by Malcolm Lowe
July 16, 2014
Last Friday, July 11, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 657 in support of Israel’s right to defend itself against the rockets fired from the Gaza strip. A similar resolution has also been submitted to the US Senate. This reaffirmation of American support will be deeply appreciated in Israel. To make that support effective, however, a little more will be needed.
The House version “(1) reaffirms its support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel; (2) condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel; and (3) calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel.” The Senate version repeats those three demands in almost identical wording and adds a fourth: “Calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.”
What the Congressional resolutions overlook is that Hamas has officially renounced its responsibility for governing Gaza, while the Palestinian unity government has already begun the process of taking over the administration of Gaza. Over a week ago (July 5/6), a senior Hamas official, Ahmad Yousef, was “asked about increased rocket fire on Israel in recent weeks” in an interview with Palestinian news agency Ma’an. His answer: “From a political point of view, (Prime Minister) Rami Hamdallah is responsible and he can give orders to security services to intervene. Hamas is not ruling the Gaza Strip and so it’s not responsible for protecting borders”
Anyone paying due attention to recent Palestinian developments should know that this is correct. The unity government was formed because Hamas no longer had the funds to pay its own administration of 40,000 employees in Gaza. This was because the new Egyptian regime closed the tunnels connecting Egypt with Gaza and removed Hamas’s two chief sources of income: money smuggled through the tunnels and taxes imposed upon the operators of the tunnels……