Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, hoping that it would be a model for peaceful coexistence and an opportunity for the Palestinians to show the world they were fully capable of leading. Instead, a conflict between the two major parties of the Palestinian people (Fatah and Hamas) erupted. Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007, murdering hundreds of Palestinians over eight days in a quest to dominate the area. Hamas has since utilized Gaza as a launchpad for terrorism towards Arab and Jewish Israeli civilians. Since then, acts of terrorism towards Israel from Gaza remain constant.
Hamas is an internationally designated terrorist organization originating from the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine and openly states in the pream- ble of its charter that, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam obliterates it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
It is not just Israelis who suffer due to Hamas. The Palestinian people are hostages in Gaza, with the Hamas authoritarian regime. The Palestinian people are made to be human shields for Hamas activities, acting as a Hamas instituted barrier between Israeli forces and Hamas leadership. Palestinian children are regularly indoctrinated to hate Israelis and Jews at school, in summer camps, and on children’s TV programming, creating a new generation of Hamas recruits and perpetuating violence.
Within Judea and Samaria, commonly known as the West Bank, there are three administrative areas: Area A, Area B, and Area C. Area A is under the fully autonomous control of the Palestinian Authority. Area B is a joint security initiative between the Palestinian Authority and Israeli security forces. Israel wholly governs Area C. It is important to note that Area A is controlled by Fatah and Hamas controls the Gaza strip. Due to internal Palestinian politics, there is no central unified government leading an autonomous Palestinian region. Disagreements between Fatah and Hamas are hostile, with violence regularly ensuing. Despite lacking a partner, Israel remains committed to peace as a solution to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinian people.
It is no secret that Israel has not always been a welcome neighbor in the Middle East, though we have continuously strived for peace. We made peace with our Egyptian and Jordanian neighbors. Recently, we have normalized relations with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan. We will continue to advocate for peace with our Palestinian neighbors.
The creation of Gaza as a terrorist stronghold, continuous threats of acts of terrorism, and unending calls for our destruction, leaves Israel, as a democratic nation, with few options. We have a long history of eagerness to sit in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, and we continue to urge those discussions. With this said, as a democratic nation, our duty is to our Muslim, Druze, Christian, and Jewish citizens, who we will not allow to live under the threat of terrorism and barrages of rockets.
If Cambridge were bombarding Coolidge Corner with missiles, would you want your government to act? That is exactly why we reserve the right to protect our citizens.
Ambassador Meron Reuben, The Consulate General of Israel to New England