Free Gaza... From Hamas

Dozens of experts will be weighing in, in coming days, on Israel's right to self-defence in response to hundreds of Hamas rockets raining down. But what about the Palestinian people, and what’s good for them?

Yesterday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza with their current operation "Protective Edge." This type of inflammatory rhetoric is particularly rich coming from someone who is responsible for the murder of hundreds of Israelis (including the murder of the 1972 Israeli Olympic Team in Munich). 

Sadly, this is hardly the first time Abbas has made statements that, in light of reality, are downright obscene. And the effects of such delusional Palestinian statements, whether from Abbas, his party Fatah, or Fatah's partner in government Hamas, are deadly in real life.

It's well documented that Abbas and the leaders of Hamas, have praised and encouraged terrorism against Israel. In fact, the Palestinian Authority actually pays their terrorists more than they pay their policemen. Convicted terrorists receive between $386 and $3,500 month while policemen receive $270 each month. If you're thinking, 'that can't be good for any society,' you'd be spot on.

The pathetic excuse for leadership from not only Abbas, but Hamas too, leads directly to acts of violence against Israel. For Hamas, that means kidnappings, suicide bombings, and a constant barrage of rockets aimed at civilian Israelis for over a decade. Most recently, the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

In response, calls for Israel to take back Gaza are erupting throughout the Jewish world.  But those calls should be not only for the sake of Israel's security, but for the sake of Palestinians as well. 

Hamas' obsession with eliminating Israel breeds radicalism and creates a society that doesn't value life. Hamas even trains Palestinian children in summer "training camps" to prepare for the day they will "push Israel into the sea." Time and time again we see families of terrorists, proudly praising the actions of their murderous children on Palestinian television. 

Aside from the fact that promoting terrorism is morally abhorrent, a larger problem arises from the climate in the Gaza Strip - those who support Hamas endanger themselves and worsen conditions for all Palestinians in Gaza, and those who don't are punished by dictatorial Hamas. 

In the face of criticism, Israel has been forced to maintain the blockade of Gaza precisely because of Hamas. And while Israel makes every effort to transport truckloads of food to innocent Palestinians in Gaza, even during conflict; medically treat Palestinians in Gaza, including Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's granddaughter; and warn Palestinian civilians before striking any target, Israel is still swimming upstream.

Just yesterday, Hamas was distributing pamphlets encouraging Palestinians to "be martyrs" by forming human shields on the roofs of buildings so that if Israel strikes, they will kill more civilians. In fact, Hamas's use of human shields throughout their time in power is one of their most common and well-documented war crimes. Contrast this with Israel's efforts to protect all civilians with costly anti-missile defence systems like the Iron Dome, or even Israel's warnings by phone to Palestinians before striking a location in Gaza.

It's easy for those in the western world to say Palestinians should stand up to Hamas, or that they should never have "voted" for them in the first place, but remember that Hamas won their "election" by literally throwing their political opponents off of rooftops. 

Likewise, when Palestinians actively (and sometimes passively) oppose Hamas, they risk being Zionist spies and brutally murdered. Speaking of "Zionist spies," Palestinians don't even have to oppose Hamas to be labelled as such. Publicly disagree with Hamas on any issue: gay rights, religion, politics, and he/she will be labelled a "Zionist sympathizer," and dealt with accordingly. 

For the sake of all innocent Palestinians, Israel should take back Gaza in this operation. Israeli control of Gaza would provide the Palestinians with a higher quality of life and ensure that basic freedoms are protected. The Palestinian people in Gaza deserve better than Hamas and their only hope, at this point, is Israel.


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