Not to mention the headlines that appeared following this week-end’s Gaza operation, take a look at some of the headlines and articles that made the international news scene in the coverage following the recent Hamas-Israel ceasefire which expired on Dec 19. Yousef Munayyer writes for the Boston Globe (Dec. 21) that “The lights are out in Gaza again and few are paying attention. The 1.5 million Palestinians living in the densely-populated strip are being collectively punished once more, while Israel attempts to strangle the Hamas government.”
Swiss Info, (Dec. 19) a leading news source from Switzerland, recently interviewed Issam Younis, Director of AL Mezan Center for Human Rights, where he compares Gaza to a caged cat, in an article entitled “Concern Mounts over Gaza crisis as Truce Ends.”
Aron Heller of Associated Press for Yahoo News (Dec. 25) writes this past week that the massive barrage of Palestinian rockets slamming into Israel during Hanukkah, “caused no injuries but generated widespread panic.” The headline for his article–“Israel warns Hamas will pay heavy price,” simply implies that Israel plans to act because of widespread panic.
Heller makes no mention of the Israeli homes destroyed by the Palestinian rockets, the 60 plus Israelis who were hospitalized for shock and trauma, including 12 Ashkelon children, or the thousands of dollars in damages that the Palestinian rockets caused to Israeli properties and businesses.
The international media ignores far too often another critical player in the Arab-Israeli conflict and its role in continuing the conflict. Hamas, the ruling party who took over Gaza in 2006, is a terrorist organization that was established in 1987, an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas has led a brilliant public relations campaign that has consistently de-legitimized the actions of Israel, as we find in the media coverage of the conflict, while simultaneously legitimizing its own regime in Gaza.
What the international media and world community often fail to see is that Hamas has its own interests in mind – whether it be the starvation of its people or the launching of rockets at Israeli civilians. In other words, the critical role that the ruling regime of Gaza, known as Hamas, has played in contributing to the continuation of the conflict, has been too often overlooked.
In order to understand the current state of the Arab-Israeli conflict, one must first understand Hamas. The Hamas charter of 1988 states that “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.” (www.palestinecenter.org) The epilogue of the Hamas charter reads “Hamas posits Islam as a way of life, it is its faith and its yardstick for judging.”
The charter also offers Hamas’s perspective on the history of Middle East:
Hamas has learned from the current Zionist invasion which had been preceded by a Crusader invasion from the West; and another one, the Tatars, from the East. And exactly as the Muslims had faced those invasions and planned their removal and defeat, they are able to face the Zionist invasion and defeat it. This will not be difficult for Allah if our intentions are pure and our determination is sincere; if the Muslims draw useful lessons from the experiences of the past, and extricate themselves for the vestiges of the [western] ideological onslaught; and if they follow the traditions of Islam.” (Part V, The Testimony of History)
Much of Hamas’s Charter is virulently anti-Semitic and uses the Protocols of Elders of Zion as a source to back its ideology and goals.
Indeed, anyone who paints the Arab-Israeli conflict as one that is exclusively territorial, one that will end when Israel returns to the 1967 borders, has failed to take into account that the conflict is a religious one, formulated upon the precepts of Islamic fundamentalism and a hatered of the Jewish people. As the article in the Hamas Charter states, “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.” (Article 13: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences).
HAMAS’s military wing, Izzedeen Al Qassam Brigades, recently published an article on their English website describing the current strategy of Hamas in regard to rocket terror and a possible Israeli response. The article relates to how an Israeli military defense operation in Gaza will best serve the interests of Hamas. Such a response, the Izzedeen article states, will help Hamas gain further support from the Palestinian people. Hamas has time and time again, construed a scenario which depicts the Israeli army intending to fight the Palestinian people and not the terrorists who fire the rockets. And most importantly, the article makes clear that an Israeli military response will garner Israel further international condemnation, giving Hamas the legitimacy it needs to make it “an important regional and international player.”
The article also points out that Hamas will no longer recognizes Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas’s presidency when it ends on January 9th.
Hamas has proved time and time again that it is willing to sacrifice its own people’s basic needs to further its political goals and terrorist agenda.
As the article on Hamas’s military wing website goes to show, Hamas’s primary objective in the current escalation of rocket attacks is to gain international support as Israelis are forced to respond with either economic or military measures. Of course, one can be critical of the Israeli government’s policies in handling the situation. But the fact remains, that as long as Palestinian rockets continued to target and terrorize innocent Israelis, from Sderot to Kiryat Gat, Israel had no choice but to act. And no matter the actions Israel would have taken, they were already calculated to serve Hamas’s iron grip on Gaza.
Photo: Anav Silverman, Sderot Media Center
Sderot home destroyed by Palestinian rocket attack last December 2007.