HAMAS, FOR WHOM DEATH IS A VIRTUE
By Micah Halpern
Tuesday December 30, 2008
Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, is a terrorist organization that trains cohorts from that other terrorist organization, Hamas. Hezbollah also sponsors Hamas through donations of weapons and donations of money. The nation of Iran is another large supporter and sponsor of Hamas. Iran also lends Hamas moral support, offers advice and serves as a general cheering squad.
It comes as no surprise that Hezbollah and Iran have been loud and public in denouncing Israel's retaliatory strike on Hamas security strongholds in Gaza.
The surprise comes in the form of the almost inaudible voices of protest emanating from the rest of the Muslim world. Protests against Israel have been minimal. Disapproval of Hamas, now and in the period leading up to the Hamas decision to discontinue the "lull" with Israel has been vocal.
Major players in the Arab world urged Hamas to continue with the "lull" but Hamas turned a deaf ear, Hamas would not heed their urgings. In a break with tradition, rather than showing a united Arab/Muslim front against enemy Israel, Arab leaders have come out in censure against Hamas.
On Sunday, the second day of Israel's operation, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas held a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Gheit. Abbas minced no words, he laid all the blame on Hamas. "I say in all honesty, we made direct contact with the leaders of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. We spoke with them in all honesty and directly and after that we spoke with them indirectly, through more than one Arab and non Arab side ... We spoke with them on the telephone and we said to them: We ask of you, don't stop the lull. The lull must continue and not stop, in order to avoid what has happened and if only we had avoided it."
In response, Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, called Jordan and Egypt collaborators and an arm of the Zionists and the Americans in the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.
Mainstream Arab leaders think that Hamas brought this situation upon themselves and believe that now Hamas must suffer the consequences of their own actions. They hope that the operation ends quickly and they hope that the innocent people living in Gaza are spared from too much suffering and horror. President Bush, who made contact with many Arab leaders in the region expressed that same concern for the people of Gaza. So, too, did Israeli leadership who allowed one hundred supply trucks to enter Gaza from Israel on Monday. The trucks contained medicines, blood, cooking fuel and even ambulances.
Even Palestinians living in Gaza, victims of the destruction brought on by this retaliatory effort by Israel, blame Hamas and not Israel for the death and destruction. Even a seven year old girl who woke up to find bricks on her head and her younger sister lying dead beside her after an Israeli air raid was quoted in an interview on Al Aksa Hamas TV saying that she blamed Hamas for the death. In Gaza, Hamas is far from loved, in Gaza Hamas is feared.
Hamas has embraced death as a virtue.
Palestinian Authority legislator Fathi Hamad, interviewed on Hamas TV on Monday explained it this way: "For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire life."
This sentiment, this revelation that Hamas respects death and uses innocent people as human shields, is not new. It is not merely a response to Israel's retaliatory raid. In the weeks before this raid, in the weeks of the "lull," Hamas began the process of instituting a series of punishments, their own revision of Koranic law that was meted out during the medieval period. The Hamas penal regressions were broadcast across the Arab world, to the horror of Arab leaders from other countries who themselves have archaic judicial and penal systems, but nothing as severe as those Hamas intends to impose.
Some of the laws are literally directed at the Palestinian Authority and at Palestinian leadership. It seems clear that according to the new/old Hamas laws all Palestinian leadership is guilty of capital crimes. The language of the law proposes "primary and secondary" laws.
Primary laws include: "Koranic laws, blood revenge, lashes, crucifixion, and execution." The new law establishes that the "punishment of death will be enacted on any Palestinian who intentionally does one of the following: raised a weapon against Palestine on behalf of the enemy during war, was appointed to negotiate with a foreign government on a Palestinian issue and negotiated against Palestinians' interest, performed a hostile action against a foreign country in a way that endangers Palestine in war or in harming political relations, served a foreign army in time of war, advised or helped soldiers to enlist in this army, weakened the spirit or the force of resistance of the people, or spied against Palestine especially during war."
Hamas is not the victim. Hamas is an oppressive, terrorist regime. The rest of the Arab world sees this very clearly. And for the first time, the rest of the Arab world is not afraid to speak out against Hamas. That's how bad the situation in Israel has gotten. Even the Arab world is sympathetic to the plight of Israel.
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