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The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and five NY Congressional representatives have called a press conference for this morning to press the State Dept. "to investigate any and all passengers on the Mavi Marmara and other ships from Turkey's IHH flotilla who apply for visas to enter the United States."
Part of their demand is for the State Dept. to investigate whether visa applicants who were on the Turkish ship intended "to fund or to give things of value to support terrorist activity or a terrorist organization, namely Hamas."
There are lots of legitimate criticisms of Hamas to be made, for instance of their policy of executing “collaborators” and destroying Palestinian homes that they say were built on public land.
. It has been proved the ceasefire was broken by Israel.
Hamas is not waging “total war” against Israel. Before the Gaza massacres of 2008-09, “Hamas was ‘careful to maintain the ceasefire’ it entered into with Israel in June 2008
After the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in January 2009, leaving Gaza in ruins, Hamas still didn’t wage “total war” against Israel. Rockets have sporadically been fired into Israeli territory since then, but they have been claimed by other groups within Gaza and have killed one person, a Thai foreign worker.
Charlie Rose recently interviewed Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas’ political bureau. An excerpt:
KHALED MESHAAL: So when the occupation comes to an end, the resistance will end. As simple as that. If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, so that will be the end of the Palestinian resistance.
CHARLIE ROSE: You are saying if the Israelis withdraw to the ‘67 borders, give or take this place or that place, right of return, Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, what else?
KHALED MESHAAL: If Israel withdraws to the borders of 1967, and from East Jerusalem, that will become the capital of the Palestinian state with the right of self -- with the right of return for the refugees and with a Palestinian state with real sovereignty on the land and on the borders and on the checkpoints. Then we -- the Palestinian state will decide the future of the relationship with Israel. And we will respect the decision that will reflect the viewpoint of the majority of the Palestinian people both inside and outside Palestine.
Under Hague Convention:
Annex to the Convention
REGULATIONS RESPECTING THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS
OF WAR ON LAND
SECTION I ON BELLIGERENTS
The Qualifications of Belligerents
*The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteer corps fulfilling the following conditions:
*To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
*To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
*To carry arms openly; and
*To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
*In countries where militia or volunteer corps constitute the army, or form part of it, they are included under the denomination "army."
The inhabitants of a territory which has not been occupied, who, on the approach of the enemy, spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading troops without having had time to organize themselves in accordance with
Article 1, shall be regarded as belligerents if they carry arms openly and if they respect the laws and customs of war.
If the leaders of Hamas were only concerned with killing Israelis, with training suicide-bombers and sending them out to destroy shopping centers, then they'd dedicate the majority of their funding to that purpose. Instead, they build and operate hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, car pools, cell services, and all the other goods, public and private, that organizations without an explicit military arm would provide for the Palestinians if any building was allowed to stay standing long enough to house them. All those doctors and teachers and cooks and bureaucrats who are part of Hamas must be pretty poor members, failing to murder Israelis everyday as they do; one wonders how some of them ever managed to rise to positions of authority without ever having killed an Israeli at all in an organization only dedicated to military objectives.
Extreme? Yes. Intransigent? Yes. Far too violent and stubborn for their own good, or their people's good? Yes. But willing to watch the Palestinian people destroyed utterly to achieve the destruction of Israel? Indifferent to Palestinian suffering? Hardly. If that were the case, why negotiate cease-fire agreements? Why capture Israeli soldiers explicitly to extract concessions and revenues that they cannot extract from the Israelis at the negotiating table? That organization exists precisely because of Palestinian suffering; it fights specifically to alleviate that suffering, as wrong-headed as that is, but desperation and rage are not known for instilling logic.
And as for the "right to live" line, one could just as easily say that Israel could have peace tomorrow if they recognized a Palestinian right to return. That position is not more politically viable than it would be for Hamas, as the duly elected government of the Palestinian authority, to lay down the gun without a settlement freeze or the territorial concessions needed to make a Palestinian state viable. If Israel cannot even bring itself to give these concessions to the generally peaceful Palestinians of the West Bank; if Israel cannot even bring itself to stop settlements from being built in the West Bank, then what reason could Hamas possibly have for thinking that unilaterally forsaking the fight would lead to a real, respected sovereignty in Gaza?
This claim that Israel's enemies are irrational, blood-thirsty, slavering man-beasts, unable to contain their lust for spilling Jewish blood in the name of Allah is, quite simply, not supported by the behavior of either regime, or of Syria, for that matter, which has always coolly and calmly steered for that course most likely to insure its continued existence and indispensability. If either were indifferent to destruction, so long as Israel were destroyed, then they would have risked global wrath and war striking at Israel and illegal Israeli settlements long ago. Instead of spending decades jockeying for internal or regional supremacy they would have made the deals necessary to press genocide with heedless fanaticism, and would be throwing themselves on the walls of Jerusalem, right this very minute, with hatred in their eyes and paradise on their lips.
Of course this never has, and never will, happen. Israel's enemies aren't monsters anymore than they are caricatures; they are men, despicable men largely, but still men, and with all the concerns and desire to live that comes with that.
And Israel, it should be pointed out, has its own fair share of despicable men, just as intractable, just as hateful of peace as any Hamas bomber or Revolutionary Guard thug. Perhaps it would be easier for Israel if they WERE beasts and the IDF could simply sit atop their walls with flame-throwers and machine guns slaughtering them as they threw themselves at the interloper in a blind rage. But men are patient, and men plan, and in the end, you have to sit down and deal with them or they'll never go away. The longer Israel and the defenders of her most fanatical citizens put that off, the heavier the toll of that final squaring will be.