The fighting has stopped for now, but the ignorance continues unabated. Hours before Israel and armed factions in Gaza reached a cease-fire, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) made sure everyone knew who had responsibility for the flare-up in violence. Was it the terrorists who started firing rockets from Gaza? Of course not:
How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends?
The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable. Only real justice can bring about security and lasting peace.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 5, 2019
The rockets fired because of an occupation? That’s a neat trick, considering that the occupation of Gaza ended in 2005. It’s been fourteen years since Ariel Sharon dismantled all of the Israeli settlements in Gaza — to a loud outcry at home — and pulled the IDF out of the strip, leaving the Gazans to their own devices. Sharon’s government had to forcibly evict some settlers from their homes in the area, and ended up relocating thousands of Israelis back into Israel proper. Gaza held elections the next year and, despite warnings from all over the world, elected Hamas to govern the territory. The rest is history, as is any prospect of improvement while Gazans cling to terrorists as their leaders. Israel imposed a full blockade on Gaza in 2007 after Hamas won that election, but it’s not an occupation, even if Hamas calls it that.
In this iteration of the decades-long terrorist war on Israel, it wasn’t “occupation” that started the rockets firing. Hamas wanted money, wasn’t getting it, and worried about an uprising because of it:
Hamas officials said they escalated the violence to push Israel to stick to the terms it had agreed after another such flare-up in March, when rocket fire had caused Netanyahu to cut short a trip to Washington. Hamas accused Israel of reneging on the deal to allow in cash assistance of $30 million a month from Qatar, expand fishing rights and ease the restrictions on imports and exports that have choked Gaza’s economy.
With Gaza’s beleaguered population of 2 million people increasingly turning its frustrations toward Hamas, the organization has been desperate to secure an easing of Israeli restrictions, particularly as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approached. Egypt, which has been brokering efforts to reach a longer-term truce, has been opening its land border with Gaza more frequently.
Perhaps Israel was slow to pay the money because Hamas has been slow to stop its own aggressions. This started with sniper fire that wounded two Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border, and Hamas’ tunneling under the border continues unabated. One can argue that Israel needs to stick to its commitments in cease-fires, but one can also argue that Israel shouldn’t fund the terrorists that keep buying rockets to use in killing Israelis, too.
What one can’t argue is that Hamas shoots rockets from Gaza because of occupation, at least not if someone is the least bit informed on the topic. Hamas shoots rockets into Israel because Hamas is a terrorist organization bent on Israel’s destruction, and was long before the end of the occupation in 2005, too. It remains in power in Gaza because Hamas imposes its authority ruthlessly, but it originally got that authority from Gaza voters despite its status as a terrorist organization. To be fair, Fatah wasn’t much better in 2007, but the West Bank under Fatah control has certainly fared better than Gaza.
If Omar wants “peace and justice,” she should call for the end of Hamas rule in Gaza and the emergence of leadership that actually desires peace and justice.