Hamas not a terrorist group?

Re letter How long before the rest of us learn it's time to speak up? (the News, January 21): Good question. I think it's about time some of us started to speak up in defence of Israel. Hamas is a bloody, terrorist Arab-Palestinian organization. It is fal

Re letter How long before the rest of us learn it’s time to speak up? (the News, January 21):

Good question. I think it’s about time some of us started to speak up in defence of Israel.

Hamas is a bloody, terrorist Arab-Palestinian organization. It is false to say that “this group was elected in the most democratic elections seen in the Middle East in years.”

Israel has been holding democratic elections since 1948, and today Israel represents a standard of freedom, of literacy, and of democracy that is unique in the region. All Arabs living inside Israel enjoy full and legal rights as citizens.

The Arab population has representation in Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, and an Arab holds a seat on the Supreme Court. Arabic is recognized as an official language.

While its Muslim neighbours allow little or no tolerance for any religion but Islam, Israel gives its entire population freedom of religion, speech and expression, even when that means permitting rhetoric that calls for the destruction of Israel, and inspires militant Islamists to commit suicidal murder.

It is the only free society in a sea of religious tyranny and oppression. Hamas and only Hamas is responsible for Palestinian bloodshed and loss of life in Gaza. These are cowards who use their own people as human shields and employ dirty tactics such as using private living rooms as missile launching pads. They do not respect any ceasefire, continuing their daily, insufferable rocket and mortar fire barrage on the Jewish communities of Sderot and Ashkelon.

They recently executed dozens of Palestinian citizens accused of being collaborators with Israel. If anyone is guilty of war crimes, Hamas surely is.

It’s no secret that both Hamas and Hezbollah are accumulating thousands of missiles and rockets intended for use against Israel on its northern and southwestern borders. Israel knew very well what would happen when they withdrew their military forces from Gaza, and they were right. The territory immediately became lawless, not a model for a future state, and it has created a cruel reality for it citizens.

Today, Hamas is the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority. Two video declarations aimed at Israel were released after the election:

“In the name of Allah, we will destroy you, blow you up, take revenge against you, purify the land of you pigs that have defiled our country … this operation is revenge against the sons of monkeys and pigs.”

“Our message to the loathed Jews is that there is no god but Allah. We will chase you everywhere! We are a nation that drinks blood, and we know that there is no blood better than the blood of Jews. We will not leave you alone until we have quenched our thirst with your blood, and our children’s thirst with your blood. We will not leave until you leave the Muslim countries.”

The declared aim of Hamas is to “liberate Palestine from the Jordan to the sea.” In other words, to eliminate the State of Israel. The Hamas Charter spells it out clearly:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

It is not, nor has it ever been, Israeli policy to initiate aggression. It is only the persistent, intolerable goading by Iranian proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that bring about retaliation. It begs the question: why do they relentlessly attack Israel knowing that it will eventually bring bloodshed to their own people? Israel has no interest in engaging in warfare with the Palestinian people.

Unfortunately, the reality on the ground is that the conflict in the Middle East is not about land, it is not about refugees, it is not about the Palestinian Cause—the Middle East War is about the destruction of Israel.

Hitler tried to eliminate the Jews from the human race and failed. During the Second World War, the Arabs supported Hitler and the Final Solution, and for 60 years Arabs have waged a continuous war against Israel in an effort to finish the job Hitler started. Since 1948, the Arab states have been committed to the genocide of the Jews. Arab aggression against the Jews has never stopped.

After the war, the battered and profoundly wounded Jewish survivors of the Holocaust quietly accepted a miniature portion of their ancestral homeland as a refuge in this world. While the mainstream media spoon-feeds the world endless tales of the plight of Palestinian refugees, you will never hear anything about the 850,000 Jewish refugees forced to flee Arab countries in which they had lived for thousands of years.

Jews born in Arabic lands were terrorized, murdered and driven out. Their properties and assets were confiscated. Those who escaped were happy to be alive. Israel re-settled all of them. Today, Jews are unwelcome in Arab states, but Arabs have full citizenship rights in Israel.

How unjust it is that one-sixth of one per cent of the Middle East for the Jews is too much. I feel very strongly that Israel has as much right to exist as a sovereign nation as any other, and they have a right to defensible borders. Israel is not perfect, but has shown incredible restraint in dealing with its enemies.

I’ve walked in the streets of Jerusalem and have seen how innocent groups of Jewish schoolchildren must be escorted everywhere they go by armed guards. That should not be, and it wouldn’t be if Palestinians truly wanted peace with Israel.

Every offer, every peace agreement will never satisfy them, and the billions of dollars they’ve received from the United Nations, the United States, and Israel for economic development and infrastructure will continue to go into their leaders’ Swiss bank accounts to fund ethnic hatred and terrorism.

Here’s another version of Pastor Niemoller’s poem to consider: “First they came for Israel, and we didn’t speak up because we weren’t Jews. Then they came for Lebanon’s Christians, and we didn’t speak up because we weren’t Maronites. Then they came for America, and we didn’t speak up because we weren’t Americans. Then they came for Sudan’s blacks, and we didn’t speak up because we weren’t Sudanese blacks. Then they came for us, and by that time there was no one to speak up for us.”

I will be making my third journey to the Middle East in the spring, and while I’m in Israel I will be pleased to spend every shekel in my pocket on Israeli goods and services. The civilized world must say: never again.

Laurelle Minder

Ross River

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