Is there any logical explanation for Hamas storing its weapons among civilians, and launching its rockets from civilian areas, causing scores of deaths and injuries to Palestinians?
You bet there is!
It is because Gaza is pretty small, and it’s very densely populated. There is simply not enough room in Gaza to put them elsewhere.
During an interview late July 2014 with Jorge Ramos on Fusion TV, Hillary Clinton addressed the issue of Hamas storing their missiles and rockets in civilian areas.
“The problem is, and this is something — I’m not a military planner, but Hamas puts its missiles, its rockets in civilian areas, part of it is that Gaza is pretty small and it’s densely populated. They put their command and control of Hamas military leaders in those civilian areas.”
In 2008, under the header "Renewing American Leadership – Working for Our Common Security – Stand with Allies and Pursue Diplomacy in the Middle East", the platform asserted that "For more than three decades, Israelis, Palestinians, Arab leaders, and the rest of the world have looked to America to lead the effort to build the road to a secure and lasting peace. Our starting point must always be our special relationship with Israel, grounded in shared interests and shared values, and a clear, strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy."
No mention of any special relationship with Israel.
No description of Israel as our strongest ally in the region.
2) Maintaining Israel's Qualitative Military Edge
Previous platforms contained promises to maintain Israel's "qualitative military edge" in the region.
The 2008 platform reads: "That commitment [strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel], which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense, is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region – a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of Al Qaeda, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah. We support the implementation of the memorandum of understanding that pledges $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade to enhance and ensure its security" (pledging future support).
The 2012 platform mentions only that "The administration has also worked to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge in the region" (speaking of past support).
No commitment is mentioned to continue doing so in the future.
3) Hamas Terrorist Organization
2008 platform makes explicit mention o the continued need to oppose Hamas – the strong Palestinian terrorist organization supported by Iran that currently rules the Gaza strip (from which virtually daily rocket attacks are launched against Israeli civilian towns) and calls in its charter for the destruction of Israel.
It read: "To do so [take an active role to help secure a lasting settlement], we must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction. The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by past agreements."
In the 2012 platform, language on the terrorist group Hamas is gone, and there is no mention of the need to stand with Israel against its enemies.
4) Palestinian Refugees
A long-standing Palestinian demand ("The Right of Return") is that Israel allow Palestinian refugees (and their descendents) who left their homes during the 1948-49 war to return to towns which a have been part of Israel since that war, hence, in effect, nullifying the Jewish majority of the 'Jewish State'.
The 2008 platform read explicitly that "The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel."
The 2012 platform contains no language on the Palestinian refugees matter.
5) 1967 Borders
A long-standing Palestinian demand is that Israel withdraw back to the border lines held prior to the 1967 war (the armistice lines of established at the end of the 1949 war).
It was pretty clear, however, that even after asking for multiple votes, two-thirds of the vote was not received. Rank and file delegates to the Democratic National Convention voiced significant opposition to the efforts to amend the party platform to reinstate the pro-Israel 'Jerusalem' language, forcing convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa to call the voice vote three times.
The State Department issues Travel Warnings to countries around the world when "long-term, protracted conditions that make a country or region dangerous or unstable, recommending that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country or region.
It then lists the countries and regions which meet those criteria.
The State Department has issued no travel warning for Egypt, or the Sinai peninsula.
This kidnapping followed a previous kidnapping of American tourist in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula on February 4, 2012.
The State department has described these incidents as, quote, a "multiple kidnappings in the Sinai of U.S. citizens over the past four years, including U.S. citizens entering Sinai from Israel or transiting Sinai to Israel. Kidnappings of foreign tourists in the Sinai have increased since January 2012. The danger of overland travel in the Sinai is significant and overland travel from Israel to the Sinai is strongly discouraged."
Yet, the State Department has issued no travel warning for Egypt, or the Sinai peninsula.
On August 5, 2012, there was a terrorist attack in Egypt, on the Sinai-Israel border. The perpetrators, members of a terrorist group active in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula, had killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, then went on to force their way into Israel with an apparent goal to attack a civilian Israeli town nearby.
The terrorist were quickly killed and their two vehicles were destroyed in a coordinated air and land Israeli operation.
The State Department has issued no travel warning for Egypt, or the Sinai peninsula.
A few days earlier, on August 2, 2012, rockets were launched from the Egyptian Sinai peninsula, landing in the Jordanian Red-Sea resort town of Aqaba, and the near-by Israeli Red-Sea resort town of Eilat. One Aqaba man has been killed, 5 others were injured. No casualties have been reported in Eilat.
Egyptian forces were reportedly combing the Sinai peninsula for vehicles allegedly used in the launch of this rocket barrage on Israel and Jordan.
This time around, the State Department has issued a travel warning, but only for Israel.
No travel warning has been issued for Egypt, the Sinai peninsula, Jordan or Aqaba.
The travel warning that has been issued on August 5, 2012, included the line, "rockets have been fired recently into the Eilat and Aqaba areas. U.S. citizens in Eilat and southern Israel are advised to ascertain the location of the nearest bomb shelter."
No similar warning was issued for Jordan.
In response, On Monday, August 6, 2012, Israel's Tourism Ministry complained that the warning unfairly singled out Eilat for precautionary advice but not Aqaba, which is next door in Jordan.
The Israeli complaint said that "This advisory gives a prize to terror and undermines regional stability and the sense of security that Israel gives to everyone who enters the country…. Differentiating Israel from its neighbor that actually suffered loss of life is improper and lacks balance."
On August 10, the State Department issued a new travel warning for Israel, which replaced the August 5th notice and doesn't mention Eilat at all, only saying, "U.S. citizens in the area should be aware of the risks and should follow the advice of the Government of Israel's office of Homefront Command."
Still, no similar warning was issued for Jordan.
When questioned by reporters, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley explained that the change was made in part because there was a disparity between the Israeli travel warning and the lack of a similar warning for Jordan.
"I'm not denying it's unusual to change a travel warning two times in two weeks," said a State Department official, speaking on background. The official said State took the blame for the error. "We listened to what Israel had to tell us but it was a process failure here at the Department," the official said.
To date, no State Department travel warning has been issued for Egypt, the Sinai peninsula, Jordan or Aqaba.
The State Department's travel warning for Israel, however, still stands, alongside some other countries whose governments are unstable and/or plagued by internal violence and upheaval, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
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