of women and children, but rape of the land.

  14. You wouldn’t recognize the truth if it smacked you upside the head. And I’m sure you have been smacked many times by your cowardly men, haven’t you?

  15. Ted Bauer says:

    right waar is like a sporting event and it has to be fair!

  16. Judy Zfaz says:

    because Hamas loves death as we love life.

  17. Love it, Islam doesn’t allow their people to protect themselves from the fighting and they demand the ones they are attacking don’t protect themselves either.

  18. Dale Stacy says:

    Reoccupy gaza and install a friendly govt.

  19. Ah gee, one would think that the Hama’s with all of his brilliant ideology’s that he would have thought of that–gee whiz. I would like to see the people turn on him. I feel and always feel sorry for the innocent, for the victims of people like Obama, Hamas, Putin etc. its all about money and power and they could care less who they hurt or step on to achieve it. Where they are going in the end doesn’t require a ticket, hell is a free for all.

  20. Sandra Camhi says:

    They don’t give a s T about their people they use them to protect bombs if only they helped w education they want them suppressed and ignorant and filled with hate
    Too smart won’t believe the lies they r told

  21. They should use their underground tunnels as bomb shelters. But oh no. That’s where they hide and plan their terrorist attacks. Too bad. Losers

  22. Scott Soffen says:

    We dont have shelters so when we bomb you first with rockets dont bomb us. HAMAS LOGIC.

  23. Perhaps they should contemplate the lack of shelters before they start bombing and terrorizing Israel.

  24. David Grim says:

    Good point. Chamas has bomb shelters used to shelter bombs instead of people.

  25. WR – IF your idea of humanity is rape and murder of women and children then you have an extremely warped ideology. Nothing new for pieces of s**t monkey feces.

  26. They have said that even if they di, they would not go into them as a matter of principle and human shielding.

  27. Hamas like that the more their own pweople die, the more support they get for the useful stupid from the West. Hamas is a terrorist organization. Israel left Gaza and Gazians had the option to build a country,, but they choose to continue to attempt to destroy israel.

  28. Karen Bryant says:

    They put their bombs in the shelters and their people on the roofs. Any casualties rest solidly on the shoulders of hamas and the P A and the people who put themselves on the roofs.

  29. Hamas is not only insectile, it’s infantile. They want Mommy to feed them while they rip her apart.

  30. Sally Penso says:

    Well all their $ is going to support their leaders lavish lifestyles

  31. Loren Renee says:

    It’s an issue of priorities on what they choose to protect and invest. It always has.

  32. The Palestinians and Hamas have made many tunnels for their weapons, too bad that they did not have the foresight to dig more tunnels as their shelters. If you are dumb and stupid, then sorry for you. It is not Israel’s job to hand feed her enemy.

  33. Ricky Moore says:

    Hamas has tunnles that they hide themselves in but set up rocket launchers next to neighborhoods and schools and then tell the citizens to stay home and catch rockets for them.

  34. As a friend loves to say, “too bad, so sad….” No one to blame but themselves for their stupidity.

  35. Now the UN will pressure Israel to build shelters for Palestinians.

  36. Paula Martin says:

    They simply dont care about their people!

  37. The real truth is Hamas (Arabs and Muslims in general) make excuses and apportion blame – they do not look for solutions or self-sufficiency or forward thinking. Nor do they take the blame for anything – their situation is never their fault. The real problem is they embrace a medieval, backward world view. And that is why they embrace violence and false martyrdom.

  38. The real truth is Hamas (Arabs and Muslims in general) make excuses and apportion blame – they do not look for solutions or self-sufficiency or forward thinking. Nor do they take the blame for anything – their situation is never their fault. The real problem is they embrace a medieval, backward world view. And that is why they embrace violence and false martyrdom.

  39. They don’t need bomb shelters. They hide behind women and children. No one to protect..

  40. Isn’t it a matter of priorities? Jews, bomb shelters; Palestinians, rockets to kill Jews. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.

  41. Beverly Bass says:

    Or Hiroshima ? Iraq? Afghanistan?

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