It’s Hamas that dragged Gazans into war

A few numbers are enough to refute the propaganda which Zoe Lawlor (Letters, July 29) repeats without a nod towards the facts.

It’s Hamas that dragged Gazans into war

Occupation? It’s now 10 years since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, when all the Israeli residents, even down to the Jewish cemetery, were evacuated at a cost of $7bn to the Israeli taxpayer. The military then withdrew completely. Hopes were high that peace and a new path to full Palestinian statehood might open.

Siege? There was no blockade in 2005, even though Hamas rockets had been falling on Israel since 2001. Rockets and suicide attacks had forced the closure of the Erez Joint Industrial Zone in which 5,000 Gazans had been employed. Israel’s weapons blockade came only in 2007, after Hamas had taken full power in Gaza in a bloody coup and tripled its rate of rocket strikes on Israel to an average of over 60 per week.

Open-air prison? This year, 15,000-17,000 people are entering Israel from Gaza each month, while an average of 600 trucks each day carry food and humanitarian supplies the other way. Even during the war, an average of 118 trucks per day entered Gaza.

Bombed for 51 days? The 4,258 rockets and countless mortars fired by Hamas into Israel, plus the 32 tunnels prepared for the massacre and abduction of Israeli civilians, were met with 5,226 Israeli air strikes targeting rocket sites and infrastructure, plus a limited ground invasion to destroy the tunnels.

For the third time in six years, Hamas drag- ged Gazans into a war Israel did not want.

Derek O’Flynn

Press Officer

Embassy of Israel

Dublin 4

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