Ron Paul Blames the Gaza Conflict on Israel, American Middle East Policy

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Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, may be retiring from elected politics, having lost his latest bid for the presidency, but he is still making his views heard. In a recent oped, Paul opened his mind about the causes of the recent Israel-Gaza missile war.

Paul blames Israel, American Middle East policy on the conflict

Paul places the blame in his oped for continued conflict between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza in both American Middle Eastern policy and Israel's "imposed inhuman conditions in Gaza" and its "destructive policies." The often-heard complaint that Israel should not have to tolerate hundreds of missiles being fired against it does not impress Paul. The Obama administration, in his view, is undertaking a similar policy through use of drone strikes against terrorist targets in countries such as Yemen and Pakistan. America's tilt toward Israel, in Paul's view, undermines its role as a peacemaker in the Middle East.

Ron Paul: Gaza a 'concentration camp'

Paul has had some controversial things to say about Gaza before. In a 2009 interview with Iranian state television, during the midst of a previous conflict between Israel and the Hamas government, Paul referred Gaza as a "concentration camp" and denied that the Hamas government was the aggressor. He suggested that if the United States were to stop supporting Israel, the Jewish state would be forced to start negotiating with its Arab neighbors, such as the Hamas regime in Gaza.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005

As the Washington Post reported at the time, Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza in 2005, dismantling Jewish settlements. While this move was controversial, the expectation was that this move would reduce terrorist attacks on Israel.

Hamas rocket attacks on Israel

According to Global Security, the Hamas regime has conducted periodic rocket bombardments on Israeli territory, the most recent coming this month. The weapons systems are a combination of homemade rockets and more sophisticated missiles smuggled into Gaza from Iran. These weapons tend to be undiscriminating , meant to hit civilian areas, sowing terror and fear. In response, Israel had imposed a partial naval blockade on Gaza, an operation that has proven to be controversial in the international community, but which Israel justifies because of the continued belligerency of the Hamas regime. Israel has also built a system of missile defenses, starting with the Iron Dome, which seems to have worked with great effectiveness in the most recent conflict. Israel has also launched air strikes against missile launchers and other military targets in Gaza and in the most recent conflict, threatened a ground invasion,

Hamas dedicated to the destruction of Israel

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the founding charter Hamas calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state that would also include Gaza and the West Bank, the latter currently administered by the Palestinian Authority. This stance may prove to be a complicating factor in Paul's desire for Israel to negotiate with Hamas.

Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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