In this AP story, which is worth reading for its providing complimentary evidence as part of what we will discuss here, a Hamas representative answered Israeli accusations of their using cover of residential areas from which they fired rockets into Israel by admitting “mistakes” were made explaining that they had little choice in Gaza’s crowded urban landscape. Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official in Gaza told the AP, “Gaza, from Beit Hanoun in the north to Rafah in the south, is one uninterrupted urban chain that Israel has turned into a war zone.” The inference conveyed by these Hamas claims is that all the built-up crowded urban landscape which has been lain waste by Israeli air and land assaults extends across the width and breadth of the entire strip as Hamas had no alternative but to fire from within the heavily populated areas as there was absolutely no other choice. This goes hand in hand with the constant reporting in the media of the falsehood that Gaza is the most crowded area where the entirety of the lands are heavily populated and there are virtually no open areas whatsoever.
According to what Hamad further explained to the Associated Press “The Israelis kept saying rockets were fired from schools or hospitals when in fact they were fired 200 or 300 meters away. Still, there were some mistakes made and they were quickly dealt with.” This is the first honest admission by a Hamas official stating that, in some rare cases, Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants were firing rockets from or near residential areas, civilian facilities, shelters, hotels, and United Nations protected buildings. Another claim often used when Hamas complains of the situation in Gaza lays these falsehoods bare when they demand that Israel and Egyptian authorities ease the restrictions at the crossings make it impossible for the farmers in Gaza to get their crops to markets. So Gaza is border to border urban landscape where there is no open land from which Hamas might be able to use to fire their rockets yet they have farm produce which needs greater access to markets. Where are these farms hidden within the dense landscape?
Perhaps a few facts followed by a map revealing the population densities within Gaza and even includes the Israel buffer area which Hamas claims is so restrictive that it is impossible for Gazans not to stray into the area and be shot regularly. These Hamas reputed victims of Israeli aggressions presumably occur quite frequently yet do not make international news headlines from a mainstream media which has a voracious appetite for any negative news accusing Israeli guilt, that stretches the realm of credulity. The most conclusive evidence was reported by India’s NDTV reporter Sreenivasan Jain who gave an accounting factually and without any hype revealing the entire process from the initial setting up of the rocket firing position just outside his hotel room under a tent used for concealment to the completion of the set-up with the placing of camouflage to conceal their position. The next morning Jain reports the team heard a “loud explosion and a whooshing sound” coming from the site just minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire took effect as rockets were fired from adjacent to his hotel placing himself, his crew and the other journalists, reporters and others in the hotel in danger had Israel responded by returning fire. Below is his video which can also be viewed here if the video below does not load in your browser.
Commenting on the reality of the population density of the Gaza area one immediately finds that it is far from the most densely populated region on the planet earth. A comprehensive study of the population density of Gaza by the Gatestone Institute can be researched with this link which lays bare the facts. Here is a list of some areas whose population density exceeds that of Gaza’s 4,601 persons per square kilometer (pp sq. km.); Calcutta @ 24,718 (pp sq. km.); Athens @ 20,235 (pp sq. km.); Paris @ 20,249 (pp sq. km.); Hanoi @ 23,342 (pp sq. km.); Barcelona @16,488 (pp sq. km.); Tel Aviv @ 7,524 (pp sq. km.); Jerusalem @ 6,045(pp sq. km.) (both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were targets struck at by Hamas and Islamic Jihad during the conflict); Geneva @ 11,200 (pp sq. km.); along with Hong Kong, Singapore, Madrid, Chicago, London, New York, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Milan and others all have greater population densities than Gaza. Below is the promised map displaying the population density and distribution of Gaza which absolutely puts away the Hamas claim of having no open areas from which to fight and makes obvious that it is their intent and purpose to fire from areas which will maximize the potential danger and actual casualties of the innocent residents in Gaza. This purposeful endangerment is just one item in the crimes committed by Hamas and other terror groups.
Another of the Hamas falsehoods is that they are supported and beloved by an overwhelming percentage of the residents of Gaza. This also does not pass the smell test. Gazans have increasingly even become vocal and giving voice to their disgruntled and angry feelings about the entire situation which is a direct result, as they willingly admit, of the aggressions against Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as the lack of funding, payments of salaries, and reconstruction which they perceive to be held up and delayed by both the terror outfits in Gaza and of the Palestinian Authority leadership in Samaria and Judea (West Bank). The unfortunate reality in which the population of Gaza resides are the muted press coverage of their situation as any reporter who would write about the crisis they are facing and the actual sources and targets of their anger would most definitely be denied continued access to Gaza, and this is even if they managed to place such a story as Hamas demands right to review any reports from within Gaza. Additionally Hamas has been reputed to have threatened reporters with death threats and worse, assuming torture followed by an execution is worse. Still, a number of reporters who were reporting from within Gaza during the fighting gave reports and filed complaints about their harassment and threats against them by Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as having some of their reports spiked by Hamas due to the honest criticisms leveled in their reports. A smaller number of reporters have also complained about their agencies’ editors, especially the Jerusalem or Tel Aviv editors who are responsible for approving and passing on reports to make print or be televised or reported on radio for also spiking or watering down any reports critical of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or any of the other actors in Gaza. These reports and complaints are probably just the tip of the iceberg as many of these same reporters know they will be reassigned to report in Gaza and that they could face retribution from Hamas et. al.
