My Word: Chutzpah Prize contenders

The leading contender for the Chutzpah Award has to be Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. He’s in a category of his own.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is carried during a visit to the Ain el Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon in September 2020. (photo credit: AZIZ TAHER/REUTERS)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is carried during a visit to the Ain el Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon in September 2020.
(photo credit: AZIZ TAHER/REUTERS)
I have often contemplated announcing occasional “Outstanding Chutzpah Awards” but I am so spoiled for choice it would be hard to decide who takes the top spot. Perhaps instead of making it an occasional feature, I should turn it into a regular event. How frequent should it be? Every three months might work – like the UN Security Council’s mandated discussion on Israel (and Israel alone). Or maybe I should declare it to be an annual feature – in honor of the United Nations Human Rights Council decision on May 27 to create a permanent “Commission of Inquiry” into Israeli actions following the cheek of Israel defending itself in Operation Guardian of the Walls last month. 
I could restrict it to follow in the wake of the regular rocket barrages by Hamas from Gaza, as they claim all the while to be the victims. I would need more than the confines of a regular weekly column were I to include every act of ecoterrorism such as the incendiary balloons that even this week floated across the border setting fires in the Western Negev.
The classic definition of chutzpah, as described by Leo Rosten, is: “That quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”
The leading contender for the Chutzpah Award has to be Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. He’s in a category of his own. I might even give him the lifetime achievement award. When I came across reports last week that his 17-year-old niece has been receiving medical treatment for more than a month at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, part of the Sourasky Medical Center, I did a double take.
I checked the date of the report on N12 by Ohad Hemo, who broke the story, to make sure I was looking at something from this year. Then I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming – well, having a nightmare. 
I wasn’t imagining things. It was a repeat performance of the war with Gaza in 2014. Hemo noted that the teenager had been hospitalized during Operation Guardian of the Walls last month. While some 4,000 rockets and mortars rained down on Israel from Gaza courtesy of Haniyeh and friends, she underwent a bone marrow transplant in Tel Aviv.
Trying to save the life of the niece of a mass murderer while he is still trying to kill you turns the Hippocratic Oath into a hypocritical one. The teen, of course, is not to blame for her uncle’s actions, but purveyors of terrorism should not expect their family to benefit from medical tourism.
Incidentally, during the mini-war I was in touch with a doctor friend who lives in Ashkelon. At one point he noted that he couldn’t leave his home to get to the hospital to treat his patients – and in any case many of his patients were similarly imprisoned in their homes due to the heavy rocket fire. 
And while on the subject of being imprisoned, let me just say it is ludicrous to treat the Hamas leader’s relative in an Israeli hospital while Hamas holds captive in Gaza two Israeli civilians, including the mentally-ill Avera Mengistu, who crossed the border more than six years ago and hasn’t been seen since. Not even by the Red Cross. Hamas also holds the bodies of two IDF soldiers, killed and abducted in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. And remember, their bodies were snatched via terror tunnels during a UN-brokered ceasefire.
Pinching myself in a reality check didn’t hurt as much as reality itself. We had been through this before. In November 2014, a few months after Operation Protective Edge ended (although the rocket and terror attacks continued), I noted that Haniyeh’s daughter and granddaughter had also recently received top-notch treatment at a Tel Aviv medical center, and his mother-in-law had reportedly been cared for in Jerusalem’s Augusta Victoria Hospital; the sister of senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk had received cancer therapy in Israel and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s wife, Amina, had had knee surgery. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat died of COVID-19 last year after being transferred in critical condition to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, which did its best to save him.
All this time, while Hamas and Palestinian Authority leaders sought treatment for their loved ones in Israeli hospitals, their supporters around the globe have been calling for a boycott of Israel – calls that grew ever uglier during the recent mini-war.
To compound the Hamas chutzpah, Yahya Sinwar, the terrorist organization’s leader in Gaza, this week hinted that he wanted the release of 1,111 prisoners from Israeli prisons in return for the two Israeli civilians and the bodies of the two soldiers.
Let’s make this clear, Gaza is not going to use released prisoners to magically turn Gaza into a new Australia. When Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the Palestinians did not opt for the Singaporean model of success. Hamas openly prefers the Islamic State model. 
THE UNITED NATIONS has a very good chance of winning the Outstanding Chutzpah Award. When the UN Security Council hears a report on Israel’s actions every three months, it is a way of keeping the image of Israel as an aggressor (not victim) permanently on the agenda and in the public mind. 
On May 27, Tor Wennesland, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the forum: “At the end, it is the lack of the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – of a political horizon – after decades of conflict, that kills hope and provides space for those not interested in sustainable peace. 
“Only through negotiations that end the occupation and create a viable two-state solution, on the basis of UN resolutions, international law and mutual agreements, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, can we hope to bring a definitive end to these senseless and costly cycles of violence.”
This isn’t just chutzpah. It’s dangerous wishful thinking. Hamas has vowed to destroy Israel. There will not be peace on Earth if the Islamist terrorist organization (Heaven forbid) were given control of Jerusalem, or even part of Jerusalem. The expectation of being rewarded for firing rockets at the Holy City is more than a cheek. The proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” in this case is a terror tunnel.
The United Nations Human Rights Council also includes a permanent agenda (Item 7) to monitor “the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” (Israelis either aren’t considered humans or don’t have rights.) On May 27, in a special session, it voted 24-9 to permanently investigate Israel for war crimes and called for an arms embargo against the Jewish state. The investigation would start with events from April 13, to include the issue of Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where a few Palestinian families face eviction for refusing to pay rent to Jewish property owners, and the clashes on the Temple Mount, where Arab rioters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli police, who responded with riot control methods.
UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer addressed the special session chaired by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet saying: “The United Nations was founded to prevent war. Yet today’s one-sided session, and the pre-determined investigation it proposes, will achieve the opposite – because they were the very purpose of this war....
“Madam President, isn’t the UN supposed to defend victims of terrorism and racism?”
Outgoing President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement on the UNHRC decision saying: “The world turned upside down. Instead of hearing the free world speak out clearly against terror organization Hamas and its leaders, clear examples of war criminals, the UN Human Rights Council makes an inexplicable decision against Israeli citizens who faced the criminal fire of thousands of missiles against innocent civilians.” 
In March this year, the International Criminal Court opened a formal investigation into Israeli actions in Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Israel treats Gazans in Israeli hospitals and provides electricity and humanitarian aid even when under rocket attack. In return, it gets lawfare alongside the warfare.
The word “chutzpah” doesn’t do it justice.