ISIS is to America as Hamas is to Israel
President Barack Obama has rightfully condemned the ISIS beheading of American James Foley in the strongest terms. This is what he said:
"There has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of the kind of a nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is group like (ISIS) has no place in the 21st century. Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security a set of values opposite of what we saw yesterday. We will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and stability."
At the same time that President Obama has called for an all-out war against the "cancer" of ISIS, he has regarded Hamas as having an easily curable disease, urging Israel to accept that terrorist group, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, as part of a Palestinian unity government. I cannot imagine him urging Iraq, or any other Arab country, to accept ISIS as part of a unity government.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu have gone even further, urging the international community to recognize the legitimacy of Hamas as a political party and to grant it diplomatic recognition. It is hard to imagine them demanding that the same legitimate status be accorded ISIS.
Why then the double standard regarding ISIS and Hamas? Is it because ISIS is less brutal and violent than Hamas? It's hard to make that case. Hamas has probably killed more civilians — through its suicide bombs, its murder of Palestinian Authority members, its rocket attacks and its terror tunnels — than ISIS has done. If not for Israel's Iron Dome and the Israeli Defense Forces, Hamas would have killed even more innocent civilians. Indeed its charter calls for the killing of all Jews anywhere in the world, regardless of where they live or which "rock" they are hiding behind. If Hamas had its way, it would kill as least as many people as ISIS would.
Is it the manner by which ISIS kills? Beheading is of course a visibly grotesque means of killing, but dead is dead and murder is murder. And it matters little to the victim's family whether the death was caused by beheading, by hanging or by a bullet in the back of a head. Indeed most of ISIS's victims have been shot rather than beheaded, while Hamas terrorists have slaughtered innocent babies in their beds, teenagers on the way home from school, women shopping, Jews praying and students eating pizza.
Is it because ISIS murdered an American? Hamas has murdered numerous Americans and citizens of other countries. They too are indiscriminate in who they kill.
Is it because ISIS has specifically threatened to bring its terrorism to American shores, while Hamas focuses its terrorism in Israel? The Hamas Charter does not limit its murderous intentions to one country. Like ISIS it calls for a worldwide "caliphate," brought about by violent Jihad.
Everything we rightly fear and despise from ISIS we should fear and despise from Hamas. Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas—at the very least until it rescinds its charter and renounces violence. Unfortunately that is about as likely as America rescinding its constitution. Violence, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism are the sine qua non of Hamas' mission.
Just as ISIS must be defeated militarily and destroyed as a terrorist army, so too must Hamas be responded to militarily and its rockets and tunnels destroyed.
It is widely, and in my view mistakenly, argued by many academics and diplomats that there can never be a military solution to terrorism in general or to the demands of Hamas in particular. This conventional wisdom ignores the lessons of history. Chamberlain thought there could be a diplomatic solution to Hitler's demands. Churchill disagreed. History proved Churchill correct. Nazi Fascists and Japanese militarists had to be defeated militarily before a diplomatic resolution could be achieved.
So too with ISIS and Hamas. They must first be defeated militarily and only then might they consider accepting reasonable diplomatic and political compromises. Another similarity between ISIS and Hamas is that if these terrorist groups were to lay down their arms, there might be peace, whereas if their enemies were to lay down their arms, there would be genocide.
A wonderful cartoon illustrates this: at one end of the table is Hamas demanding "Death to all Jews" At the other end is Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu. In the middle sits the mediator, who turns to Netanyahu and asks: "Could you at least meet him half way?"
Image source: A.F. Branco/Legal Insurrection
No democratic nation can accept its own destruction. We cannot compromise — come half way — with terrorists who demand the deaths of all who stand in the way of their demand for a Sunni caliphate, whether these terrorists call themselves ISIS or Hamas. Both are, in the words of President Obama, "cancers" that must be extracted before they spread. Both are equally malignant. Both must be defeated on the battlefield, in the court of public opinion and in the courts of law. There can be no compromise with bigotry, terrorism or the demand for a caliphate. Before Hamas or ISIS can be considered legitimate political partners, they must give up their violent quest for a worldwide Islamic caliphate.
