The brutal events last week at the Gaza-Sinai-Israel intersection were a sordid reminder that the primary crude that flows thick and black in large amounts throughout the Arab Middle East is inter-communal hatred.
Oil is the other one.
Terrorists from Gaza crossed into the Sinai and killed 16 Egyptian soldiers as the soldiers were eating their fast-ending Ramadan meal. The terrorists, armed with considerable lethal weaponry, then commandeered an Egyptian troop carrier and burst across the Israel border at Kerem Shalom intent on murdering as many Israelis as possible.
The terrorists did not live to carry out their homicidal plan. The IDF stopped them a short distance from the border.
In a rapid-fire set of inter-related moves, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi reacted quickly to the slaughter of the Egyptian soldiers. It attacked a cluster of putative terrorists in Sinai, closed the border with Gaza, ordered the sealing of the tunnels from Gaza into Sinai, demanded the extradition of certain Hamas men from Gaza to Egypt, replaced the chief intelligence officer, the defence minister, chief of staff and other security officials.
Under the pretext of the attack in Sinai, Morsi has taken over control of the vaunted elite Egyptian military establishment. The personnel moves are still being assessed by Israel.
In an attempt to avoid responsibility for the murder of the Egyptian soldiers, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, predictably, blamed Israel. To a willing body of attentive media, he said: “The attack’s method confirms some sort of Israeli involvement aiming to achieve political and security goals, cause tension on the border with Egypt and destroy joint efforts to end the Gaza blockade.”
In an interesting sidebar dripping with equal parts irony and humanity, that could only accompany a story in the Middle East, it is worth noting that Haniyeh’s sister was recently in Israel. And not quite as a tourist.
She accompanied her gravely ill husband to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah. Haniyeh’s sister and his brother-in-law entered Israel from Gaza at the Erez checkpoint and then travelled by Magen David Adom ambulance to the hospital in Petah Tikva. Haniyeh’s brother-in-law was hospitalized in Israel for about a week. The Israeli medical team saved his life. He and his wife, Haniyeh’s sister, then returned to Gaza.
The life-saving treatment for the Gaza couple in Israel is not a rare occurrence. It happens quite frequently. But for the fact that Ismail Haniyeh strives daily to destroy the country, the hospitals, the doctors and the nurses who saved his brother-in-law’s life, it would happen even more. That it does not is the result of the ongoing, Haniyeh-like hatred that thwarts what could be.