Blame Hamas, not Israel, for Gaza's problems

Amid all the falsehoods and distortions in Laila El Haddad's diatribe against Israel lies a great truth: the situation in Gaza is tragic.

It is tragic that after Israel acceded to international demands to "end the occupation" and forcibly evacuated thousands of Jews from their homes in Gaza, the people of Gaza decided not to use the infrastructure abandoned by the Israelis and the billions of dollars of foreign aid poured into the region as a basis for constructing a peaceful, productive society. Instead, the people of Gaza elected into power Hamas, a viciously anti-Semitic, anti-democratic and misogynistic terror group dedicated to wiping Israel off the map.

It is tragic that after its election, and true to its goals, Hamas initiated a campaign to terrorize Israel by launching thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Israeli cities and that in order to prevent the creation of a heavily armed terror state on its border, it was necessary for Israel to impose a naval blockade upon Gaza.

It is tragic that propagandists have diverted attention from the thousands of tons of supplies that are trucked into Gaza each week, the corridor maintained by Israel for the transfer of medical patients out of Gaza, and the 70 percent of Gaza's electricity that comes from Israel's electrical grid. The projected life expectancy in Gaza Strip is 73.86, greater than Estonia, Malaysia, Jamaica and Bulgaria, and the infant mortality rate of 17.71 per 1,000 is lower than that of China, Jordan, Lebanon and Thailand.

It is tragic that those who express such outrage about the plight of Gaza have nothing to say about the many millions of Arabs throughout the Middle East who live in poverty and misery under totalitarian Arab regimes, thereby betraying their true agenda of demonizing and delegitimizing the state of Israel.

It is tragic that in order to provoke Israel and undermine its right of self defense, a flotilla was organized by a radical, anti-Western Turkish group that carried out a violent, pre-meditated attack against Israeli forces attempting to divert the flotilla to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where legitimate humanitarian relief would be forwarded to Gaza.

Perhaps more than anything else, it is most tragic that the Laila El-Haddads of the world focus their energies on attacking Israel, a multi-ethnic democracy struggling to survive, rather than the illiberal gangs and regimes committed to its destruction.

Jay Bernstein, Baltimore

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