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Hamas vs. Israel - Double Standards on Terror

Updated on July 17, 2014

‘Israel Under Renewed Hamas Attack’ read the BBC headline last week, generating a huge national uproar to the biased reporting and consequently instigating protests and boycotts up and down the country. The use of partial terminology in the reporting of this issue is perpetual across news channels and platforms. Use of the term ‘war’ to describe the current episodes of violence and bloodshed; using it as a justification for defence begs the question: ‘Defence against what, exactly?’

To rival one of the most advanced and sophisticated armed forces in the world, equipped with the most superior defence weapons, against a population that has no air force, no navy, no heavy weapons or armour, not even an army, and call it a war, is preposterous. War implies symmetrical grounds of fighting between both parties. This is anything BUT war. This is genocide. This is a massacre. This is the systematic killing of innocent men, women and children perpetrated by a superpower Israeli force against Palestinian civilians as a form of collective punishment. The reality of what is taking place in Gaza is a stark contrast to the distorted reporting by mainstream media. Israel’s actions are anything but defensive – they are horrific acts of violence and oppression against the defenceless.

Killing is wrong, no matter whom the perpetrator and this is not a defence for Hamas to fire rockets into Israel, but the present situation in Gaza could not be further removed from equal and just warfare. The most densely-populated area in the world, with a population of 1.7 million on a 365 sq. km piece of land, drone attacks and carpet bombings in its residential areas, schools, refugee camps and places of worship are a daily norm. The theme of disproportionality that is inherent in media coverage and fighting is also apparent in the death toll. To date, over 200 Palestinians have lost their lives as a result of the Israeli attacks, 78% of whom were innocent civilians; meanwhile, Israel is yet to report a death by Hamas rockets. The latest victims in these senseless killings are the four young boys who were playing on Gaza beach, oblivious to the fact that in a few passing moments their short-lived existence would be tragically ended by an Israeli missile attack. Not under any circumstances can the carnage of innocent, unthreatening children be justified, whether they are Palestinian or Israeli – it is unequivocally immoral and unethical, regardless of any religious or political standpoint. The Israeli government, however, remain obstinate in their affirmation that they are defending themselves against the ‘terrorist organisation’ Hamas. This statement forces a further query: ‘Why is Hamas regarded as a ‘terrorist organisation’ yet the brutal attacks deployed by the state of Israel are merely ‘responsible’ mechanisms of ‘self-defence?’
Firstly, Hamas is a democratically elected political organisation, just as the Coalition government is in the United Kingdom. If the UK was to face a threat from an external terrorist organisation, no less would be expected of them but to take up all the necessary measures including, and not limited to, declaring war on that organisation in an effort to protect the country and its citizens. It is inequitable and hypocritical, therefore, to refer to Hamas as an institute of terror when it is simply defending and trying to protect its people and the land that rightfully belongs to, and was illegally taken from them.

Delving into the realms of history, it can be discerned how this conflict came into manifestation. It was the Holocaust of the 1930’s, under the Nazi regime of Hitler, that the Jewish community in Europe was compelled to seek refuge in other parts of the world, including Palestine. The ensuing years of the 20th century saw a consistent increase of illegal occupation of Palestinian land by the ever-populating Jewish people, thus depopulating the Palestinians through massacres, expulsion orders and fear tactics, rendering over 700,000 Palestinians as refugees in their own land. As a result, what can be seen today is prohibition of Palestinians from inhabiting or even entering Israeli settlements, which includes 40% of the West Bank.
Parallel to the unlawful pursuance of Israeli settlement, it could be argued is the incitement invoked by Palestinians against the Israeli state which are contributing to the worsening relations and distrust between the two nations. Talks of a ceasefire are rife amongst global leaders as they continue their proposals (pointlessly, some may argue), to be brokers for peace between the two nations. The most obvious solution which is yet to be suggested by the world’s frontrunners is: perhaps a ceasefire would be more than imminent if Israel considered terminating its illegal annexation of Palestinian land and allowed its people to live autonomously from Israeli oppression and control.
While references to Hamas being a terrorist organisation are being thrown about incessantly in the media, criticism of the apartheid system being imposed on the Palestinians by the state of Israel is, relatively scarce. What about the terror Israel is currently inflicting over Gaza? Why is the media not enlightening the public on the disgraceful state of lives of the Palestinians who have managed to survive the daily bombardment: the scarcity of food; the lack of clean water; the shortage of electricity; no fuel for transport; and minimal medical facilities? Why are non-Jewish citizens being denied their basic human rights? If any other country in the world employed such acts of systematic discrimination against a people, breaching innumerable international laws including codes of the Geneva Convention, the European Convention of Human Rights and UN resolutions, would the leaders of the international community still stand by in subservience?
In 2001, NATO and its allied forces deployed troops into Afghanistan in an effort to dismantle Al-Qaeda and remove the Taliban from power – both of whom the invading forces understood to be terrorist organisations – after they instigated violence and carried out massacres against Afghan civilians. In 2003, a combination of troops from the US, UK, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq in a mission that they declared was to disarm weapons of mass destruction and to end Saddam Hussein’s fascist regime against the Iraqi people. With regards to the conflict in Syria, both the US and UK have expressed their strong condemnation for the Syrian authorities use of chemical weapons – no-one, as it stands, has expressed any criticism of Israel’s use of chemical weapons in Gaza. It is inexplicable, that countries including the US and UK are not only indifferent concerning the inhuman treatment of Palestinian civilians at the hands of the Israeli forces, but they are complicit with the Israeli troops in committing the same crimes that they have previously invaded other countries to supposedly prevent. It is utterly outrageous how up until this point, Israel has not been summoned to an international court of law for its countless crimes against humanity. The world is, at present, literally allowing Israel to get away with murder. Such events force one to reconsider what is defined as terrorism and question who are the actual terrorists.


