Column One: Whitewashing Hamas

Hamas's popularity shows the futility of attempting to coax peaceful coexistence out of a Palestinian society committed to its neighbor's destruction.

glick long hair 88 (photo credit: )
glick long hair 88
(photo credit: )
Another ordinary week has come and gone in southern Israel. Bombarded by rockets from Hamastan in Gaza, residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and nearby towns watched as their national leaders conducted negotiations by proxy with Hamas to release hundreds of terrorists in Israeli jails and consolidate Hamas's weapons supply lines by suspending Israeli counter-terror operations during a "cease-fire." Between trips to the local bomb shelter, they watched Israeli trucks deliver fuel and supplies to Hamas in Gaza in the morning and they watched Hamas store the fuel and supplies in depots near the border in the afternoon. In the evening they watched news reports echoing Hamas's claims that Israel is depriving Gazan hospitals of fuel and Gazan civilians of basic foodstuffs. Wednesday night they tried having a Yom Hashoah ceremony in Sderot but it was interrupted by incoming rockets. For its part, Hamas marked the Holocaust with a documentary series claiming that the genocide of European Jewry was a satanic Jewish plot to cull the Jewish population of its handicapped and to manipulate the world media. Hamas captured headlines this week with its allegation that Israel was responsible for the death of a Palestinian woman and four of her children in an explosion in Bet Hanoun in Gaza as the IDF targeted Hamas terrorists from the air. The IDF conducted two investigations showing that the woman and her children were killed by something else: a secondary explosion caused by bombs the Hamas terrorists - one of whom was her husband - were carrying at the time the IDF targeted them. Hamas's allegations that the IDF killed four children and their mother were reported by both the international and Israeli media as facts. Those "facts" were only questioned when the IDF began its probes. Neither the local media nor the international media thought the fact that the source of their accounts was Hamas should make them question the veracity of the initial reports. When its spokesmen are not busy accusing Jews of planning genocide and Israel of killing mothers and children, Hamas devotes its efforts to accusing Israel of killing sick Palestinians by refusing to let them into Israel for free medical care. As no good deed by Jews goes unpunished by the UN, early last month the World Health Organization punished Israel for admitting more than 7,000 Palestinians from Gaza for free medical care during 2007. Echoing Hamas propaganda, the WHO accused Israel of causing the deaths of 33 sick Palestinians between October 2007 and March 2008. They died, the WHO claimed, due to the Jewish state's heartless refusal to allow them into its hospitals. The WHO report made no mention of the fact that Hamas now controls the hospitals and clinics in Gaza. No mention was made of the fact that Israel bears no responsibility for providing health care to non-citizens from enemy territories, or of the fact that there is no place in the world where such care is provided other than Israel. No mention was made of Hamas intercepting and hoarding hospital supplies for propaganda purposes. No responsibility was assigned to Egypt - the other country bordering Gaza - which does not admit any Palestinian patients. The report never questioned the credibility of its Gazan sources. As Andrea Levin, the executive director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) noted this week in The Jerusalem Post, it was only due to the quick and detailed response of Israeli officials refuting Hamas's allegations that Israel wasn't widely condemned for murdering sick people. The most interesting aspect of these media reports is that for the most part, the news agencies reporting Hamas's wild allegations don't even have correspondents in Gaza. Hamas's habit of kidnapping Western - even pro-Hamas - reporters caused most Western media outlets to remove their correspondents from Gaza more than a year ago. The Israeli media have not had correspondents on the ground since Israel withdrew from Gaza in September 2005. Yet the same media outlets that realized Hamas is too radical to be trusted to respect their own reporters' lives refuse to question the veracity of Hamas's stories and are more than willing to credit these stories as fact well past the point of professional embarrassment. Indeed, no media outlet - either Israeli or foreign - has ever asked whether it even makes sense to run Hamas's propaganda in the first place. They have certainly not bothered to inform their audiences that the source of their stories is a genocidal terror group that is currently waging a missile campaign against Israeli civilians whose goal is to terrorize and kill them just because they are Jewish. BUT THEN, the media can perhaps be forgiven for their refusal to admit that their reports from Gaza are generally nothing more than terrorist propaganda for they are far from alone in their refusal to acknowledge the significance of Hamas's regime. From Jimmy Carter to the Bush administration to the Olmert-Livni-Barak government, denial is the order of the day. Carter defends his decision to meet with Hamas's leaders in Syria and Judea by noting that the jihadist, genocidal, Iranian-sponsored terror group won the Palestinian elections. Since a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas and still support it, the jihadist, genocidal, Iranian-sponsored terror group is legitimate, Carter argues. Certainly no peace agreement can be reached without it. But then as Hamas clarified just after its leaders met with Carter, any deal it may reach with Israel is merely a