There is one source who has come forth to report on Gaza with some degree of accuracy and truthfulness, an unusual occurrence and an appreciated one. The EU’s representative to the West Bank and Gaza, John Gatt-Rutter stated that, “There is a lot of anger in Gaza, and a lot of it is aimed at the Palestinians.” In further statements he added, “We are not hearing any good words [in Gaza] about anyone at the moment.” Gatt-Rutter related to reporters that the local population in Gaza is resentful that their major humanitarian needs have not been met, and that salaries have not been paid and that there is the possibility that these resentments could inspire a resumption of the war with Israel. Gatt-Rutter further related expressing that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to dissolve the latest Palestinian Authority unity government if Hamas does not recognize “one authority, one gun, one law” in Gaza in the form of Palestinian Authority/Fatah control. It was further postulated that should this threat materialize, this in turn will jeopardize the reconstruction efforts in Gaza as international donor countries will not rush to contribute funds that Fatah does not oversee.
This threat from Mahmoud Abbas is all part of his overt attempts to regain control over Gaza and relegate Hamas to a subordinate and completely overseen role which would necessarily be directed from Ramallah and his leadership. Abbas also fears what the recent polling predicts, an embarrassing and definitive loss by Abbas to Haniyeh should elections be held in the near future. Before the fifty day conflict initiated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad to strengthen their position and favorability with the Palestinian public, especially in Samaria and Judea (West Bank) as Hamas can pretty much control much of the outcome of any election vote tallies coming from Gaza, polls predicted a much closer race and one that either side might gain the advantage by massaging the ballot results from the areas they controlled. Another point of contention arose when Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk stated recently that Hamas was ready to negotiate directly with Israel directly in Tel Aviv (Hamas does not recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital city instead he would refer to Jerusalem as al-Quds, and further, Hamas also does not officially recognize Israel as anything other than the entirety of the lands being occupied Palestine). To this, Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf directly accused Hamas of “treason” for the idea that according to the unity government Hamas leadership had been surrendered to the Palestinian Authority with a supposed technocrat, neutral, mutually agreed Parliament to act until elections are held. He went further inquiring rhetorically, “Since when do Palestinian factions negotiate with Israel on their own? Isn’t this treason and a threat to the unity of Palestinians and their political position?”
A final point of intense disagreement comes regarding who will be responsible for monitoring the Rafah Crossing between Gaza, with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations, groups, contingents (including one claiming to represent ISIS) and crime families, and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, a hot spot where a number of Egyptian Border Patrols and Military and Police officials and troops have faced strong and fatal terrorist attacks causing the Egyptian government and President Sisi great concern. Both Hamas and Fatah (political party within the Palestinian Authority in which Abbas is its president) are claiming that their troops will control the border and be responsible for inspecting goods crossing in and out of Gaza to assure that no weapons or other material which could be utilized for military purposes. Having Hamas carry out that duty would be leaving the fox to guard the hen house. The potential for intra-Palestinian turmoil and potentially purges and violence resulting in a Palestinian civil war of a sort where Abbas cleanses Samaria and Judea of any Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other allied terror groups while Hamas does the same to Palestinian Authority, Fatah and any other opposition. Hamas has already publically executed more than twenty individuals under suspicion of their spying for Israel. These were summary executions and required no trial according to Hamas officials.
All of this is worrisome for Israelis because often resulting from these hostilities between the different factions within the Palestinian society, particularly the Fatah-Hamas resentment for the coup in which Hamas murdered a large number of Fatah and Palestinian Authority security personnel as well as civilian members to either Fatah or Palestinian Authority and even those who did not appear to sufficiently support Hamas and their rule over Gaza. Many were executed without a trial and were simply taken to the roof of a building having over ten floors, the more the better, and then simply throwing their victims from the roof. Hamas terrorist fighters often celebrated such events with firing their weapons into the air, handing out sweets and candies, honking their vehicle horns and dancing in the street, the identical response that lasted almost a week after the al-Qaeda 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and almost another site thought to be either the White House or the Capital Building which was brought down by the passengers attempting to take back the aircraft, a brave first response to a terror war which dates back to the very founding of the United States which eventually caused the War with the Barbary Pirates. For Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, India, the Philippines and others dating back to the Seventh Century Islamic expansive violence has been a near constant threat to those whose lands border the lands held by Islam through their never ending drive to obey the Qur’anic demand to spread Islam by any and all means including the sword.
The final deceit I will mention was the representation of casualty reports by Hamas which were taken as fact despite no verification and reports from other sources stating far different numbers of civilian and combatant casualties. This went right along with many Western mainstream media news anchors and commentators both on the air and in print and internet publications which simply took any Hamas press release as the Gospel truth while challenging every Israeli spokesperson and press release, the lack of fairness and equal trust was excruciating to watch, especially if you had read other sources who painted a completely different and more accurate reality than the fantasies claimed by Hamas. Of course it will be months if not decades before anybody gives an accurate and presumably honest accounting. The United Nations and the International Red Cross both have stated their complete lack of interest of performing such a task and simply using the numbers provided by Hamas as the reality. Unfortunately, many have come to not expect more or even the slightest sign of neutrality and a desire for truth except outside the normal channels and mainstream media. Hopefully this article pointed some to find the truth which is out there if one looks sufficiently deep and determined enough.
Beyond the Cusp