The New York Times published an op-ed article by Roger Cohen on November 19th entitled “Gaza Without End.” Its title should have been “Left-Wing Media Makes Excuses for Hamas Without End.”
Cohen criticizes Israel’s decision, taken after months of unprovoked and unanswered rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, to strike back forcefully. He calls it “potent fertilizer to the grasses of hatred.“ In other words, as Cohen sees it, unless Israel just turns the other cheek and lets Hamas continue firing rockets at its citizens at will, Israel will be fanning more terrorist acts in endless cycles of violence.
Does Cohen seriously believe that any other nation on the planet would accept being attacked by rockets aimed at its civilians? Does he think that the United States government would sit by for a moment if rockets launched from northern Mexico were fired daily at Houston, Dallas or San Diego?
As Israeli President Shimon Peres said during an exclusive interview with The Israel Project’s Arabic language outlet Israel Uncensored:
“We are firing at missile launchers, weapons cashes and so on because they are firing on citizens in Sderot, Beersheva and Tel-Aviv, not the other way around. It is important not to believe the Hamas propaganda, which is attempting to give the impression among residents in the region that Israel is the aggressor. We have no interest whatsoever in operating in Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza completely in 2005. If Hamas would stop the firing by their military wing, and would stop allowing other organizations to run rampant, they would see quiet on the part of Israel.”
Cohen foolishly confuses cause and effect. Hamas and its jihadist brethren do not need Israel’s military response to fire up their hatred, as Cohen seems to believe. They hate Israel because it exists as a Jewish state on land the Islamists claim belongs exclusively to them.
Hamas’s founding charter, which remains in force to this day, reflects the hatred that prevents a truly peaceful resolution. It calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews. It states that Palestine is “an Islamic Waqf [possession] throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection…This is the status [of the land] in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection.”
Fueled by their pathological hatred, Hamas initiated the attacks against Israeli citizens, launched from the Gaza territory that Hamas controls. The “prelude,” as Cohen describes it, was not “a rocket fired from Gaza hitting southern Israel on Nov. 3.” The prelude was years of rocket barrages, including some 800 rockets fired from Gaza in 2012 alone before Israel finally responded.
Cohen goes so far as to question whether Israel should have assassinated Ahmed al-Jabari, the head of the military wing of Hamas. After all, Cohen argues, al-Jabari was serving as a go-between in negotiations, including for the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit whom he was responsible for abducting in the first place.
Al-Jabari followed up the release of Shalit with a vow to kidnap more Israeli soldiers and officers. He was responsible for the deaths of Israeli civilians and directed the cycles of escalation against Israel, presumably right up to the day he died. He was keeping faith with his declaration in 2010 that “With the power of faith, weapons and missiles, tunnels and commandos we will achieve victory for Palestine and we’ll end the occupation in Gaza too.”
Cohen suggests that Israel should just forget about all the violence perpetrated by Hamas and its friends since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and try “testing Palestinian good will rather than punishing Palestinian bad faith.”
Been there, done that, Mr. Cohen. It is time for the Palestinians, for once, to make the first move and prove their good faith through actions, not propaganda. They can start by stopping completely their rocket attacks immediately and without condition.
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