This afternoon, at 1Pm , I sat in on a Conference Call with Colonel Grisha Yakubovich of the Civilian Coordination Department COGAT( the coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) who spoke about Israel’s humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza.
Though Israel has been warning the Gaza population prior to firing upon them, the Israeli’s are aware that the situation for the Gaza population has reached crisis proportions. As such, they are keeping some of the Southern borders open for humanitarian aid. Gaza casualties are being transported to Israeli hospitals. Israel is allowing electricity to flow into Gaza and has delivered food and more building materials, hoping that these supplies will be used for housing, hospitals and schools, rather then tunnels. Some of the humanitarian efforts have been coordinated through the UN.
While Israel stood down during the initial stages of the cease fire , Hamas rejected the Egyptian plan for political reasons. ( Read the BBC column on Gaza and the Hamas spokesman’s , Osama Hamdan, reason for his rejection of Egypt’s proposed cease fire.) Once again, Hamas is putting their needs for military control above the needs of their people. This scenario makes keeping the Peace more difficult, as once again, the population within Gaza and Israel are put in harm’s way. IN THE HOUR PRECEDING ISRAEL’s return to fighting, over 100 rockets fell indiscriminately on Israeli citizens; Jews and Arabs alike. One man, delivering food to Erez Crossing , was killed.
It is with a heavy heart that I report this lack of progress and stalemate. Israel’s task, to destroy their rocket firing capacity and to eventually demilitarize Gaza is made more difficult as Hamas insists upon placing civilians on roof tops bordering rocket launchers. Hamas concentrates on the advantage of ” human shields”, while Israel tries to keep electricity flowing and sanitation under control .
Secretary of State , John Kerry joins a long list of diplomats disappointed with the Hamas response to Egypt’s Cease Fire. And Abbas , of The PLO also supported this latest Egyptian effort.
Civilians are dying on both sides of this conflict. Let’s hope. a cease fire leading to a meaningful Peace will come soon! We have a choice when Politics effects US!