More often than not when the time nears that any ceasefire approaches its end date, Hamas will emphasize a single ‘must have’ issue and wait until actual talks to try to pry additional concessions before reaching some agreement. Every agreement with Hamas is never actually a truce as we in the Western nations understand; it is always referred to by Hamas in its Islamic term, a Hudna. The difference between a truce, accord or peace agreement and a Hudna is easily defined but almost always ignored by those making such deals with Islamic elements. A Hudna is a temporary halt to the actual fighting while the hostilities continue as does the preparations to continue the violent struggle. Whenever the Muslims who entered into a Hudna agreement feel they are sufficiently stronger or prepared for continuing their war and feel they will be able to win outright or, if not attaining victory vanquishing their enemy, then they at least will make some gains even if it is just additional concessions. No Hudna may last longer than a decade as after ten years the Muslim forces are obliged to resume their struggle. The interesting item this time is Hamas is not calling for a sizeable prisoner release as is their usual demand. This time Hamas is demanding something which would be a permanent game changer and guarantee the next resumption of hostilities would be on a whole new level and demand a different result which would be far more severe no matter which side proved victorious, and that might be an item in question to be resolved by the resumed conflict.
The demand which Hamas is placing the entirety of their promise for a Hudna, a temporary, and in this case very temporary, cessation of hostilities, is the lifting of the blockade and their being permitted an international airport and sea ports. Their given reasoning is that the blockade does not permit them the ability to import building materials and to export their goods and farm produce. Their complaint that the farm produce is encountering difficulties accessing an international market has always bemused me when combined with their explanations as to why they must fire their rockets and munitions from within urban and built-up areas, often residential in nature or by schools and such because Gaza is border to border urban areas making it the most densely populated area on the planet. With such a problem with buildings border to border one must question from where the farm produce originates. This and other items were covered in an article titled, <a herf=http://wp.me/pIou8-1zI target-blank>Gaza, Hamas, Corrected Falsehoods, Frightening Realities</a>. Their claim that they have difficulty importing building materials and exporting their produce because of the Israeli arms and dual use items embargo along with the Egyptian total embargo on their Gaza Sinai border is an untruth. Israel permits relatively unfettered access for any export items including farm produce providing Hamas permits it to reach the designated crossing points into Israel. Once it crosses into Israel it is usually intended and is sent to the Palestinian areas in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) or to Jordan across the Allenby Bridge. If there were to be items intended for Europe or Asia there would likely be arrangements for it to be flown or shipped from Israel to its destination with the possible exception of those countries which do not permit direct import for items leaving from Israel. In such cases some other arrangements would need to be made and this might be best accomplished by having limited passage for export or import through Egypt which places such beyond Israeli control. The building provisions are limited because of the slight propensity for Hamas to confiscate hundreds of millions of Shekels worth of such provisions in order to construct extensive tunnels and underground bunkers and command centers sufficient to hold not only the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups’ numbers but potentially could hold almost the entire population of Gaza. Granted doing so would make easy access for the terrorist fighters to get from one rocket launching platform to another somewhat difficult, but the people would be safer than having Hamas and friends herd them into schools and other civilian structures around rocket launching position in order to produce maximum civilian casualties in Gaza for the reporters to photograph and release to the world claiming to show how heartless the Israelis are in their conducting of warfare.
So, if it is not for the reasons of import and export and unfettered access to building provisions such as concrete and aluminum, then why is Hamas so intent on gaining a sea port and airport? In order to place what the urgency is in gaining this access one needs to look beyond the shores of Gaza and even beyond the borders of Israel and Egypt. One need go further than Hezballah in Lebanon or Bashir al-Assad in Syria. One needs to go all the way to Qatar which already provides Hamas with funding. One need understand that Qatar does not have a significant military force and that the military they have has been rather well armed for their immediate needs and threats. Qatar could arm every citizen and they would still be unable to resist an invasion by Saudi Arabia, the closest potential threat to Qatar as the Qataris have developed close relations with Iran and this has not exactly pleased the Saudis. Still, the odds of a Saudi attack on Qatar are remote to nonexistent. This becomes more so when one realized that Qatar is also a major base for the United States and one of the home bases for the United States fleet when it is in the Persian Gulf, something that has been quite regular of late. So, since the Qatari military was already sufficiently armed one must question why Qatar would purchase eleven-billion dollars of top of the line equipment including MANPAD anti-aircraft weapons, Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters, Patriot Missile Batteries, Javelin Anti-Armor Systems, Air Refueling Tankers and associated weaponry. Qatar has also been seeking to purchase jet fighters and has been shopping with Airbus and Boeing. When one figures that Qatar has a population of 1.7 million; this produces figures that they just purchased almost six-and-a-half-billion dollars of weaponry per person. Add to this that Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani made the first official visit to Hamas-controlled Gaza by a head of state and during the visit promised four-hundred-million dollars in aid to Hamas and there comes the problem. Obviously these weapons were not purchased for Qatari defense purposes and were instead intended for Hamas to use against Israel. The only thing missing is a sea port or an airport to deliver the goods. This does not take a rocket scientist to figure out; yet, just wait and watch the world demand that Israel lift their arms embargo and threaten to embargo Israel should Israel not comply. Welcome to a world that seems to be more appropriate for items from Mad Magazine than from our news outlets which are reporting these items as real facts on the ground. Unbelievable!
Beyond the Cusp