By: Rabbi Menashe Sasson
Reporting from Jerusalem, Israel
The Six-Day War, fought between June 5, 1967 through June 10, 1967, which began after Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, resulted in Israel being victorious over Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria, all of whom engaged in a coordinated military campaign against Israel.
During the Six-Day War, Israel captured the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and Samaria and Judea.
During 1994, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) entered into a series of agreements known as the Oslo Accords, which resulted in the creation of the Palestinian Authority. Pursuant to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was granted limited rights of self-government in the Gaza Strip and certain portions of Samaria and Judea.
The Oslo Accords did not, however, create a Palestinian Arab state.
During September 2000, Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip, and elsewhere, embarked upon a campaign of violence. Known as the “Second Intifada” (the First Intifada having occurred prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords), Palestinian Arabs used suicide bombers and rocket attacks to target Jewish Israeli citizens and the State of Israel.
In 2005, Israel, instead of responding to Palestinian Arab acts of war by repudiating the Oslo Accords and taking decisive military action against the Palestinian Authority and asserting sovereignty over the Gaza Strip, instead implemented a unilateral disengagement plan, which resulted in the eviction of Israeli citizens from their homes in the Gaza Strip and the end of Israeli control of the Gaza Strip. Israel, however, retained exclusive control of the airspace over the Gaza Strip and of the coastal territorial waters west of the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza left the Palestinian Authority with administrative authority — but not sovereignty — over the Gaza Strip.
During 2006 and 2007, there was a conflict between the Palestinian Arab groups Hamas and Fatah. Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by both Israel and the United States (as well as by many other countries), has been the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip since June 2007.
Hamas admits responsibility for rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians, attacks which continue to this day and which are launched from the Gaza Strip. Some rockets have been launched from Palestinian residential areas and mosques.
Israeli cities affected by Palestinian Arab rocket attacks include Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
What other country would relinquish use of a portion of its land to a people who would then use that land to wage war against it? What other country would allow such a people to engage in acts of war against it by launching rockets at its civilian population and its cities? The answer, of course, is few, if any, countries such as Israel, which possesses the military capability to decisively stop such acts of war would ever tolerate this type of a situation for very long, if at all.
Although Israel possesses a military that is clearly superior to that of the insurgencies that are Hamas, Fatah, and the like, Israel, unfortunately, lacks a political system and civilian leadership to put and end to the Palestinian Arab terrorism that no other country would tolerate.
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Menashe Sasson is a Sephardic rabbi and American attorney who resides in Jerusalem, Israel.