Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Israel and Hamas

The Palestinian people have long suffered. They have had foreign invaders ruling their lands for thousands of years, starting with the Babylonians, then the Persians, then the Romans, and many more until finally the British drove the Ottomans out during the First World War and ruled until Israeli independence in1948. It is important to point out that when I say 'the Palestinian people', I refer to all the people of Palestine, not just the Muslims who have adopted the title for themselves. Understanding this history will take us a long way in understanding the desires of both the Israelis and the people now called the Palestinians.
It is the natural desire of people to rule themselves, both as individuals and as a nation. As I believe it to be the best state of Man for him to rule himself, please keep in mind that I support a free and independent Palestinian state for these people. It is what they deserve as human beings, and a goal which should be desired by all. However, this goal will not be realized until such time that Hamas and other similar organizations are discredited, unsupported, and disbanded.
Before I elaborate on this statement, I will review the modern history behind the current situation. As I said before, the Palestinian people have long suffered, and at no time is this more true than the treatment of the Islamic people we now call Palestinians during the last half of the twentieth century. If you think this a statement against Israel, please read on and see that it is not. Israel has not always acted perfectly, but they are not the source of Palestinian suffering.
While most claim that Israeli independence was granted by the UN, this is not the whole story. Hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated to Palestine during British rule, even when Britain restricted their immigration during the 1930s due to Arabic pressures. During the Holocaust and directly after, this level of emigration increased dramatically, and the Jews of Palestine began a series of diplomatic and military actions to gain their independence. This was acknowledged by the British and the UN in 1947. It was at this time that Israel and Trans-Jordan were created to be the free lands for the Jewish and Muslim residents of the lands.
Israel granted full citizenship to its Muslim people, complete with freedom to practice their religion, keep their property, and all the rights granted to their Jewish citizens. Their Arabic neighbors did not do the same, but instead seized Jewish property, attempted forced conversions, and used other tactics to remove or drive out their Jewish residents. Their actions succeeded well and more Jewish people emigrated into the new Israel nation. There is no real evidence to suggest that the Israelis wanted anything but to live free and in peace in their ancestral homeland.
They would not have this option. In May, 1948 six different Arabic nations declared war and invaded Israel. They were supported by the Muslim citizens of Israel, many of whom provided passive or active support in the effort. They provided guidance through the country, food and logging to solders, and some even joined in active military action against the Israeli Defense Forces. Perhaps Israel was wrong, but while driving out the invaders, the swept along the Muslim citizens as well and forced them all from the country. I say perhaps they were wrong, but I do not think so. While many innocent Muslims were certainly caught by this action and forced from their homes and lands, the Israels had little choice in what they did. A new, young nation cannot always take the time to determine who exactly is a threat when it is defending itself against total destruction.
The real question is, what was the reward to the Muslim Israelis (not yet called Palestinians) who supported their Muslim brethren? They were denied citizenship in Arabic lands, forced into refugee camps, and left to rot by the Arabic governments where they were. And so here they have remained until this day, some sixty years later. As a comparison, consider the people of Tibet, driven from their homes by the Chinese into India. These refugees, with no cultural, religions, or ethnic ties to their host country, are given full rights of citizenship by the Indians.
There is also the matter of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. All three of these areas were captured by Israel during defensive actions against Arabic aggressive wars. While this exasperated the refugee situation, these occupations were necessary defensive actions. The Golan Heights have been returned, and Gaza was granted full independence in 2005, with all Jewish citizens forcefully removed by the Israeli government. The short-term occupation of the Sinai by Israel in the 1950s was a response to Egyptian refusal to allow shipping through the Suez Canal and was one of the few aggressive actions taken by the country. They withdrew under UN pressure, only to have Egypt again close the area to Israeli shipping. This action was later stopped due to diplomatic action.
This has been the history of Israel. Constant aggressive action by their Arabic neighbors, UN pressure against them, and being demonized by the world for the plight of what we now call the Palestinians. In less than 30 years, they fought no less than five defensive wars against multiple Arabic countries. Despite these monumental challenges, they have not only survived but they have thrived. They have managed to maintain an open, free, and prosperous society that still provides all their citizens with all the rights that we here in American consider basic. It is a diplomatic country, with freedom of speech, press, and religion. They are an egalitarian society, with women and ethnic minorities in top positions.
And what of the Palestinians? I have often said 'what we now call' in this essay, and for good reason. These Muslims had no identifier until then 1970s, when the Palestinian Liberalization Organization under Yasser Arafat began to call them Palestinians as a PR ploy. Since that time, pressure against Israel has only increased, despite everything they have done to make life better for the Palestinians.
Consider the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. After three decades of building infrastructure in the area, the Israelis left it all intact and removed all their citizens from the area. The Palestinians had roads, schools, hospitals, water and power, orchards, hydroponic farms . . . in short, everything they needed to provide for a prosperous free country. What has Hamas, supposedly in the name of these people, done with it? They indoctrinate the children to hate Jews with propaganda, terrorize their people with threats, take all their foreign aide to purchase weapons, and use the homes of innocents as launching points for their unguided rockets. They send their young men, and women, into Israel with explosives to target civilians. For more than three years and over 6,000 rocket attacks, with hundreds of deaths, the Israelis responded with diplomatic action and embargoes. They still allowed humanitarian aide to pass, but attempted to stop what weapon shipments they could. They still provided power and water to Gaza.
And when they finally did take military action, how did they do so? Was it carpet bombing and gas attacks? No, it was precision bomb attacks preceded with thousands of telephone calls and leaflets letting the innocents of Gaza know what was coming, despite the lost of strategic and tactical surprise. They have consistently chosen to use troops on the ground over air strikes to minimize civilian causalities despite the increased danger to Israeli forces. And how does the UN and the Western world respond? With more derision, a focus on the exaggerated claims of Palestinian deaths by Hamas, and a forced cease-fire agreement that Hamas violated within days.
Hamas and their fellow organizations have used the Palestinians as cannon fodder. They send their 'suicide' bombers into Israeli citizens, targeting civilians. They force their way into private homes using physical intimidation to set up their launch pads. They hide weapons and military supplies under mosques, hospitals, and apartment buildings. When the Israelis come, they use more women and children as human shields, then they cry to the world about the 'horrors' visited upon them.
When are we in the West, and especially America, going to stop playing their game? When are we going to denounce this barbarism for what it is? When are we going to tell the UN to support Israel or loose American support? We shouldn't support Israel because it is a Jewish state. Israel is nation of freedom in a land of oppression. Before the invasion of Iraq, it was the only Middle Eastern country to practice any form of democracy, to provide freedom of speech and press, equal rights to women and other minorities, and it's still the only country to provide full freedom of religion. Don't these things mean anything to us?
When are we going to acknowledged that Hamas and similar organizations are the true source of modern Palestinian suffering? When are we going to stand up together and name these organizations for the barbaric tribes of death that they are? In the past three years, the UN Human Rights council has passed more than 20 resolutions against Israel, but not a single one against Hamas, Hezbollah, or any other terrorist organization. These organizations feed their people into a meat grinder day after day while the UN and Western media organizations denounce the Israelis who have put themselves at risk to protect the innocents of their own country and the Palestinians. These actions are completely and totally unacceptable to me, and should be to any society that would call itself civilized.
Every statement that isn't my opinion in the essay is verifiable through a quick and easy Google search using key terms. Feel free to verify. I will stand beside my support of Israel and against Hamas until my last breath. If you disagree with my opinion here, I ask you only one question.
Are you proud to support Hamas?

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