Every year since Israel’s founding, Israeli civilians have been murdered by Arab soldiers, the fedayeen, Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, Hezbollah or some other shadowy Islamic militant group. Israel's enemies have, from the start, sought to eliminate the Jewish state through whatever means necessary, including committing genocide against the Jewish people.
Islamic terrorists use suicide bombers and increasingly sophisticated rockets, launched from lands relinquished by Israel to the Palestinians, to accomplish their grisly deeds. Their killing machines of choice tomorrow will be whatever weapons of mass destruction they can get their hands on.
Israel is falsely accused of ‘collective punishment’ when it strikes back to defend its citizens. This propaganda has been repeated at the United Nations, right up to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself. He said late last month, for example, that “I would hope that the Israeli Government should not take such a collective punishment to the general public.”
Yet it is the Palestinian and other Islamic terrorists who continually violate the Israelis’ human rights under the Geneva Conventions, which state that “Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited”.
The innocent Israeli women and children, who have been slaughtered while going about their daily lives in their homes, their schools, on buses, at shopping malls, and places of worship, have committed no wrong against the Palestinian people. They are the victims of the Islamic terrorists’ measures of intimidation and terrorism, which violate their most basic of human rights - life itself. The Islamic terrorists are pursuing nothing less than the collective annihilation of the Israeli people.
When the Israeli government responds with stern but non-violent, defensive measures to protect its most vulnerable citizens from murder – for example, with border closures, security checks, economic sanctions and a separation wall – the terrorists’ apologists complain that it is Israel which is violating the Palestinians’ human rights under international law. Their premise is that Israel, as the occupying power, is prohibited by international law from imposing collective punishment on the occupied population. As recently as last week, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson declared on the record that the UN still regards the Gaza Strip as part of the Occupied Territory. This assumption leads to the proposition that Israel is thereby precluded from taking actions that might hurt the people who are under its occupation.
The premise underlying this argument is false because Israel is no longer occupying Gaza - or Lebanon, for that matter. Hamas controls Gaza and the Lebanese have sovereignty over all of Lebanon. Yet Israel’s citizens continue to suffer intimidation and terrorism launched from those liberated areas in violation of their international human rights. The perpetrators are Palestinian and other Islamic terrorists, with the active support of state sponsors such as Iran. Israel in good faith ceded the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in a good faith effort to advance peace. Gaza turned instead into hostile territory under Hamas’s control. More than 4200 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israeli residential areas after Gaza was no longer occupied territory.
In the face of immense provocation, Israel has not re-occupied Gaza. However, it did decide to reduce its role as the major supplier of the fuel and electricity used by Hamas to fire their rockets against the Israeli people. Israel began reducing its electricity flow into Gaza late last week by only one megawatt out of the approximately 124 megawatts that Israel provides to Gaza. If the rocket attacks do not stop, additional cuts of about one megawatt a week may follow. At that rate, Israel will still be supplying some electricity to Gaza for another two years, although at a diminishing rate. Israel will also continue to restrict its export of fuel.
Hamas controls the destiny of the people over whom it reigns sovereign. Future easing of Israeli restrictions will depend entirely on sustained cessation of the rocket fire launched by Hamas and its terrorist brethren from Gaza. No country is obliged to supply its mortal enemies the means with which to launch deadly violence against its own citizens. Israel’s refusal to enable creeping destruction of its country and the murder of its people is not collective punishment. It is self-defense against the perpetrators of terrorism and intimidation being used to collectively annihilate the Israeli people in violation of international law.
Gaza’s fellow Arab neighbors in Egypt have witnessed first hand Hamas’s destructive ways. In the wake of the militants’ blasting of the barrier between Gaza and Egypt, we find more Egyptians finally realizing themselves where the source of the Palestinians’ problems and of the real threat to peace lies.
For example, Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies director Dr. 'Abd Al-Mun'im Sa'id criticized Hamas's failed policies in a column he wrote for Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party weekly Al-Watani Al-Yawm:
“Hamas's election by the majority of the Palestinian people has invested it with the formidable responsibility of leading the Palestinian people, protecting its interests, developing its abilities, and managing its relations with the world and with Israel. Its military coup against the Palestinian Authority and its [currently] exclusive control of the Gaza Strip have forced it to assume complete responsibility over the Gazans, in financial, social, and security matters.
However, Hamas has failed to fulfill this responsibility, both after it was elected and following its [Gaza] coup. In fact, it has done nothing but publicly condemn Israel and the PA, on television and in daily communiqués to the world, and to the Islamic Arab countries…
The rockets, [which are being used] as a means of opposing the peace process and applying pressure [on it], are not for pressuring Israel, but for gaining popularity among the Palestinians...
The problem of Gaza is too great to be [relevant] only to the Palestinians. It has gradually become relevant to the Egyptians as well, and Egypt has been forced to pay for Hamas' policy..."
The editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhouriyya and Egyptian MP Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim was even blunter in his column:
"The Hamas fighters are not satisfied with Abu Mazen's [i.e. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's] way of reaching a permanent and definitive solution with the Hebrew state that will ensure the establishment and continuity of the Palestinian state. This is because the only aim of [Hamas Political Bureau head] Khaled Mash'al and his men is to keep this issue hot, so that regional [forces] such as Iran and Syria can continue playing the card of the Palestinian problem to promote their private interests – that is, Iran's nuclear dossier, the liberation of the Golan Heights, etc... The indignity and villainy of Hamas's leaders have reached the point where they cooked up a miserable plan comprising of two parts, one worse than the other…The first part [of the plan] involves the intensification of missile attacks against Israel in response to peacemaking efforts that have appeared on the horizon, with a view fo (sic) sabotaging, any conceivable agreement...
Then [the Hamas members] were to kidnap several Egyptian security personnel and bring them back to Gaza – [a step] which would compel the Egyptians to [pressure Israel] to release Hamas prisoners from its jails.”
Finally, Supreme Council of Journalists secretary-general and former editor of the Egyptian government paper Al-Akhbar Galal Dweidar expressed sentiments that mirror what Israel is facing in dealing with Hamas:
"There is no better evidence of their [i.e. the Hamas fighters'] evil intentions than the Egyptian National Council announcement of [Egypt's] capture of several Palestinians who had penetrated deep into Egyptian territory with weapons and explosive belts. This shows that [the Hamas fighters] can't tell the difference between friend and foe. It is a grave [problem] that proves that some are exploiting the pain of the Palestinian people in order to export anxiety and problems to Egyptian territory – while the Egyptian people are trying to help the Palestinians. This group, which has already abused the solidarity and unity of the Palestinian front, must realize that Egyptian territory is not ownerless, and that [its people's] patience is not boundless..."
The Egyptians know their Gazan neighbors very well. They ought to, since Gaza had once been part of Egypt. The Egyptians do not want to take the Gazans back. They blame Hamas for sabotaging any prospects for peace with Israel and for the Gazan residents’ current suffering. Egypt wants to be left alone from Hamas’s aggression and interference with its sovereignty. So does Israel.
There can be no real peace so long as the terrorists and their state sponsors such as Iran want more innocent Jews to die for death’s sake and will settle for nothing short of Israel’s extermination. As long as they allow Hamas and other extremists to rule them, the Palestinians will remain their own worst enemies.
 Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Part III: Status and treatment of protected persons, Section I: Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories, Article 33.
 The excerpts from the Egyptian press quoted in this article were compiled by The Middle East Media Research Institute and appear in Special Dispatch No. 1837 (February 8, 2008).