Why Can’t We Condemn Hamas?

One of Nikki Hailey’s last actions as the US ambassador to the United Nations failed last night. She put forth a resolution condemning Hamas for firing rockets into Israel. Though the resolution won the majority vote 87 to 57 (33 abstentions), to pass, the resolution needed a 2/3rd majority.

In the past, the UN General Assembly has passed many a resolution condemning disproportionate response by Israel. This time, it had the opportunity to pass a similar resolution against Hamas for its’ disproportionate response.

When an Israeli undercover operation was exposed and resulted in the death of a Hamas commander and 6 Palestinians, Hamas could have defused the crisis like a political body it claims to be and not respond with violence like a militant organization it has become.

Leading up to the botched intelligence operation were unprecedented actions by the Netanyahu administration. Israel had allowed $15M in cash and diesel tankers to enter Gaza. In return, Hamas agreed to defuse bloody skirmishes along the Gaza-Israeli border that had killed dozens of Palestinians. We can argue that such an embargo shouldn’t exist on Gaza in the first place but that’s a different debate.

Once the undercover operation had been exposed and all but one Israeli officer had escaped, Hamas began an onslaught on Israeli civilian areas. Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into Israel that killed a few civilians on the Israeli side, one of whom was a Palestinian worker.

Benjamin Netanyahu, already under pressure politically could have used this opportunity to enter into a war with Hamas but he showed restraint. He refused to go to war even as his Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, resigned. Israelis living on the border protested against Netanyahu’s appeasement. I disagree with Netanyahu on almost everything under the sun but here he showed a greater concern for the Palestinians than Hamas itself.

Many a time, Hamas has given Israel a reason to ‘mow the lawn‘. In the end, scores of Palestinians die and Israel has a PR crisis. However, not only the political leadership of Hamas remains unscathed, they use this death and destruction to their political ends. The hopelessness brought about by Israeli jets is the breeding ground for extremism. Hamas uses those images to justify their hard stance against Israel and Palestinians in their calamity, are gullible enough to believe it.

Without this general feeling of hopelessness, Palestinians wouldn’t be so gullible as to support Hamas’ hateful rhetoric.

Hamas much like its’ political rival, Abbas’ PA, have hurt the Palestinian cause. Human Rights Watch put out a report in October documenting harrowing details of torture that Palestinians face at the hands of Hamas and PA. The report makes it clear that both Hamas and PA only want the political power. Whenever a student or someone else expresses discontent with the government, Hamas and PA officials detain, arrest, and torture them.

The report was scarcely covered in the Muslim world. I found no mention of it in Iranian, Pakistani, Saudi, Emirati, Qatari, Malaysian, or Indonesian Press. There were a couple of Egyptian papers that mentioned the report but that was it.

So the self-described supporters of the Palestinian people incessantly condemn Israel for its’ assault on the Palestinians but ignore their sufferings in cases where their tormentors are Muslims. This all too apparent bias doesn’t help the Palestinian cause at all. An honest resolution of the conflict would require acknowledgment of crimes against Palestinians by both parties.

Both PA and Hamas have done nothing constructive for the Palestinian cause. What right have they to be reported favorably? Due to their influence in the Palestinian Territories, Palestinians suffer more at their hands than the Israelis’.

Anyone who supports an end to the conflict rather than exploiting it as a religious issue like Erdogan has, cannot take Hamas seriously. It is not the emissary of the Palestinian people. They have exposed themselves as the power-seeking maniacs they are on numerous occasions.

Going forward, the two-state solution remains the only viable option. By definition, that means that supporters of the Palestinians cannot ask for a Palestinian state unless they are willing to accept Israel as a state in return.

As obvious that is, this narrative has been missing from the debate surrounding the conflict. We find that the most ardent supporters of Palestinians call for death and destruction of Israel. Regardless of what they think, people like that hurt the Palestinian cause more than Israel can.

The failed UN GA resolution against Hamas is a prime example. The world is unwilling to hold Hamas to the same standard that it uses to condemn Israel. It is no good for the Palestinians that we shun the crimes of Hamas.

Contrary to the comment by a Hamas spokesman that the failure of the resolution was a ‘slap in the face of Donald Trump’s administration‘, it was a slap in the face of any legitimate hope for a lasting peace.

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