The plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who have been killed as a result of the Israeli Defense Force’s incursion into the region to destroy Hamas’s network of terror tunnels might be a bit more compelling if the Palestinians hadn’t been the ones to vote Hamas into power in the first place.
Every time NPR does one of their weepy stories in which they interview destitute Gazans who have been displaced from their homes as a result of the fighting, I wish the reporter would toss out the question, “By the way, did you vote for Hamas?” In a six-way election for the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, 44% of Palestinians did, so you’d think NPR would run across at least a couple of diehard Hamasniks among the dozens of unwitting human shields they speak to every week.
Meanwhile, The New York Times and other liberal news sites are fond of featuring an ongoing tally of the number of Gazans vs. Israelis killed in the conflict, which currently runs at about 30-to-1. How about showing ongoing polls of the percentage of Palestinians who still support Hamas?
Lest Hamas’s ideology still be unclear to some Westerners, “Hamas” is short for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah (Islamic Resistance Movement), and is also a cutesy acronym that means “Enthusiasm,” as in “Enthusiasm for Murdering Jews.”
Hamas’s raison d’être is to destroy Israel. Hamas—an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood—has branch offices in the following locations: Israel’s neighbor Lebanon, Israel’s neighbor Syria, the Egypt-Gaza border, Gaza, the West Bank, and elsewhere in Israel. In other words, Israel is a big, fat, bull’s-eye in Hamas’s radar.
Palestinian activists decry Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as though the Jews were just doing it to be meanies. No, they’re doing it to protect themselves from Hamas soldiers crossing the border and blowing up Israeli crowds in suicide attacks, and they don’t particularly care if that means Palestinians’ supply of fertilizer and night vision goggles is shut off.
But even blockades aren’t enough to fend off the Hamas threat. Hamas has received international shipments of thousands of tons of concrete over the past decade that were intended for constructing schools and hospitals and apartments. Instead, Hamas used the concrete to build a recently-discovered, miles-long, underground tunnel system through which they had planned to carry out raids into Israel to kidnap soldiers and trade them at a ratio of 1,000 Hamas terrorists-to-one Israeli.
And now the international community is going to be guilted into donating to help rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure?
Hamas maintains Palestinians’ perpetual support by bribing them with relief efforts—medical care, food banks, orphanages—but this is no excuse for the Palestinians to have voted them into power and continued to support them. Hamas has been a known terrorist organization for decades. Hamas operatives have been killing Israelis Jews since 1989, and have been carrying out attacks in the West Bank since 1994. The Palestinians can’t pretend that they didn’t know what would happen if they voted Hamas into power, or couldn’t anticipate that their neighbors would continue their blockade for security reasons.
Israel, foolishly magnanimous as it is toward the Palestinians, frequently agrees to the aim of a two-state solution after overwhelming international pressure. Hamas, in its most conciliatory and expansive mood, occasionally accedes to a “temporary” two-state solution. Yet every time Israel generously proposes an actual solution—e.g., a return to the pre-1967 War borders—Hamas spits on Israel’s offer and resumes firing rockets.
Peace and reconciliation are not part of Hamas’ vocabulary, nor that of the Palestinians who support them. Compared to civilized nations, Islamic terrorist groups live in Opposite Land, where gestures of magnanimity are interpreted as signs of weakness, and only preemptive self-defensive attacks lead to a cessation of aggression.
Hamas’s leaders openly describe their dream of one day hanging maps on the wall that contain Palestine but not Israel. Does that sound like a political party with which the Jews can negotiate?
Given the Palestinians’ undying spiritual and electoral support for Hamas, Jimmy Carter’s recent nutty editorial arguing that the U.S. should recognize Hamas as a legitimate entity isn’t that much nuttier than the widely held view that we should recognize the Palestinians as having a legitimate political perspective.
- There’s no path to peace in Gaza without Hamas (ipolitics.ca)
- The Walls That Support Hamas (dish.andrewsullivan.com)
- Part of Hamas Talks, and Part Might Wait to Fight Again (ndtv.com)
- Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel (alternet.org)
- Israel, hamas to negotiate new gaza deal in cairo (debatepolitics.com)