How the World Saved Hamas 20 Years Ago

The conclusion of Israel’s campaign against Hamas, complete with an enforced ceasefire and a victory for the Islamic terrorist group, should come as no surprise at all. Long before the blockade of Gaza, the terrorist group’s greatest weapon was the sympathy of the world.

Twenty years ago, on December 1992, Israeli forces responded to Hamas atrocities by arresting over a thousand Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists and deporting 415 of them into Lebanon.

Among those expelled were two co-founders of Hamas, the current Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and several top military commanders; members of a terrorist movement whose charter listed theocracy and genocide as its goals. Their expulsion from the country was a comparatively mild response, considering that many of them would later be killed by Israel in targeted strikes over the next decade.

The expulsion of top Hamas leaders from Israel would have made it difficult for the terrorist group to continue its operations in Gaza and the West Bank. It would have dampened their strategic use of terrorism and made it easier to implement a peace plan. Only a madman would have objected to it.

Or so one might think.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 799 which “strongly” condemned the deportation of “hundreds of Palestinian civilians” and expressed “its firm opposition to any such deportation by Israel”. It further demanded that Israel “ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied territories of all those deported.” United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali called for taking “whatever measures are necessary” to compel Israel to take back the terrorists.

Among the countries voting for Resolution 799 was the United States, which had not blinked at Kuwait’s post-war expulsion of 200,000 Palestinians, but had hinted at sanctions against Israel over the expulsion of 415 terrorists.

Meanwhile in a year which had seen numerous massacres and atrocities, not least of these taking place in Afghanistan during the sieges of Kabul where the various factions targeted schools and rounded up enemy civilians into shipping containers and then set those containers on fire, the tragic plight of the terrorists became the leading human rights issue of the day.

In a story headlined, “Deporting the Hope for Peace”, Newsweek sympathetically described the Hamas terrorists “shivering in the cold.” The New York Times reached for the poetic describing the hillside they were camped out on as “desolate”; though it’s hard to see how desolate it could have been when it was surrounded by reporters. The Christian Science Monitor wrote of them huddling “under heavy rain.” The media spent more time providing weather updates from Lebanon than it did covering the local weather.

The Red Cross brought in three truckloads of food, blankets and tents until the Hamas terrorists were living better than many Hurricane Sandy victims are today.  The Christian Science Monitor wrote sadly of a mechanical digger excavating a sanitation area for them among “jagged rocks”. The Associated Press provided detailed coverage of their cases of diarrhea turning the bowel movements of Islamist terrorists into an item worthy of international coverage.

Despite the truckloads of supplies, a few days later Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, the future leader of Hamas, described by the Associated Press only as a Gaza physician, demanded that the UN and the Red Cross bring them food, water and fuel because they were already starving and forced to fast to stay alive. The media breathlessly reported that the temperature had dropped to below freezing and the men were on the verge of death.

In reality, the deported terrorists had food and water brought in from local villages and their “desolate hillside” would become an enclave of television sets, fax machines, copy machines, cell phones, a fridge filled with soda and a satellite dish beaming Iranian television shows to  them. Rantissi, who would later boast, “By Allah, we will not leave one Jew alive in Palestine” was living better than many of his victims.

One Associated Press story described a deportee eating a breakfast of jam, cheese and bread or beans and chickpeas with lemon sauce, and then a lunch of tuna fish or sardines, and then complaining, “I’m so sick of this food. I eat only to stay alive.”

Bill Clinton said that while he understood Israeli concerns over Hamas, “which is apparently bent on terrorist activities of all kinds”, he was opposed to Israel actually deporting the terrorists. American and European officials continued to pressure Israel and the media continued to run stories on what they described as the “crisis of the deportees” while bemoaning that there was no coverage of the subject, even while they were incessantly covering it.

Eventually everyone got what they wanted. Israel agreed to take the terrorists back and the terrorists agreed to return, citing as their chief reason, insufficient TV coverage of their antics.

The Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists returned to Israel and twenty years of terror and war followed.  Peace would have likely been unworkable in any event, but it became far more unworkable when an Islamist terrorist group with a conveyor belt of suicide bombers and close ties to Islamist movements around the world was introduced back into the mix.

For months international diplomats and correspondents had insisted that the path to peace required returning Hamas’ leadership to Israel. Their path to peace made actual peace impossible. Israel could have non-violently expelled Hamas leaders; instead it was forced to assassinate them one by one, usually with collateral damage, which the same correspondents and diplomats then bemoaned.

Each concession that Israel made to terrorism sharpened the violence that would come in the next encounter as the terrorists grew stronger and Israel became more desperate to stop the escalating violence. Each time diplomats and reporters rewarded Hamas, rivers of blood flowed across the land.

Twenty years ago the media and the diplomats did exactly what they did now. They turned Hamas into victims and pressured Israel to resolve the situation. After enough pressure Israel complied, Hamas won and war became once again inevitable.

Hamas is still around because the diplomats and the media want them around.  That is as true today as it was twenty years ago.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.  

  • Mary Sue

    It's all about the ratings, baby.

    Stupid CNN.

    • AdinaK

      You got to understand, Israel's leaders are going to be the death of us, and it is not as if there aren't enough enemies trying to do the same!

      The fact of the matter is that Hamas's twin devil-the PLO/Fatah-would have been dead and buried, had Israel's leaders not resurrected Arafat from Tunis! And it matters not a whit who pressured this or that. It is Israel's leaders who are obligated to protect its citizens.

      Thus, again and again, we are saddled with the same monsters at our throats and it did not have to be this way, despite the braying media!

      here –

      and here to –

      Adina Kutnicki, Israel –

      • Mary Sue

        yeah, I dunno what's wrong with Israel's leaders. Too much leftism in them? Too blind to reality?

  • Arlie

    It is time to cal evil EVIL and stand against it. UN out the the US; US out of the UN. They are corrupted and evil and now have the OIC and the Chicago Machine working with the media to enslave us all. Sovereignty is Liberty. I have cancelled any cable or satellite providers since last summer I will not pay them for the propaganda and outright lies. It's the one way I can fight the dumbassification of America and defend myself against the liberalbichachos. Time long past for getting real.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "It is time to cal evil EVIL and stand against it. UN out the the US; US out of the UN."

      These historical facts are among those that make me angry at liberals and dupes. It's time to wake up to the facts. The UN is controlled by evil nations. There are enemies of the West that will never be mitigated through diplomacy. They must be destroyed. Virtually all of them are members of the UN, and those that aren't are at the least, full allies of the OIC. The OIC is our enemy.

      • bonnie loranger

        I agree. The UN is rotten. So is Obama and his evil administration. We should get rid of the whole lot. But how?

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "We should get rid of the whole lot. But how?"

          Building broad consensus among Americans, and taking back our sovereignty.

          The comprehensive plan includes preparing all those who are capable of teaching the related history that is used in lies to empower the left, Islamic imperialists and other enemies of the USA. Depending on the audience, you need to either start with the lies Mohammed propagated, or at the very least go back to the origins of the reformation and explain that it was the Christians to destroyed the Pope's hegemony, not the atheists. Teach how Darwin was making suggestions to provoke thought, not to attack the Bible as false and evil. Teach how all of the virulent hatred that was fomented shortly after Darwin's book was all an acute reaction to the lie that the Bible was used as a tool to control people throughout its history. Teach that these ideas are exaggerated rhetoric that came from anger and emotion, not rational facts.

          All of these enemies turn subjective opinion in to facts, and then when you realize the fallacies that their opinions are built on (like blatant lies), it crumbles down slowly.

          There is no easier path that I know of. It took a long time to get this way, and all we can do is try to cause a change of heart, which leads to a change of direction at the very least.

