Beyond the Gaza Headlines

(Times of Israel) David Horovitz - Zuhair al-Qaissi, the leader of Gaza's Popular Resistance Committees who was targeted on Friday, immediately after Gilad Shalit was released in an extortionate prisoner "exchange" last October, gave interviews to the media detailing how his organization had kidnapped the Israeli soldier, interrogated him, resisted Israeli pleas for his release, and handed Shalit over to Hamas for five years of incarceration. Al-Qaissi was also one of the planners of last August's major infiltration by terrorists from Gaza, via Sinai, into Israel in which eight Israelis were killed. He was about to orchestrate another such major attack. He was also the man who oversaw the transfer of funds from Hizbullah in Lebanon to other extremist groups in Gaza. Israel has no military or civilian presence whatsoever in Gaza - no territorial dispute. Wrenching thousands of civilians from their homes, Israel withdrew entirely from the Strip in 2005. After the 2005 disengagement, the occupation was over. In the period before al-Qaissi was killed, barely a day went by without a rocket salvo being fired into Israel; these attacks didn't make headlines because they didn't kill Israelis. Israel has alarm systems and protected rooms. It keeps its youngsters home from school. And it has the world's foremost anti-missile defense systems. Seven years after it left Gaza, Israel is up against a leadership there that has exploited every opportunity to arm itself with only one enemy in mind - Israel - and to improve the capacity of its rockets to harm Israeli civilians. And Israel finds itself on the defensive, accused of exaggerated use of force, even as it strives to keep its populace safe.

2012-03-12 00:00:00

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