The World Supports Hamas? Of Course, They Do!

The Hamas lobby

I got more than the usual nasty letters this week over voicing support for Israel. Here are some of the critics' counter-arguments.

1. You talk big time of supporting democracy in the Middle East, but then turn on democratically-elected Hamas when it is convenient!

Two points: (A) In summer 2007 Hamas eliminated the Palestinian Authority (i.e., erstwhile Fatah) opposition through intimidation, occasional summary execution and attacks on its party infrastructure. It then, following a Hitlerian 1930s paradigm, took over complete control of Gaza well beyond its parliamentary mandate, and began turning Gaza into an armed camp and veritable appendage of the Iranian terrorist apparatus. Then it soon began shelling Israel.

(B) Israel left Gaza. Hamas at that point could either have (a) done what terrorist organizations always do (e.g., kill their opponents, rob their own people to subsidize an idle thugocracy of young males [cf. al Qaeda in Anbar], and terrorize their opponents), and claim Israeli withdrawal was not a concession, but a fatal sign of weakness and thus an incentive to go after the Jewish state itself; OR (b) welcome in foreign investment by guaranteeing security; monitor the border with Egypt and ensure non-violent commercial transit; welcome in Gulf oil money and protect such investment; declare a permanent truce with Israel; concentrate on fostering its own economy now to prepare for diplomatic solutions later on; and utilize abandoned Israeli infrastructure to encourage economic growth.

Guess what path they followed.

2. But why does Israel kill so many, and Hamas so few if Israel is the defender, Hamas the aggressor?

No one likes to see anyone die, but no one likes either to see a nation blanketed with 6,000 rockets to the amusement or neglect of the world community

First, read military history on proportionality. Japan attacked the US in World War II and ended up losing 10 times as many soldiers—and over a million times more civilians—as did we: quite disproportionate; but that did not ipso facto make Japan a sympathetic player. Ditto Nazi Germany. Military incompetence or even impotence does not equate to either legitimacy or sympathy—nor mask evil intent.

Second, again, hundreds of thousands of Jews have been subject to over 6,000 rocket attacks. That such crude terrorist weapons kill few, given sophisticated Israeli counter-measures and Hamas’s military impotence, means little, if commerce, daily life and calm in Israel are impossible under constant barrages.

Third, Israel could not do so much damage to Hamas terrorists and so little to civilians unless (a), it was getting all sorts of help and intelligence from Palestinians, and tacit support from Arab governments, and (b), going to historical lengths not to kill civilians, even to the extent of text-messaging and cell-phoning anonymous families to vacate impending targets.