    • A 22 Year Old Man

      But it's convenient to keep the UN in NYC so it can be observed. What happens when it becomes secretive, after we've kicked it out? How will we know what they're plotting?

  • HiPlainsDrifter

    As Israel lives by fear of world opinion, so it seems it will die trying to vainly
    live by the antiSemetic wishes of the UN, the EU, and the obama administration ..
    Until one side thoroughly destroys the other, this death-dance Israel is engaged
    in with Hamas and the terror community, will continue ad nauseum…

  • LibertarianToo

    Just an aside: See the Hamas flags in the photo? The precise shade of green as the shirt Hillary wore to the latest cease-fire photo op.

  • Silverio Facundo

    The question "why is Hamas still around" might best be answered with a joke heard some while ago:

    Arafat and Bin Laden meet in hell. After exchanging pleasentries, Bin Laden says: "I always wanted to ask you, Yasir. Look at you, you were welcomed at every major Western capital, you were cheered at the UN, you were the darling of the most exclusive European intelectual and political circles. You were the honor speaker at hundreds of events, and you were even invited to the White House. Me on the other hand, I had to live in caves, I was constantly chased by the US Army, never sleeping in the same place twice. I was hated and maligned by everyone in the Western world, my photo was used for target practice by every US soldier. We were both bloody terrorists. Why were you so succesful with the infidels while I always got bashed and bullied? What is your secret?"

    To which Arafat responds: "I only killed Jews!"

    • Mary Sue

      the reason that joke is funny is because unfortunately it is true, and as we all know humor has to be based in truth in order to truly be funny.

  • Jack_Wisdom

    Thanks Mr. Greenfield. I did not know this piece of history.

  • johan

    Israel is only doing what it has to do and that is protecting their country and their civilians. Israel has been shot at from every which way for ages. This scripture was on an Iranian television and I quote, By Allah we will not leave one Jew alive in Palestine.

  • Ghostwriter

    I'm no fan of Hamas. They deserve to be wiped off the face of the earth.

    • A 22 Year Old Man

      In time, brother. It will be the first thing Jesus does when he comes back. Let's make sure we're on His side — and let's not grow weary of proclaiming His truth to everyone we meet.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Who was president when the Security Council unanimously enacted Resolution 799? It was G.H.W. Bush. Old Bush may possibly have been the most anti-Israel president of the United States.

  • Advocatus

    Excellent piece, Daniel, about another sad but largely forgotten chapter in the relentless media bias against Israel. I was but a wee lad back then (ah, happy days), but I do recall seeing a CNN or BBC reporter tottering around on the rocks near the evacuees in Lebanon, making it seem they'd just been dumped on the Moon. It was a pathetic sight all around. For Israel it's always a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  • US Muslim

    Israel should have taken those animals out. You can't save a dead terrorist.

    I knew Hamas was bad from the late 1980s when I was still in my teens. I felt at the time that the PLO wanted peace with Israel (and appeared to have moved in that direction) but Hamas was a fundie group that wanted nothing less than Israel's destruction. Even though I was pro-Palestine at the time, I could not support the destruction of an entire nation, no matter how much I disliked it at the time.

    The positive coverage that Hamas got from the Western press was unbelievable. How could these people have been so stupid? Didn't they know what Hamas was about? This really makes me want to grab some stupid reporter that reported on them positively and scream at his or her face: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU??? ARE YOU THIS STUPID??? DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT THESE PEOPLE ARE???

    My support for Palestinian statehood ended finally in 2006 1) when they elected Hamas to run the Palestinian Authority, and 2) when the Palestinians destroyed the greenhouses that were given to them to run.

    That's when I realized that they might as well just live peacefully…as loyal Israeli citizens. Otherwise they should just leave the place. In either case, Israel should just go ahead and annex both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Empress Trudy

    Yes but the Lebanese and Syrians butcher thousands of them. So it’s not all bad.