From ICAN Director, Stuart Palmer www.haifadiarist.blogspot.com

a) There is a major humanitarian problem in Israel. Sderot has borne over 50% of all missiles launched and 20% of the town’s 20,000 population has left. Industry has lost millions of shekels, some have closed increasing unemployment. 

b) With the escalation in the use of Grad missiles smuggled into Gaza via Egypt when the border was breached, Ashkelon and its environs are now under attack – this represents around 250,000 citizens of the State of Israel. 7 citizens of Sderot have killed, 4 of those under 18 years old

Rocket Fire Statistics, 2008 

Since the beginning of 2008 425 rockets have been fired,

Rocket Fire Statistics 2008 .

Rocket Fire During the Past Seven Years 

Rocket Fire During the Past Seven Years

c) TRAUMA – a large percentage of Israeli families are now traumatized, a state that is likely to continue for many years even if the attacks stopped today. 

The effects are.

          Loss of business / unemployment

          Inability to work

          Children’s education is suffering

          Mental health problems well above the average

          People having to be constantly aware of their surroundings in order to take cover in 15 secs 

d) Kassams and Grads are rockets, not missiles, and thus cannot be targeted specifically. That makes it a weapon of terror. 

e) Captured Israeli soldiers are prisoners of war. Unlike prisoners in Israeli jails, he receives no human rights under Geneva Conventions. No Red Cross visits.

f) The media is constantly being used, abused and manipulated, eg the spoofs or Pallywood productions. Hamas leaders holding a government meeting by candlelight, as daylight cuts across the photo from a slit in the curtain! There is NO official confirmation of civilian casualties in Gaza. Hamas is using civilians in the war against Israel. It is standard practice for them to inflate such civilian casualties in order to get public opinion on their side 

g) And is there a humanitarian crisis? Life is not easy for the average Palestinian in the Gaza Strip but in the 8.5 months since Hamas took control of the Gaza strip 17,246 trucks carrying 397,439 tons of food and essential goods have passed through the various crossings in spite of Hamas’ attempts to sabotage the crossings.  As of the end of February 2008 stocks of the staple foods in tones were, according to Palestinian traders estimates as follows.           

Rice                                60            

Fruit and Vegetables      315           

Meat, chicken and fish   155           

Dairy products               107            

Other foods                      8            

Tools and raw  materials 10            

Flour and yeast              594           

Oil                                  47           

Total                            1296

h) PEACE  Isn’t it time for the Palestinians to prove they want peace and not just complain about the Israelis. Israel left Gaza, a painful and risky action with no demands on the other side. It is time that the Palestinians made one – just one – similar gesture of substance.  But is this the case NO!! 

In an in-depth interview published Friday in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustur, Abbas said 

Here are some highlights from that interview:

Al-Dustur, February 28, 2008  The Arab Situation“Now we are against armed conflict because we are unable. In the future stages, things may be different… “ We reject the Jewishness of the state The Palestinian President emphasized his rejection of what is described as the Jewishness of the state [Israel], and said: “We rejected this proposal at the Annapolis conference last November in the USA, and the conference was almost aborted because of it…”
The Resistance [Editor’s note: PA euphemism for terror] The Palestinian President spoke about the resistance, saying: “I was honored to be the one to shoot the first bullet in 1965 [Fatah terror against Israel began in 1965] ,and having taught resistance to many in this area and around the world, defining it and when it is beneficial and when it is not… we had the honor of leading the resistance.We taught everyone what resistance is, including the Hezbollah, who were trained in our camps [i.e. PLO camps in the 60s and 70s].” Recognition of Israel“I don’t demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. I only demanded of the [Palestinian] national unity government that would work opposite Israel in recognition of it.  And this I told to Syrian President Bashir Assad, and he supported this idea.”  The media is being fooled by their media manipulation of woman and children, the Hamas’ true message to Israelis is unequivocally clear: “You are our target – We want you dead.” Israel’s goals are also clear – Staying alive.  

On the same day in which the Hamas staged its “peaceful” propaganda march of women and children toward Israel’s border crossings (26 Feb 2008), the Hamas’ official website featured a poster, portraying its gunmen in battle dress, declaring in English and Hebrew “Death is Coming”,  and depicting Israeli casualties in the background.  

Hamas Poster

As Hamas continues in its rocket campaign against Israel’s cities, it has also stepped up its PR campaign to explain to Israeli civilians that Hamas wants them dead.

Here are three posters, displayed prominently on Hamas web sites, with captions that leave no room for misunderstandings.

 Hide from the Kassam

Source: Official website of the Hamas’ armed wing, the “al-Qassam Brigades”

Hamas Poster 2

Source: Official website of the Hamas’ armed wing, the “al-Qassam Brigades”

Hamas Poster 3Source: Official website of the Hamas’ armed wing, the “al-Qassam Brigades” 

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