ALPERN AT LARGE-Oh, how we "enlightened" Americans of this modern-day strive for moral equivalence of both sides of a struggle, no matter what the reality is! How "enlightened" we are to chastise our own side, or that of our allies, because our enemies share our same humanity, in the end! How "enlightened" our actions and thoughts must be, no matter what history and the facts are, because the "other side" deserves a say!
Well, the "other side" this time around is Hamas--and it's pronounced "Hahm-ahs", not hummus, and unlike hummus it doesn't taste well, or go well, with anything.
Hamas is NOT synonymous with Gaza, or the Palestinian Authority. It's the ruling party that the Gazan Palestinian population elected as an alternative to the then-dominant Fatah Party of the late Yasser Arafat.
Yasser Arafat was, for those who still don't bother to read a history book, the man who said one thing in English to the West, and something else entirely in Arabic to his own people, and bilked billions of foreign dollars to his own family and supporters, and managed a corrupt leadership while duping the West into a Nobel Peace Prize and leading his people into two horrific and failed intifada violent rebellions against the Israelis.
The same Israelis who want nothing more than a two-state solution with a peaceful Palestine, and who moved out of the Gaza Strip after occupying it for decades (and who, if possible, want to someday pull out of the West Bank).
Unfortunately, after Hamas (which calls for the destruction of Israel and is considered a terrorist organization by most Western governments) won out in an election shortly after the Israelis pulled out voluntarily, they did so over the corrupt Fatah Party of Arafat and then they violently killed and expelled the opposition. Hamas was and is more responsible for far more Palestinian deaths than any military action performed by the Israelis.
Funny how the Israelis--in 1948, in 1967, in 1973 and ever since then respond with military action AFTER being repeatedly and violently provoked by outside invaders...and then get blamed because it has better fire power and sophistication.
Funny how the Israelis once held the Sinai peninsula and the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon and have NOT backed out of those regions (and perhaps would do the same to the Golan Heights if Syria was as good a neighbor as Jordan or Egypt).
Funny how the Hamas folks use Western naivete and bandy around the civilian deaths that they, Hamas, caused by hiding behind civilians as they fire endless missiles at Israel in order to gain Western sympathy for their cause.
Funny how the plans for Hamas to build numerous underground tunnels to kidnap and kill Israeli children and other civilians (planned for Rosh Hashanah and the Jewish High Holidays) get ignored because so many "enlightened" and "open-minded" Westerners see Israel as the perpetrator in all this.
Except it's NOT funny: we're talking Hamas here--not hummus--and they don't taste well, or go well, with anything.
Hamas has routinely killed any Palestinian who demands civil rights and a return to the multi-party system, and has recently and openly killed 18 suspected "informants"as a message to all Palestinians who want peace and an end to the horrific bloodletting (for which Palestinian civilians have been shoved by Hamas into the crossfire).
Unlike the Israeli military, which targets Hamas leadership and pulled out of Gaza after it destroyed the tunnels built with Western money (but planned for infrastructure, education and health care for the Palestinians living in Gaza), Hamas' rockets just killed an Israeli child.
Of course, many Westerners would argue that one Israeli child is by far less than the hundreds of Palestinian children killed in the Israeli/Hamas conflict--and to some degree that point is correct. But two interesting questions to those "enlightened" Westerners:
1) How many Israeli children must die before it's "acceptable"? Would it be better to go back to "the good old days" when Israeli buses and discos were blown up by suicide bombers aiming for children before Israel built a wall around itself?
2) How many Palestinian children would be killed in the crossfire if Hamas merely did what Israel wanted (a two-state solution, with both sides respecting and working with each other to make an economy, not make war)?
And are the statements of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal that Hamas is "not ISIS", which is terrorizing citizens from Lebanon to Syria to Iraq, a statement of peace or another method of duping "enlightened" Westerners that Hamas is a legitimate player in the war-prone Middle East?
And is the blocking of the transfer of American missiles to Israel, and the alienation of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, by President Obama something that shows "enlightenment" or something that will lead to a division between the President and Israel (and, for that matter, the majority of the American public).
Just because the Europeans were duped and the foreign press both intimidated and mis-informed by Hamas during the recent Israeli incursion doesn't mean that Hamas should in any way, shape or form be rewarded by using the press as its proxy.
For that matter, how many (and how important is it to the "enlightened") know that Hamas actually launched missiles from the hotel where many of the foreign press were stationed?
Will it get play that the Israelis did NOT carpet-bomb Gaza, did NOT fire back in all instances when it was fired upon, and suffered military casualties by showing restraint?
Will it get play that the foreign press has now issued a statement protesting its treatment by Hamas?
Or will enough "enlightened" Westerners (particularly Europe, which appears to have fallen back upon its long anti-Jewish history) continue to ignore the facts and try to conflate Hamas with the Israeli army?
It's doubtful that there will ever be peace without a two-state solution, but the leadership of Palestine is by far more likely to be of the likes of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has and is trying desperately to reform the old Fatah leadership and make sure that Western aid goes to helping the average Palestinian refugee.
It's also doubtful that there will ever be peace without an end to Hamas, and a return to the days when those Palestinians (probably at least a slim majority) will fight for a cooperative relationship with their neighbors (including Israel).
Hamas has never, and will never, be a legitimate force for governance and peace in the region--it's as much a threat as ISIS--and is responsible for more Palestinian deaths than any other entity in the world.
It's Hamas, not hummus, we're talking about...and it doesn't taste well, or go well, with ANYTHING.
(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at Alpern@MarVista.org . He also does regular commentary on the Mark Isler Radio Show on AM 870, and co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)
Vol 12 Issue 69
Pub: Aug 26, 2014