Hamas is Not a Peace Partner
Many people, politicians, and countries urge Israel to make peace with Hamas which is the leading party in the Gaza Strip. In this short article I will explain why I believe Hamas is not a peace partner.
The main reason is that the goal of Hamas is to destroy Israel and kill all Jewish people. This is not a secret goal that Hamas’ leadership tries to hide from the world. Hamas’ leadership is saying it out loud and it is even written in the party’s charter. Therefore, my argument is that someone who continuously tries to kill you is not a good peace partner (sounds trivial right?).
The Hamas organization was established in 1987. The party won the Gaza elections in 2007 and since then they are in control of the Gaza Strip. Gaza is a very small and dense area (the 6th most densely populated polity) with a size of 140.9 mi² and with 2 million residents, many of which are poor.
Since Hamas rose to power in Gaza, there have been many conflicts between it and Israel. I’ll use the most recent conflict, Operation Protective Edge (August 7 to 26, 2014), to strengthen my argument. The conflict begun after Hamas kidnapped and executed three Israeli teenagers. Later on, Hamas continuously fired rockets targeting the Israeli civilian population, in addition to using terror tunnels to cross the border and conduct terror attacks. As a response, Israel attacked Hamas’s targets using its air force saying that it would not tolerate the fact that Hamas launched rockets towards Israel. The entire time Israel appealed to Hamas to stop firing rockets and to initiate a ceasefire to stop the conflict, but Hamas did not accept the offer. At this point Israel did not have any other option other than to start a ground maneuver in the Gaza Strip. During the conflict, Israel initiated several ceasefires and Hamas broke all of them. Eventually Hamas was beaten down and had no choice but to accept a ceasefire. Overall, there have been more than 2,000 Gaza residents killed (most of them are terrorists) and 71 Israelis killed. Had Hamas accepted the first Israeli ceasefire offer neither side would have sustained casualties. To my opinion, the two main reasons for the differences in the number of civilian casualties are:
- Hamas used its own population as human shields, firing rockets from dense civilian areas and even from mosques, schools, and hospitals. Therefore, fighting a terror organization in such an environment unfortunately comes with the price of hurting innocent people. The alternative of not fighting back and accepting non-stop rockets fired towards Israeli civilian population is not an option any country could consider.
- Israel had developed an anti-rocket defense system called “Iron Dome” which was able to shoot down most of Hamas’ rockets that were about to hit Israeli civilian population. Had Israel not developed this kind of a defense system, it would have sustained many more casualties.
For the past two years, Hamas has received significant financial assistance from the global community, but rather than investing it in education, health, and welfare, it used the funds to smuggle and produce more rockets and to rebuild its terror tunnel infrastructure.
In conclusion, I do not believe that Hamas is a partner for peace. I hope that one day, the leading party members of the Gaza Strip would care more about improving their own citizens’ lives than destroying ours. I’m sure that if and when that day comes, everyone would be better off.