I'm a poet, an English Jew and a frequent visitor to Israel. Deeply disturbed by the reports of wanton slaughter and destruction during Operation Cast Lead, I felt I had to see for myself. I flew to Tel Aviv and on Wednesday, January 28, using my press card to cross the Erez checkpoint, I walked across the border into Gaza where I was met by my guide, a Palestinian journalist. He asked if I wanted to meet with Hamas officials. I explained that I'd come to bear witness to the damage and civilian suffering, not to talk politics.
What I saw was that there had been precision attacks made on all of Hamas' infrastructure. Does UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticize the surgical destruction of the explosives cache in the Imad Akhel Mosque, of the National Forces compound, of the Shi Jaya police station, of the Ministry of Prisoners? The Gazans I met weren't mourning the police state. Neither were they radicalized. As Hamas blackshirts menaced the street corners, I witnessed how passersby ignored them.
THERE WERE empty beds at Shifa Hospital and a threatening atmosphere. Hamas is reduced to wielding its unchallengeable authority from extensive air raid shelters which, together with the hospital, were built by Israel 30 years ago. Terrorized Gazans used doublespeak when they told me most of the alleged 5,500 wounded were being treated in Egypt and Jordan. They want it known that the figure is a lie, and showed me that the wounded weren't in Gaza. No evidence exists of their presence in foreign hospitals, or of how they might have gotten there.
And if the apologists for Hamas can't answer for its lies and the mistreatment of its own people, they certainly can't explain why a supposedly "principled" movement would threaten to murder the only Jew left in Gaza - GILAD SHALIT MAY SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS RON ARAD
The answer to Yvonne Green's puzzle could well be that given in today's Australian Newspaper by Nonie Darwish, who grew up in Gaza City and Cairo - PALESTINE VICTIM OF ARAB BETRAYAL.
This policy of forcing a Palestinian identity on these people for eternity and condemning them to a miserable life in a refugee camp was designed to perpetuate and exacerbate the Palestinian refugee crisis.