Hamas: The Big Bully on the Playground

 Posted by on 5 January 2009 at 12:03 am  Foreign Policy
Jan 052009

Thirteen-year-old Gaza resident, Yousef Nakhala, called out the equivalent of “the Emperor has no clothes!” in reaction to Israel’s retaliation against Hamas’s rocket attacks from Gaza. He said: “I blame Hamas. It doesn’t want to recognize Israel. If they did so, there could be peace. Egypt made a peace treaty with Israel, and nothing is happening to them.”

The kid clearly gets it. But not the civilized world, which has told Israel to hold back, like the platitudinous let’s-just-all-hold-hands-and-get-along from the E.U. Foreign Policy chief, Javier Solana: “We are very concerned at the events in Gaza. We call for an immediate ceasefire and urge everybody to exert maximum restraint.”

Oh wow, what a clever suggestion.

Not wanting to piss off anyone else on the playground, the U.S.’s policy is just as morally neutral: “Hamas must end its terrorist activities if it wishes to play a role in the future of the Palestinian people. The United States urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza.” (White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe)

Just like a spoiled brat, Hamas is getting exactly what it wants — more pity and attention from the Arab and Islamic world:

“Iran strongly condemns the Zionist regime’s [Israel's] wide-ranging attacks against the civilians in Gaza. The raids against innocent people are unforgivable and unacceptable.” (Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi)

“Egypt condemns the Israeli attacks.” (Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak)

“We are facing a continuing spectacle which has been carefully planned. We face a major humanitarian catastrophe.” (Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa)

Oh, give me a break. Hamas doesn’t have anything to offer the world — or the Palestinians for that matter — except the perpetual state of hate and poverty of its population. But what else could you possibly expect from the efforts of an avowed terrorist organization?

When Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, won the majority in the Palestinian Authority’s parliamentary elections in 2006, the governing Fatah party and the world wondered what this would mean for future peace negotiations with Israel, a two-state solution called the “road map” which would create an independent Palestine alongside Israel.

Hamas wants to kick Israel off the playground. It explicitly does not recognize the right of Israel to exist, and it has carried out terrorist attacks against Israel for decades.

Even though the Middle East quartet’s (U.N., E.U., Russia, U.S.) price for bankrolling the Palestinian government is peaceful behavior towards Israel, Hamas leaders couldn’t care less. Hamas attacked Israel and forcibly seized control of Gaza in a very undemocratic fashion within a year after its election victory, leading to an economic blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt.

A bully is still a bully if it behaves like one, even though he gets elected to student council. Now maybe Israel can put the bully in his place, having learned lessons from its anemic response to Hezbollah’s repeated aggression in Lebanon in 2006 which only emboldened that Islamic fundamentalist organization.

In the whole long-running and complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict, why is it in America’s best interest to condemn an organization like Hamas and support Israel? The principle is that the only moral government is one that upholds individual rights.

In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I think the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights applies this principle well:

We recognize that those who attack Israel are not seeking to establish an even freer nation: they are seeking to wipe out the only outpost of freedom in the Middle East. We support Israel not for its failings but for its virtues, and we understand that those who threaten Israel’s freedom also threaten America’s. If they succeed in destroying Israel, they will turn their full attention to the United States.

The bully Hamas has no intention of playing nice, and should be expelled. Israel ought to continue fighting hard and eliminate Hamas. And instead of cowardly giving in to intimidation from the U.N. and Arab/Islamic countries by calling for yet another cease-fire, the civilized world should give unqualified support for Israel in the face of this chronic Islamic threat. Hamas, and the civilian population who elects and supports it, should suffer the painful consequences of their ongoing war against freedom — and peace.

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