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.)

This post has already been read 39 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

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, he 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. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com