Middle East

Action is needed in Gaza not empty words

Images continue to beam around the world as Israel continues to pound targets in the Gaza strip for a third day. This massacres takes place after Israel assassinated Hamas’ top military leader, Ahmad al-Jaabari, in Gaza on Wednesday 14 November 2012. Al-Jaabari was the head of Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, Hamas’ military wing. This incident broke a truce brokered by Egypt between Israel and Hamas, reached only earlier during the week. The Israeli government said the assassination and the bombing campaign were a response to rockets launched by Hamas.

An extensive bombing campaign called Operation Pillar of Cloud consisting of F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters and unmanned drones ensued, pounding Gaza constantly. Whilst Israeli naval forces conducted extensive shelling of civilian targets from the Gaza shoreline.

Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006 when Israel pulled out its settlers. Israel has deprived Gaza of building materials, food and medicines – Gaza is a virtual open prison. Since Operation Cast Lead, in 2008 when over 700 Muslims perished, Israel has carried out an economic blockade, which still remains in place today.

Israel’s current aggression takes place in a region which is still undergoing dramatic change. Israel’s aggression in reality highlights its weakness and insecurities.

The Arab spring has destroyed the architecture that has for long protected and defended Israel’s existence. Successive leaders in Egypt acted as the first line of defence for Israel and diluted the ummah’s ambition of liberating Al Quds by ensuring no direct attacks took place against Israel. They also ensured the Egyptian army remained in its barracks or spied on its own people. As the ummah took to the streets to overthrow their rulers Israeli leaders have been bracing themselves for blowback for the decades of oppression they meted out to the ummah in the region. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined Israeli anxieties when he launched a major review of the country’s defense strategy: “We must be ready for the changing threats that are being directed at the State of Israel. We must see to it that the security which Israelis have enjoyed over past three-and-a-half years continues under the changing conditions.”

The State of Israel has always had a single defence goal – to ensure the continued existence of Israel. Israel is a very small country that lacks strategic depth. A hostile fighter could fly across all of Israel (40 nautical miles wide from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea) within four minutes. Unable to field a large army due to its population it must rely on its reserves. Israel’s small population also increases its sensitivity to civilian and military losses. To make up for quantitative disadvantages, Israel maintains a high level of unpredictability and aggressive posture. The Israeli defence forces – IDF makes up for its lack of size by superior manoeuvrability and firepower and intelligence. Israel’s daily reality is it could be attacked, ambushed or invaded by any number of the 250 million in the region.

As Israel is vastly outnumbered by the nations surrounding it, it has from its inception relied upon migration to Israel. European Jews initially migrated after the Holocaust. Throughout the 1960’s many Jews from the Soviet Union migrated to Israel followed by numerous Jews from Ethiopia during the 1980’s and 1990’s. This trend ensured Israel’s population constantly grew. However In the last decade, some 50,000 Israelis have applied for EU citizenship. A quarter of a million already have a second passport. It is unlikely that any other country in the world has such a large percentage of new immigrants preparing to leave. Due to security fears, growing numbers of Israelis want to leave and Israel is now in a situation where every year more Jews leave Israel for Europe and the US than the other way around.

With the facts in the region all against Israel, it falls upon Egypt’s new leadership to mobilize the armies in the region to end the occupation. Any army from the Muslim world can end the massacre in Palestine. The armies in the Arab world must stand up and complete their duty to Allah سبحانه وتعالى in saving the lives of the Muslims of Palestine. This is not the time for meetings, summits and ceasefires, Israel has once again spilt Muslim blood and Allah سبحانه وتعالى has designated Jihad as the solution to such cowardly acts. The armies should take heed from Allah سبحانه وتعالى when he said:

لَا يَسْتَوِي الْقَاعِدُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ غَيْرُ أُولِي الضَّرَرِ وَالْمُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ ۚ فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ عَلَى الْقَاعِدِينَ دَرَجَةً ۚ وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَفَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ عَلَى الْقَاعِدِينَ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

“Those believers who stay behind – other than those forced to by necessity – are not the same as those who do jihad in the Way of Allah, sacrificing their wealth and themselves. Allah has given those who do jihad with their wealth and themselves a higher rank than those who stay behind. Allah has promised the Best to both, but Allah has preferred those who do jihad over those who stay behind by an immense reward.” [An-Nisaa, 4:95]