The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Doron Lubinsky Headshot

I Protest The Inaccuracies In 'Ten Things You Need To Know About Gaza' By Mehdi Hasan

Posted: Updated:

I protest the inaccuracies in 'Ten Things you need to know about Gaza' by Mehdi Hasan:

(1) The core issue in the conflict is not "settlements" nor "occupation" nor even land. After all Israel is the size of New Jersey. The Arab world controls more land than the USA. And Jordan, which is 78% of Balfour Mandate Palestine, alone is four times the size of Israel.

The core issue remains Arab rejection of a permanent Israel, no matter how small, no matter what its boundaries. It is the one thing on which Fatah and Hamas agree. It is in that direction, that Arafat and Abbas have rejected workable solutions in 2001, 2010, and more recently. It is because of that that Abbas is seeking unilateral statehood, after which he will accelerate the conflict.

(2) As to 1948 and the refugee issue: In 1948 the Arab world rejected a two-state solution and six Arab armies invaded the tiny Jewish state, vowing in the words of the Mufti of Jerusalem, to complete the Holocaust. They failed.

In the aftermath of that conflict there were two sets of refugees. Israel uplifted all the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. They came to Israel penniless, but looked forward and rebuilt their lives. Their descendants are more than half of all Israelis.

In contrast, the Arab world kept a similar number of Arab refugees, and all their descendants stateless - even when Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan controlled the West Bank. They still do. This is especially hypocritical as the Arab world started the wars that led to BOTH refugee issues. Compare this population exchange to the ten times larger one between India and Pakistan (about 12 million) in 1947/48 - neither side keeps the refugees, let alone their descendants, stateless.

In Gaza's case, Egypt kept it as a closed territory from 1948 to 1967, using Gaza as a base for fedayeen raids on Israel, and abusing its inhabitants as cannon fodder. It resisted any attempts at upgrading refugee camps - which is what Israel did to the ma'abarot (tent camps) housing Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

(3) As to the blockade/ siege: Israel is providing food, water, fuel, even as the rockets from Gaza hit Israel. It is still treating Gazans in its hospitals. Given Hamas' goal of destroying Israel and its delight in killing civilians on both sides, would you not be wary about letting it import all the long range missiles it would spend all its money on? See here and here.

Why doesn't Egypt use its border with Gaza to provide supplies to the same extent? Why does it still restrict Gazans' entry into Egypt? This makes a mockery of the new Egyptian President's feigned sympathy for Gazans.

(4) As to poverty in Gaza: This is in no small part a function of the Hamas government, which is scarcely less corrupt than its West Bank cousin, the Palestinian Authority. There are malls and luxury hotels, and clubs in Gaza peopled by Hamas functionaries. Moreover, as shown by the current conflict, Hamas has no shortage of weapons, long range missiles. Its primary goal remains the destruction of Israel, and it would be happy to sacrifice the welfare of the residents of Gaza in that quest.

(5) As to an unequal fight: That is Hamas' fault - it started the fight. It uses asymmetric tactics of suicide bombers and human shields. It's to blame for that. In any event, the casualty rate does not indicate guilt in this conflict anymore that it does in other conflicts. In World War II, far more Germans died than British. Does that make Britain guilty for the war?

(5) Israel withdrew from Gaza. There are no Israeli soldiers or civilians in Gaza. It is Hamas ruled. If it was "occupied" by Israel in any real sense, would it be ruled by Hamas?

Finally, it takes two to make peace. One-sided Israeli concessions cannot end the fighting, when both Hamas and Fatah can agree on only one thing - the eventual destruction of Israel.