Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Cementing Support for Hamas

by Elliott Abrams
October 17, 2013


At the end of May 2010, Israel seized control of a ship called the Mavi Marmara as it approached Gaza. It intended to violate Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which is meant to stop weapons from reaching Hamas; the ships carried no humanitarian cargo. Israel stopped the ship, but the incident did Hamas some good: the violence and the publicity increased pressure on Israel to loosen the terms of  the blockade.

Already in 2009 Pope Benedict had offered his prayers that the embargo would be lifted so that reconstruction could move faster, and in March 2010 Ban Ki-Moon had said that the Gaza blockade was causing “unacceptable suffering.” On June 1, the day after the ship was seized, Secretary of State Clinton said “the situation in Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable… Palestinians’ legitimate needs for… regular access for reconstruction materials must… be assured.” She pressed Israeli officials to allow more building materials to enter Gaza, as did British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Former President Carter visited Gaza two weeks later and said the embargo causes “death, destruction, pain and suffering to the people here.” The Quartet called “for a lifting of the blockade on Gaza so that crucial reconstruction work can take place….” And this was the trope from virtually every EU government.

And so the cement flowed; Israel lifted its ban.  But now it turns out that what was being constructed by Hamas in Gaza was not an economy, not houses or public buildings, but tunnels whose purpose was to permit terrorist attacks into Israel. Most recently, Israel discovered a great project: a tunnel 60 feet deep and 1.5 miles long. Construction appears to have been started two years ago—after cement began to flow into Gaza.

As the AP reported, “Concrete walls and arches lined the tunnel and electrical cords could be seen along its walls….The military said it was the third tunnel found along the Gaza border fence in the past year. It estimated that 500 tons of cement and concrete were used, and the structure took more than a year to build.” Hamas has now admitted building the tunnel and claims that its goal was to permit the kidnapping of Israel soldiers, as The Times of Israel reported:

The tunnel…was meant to facilitate a complex terror attack involving an assault on soldiers or civilians, with the intention of seizing a captive Israeli and holding him or her as a bargaining chip. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk confirmed as much on Tuesday, two days after Israeli authorities revealed their discovery. “The tunnel which was revealed was extremely costly in terms of money, effort and blood,” Abu Marzouk wrote on his Facebook page. “All of this is meaningless when it comes to freeing our heroic prisoners.” He went on to detail the lucrative nature of the Gilad Shalit deal, in which 1,027 prisoners were released after the Israeli soldier was kidnapped in just such an attack.

What’s interesting here is not Hamas acting as Hamas always does: as a terrorist group that is uninterested in the welfare of the people of Gaza. What’s interesting is the number of proponents of lifting the blockade of Gaza who have now admitted error. The number appears to be zero. Not one has acknowledged that allowing construction materials into Gaza allowed Hamas to construct more tunnels, and that Israel may have been right to prevent their arrival. Being a critic of Israel apparently means never having to say you’re sorry.



Post a Comment 7 Comments

  • Posted by David

    Just another example of craven Western powers turning a blind eye to anything that reveals the true nature of Hamas. Or Hezbollah for that matter.
    Whatever Israel does to defend itself, there will be twisting of reality in Europe and resounding silence from the US administration. It’s so “awkward” for the Islamist apologists to have to face the reality of who is the enemy of whom!
    But as awkward as it is, on they go ignoring reality to keep pressure on Israel.

  • Posted by Dan

    “What’s interesting is the number of proponents of lifting the blockade of Gaza who have now admitted error. The number appears to be zero.”

    If you count Netayahu’s pathetic apology to Erdogan, the number is minus one.

  • Posted by Adam

    If the report of Turkey revealing names of Iranians working with Israel to the Iranian authorities are true, then the gloves are well and truly off again from Erdogan’s side. Clearly, he is uninterested in a rapprochement, but what else should we expect from an islamist, and anti-semite?

    As to the world turning a blind eye to Hamas terrorism against Israel while simultaneously calling for an easing of the Gaza blockade… This is nothing new. U.S. hypocrisy and European double standards are well-matched in this regard.

  • Posted by CAPT Mike

    Excellent work in calling out the hypocrisy of those that have mindlessly supported ‘the Palestinians’ or worse, Hamas directly. I’m appalled that these clowns pat themselves on the back for ‘aiding the stricken,’ when in reality they are frequently directly supporting the organizations that are fomenting violence and ruining the lives of Palestinian refugees by using them as pawns in their cause.

    I’m hugely amused by the irony that the only ‘Palestinians’ that have a meaningful right to vote are the ones that chose to stay in place and are now Arab Israeli citizens.

    Best Regards,

  • Posted by Eric L

    Another example of the extreme gullibility of the West regarding Hamas and the Palestinians in general. Israel has the duty to stop such construction materials to Israel’s hostile enemies until the Palestinians choose peace and prosperity over the tyrannies of Hamastan and Fatastan!

  • Posted by Mark Bernadiner

    Two-State Solution has already been implemented
    In compliance with the 1920 League of Nations Resolution, two-state solution was implemented in 1922 when british administration of occupied Israel allocated more than 70% of Israel territory to palestinian arabs and created Transjordan (now Jordan) where today over 90 percent of the population identify themselves as Palestinian Arabs. Every party, including UN, EU, US, etc., must respect League of Nations Resolutions, adopted and accepted by UN in 1945. Therefore, all so called “palestinians” must be relocated there. Enough stealing Israel land. Britain and Jordan must compensate Israel for stolen land and natural resources.
    True History of Fake “palestinians”
    The highest ranking Soviet bloc defector, KGB Major General Ion Mihai Pacepa, in his documentary book “Red Horizons” rote:
    “The peace process is, and has from the outset, been nothing but a charade. It all started with the creation of a fictitious “Palestinian People” who allegedly demand political self determination. This collective noun was created by the Soviet disinformation masters in 1964 when they created the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the “PLO”. The term “Palestinian People” as a descriptive of Arabs in Palestine appeared for the first time in the preamble of the 1964 PLO Charter, drafted in Moscow. The Charter was affirmed by the first 422 members of the Palestinian National Council, handpicked by the KGB.
    Article 24 of the 1964 PLO Charter addressed to UN stipulates: “Palestinian muslims do not exercise authority over West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza territories”

  • Posted by ah

    Two issues with your first paragraph, which are simply symptoms of your clear bias:

    1. “It intended to violate Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which is meant to stop weapons from reaching Hamas” You leave out the other reasons publicly by Israeli officials – which is that the blockade was also intended to make life so difficult for Gazans that they would rise up and get rid of Hamas.

    2. “The ships carried no humanitarian cargo.” Unless your definition of “humanitarian cargo” is live animals, blood for transfusion and grain, this statement is misleading as the boats carried medicine, school supplies, children’s toys and other items

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