Why there are no bomb shelters in Gaza

As casualties mount on either side of the Gaza strip, questions must be asked about security arrangements

A make-shift Israeli bomb shelter - more than there is on offer in Gaza
Nick Gray
On 16 November 2012 18:54

This morning an Al Jazeera television reporter speaking in Gaza City commented that there were no bomb shelters for Palestinian Arabs to use or air raid sirens to warn of an imminent aerial attack. That’s one reason why casualties are higher than they should be in the Gaza Strip.

If the journalist had looked closer she would have noted that not only are bomb shelters scarce, but that street lamp-posts are also almost impossible to find. There is a reason for this: Hamas, which governs the Mediterranean coastal region, allows its terrorists to utilise them to make rockets to fire at innocent Southern Israel communities rather than provide light for its 1,500,000 residents.

Last year, Rabbi Shmuel Bowman, Director of Operation Life Shield, who works tirelessly to raise money to provide much needed bomb shelters in the southern missile-hit part of the Holy Land, took his begging bowl to churches and synagogues in the United Kingdom. The Israeli government does not have enough money to provide the smaller type of bomb shelters to place at strategic spots, so community-minded people like Shmuel roll up their sleeves and get cracking to raise cash to provide them.

Shmuel told how an American donated a shelter and was in Israel to see it in situ. The donor was standing at the bomb shelter door when a rocket fired from Gaza landed nearby and he was spared possible death from shrapnel because of his gift. The blast knocked him off his feet, though.

The rabbi also told of a completed youth centre being moth-balled by the Israeli authorities because it lacked a bomb shelter… until the Operation Life Shield stepped in.

As it happens, Shmuel is back in the United Kingdom and his supporters will be anxious to hear what is happening on the ground in this beleaguered part of the Middle East. One thing he will be glad to report is that the Israeli government is stumping up more cash to provide air raid shelters in Southern Israel because of the on-going plight of innocent communities there.

But what of Gaza?

Two years before the infamous US Army medic Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded twenty-nine others in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas, a slide show he prepared for his fellow Army doctors on the subject of Islam made this chilling point: "We love death more than you love life!"

This attitude does not resonate with the Western mind-set but with certain extreme elements of the Muslim community, it has echoed down the ages from a seventh century Islamic commander who threatened enemies with "an army of men that love death as you love life."

The Muslim holy book, the Quran, mentions the rewards of martyrs: "And do not consider those who have been killed in the way of God as dead; they are alive with their Lord, well provided-for." There, the “benefits” of martyrdom are glorified.

Islam outlines the six bounties that include forgiveness “with the first drop of his blood that is spilt,” seeing his place in Paradise, being saved from the “great horror” on the day of judgment, having a crown of dignity placed on his head, 72 women of Paradise, and being allowed to intercede for 70 family members who would otherwise have gone to hell.

No wonder so many Palestinian Arabs are pathetic cannon fodder in the hands of Muslim jihadists who make the evil suicide bomber and shaheed (martyr) system work. From Hamas's perspective, shaheeds are a force for Palestinian Arab empowerment. As one terrorist explained: "The Israelis have guns, we have the human bomb. We love death, they love life."

According to Rabbi Ya'akov Moshe Harlap, Jews believe that God is to be served in this world, while Muslims believe that Allah is to be served "by leaping over this world and dying for his name."

Perhaps that goes some way towards explaining why there are no bomb shelters in Gaza.

Nick blogs at www.cmewonline.com and tweets at @cmew2

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