Apr. 17, 2018
Hamas’ Dirty War Against Israel – Prof. Eytan Gilboa (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
Throughout all the military confrontations Hamas initiated against Israel in 2008-09, 2012, and 2014, as well as in the recent “March of Return,” it has systematically disseminated outright fabrications and distortions and manipulated Western and social media. Hamas presented the march as a peaceful demonstration initiated by suffering citizens to protest their awful economic and social conditions. Hamas also accused Israel of committing war crimes by intentionally shooting and killing demonstrators. The truth is exactly the opposite.
The march was initiated and organized by Hamas, not by oppressed citizens. Hamas invested millions of dollars in building an infrastructure for the demonstrators, and called for breaking the border fence and infiltration into Israeli territory. If Hamas had been permitted to accomplish this goal, the life and property of Israeli citizens living a few meters from the fence would have been in danger. These were not peaceful demonstrations.
Hamas deployed operatives among the demonstrators and ordered them to throw firebombs, shoot at Israeli soldiers, put explosives on the fence, cross into Israel’s territory, and, if possible, kill or kidnap soldiers and citizens. They also wanted as many Palestinians as possible to be killed, including women and children, in order to obtain favorable media coverage.
Hamas is lying and cheating about the reasons for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It annually spends hundreds of millions of dollars on operatives, rockets, attack tunnels, and violence. If Hamas had spent that money on economic and social development, Gazans would now live in a better economic environment. The recent deterioration in the Gazan economy resulted from a bitter feud between Hamas and the PA, not from any Israeli action.
The media in the U.S. and Europe, including the elite press of the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, CNN, and BBC, largely accepted the manipulations, lies, and fabrications of Hamas without much questioning or reservation. They conveniently removed any reference to Hamas’ motivation, aggression, war crimes, and manipulations.
Critics of Israel’s handling of the demonstrators in Gaza missed, or willfully ignored, the march’s slogan: “the March of Return.” In practice, “Return” means the destruction of Israel as an independent Jewish state.
In 2005, Israel dismantled all its settlements in Gaza and evacuated all the Jews who lived there and its entire military, giving the Palestinians an opportunity in Gaza to show how they can live in peace with Israel. They failed. This failure suggests that territory and settlements have never been the main obstacles to peace. The Palestinians are not prepared to accept Israel as a Jewish state within any territory or borders.
The writer is director of the Center for International Communication and a senior research associate at the BESA Center.