March 28, 2011
A bomb goes off in Jerusalem, the first fatal attack in the city in several years. Israel retaliates with airstrikes on Gaza militants. Hamas shoots rockets and mortars at civilian targets inside Israel.
Why, it’s starting to feel like 2009 all over again. That was the year Israel flattened Gaza in retribution for the thousands of rockets Hamas launched into Israel.
Of course, the moral of that story was you don’t go taunting a bigger, badder enemy – especially, if like Hamas, you are an elected government, in which case your primary responsibility is to protect those you govern.
Hamas appears not to have learned that little life-saving truism on its own.
And so Israel is trying to help, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning last week that nothing has changed: security threats to the Jewish state will be met with overwhelming force.
“Since this government was formed we had a clear security policy — an immediate and aggressive response to every attempt to harm Israeli citizens,” he said.
But let’s face it, a group whose raison d’être is the destruction of Israel isn’t likely to take advice from the devil incarnate himself.
So that leaves us. By us I mean anyone who wants to see an end to Palestinian suffering.
Not discounting the need to continue pressuring Israel to advance the peace process and refrain from human rights abuses, it’s time to publicly and loudly denounce Hamas’ self-destructive acts of “bravery,” which invariably have ended in tragedy for the Palestinians.
Our silence in the face of Hamas’ reckless and fanatical tactics is no favor to the Palestinians. Rather it has given Israel a handy excuse to put off the peace process and barbarously annihilate the enemy.
A growing number of Palestinians recognize this. Shortly after the razing of Gaza in 2009, the New York Times reported on a grass roots movement that had come to the conclusion that violent resistance was not the answer. And more recently, Palestinians have been marching for a unity government that would bring Hamas and rival Fatah governments together. (At least one of these peaceful demonstrations was forcefully broken up by Hamas security forces and resulted in assaults on several journalists who had allegedly recorded Hamas’ violent conduct.)
Global pressure would provide a powerful boost to this enlightened movement and could save thousands of lives, and is all the more vital now that Hamas’ impotent though potentially devastating offensive has been overtaken by events elsewhere in the world, from Libya to Japan.
Sticking however to the lazy assumption that an abiding hatred for Israel is adequate, that Palestinians are a monolithic tribe of victims, beyond reproach, these “supporters” will be to a degree complicit in the pending tragedy that Israel warns awaits the Palestinians.