Sara Roy’s article “Deprivation in Gaza Strip”(Podium, July 19) deliberately omits the most important fact about why the citizens of Gaza are suffering. When Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005, it did not institute the blockade on which Roy blames the suffering. Instead, Israel left behind numerous greenhouses and millions of dollars worth of farm equipment, in hope that Gaza would become a Singapore on the Mediterranean — a part of the two-state solution instead of a part of the problem.
For many months following Israel’s withdrawal, Gaza was free to build a strong economy, supported by donor nations. Instead Hamas opted for terrorism, firing thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. It was only after this barrage of rockets that Israel began its military blockade, designed to prevent Hamas from importing lethal rockets. Any country faced with rocket attacks targeting its civilians would have done the same.
Hamas has also used building material sent from abroad not to build schools and factories, but instead to build dozens of terror tunnels between Gaza and Israel, whose sole purpose is to kidnap and kill Israelis. Thus the fault for the blockade lies squarely on the shoulders of Hamas, but you wouldn’t know that if you only read Roy’s account. Nor would you know that Hamas deliberately fires its rockets and places its tunnel openings in densely populated civilian areas in order to force Israel to make this tragic choice: Either allow its civilians to be targeted or fire at military targets in civilian areas of Gaza.