tactic in its ongoing war to destroy Israel. So while it may be true that no Palestinian-Israeli peace is possible without Hamas, it is absolutely true that no Palestinian-Israeli peace is possible with Hamas. Far from demonstrating the necessity of negotiating with Hamas, Hamas's popularity shows the futility of attempting to coax peaceful coexistence out of a Palestinian society committed to its neighbor's destruction. Yet just as the media and Carter refuse to acknowledge the significance of Hamas's terror regime, so the Bush administration refuses to acknowledge the significance of its broad-based popular support among Palestinians. In her remarks Tuesday before the American Jewish Committee, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged that Palestinian society today overwhelmingly supports Israel's annihilation through terrorism when she said: "Increasingly, Palestinians who talk about a two-state solution are my age. And I'm not that old, but I'm a lot older than most of the Palestinian population." But then, after acknowledging that most Palestinians do not support peaceful coexistence with Israel, Rice argued that Israel must give them more land, more guns and more money because as she sees it, now is the time for a Palestinian state and leaders need to "make hard decisions confidently for the sake of peace and for the sake of their people." Rice went on to explain that this appeasement must be done while enabling the Hamas regime in Gaza to remain in place. As she put it, "The only responsible policy is to isolate Hamas and defend against its threats, until Hamas makes the choice that supports peace." So from Rice's perspective, not only must Hamas not be defeated, it would be irresponsible to even try to defeat it. The only "responsible" policy for Israel is to allow Hamas to continue stockpiling arms and building its army while trying to reach a cease-fire with it. Then too, as far as Rice is concerned, Israel must curb its counterterrorist operations in Judea and Samaria, dry out Israeli communities there and in post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods and allow US-trained and armed Fatah militias (who are also terror-supporting) to deploy in Palestinian towns and cities by the thousands. This, she believes, is the best way to make Hamas transform itself into a peaceful political party willing to live at peace with Jews. AS FOR Israel, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government clearly agrees with Rice, for it is following her policy. Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused to comment on his government's involvement in cease-fire talks with Hamas during the security cabinet meeting. When pointedly confronted by Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter about his apparent decision to allow Hamas to remain in charge of Gaza with its Iranian trained and armed terror army, Olmert simply said that it would be inappropriate to discuss such things. Thursday, The Jerusalem Post reported that the government is enthusiastic about the proposed cease-fire agreement with Hamas, strangely claiming that it may pave the way for a second and unrelated agreement in which Israel ransoms hostage Gilad Schalit from Hamas captivity by releasing hundreds of terrorists. Then too, the government claims triumphantly that Hamas has agreed to have Fatah forces deploy at the international border with Egypt. But since both Hamas and Fatah enjoyed a nearly unimpeded flow of weaponry through that border when Fatah was responsible for it, it is far from clear why this would be a positive development. The simple truths that the media, Jimmy Carter, the Bush administration, and the Olmert-Livni-Barak government are all unwilling to acknowledge are that Hamas is a genocidal terror group sworn to Israel's destruction and that it represents the will of the majority of Palestinians who elected it to office in 2006 and who continue to support it today. This plain reality demonstrates that there is only one responsible policy for Israel to follow and for the international community to support if they are truly interested in peace between Israel and the Palestinians. That policy is for Israel to lay waste to Hamas's terror army in Gaza and overthrow its regime. Only when they are forced to pay a real price for their support for terror and jihad - as opposed to being rewarded for it with further Israeli land giveaways - will the Palestinians be forced to reconsider that support. Only when they realize that terror will get them nowhere - as opposed to anywhere they wish - will the Palestinians be forced to accept Israel as an unchanging reality with which they must live in peace. Dichter's condemnation Wednesday of his government's pro-Hamas policies was not the first time the Ashkelon resident and former head of the Shin Bet has argued that the Olmert-Livni-Barak government's policies are dangerous for the country. And Dichter, together with Transportation Minister and former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, who has similarly criticized the government's policies as dangerous, could end the current situation if they had the courage to act on their convictions. Were they to band together with eight of their colleagues in Kadima's Knesset faction and leave the government, they would bring on new elections. Yet so far, they have refused to take action. Until they do, Dichter, Mofaz and their colleagues are enabling Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to continue endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis through their bluster and appeasement of Hamas. Until they do, they are as guilty as the media, Carter, the Bush administration and their government colleagues of whitewashing and protecting Hamas to the detriment of their country and to the cause of peace.