Friday, September 16, 2005

Peace in Palestine?

From Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard:

Lost in this week's coverage of New Orleans and the Roberts's confirmation hearings has been the goings on in Gaza. After the Israeli pullout, Palestinians have arrived to claim the land as their own. The accounts of this homecoming should startle and deflate anyone who thinks that the Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is either ready, willing, or capable of peace.

The blog Little Green Footballs has done fine work collecting accounts of the Palestinian homecoming. Some highlights:

* First came the looting and arson. As the Jerusalem Post reported,

Hours after the IDF rolled out, vans bristling with masked gunmen and blaring martial music rolled into this abandoned settlement, passing donkey carts laden with loot and families picnicking on yellowing lawns. . . .

By early Monday morning, tens of thousands swarmed the settlements celebrating what leaders here called "a day of rebirth of the Gaza Strip."

Students cut school, the terrorist groups carted out their homemade RPGs and prayed in the settlements' smoldering synagogues, the poor scavenged the settlement carcasses, and the PA police and other security forces watched. Looters torched synagogues and ripped what they could from what were considered the settlements' sturdiest buildings. . . .

By mid-morning columns of black smoke twisted skyward marking where individual settlements had been. . . .

Inside the Kfar Darom synagogue, crushed matza mingled with shattered glass and chunks of metal wrenched from their moorings.

A lone green swastika was spray painted on the Neveh Dekalim synagogue. . . .

A Khan Yunis man steered his donkey cart through a haze of smoke into the Neveh Dekalim synagogue's main chamber to load up the aluminum he had stripped from the window frames.
You can perhaps imagine the outrage if a Jew or even a regular infidel so dishonored an Islamic hold site.

* Then the Gaza greenhouses, which had been left behind as a gift from a private foundation and were a key to the region's agriculture were destroyed.

* Within days, weapons smuggling from Egypt had resumed.

* Armed militants began establishing checkpoints, independent of the rule of the Palestinian Authority.

* Hamas fighters blew a hole in the Egyptian border.

* Then, to top things off, Hamas promised to use Gaza to destroy Israel. The AFP reported:

Officers from Hamas's militia are vowing to turn Gaza into a huge armed camp devoted to digging Israel's grave, with tunnels, rocket attacks and a free flow of weapons and militants from Egypt. . . .

Ground commanders, with bushy black beards and pistols strapped to their sides, rode defiantly in a convoy of 50 jeeps and SUVs to cheers of Allah Akbar (God is Great) from a rapt crowd.
Many officers remained unmasked, in testimony to their soaring confidence after Israel ended its 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Commanders from Hamas's Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing spoke triumphantly of their post-Israeli withdrawal war strategy from the Gaza Strip.

They sketched out a vision of tunnels into Israel, regular rocket attacks on the Jewish state; a free flow of weapons and militants from Egypt; and constant smuggling to the West Bank.
They spoke of their determination to turn the strip of Mediterranean coast, home to 1.3 million people, into an armed camp intent on the destruction of the Jewish state with a Palestinian Authority powerless to stop them.

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