Legitimizing Hamas is obscene

As the third anniversary of Gilad Schalit’s captivity draws near (he was abducted in June 2006), it’s painful to contemplate what he must be suffering. Most likely he is being held underground in a dark, booby-trapped concrete bunker, deprived of human contact. His family has no idea of what may have been done to him; his physical and mental condition are unknown.

His treatment is probably much worse than that of the inmates of Guantanamo Bay, but unlike the global outcry over Guantanamo, only Israelis and a small number of Jews living outside of Israel have expressed real concern — and that has lately taken the form of demonstrations against the Israeli government for not meeting the impossible demands made by Hamas for his release.

The International Red Cross has asked to be allowed to visit him several times and has been turned down. The most recent update on the ICRC website — among countless news releases detailing the ‘humanitarian disaster’ Gazans experienced during the ‘siege’ and the recent war — is from December 2008. In it, an official says,

There are limits to what we can do and to what international humanitarian law entitles us to do when it comes to visiting people in detention or to finding out what happened to people who go missing in an armed conflict.

In the case of Gilad Shalit, we deplore the fact that political considerations have outweighed humanitarian concerns, and respect for basic humanitarian principles, making it virtually impossible to help him or his family.

As a humanitarian organization, we have limited leverage in these matters. All we can do is to remind those who control the situation of their obligation to act in accordance with the spirit and letter of international humanitarian law. The parties to an armed conflict, be they States or non-State groups, have to uphold the law.

I would have expected at least a clear statement that Hamas is violating international law, but apparently ‘deploring’ is the strongest emotion that they can generate (compare the above to the ICRC report from 2007 entitled “The occupied Palestinian territories: Dignity Denied“).

But for the greatest reality inversion, consider the position of Hamas:

Let’s first be clear that Schalit was no innocent captive. He was an Israeli soldier who aimed and shot his weapon, and probably other armaments, at Palestinian civilians. Furthermore, Israel has imprisoned over 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, many without trial, and many of whom were abducted from their homes at night. They have also been subjected to torture. — Ahmed Yousef, senior Hamas official

I very strongly doubt that Schalit ever fired anything at Palestinian civilians. And to compare his situation to prisoners in Israeli jails — who are together with other prisoners, receive regular visits from the Red Cross and family members, have electricity, postal, telephone and television privileges and who for the most part have been tried and convicted of crimes up to and including multiple murder — is beyond ridiculous.

Schalit is at least deserving of the treatment demanded by the Geneva Convention for prisoners of war.  Hamas’ refusal to follow international law in this regard, not to mention the continuing illegal bombardment of civilians and attempts to infiltrate into Israel and carry out terrorist attacks, mark it as a terrorist, outlaw entity.

The usual foreign-policy ‘realists’ and  supposedly civilized media like the NY Times are obscenely calling for Hamas to be a part of a Palestinian unity government. Here is what the ‘realists’ advocate:

In brief, shift the U.S. objective from ousting Hamas to modifying its behavior, offer it inducements that will enable its more moderate elements to prevail, and cease discouraging third parties from engaging with Hamas in ways that might help clarify the movement’s views and test its behavior.

It’s hard for me to find an analogy strong enough to illustrate the wrong-headedness of this. Moderate elements in Hamas? Are there elements in Hamas who are not passionately dedicated to the liquidation of the Jewish state by means of violent jihad? Can Siegman, Scowcroft, Brzezinski, et al. point to even one? Would they have advocated offering ‘inducements’ to encourage the moderate elements in Hitler’s SS?

Hamas represents a pure distillate of the violent and racist attitudes in Palestinian society. The cruelty they display in their treatment of Schalit makes this clear. So why are they treated as anything more than the pathological criminals that they are?

Unfortunately, Hamas’ obsessive hatred is the perfect weapon for Iran, which sees Israel as an obstacle to its geopolitical goals — domination of the Mideast and its oil resources and opposition to the US — and so this gang of racist murderers receives financial support from Iran and political legitimacy from those in the US and Europe who would prefer appeasing Iran to resisting it.

There is only one way to bring Schalit home and only one way to lay the groundwork for the ultimate reconciliation of Israel and the Palestinians, and that is the destruction of Hamas as a political and military power. Israel’s failure to do this in the recent Operation cast Lead will bring about even more warfare and suffering for both Jews and Arabs in the not-so-distant future.

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One Response to “Legitimizing Hamas is obscene”

  1. ME says:

    Assuming that Hamas obtained a majority of votes in the legislative election process, implemented by the PA:

    It is significant and relevant to assess whether the propoganda utilized by the terrorist regime prior to its obtaining a majority, had coercive impact on the electoral process;

    It is significant and relevant whether the antics of the terrorist regime prior to obtaining a majority had debilitating effect on the voting public in Gaza, negating informed consent in the election process;

    It is significant and relevant that the situation for Palestinians in Gaza since Hamas’ majority has deteriorated substantially, in large part due to the siphoning of funds and supplies from legitimate and illegitimate sources into continued terrorist enterprises, such as smuggling weapons, and training militants for violent, affrontive, and offensive activities that constitute acts of war, like firing Kassams without provocation.

    Although Hamas’ majority is touted as a democratic process for the Palestinians, Vic Rosenthal raises an excellent point, that absence of clear political objectives, lack of infrastructure, and continual militant and illegal bombardment of citizens of Israel, overshadow its attempts at being an effective or operational political “power.”

    A positive response to the situation with respect to addressing Schalit’s status in the eyes of the international community, should focus first on the actual achievements undertaken by Hamas, which have been no more than terrorist in nature, and second on any alternative position in light of the supposed “attainment of a majority by Hamas in Gaza.”

    From a positive perspective, Hamas can only be analogized into and responded to based on the position it held pre- PA elections, that of a terrorist entity.

    A not insignificant majority of Countries in general, and Member states to many International Treaties and Conventions; Canada, the US, Japan, the EU, and Israel, all acknowledge that Hamas is a terrorist organization.

    Therefore, based on its negligble status as a functioning political establishment, it has violated Article 3, Section 1(b) of the Geneva Convention (Third Part Relative to Prisoners of War) by taking Schalit as hostage.

    In principle, the issue of whether Schalit was armed, does not relegate Schalit to the status of Prisoner of War under Article 4, section A(1), of the Geneva Convention (Third Part) because by analogy to of the term for abducting parties in Article 4, Section A.(3) of same part, Hamas should not be considered a legitimate “Detaining Power.”

    Schalit could additionally be considered a prisoner of war under Article 4, Section A(1) of the Geneva Convention (Third Part), allowing for the Red Cross intervention and monitoring of his detainment.

    That Hamas denies such monitoring and engages in a lack of transparency, further cements Hamas’ status as a terrorist entity, in addition to its attempts to use Schalit’s release as a bargaining device for known terrorists.

    Israel cannot legitimately bargain with a terrorist entity without potentially subjecting itself to complicity for terrorist activities. It is not clear whether the vast majority of media outlets touting so – called “realist” approaches recognize the significance of such potential “peaceful engagements with Hamas.” A positive approach acknowledges eliminating the threat posed by Hamas and its terrorist activities, while considering measures to rescue Schalit.