When Israel evacuated the Jewish communities from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, few imagined that the area would become a platform for the thousands of rockets targeting Israelis living in cities as far as Tel Aviv. As the international community continues to pressure Israel into limiting the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and eventually withdrawing, one can only wonder who in the UN will guarantee that another terrorist entity will not emerge on Israel’s eastern border.
Most likely, Europe has not even considered what would happen if terrorist elements in Judea and Samaria would start firing rockets at civilians living across Israel. But Europe, like Hamas, has plenty to say about the settlements.
On Monday morning, December 3, the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom was formally summoned to the Foreign Office, to personally hear condemnations of Israeli settlement building. France and Sweden also followed suit, summoning their Israeli ambassadors, while Germany appealed to the Israeli government in a news conference asking Israel to “desist” from building more settlements, stating that the new plans “undermined” efforts to revive peace talks.
Hamas welcomed the international response with spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, stating that the settlement plans “were an insult to the international community, which should bear responsibility for Israeli violations and attacks on Palestinians.”
Some, however, were not impressed by the almost-panicked address by international European diplomats. Director of the UK-based Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, Jonathan Sacerdoti, pointed out that:
“The Palestinian representative to the UK was not summoned to the Foreign Office when Palestinians unleashed what some in Israel have called a “third intifada” on Israel, with lethal rockets launched in their hundreds into Israeli civilian areas.”
Indeed, it seems that any sort of terrorist activity coming from Gaza or its prime supporter, Iran, very rarely garners any sort of international public outcry, particularly from Europe. Last week, a U.S. official told CNN that “Iran is finding ways to re-supply Hamas” with long range rockets and other weapons despite the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told CNN on Monday, November 26, that Iran is subjected to a UN resolution prohibiting it from exporting arms, and neighbors of Iran are obligated to enforce this measure.
“We are hopeful that the nations in the region take appropriate steps to halt any attempts to transport weapons to Gaza through their territory or airspace,” said Nuland to CNN.
No echoes of distress were heard from any European leaders on the Iran-Hamas weapons deal.
Furthermore, according to Israel Defense Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, Iran “tried during the operation itself to push more and more rockets into the Gaza Strip. Iran is deeply involved with Hamas inside Gaza.”
Even more worrying is the education of future terrorists training to attack Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas enlists, educates, and trains as many terrorists as possible to fire rockets into Israel and fight the IDF, along with other Gaza terror groups; the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and Islamic Jihad. Only this past summer, the first class of a new military training academy in Gaza called Shahid Imad Hamad Academy of Military Training, established by the third largest Gaza terrorist organization, PRC, graduated, having received specialization training in fighting Armored Corps, according to an August Ynet article.
The academy trains students for combat and antitank missile weaponry as well as defense and military studies. According to senior PRC member Abu Suhaib, the school instills religious values, so that students “can confront the Zionist enemy with complete faith in the triumph of God.”
It is these sorts of developments that the international community continues to ignore, indulging instead in constant criticism of the Jewish state. If rocket terrorism against Israeli civilians would be addressed with the same urgency as Israeli settlement building, then perhaps there would be some kind of progress towards a viable, realistic peace. Blind finger-pointing at Israel by France, Britain and others, does not promote peace.
(Anav Silverman lived for two years in the city of Sderot, Israel where she experienced constant rocket attacks on the city while working as international media liaison and frontline reporter between 2007-2009.)