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      Sairah Masud 3 years ago

      Firstly, nowhere in my article does it state that I am supporting Hamas. I am supporting the hundreds of innocent people who are pointlessly losing their lives on a daily basis as a result of this senseless violence. I strongly oppose and stand firmly against any sort of injustice and oppression, regardless of the victims in these situations and anyone who stands otherwise is in need of serious revaluation of their moral and ethical codes. Not for one second am I denying or even supporting the massive human rights abuses perpetrated by Hamas inside of Gaza but let’s not omit the 47 year brutalisation of Palestinians by the Israeli military: illegally arresting and torturing Palestinian children under custody whilst using others as human shields; specifically targeting pregnant women and civilian men. In the 1967 war, captured Palestinian children were denied their registration of birth as well as access to health care and clean water. Is this not brutalisation of innocent civilians? Is this not a massive abuse of human rights?

      What about the more recent events of Gazans who were bombed in a café whilst watching the World Cup? Or the civilians who were bombed in a disabled residential home? Or even the already injured and critical civilians who endured bombardment at Al-Wafa; one of the few hospitals remaining in Gaza?

      Is this not a massacre? Are they not innocent civilians? It is ridiculous to even think that there is any parity between a military force that is the fourth biggest and advanced in the world and a population of armless refugees. If you are still in denial or disagreement of these observable facts then you are either seriously brainwashed by biased media that is feeding you Israeli propaganda, or such beliefs stem from plain ignorance.

      You said that you question the innocence of Palestinian civilians. Everything in my article is based on solid, factual observations. The death toll has now risen to well over 700 and undoubtedly will continue to rise. Over 80% were unarmed civilians, having no affiliations with Hamas; over 100 of these were helpless, defenceless children. As a journalist, I am sure these statistics are of no news to you, yet you still choose to somehow defend and justify such acts that are undeniably indefensible.

      It is a dire situation and a grave injustice to the Jews that were persecuted during the Holocaust. I am sure that they did not die to have happening to another people, the same brutality and inhuman acts that were inflicted upon them.

      Let’s talk about, as you have stated, the hatred that the Palestinians have for the Israeli state. Try viewing this situation from their standpoint for a second. How would you feel if a population whom you allowed to seek refuge in your land began illegally and forcefully occupying that land, driving you, your family and your fellow people out at gunpoint– rendering you as refugees in your homeland? What emotions would stir inside you if you saw your family and friends being killed and after trying to fight such oppression you, yourself, were killed? Would you be comfortable with the media referring to you as a terrorist for attempting to fight injustice? Would you feel gratified if, after your death, your people continued to live under a discriminatory and oppressive occupation? The oppression of Israel’s Zionist government and military on the people of Palestine has been recurrent for over 60 years. So, attempting to validate their feelings of hatred as somewhat unwarranted and unjustified is in itself, unwarranted and unjustified. Notwithstanding this, it is not to say that the Palestinians do not want an end to the current violent siege. The vast majority of the Palestinian people are in support of a ceasefire and want to see an end to this conflict sooner rather than later. It must also be understood that time and time again, it is Israel who has violated these ceasefires in the past. The 3 months following the ceasefire of November 2012, no bombs were fired from Gaza, meanwhile, Israel persistently continued to fire into Gaza killing hundreds of men, women and children. These so-called tunnels emanating from public buildings in Gaza to launch attacks are in my opinion rendered obsolete for two reasons. Firstly because, I only deem valid observable facts that are known as opposed to uncertified information being propagated by the Israeli army. Secondly, even if these tunnels do exist, Hamas, as it stands, has not been successful in a single one of these attacks against Israel. The state of affairs between these two nations cannot be compared. One is under complete obliteration from daily bombardment and bloodshed, the other, is responsible for the obliteration through daily bombardment and bloodshed.

      You stated: ‘The reality is that Hamas is on a perennial suicide mission, blinded by its inveterate hatred for the Jewish state’ – a Jewish state would not even be in existence was it not for Palestine graciously allowing the Jewish community into their country in the first place.

      YOU may call it what YOU may, but the state of Israel is on a relentless mission of destruction, blinded by its inveterate greed for power and control at the cost of innocent lives.

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      Smart Onuigbo 3 years ago from Michigan

      You wrote, "This is genocide. This is a massacre. This is the systematic killing of innocent men, women and children perpetrated by a superpower Israeli force against Palestinian civilians as a form of collective punishment." I vehemently disagree. You described the state of Israel as having superior military weaponry as against Hamas without a naval force, and air power to justify your characterization of genocide, and massacre. Hamas is once again regurgitating same senseless strategy of sacrificing civilian lives hoping for the moral victory of international outage against Israel. I have deliberately avoided using the words "innocent civilians," because in my mind their innocence is in question. How could you and all those supporting Hamas explain the discovery of underground tunnels emanating from mosques, cafes, schools, and hospitals through which surprise attacks are launched against Israel? These public places are of daily use by the so called 'innocent' civilians who themselves obviously collective share in the hatred of Israel. You may call it whatever you may. The reality is that Hamas is on a perennial suicide mission, blinded by its inveterate hatred for the Jewish state.