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Thankfully, on May 20, Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire to end the recent round of hostilities. Unfortunately, there remains widespread confusion about the causes of this decades long conflict between the state of Israel and Hamas. The explanation is, in fact, quite simple: one side does not recognize the other side’s right to exist.
Make no mistake, Hamas is a terrorist organization, as designated by the U.S. State Department, even if some news media and the United Nations don’t want to call it that. In 1995, after Israel presented Palestinians with a plan that would have given them 95 percent of the land that they wanted, Hamas sent suicide bombers into Israel to murder Israeli civilians, and 24 were killed. That is terrorism.
Launching rockets against civilians is terrorism. Starting on May 9, 2021, in an unprovoked attack, Hamas sent rockets into highly populated Israeli cities. From then until the cease fire, Hamas fired a total of over 3400 rockets in just a little over a week. Israel’s missile defense system was able to intercept 90 percent of the rockets fortunately. Otherwise, thousands of Israeli citizens might have been killed or injured.
Hamas is a terrorist organization with a genocidal intent. In fact, here are some of Hamas’ own words from their founding charter:
“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.”
Unfortunately, some look the other way from this blatantly antisemitic rhetoric and instead choose to spread falsehoods about Israel. Representative Rashida Tlaib recently called Israel an “apartheid government” in a speech on the house floor. Either Tlaib does not understand what “apartheid” means, or she is just trying to inflame the public against the democratic nation of Israel.
The facts are that Israel has 14 Arab members serving in their parliament currently, and there have been Arab members since the very first election in 1949. Arabs are full citizens in Israel, have full voting rights and it’s one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women have the right to vote. This is not twentieth century South Africa and it is irresponsible to say so.
The recent hostilities have also demonstrated what a lot of people don’t want to admit: anti-Zionism is tied to antisemitism. Look at the streets of New York and Los Angeles. In several incidents, people have attacked innocent American Jews. These unprovoked attacks remind us why Israel is so important. It was created to be a safe haven for the Jewish people from antisemites. It was founded as a home for the Jewish people after hundreds of years of murderous persecution that culminated in the atrocities of the Holocaust. Unfortunately, very few people seem to remember this.
Israel has always maintained the right of Palestinians to have their own state. In peace negotiations, they have repeatedly offered land for peace, and they accepted the original partition in 1947 that gave land to both Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, some Palestinians and Arab nations don’t return the gesture to Israel. They don’t want to compromise, and they refuse to accept the right of Israel to exist. This is why the conflict continues.