HANANIA: Gaza killings fault of Hamas and silent Palestinians, too, For Immediate Release, March 1, 2008

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Gaza killings fault of Hamas and silent Palestinians, too
By Ray Hanania — Hamas is a terrorist organization that is as dedicated to the destruction of Israel as it is to the destruction of the secular Palestinian society and the elimination of Christian Palestinians and secular Muslims. The organization has never advocated rights for secular or Christian Arabs in Palestine and have always embraced violence as a means of creating an environment in which they hope to one day achieve their fascist goals. You cannot blame Israel for the deaths without speaking out even more forcefully against the terrorist policies of Hamas.

In the Gaza Strip, Israel’s rightwing forces have exploited the events caused by the Hamas terrorists, using excessive force to respond to Hamas provocations, the firing of Qassem rockets into Israeli civilian areas.

The Israeli response has been excessive, killing scores of Palestinian civilians in their sweeping and indiscriminate military responses killing both Hamas terrorists and innocent Palestinian civilians.

But while many Palestinians and Arabs have forcefully spoken out against Israel’s excessive response, they have been hypocritically silent on the terrorism of Hamas.

The failure of Palestinians to speak out against Hamas makes them complicit in the Israeli killings of innocent Palestinian civilians. That failure to condemn Hamas terrorism is as wrong as is Israel’s excessive military response.

Israel is guilty of using “collective punishment,” a policy that violates international law. Israel has used “collective punishment” consistently since the day of its founding in 1948.

The policy is founded on the principle that punishing the guilty is not enough; Israel must also punish the innocent, too, in order to pressure Palestinian society to crack down and control terrorism, such as from the militant Islamicist organization Hamas. It is a terrible and immoral strategy.

Yet Palestinians are also guilty of using “collective punishment,” too. For example, the Hamas strategy of firing rockets into civilian areas of Israel is also based on the same illegal principle that punishing innocent Israeli civilians will pressure Israel’s government to change its policies. Targeting Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks is also a form of “collective punishment.”

Worse, though, is the extremism of the Hamas strategy. Hamas is a religiously-driven terrorist organization. It claims to champion the rights of Palestinians, but it only cares about those Palestinians who are Muslim and who have embraced its own racist, religiously extremist philosophies.

Although Hamas did win seats in the Palestinian government during its first ever election campaigns, the control it won was based not on majority support from Palestinians but rather a plurality of support representing a minority of Palestinian extremists who won control over a larger majority of secular Palestinians who split their vote.

Those people who cite that former government control argue that Hamas should be given a voice in any future Palestinian government. But Hamas has never represented the free choice of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and it uses violence not only against Israelis and Jews, but also against secular Palestinian Muslims and Christian Palestinians.

Hamas has no right to claim to represent the Palestinian national aspirations for statehood. They have no right to implement national policies. They have no right to engage in military attacks against Israel, which are generally unprovoked and intended to kill Israeli civilians, using the most extreme form of collective punishment.

Until Palestinians denounce Hamas terrorism, they have no moral right to denounce Israel’s excessive response to Hamas terrorism.

You cannot close your eyes to one form of terrorism and then claim to be a victim of another form of terrorism. Israel’s policies are excessive and should be denounced.

But Palestinians have allowed themselves to surrender the moral high ground by remaining shamefully silent on the terrorist actions of Hamas and by refusing to condemn the Hamas policy of firing Qassem rockets into Israel at Israeli civilian targets.

Hamas, more than Israel, is undermining the rights of Palestinians to achieve national statehood and until Palestinians apply one principle to this conflict, that principle can never be used as their defensive outcry against excessive Israeli policies.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and author. He can be reached at www.ArabWritersGroup.com.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania