Hamas needs restraint and resolve

The fact that Bile claims terrorist attacks are strictly in retaliation to Israel’s attacks is ridiculous.

Ramla Bile says the West is being unfair in cutting aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, and by extension, to the Palestinian people in her column “Punishing the Palestinians.” I think she is correct in saying it is unfair, but not for the reasons she states. It is unfair because America and other Western countries have a history of financially supporting violent leadership in Central America and the Middle East. The difference between those cases and Hamas is that the violent governments often were installed by those Western countries instead of the people in the country electing them to power.

There is a strong anti-terrorism sentiment in most of the world right now, so it is not hard to see why world powers like the European Union and United States are cutting aid to a country where the money given must pass through a terrorist organization. Many Palestinians are suffering, and their suffering is a direct result of democracy. They chose terrorists as leaders and now are paying the consequences. Bile says that Hamas was voted in not for their fundamentalist beliefs, but because they were rightfully fed up with a corrupt government that was failing them. Is terrorism the only other option? There were other parties that could have been voted in. Hamas gained control because it took many legislative seats.

This would not have been a problem if other third parties were given power. It’s not like the only choice was Fatah or Hamas. Also, Bile says Hamas attacks are strictly retaliatory. How is that different from what Israel is doing? Terrorists have been launching rockets into Israel for years. The goal of these rocket blasts is to kill Israeli civilians. Israel retaliates for these attacks by attacking terrorist leaders. Unfortunately the terrorists who are targeted decide to endanger their families and other Palestinians by living among them. An Israeli air strike injured 12 and killed an 8-year-old girl. Then, as retaliation, a Palestinian terrorist went to a busy area of Tel Aviv and blew himself up, killing nine Israeli civilians and injuring dozens. Why this was left out of Bile’s column I have no idea.

The fact that she claims terrorist attacks are strictly in retaliation to Israel’s attacks is ridiculous. Israel is retaliating as well. It’s a circle of violence; it’s not one-way like Bile wants pople to think. Bile also says that because Hamas has held their side in a cease-fire for more than a year, they clearly have renounced violence. It is strange, then, that instead of denouncing the terrorist attack that occured last week in Tel Aviv, they spoke highly of it and said it was a legitimate response. If Hamas is not willing to cooperate and put terrorists who constantly are attacking Israel in jail, they certainly are not renouncing violence.

That response, along with the claims by Hamas officials that Israel and Palestine have “a date with destiny,” essentially is challenging Israel to attack them. If they helped control the problem in their position of power, they wouldn’t face retaliatory strikes from Israel. Israel clearly has made an effort to restrain itself in the past year (including not retaliating for this past weeks bombing). It is now time for Hamas to show the same restraint. When they were just another terrorist group, they could restrain from violence by not carrying out attacks, which they did.

However that is not enough now that they are the leaders of Palestine. They need to control other terrorist groups from attacking Israel instead of supporting it. The excuse that a terrorist group is not acting on behalf of the nation does not hold true anymore.

If Hamas wants to continue its terrorist ways while running the country, it should not expect aid from anti-terrorism world powers. Instead they should look to other anti-Israel countries in the Arab world. A lot of these countries spout terms like Zionism and portray cartoons in their newspapers that make the riot-inciting Mohammed cartoon look like it belongs in a children’s book. But when it comes time to help the cause, most of these countries haven’t given the Palestinians or Hamas any money. It brings a tear to my eye that Shiite-majority Iran can put aside a centuries-old fight with Sunnis (who make up a large portion of the Palestinian population) and instead channel their hatred for each other into hatred toward Israel. Wait until the folks who give out the Nobel Peace Prize get a load of this.

Bobby Kahn is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]