That there be a central authority in the Gaza Strip is in Israel's interest; it's convenient for Israel, even if it is Hamas, a terrorist organization. The reason, of course, is that a central authority has something to lose.
The leaders of Hamas crave power, and want to keep on living. It isn't their own sons they send on suicide missions, after all. Within their twisted reality, they are rational: their goals are simply to retain power and to win international recognition. Thus anarchy in the Strip would bode ill for Israel; every terror group and subgroup could attack us whenever it felt like it, and we would have no effective way to respond.
But isn't that the situation already? Not a day goes by without the south being attacked from within the Strip.
Hamas is getting the best of both worlds - terror attacks continue, and its power isn't threatened. Its leaders do not fear for their lives, and are able to host foreign dignitaries such as the Emir of Qatar, or even the Turkish Prime Minister.
IT IS our own government's stance on this issue that is neither fair nor rational. It isn't fair to the residents of the south because the government's willingness to tolerate attacks against them "within reason" means that in effect it has become impossible for them to lead normal lives.
It isn't rational with regard to Hamas because if Hamas leaders' lives and power are not threatened, what motivation do they have to prevent attacks on Israel? Why shouldn't they dig tunnels with the aim of carrying out terror operations or kidnappings? The government could send the IDF back into Gaza to clean it up, and conduct follow-up raids, making arrests and actively preventing terror. Or, it could simply issue an ultimatum to Hamas' leaders: either control the rocket fire, or suffer the fate of Ahmed Yassin.
Israel's quiet acceptance of a "tolerable" amount of rocket fire and terrorism along the fence (accompanied by empty gestures such as the occasional strike against low-ranking terrorist operatives - which bothers Hamas leaders not at all - and empty rhetoric such as "Israel knows how to respond" or will "cut off the hand," or some other such nonsense) is the height of chutzpah.
AS IF ignoring the plight of the residents of the south weren't enough of a sin, the Finance Ministry is actively and maliciously seeking to make things worse - millions of shekels have been cut from Sderot's budget, and nearly 100 municipal workers fired.
Cutting millions from the education budget for Sderot's children is not only sheer idiocy, it's morally reprehensible.
Sderot Mayor David Buskila, though, is nobody's fool. He's a serious individual, who knows how things work in this country. He went on a hunger strike in Jerusalem, and got what he wanted. But what about all those nice, friendly kibbutznikim? You know, the ones with the names like Araleh, Yoskeh and Ruchkeh, that don't understand that joining hands around the campfire and singing songs such as "Yam Hashibulim" don't get you anywhere in this country.
How are they going to get the government to open its heart; how will schools like Sha'ar Hanegev (where my children study), long since Hamas free-fire zones, ever get a little more funding that schools in the center of the country? A lot of kids in these schools suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and require special care. Why can the government understand that these schools need a little more money than schools in Tel Aviv? Spare them your praises about how "resilient" they are - it's time to close your mouths and open your pockets.