Reader comments on this item
|ISIS and Hamas: cancers that that've to be eliminated [64 words]||Aterg||Aug 26, 2014 01:03|
|Disappointed with our naive, detached, lead from behind administration [223 words]||Claire Meadow||Aug 25, 2014 23:15|
|Lavon Affair [40 words]||S I||Aug 25, 2014 02:08|
|Tutu [41 words]||ninetyninepct||Aug 24, 2014 10:35|
|Therapeutic [29 words]||Five Minutes for Israel||Aug 24, 2014 09:04|
|Eliminated at all costs [68 words]||Peter Levy||Aug 24, 2014 05:50|
|Hamas and ISIS, same as Hezbollah and Iran. A global threat that wears a variety of costumes. [150 words]||E.L., Israel||Aug 23, 2014 16:36|
|The Failure to Denounce [349 words]||Ron Thompson||Aug 23, 2014 13:02|
|Common Sense [29 words]||Chris||Aug 23, 2014 02:33|
|People under occupation have a right to use force [100 words]||Billovitch||Aug 22, 2014 19:46|
|↔ Occupation is too little [108 words]||Mike||Aug 27, 2014 22:30|
|↔ I'm not sure it is legal [89 words]||me||Aug 28, 2014 06:26|
|West Bank [71 words]||Leonard Perlman||Aug 22, 2014 09:30|
|another view [468 words]||henry meyerhoff||Aug 22, 2014 05:17|
|correct, but... [210 words]||Anna||Aug 22, 2014 01:58|
|Israel [53 words]||H. Alpert||Aug 21, 2014 23:23|
|ISIS is to America as Hamas is to Israel - AND MUST BE STOPPED [178 words]||rodney allsworth||Aug 21, 2014 23:17|
|It cannot happen to us [52 words]||jerry Ram||Aug 21, 2014 19:57|
|ISIS ignorance [75 words]||Mark Matthias||Aug 21, 2014 16:54|
|ISIS and Hamas -The Terrorist Umbrella [86 words]||C. Givon||Aug 21, 2014 16:29|
|Hamas must be defeated militarily or disarmed & monitored by only European Armies [129 words]||Yaakov Holansky||Aug 21, 2014 15:32|
|Unconditional surrender is part of the solution, as is reconstruction. [68 words]||Simcha Kruger||Aug 21, 2014 12:38|
|Logic, please [37 words]||martin kessler||Aug 21, 2014 12:36|
|Hamas and peace [59 words]||John Veschini||Aug 21, 2014 12:03|
|Hamas and ISIS [139 words]||michael savell||Aug 21, 2014 10:02|
|Obama's Double Language [47 words]||Jossef Perl||Aug 21, 2014 10:02|
|Carter & Tutu [70 words]||Carl||Aug 21, 2014 09:36|
|The double standard is stinging. [87 words]||Gabby Klein||Aug 21, 2014 09:34|
|Ask Obama If He Would Negotiate With Isis? [26 words]||Norm||Aug 21, 2014 08:49|
|Land grab [46 words]||Clem Alford||Aug 21, 2014 07:42|
|wave of terrorism enveloping the globe must be eradicated [39 words]||howard JOFFE||Aug 21, 2014 07:39|
|↔ Enemies of Civilisation. [109 words]||Felix Lillie||Aug 25, 2014 03:19|
|ISIS and Hamas Both will Survive Anthing But Military Solution [80 words]||Arthur Taub MD PhD||Aug 21, 2014 07:35|
|What took so long? [117 words]||William Klein||Aug 21, 2014 06:13|
|You cannot isolate and compartmentalize terrorism - it is global and the entire ideology must be discredited [413 words]||Dean||Aug 21, 2014 05:30|
|Syria is forgotten [38 words]||Jim||Aug 21, 2014 05:27|
|ISIS "less brutal" than Hamas? [127 words]||Protonius||Aug 21, 2014 05:22|
|Disagree over impact of METHOD of taking a life [118 words]||Protonius||Aug 21, 2014 04:56|
|ISIS [12 words]||Fred||Aug 21, 2014 04:33|
|Why Don't the Israeli Governments Actions Reflect the Obvious Truth? [94 words]||Moshe Tokayer||Aug 21, 2014 04:21|
|Hamas and UNRWA [144 words]||Moredecai Ben Natan||Aug 21, 2014 04:09|
|Tutu's cause [98 words]||Kris Kristian||Aug 21, 2014 03:54|
|Terrorism [115 words]||Jill Rod||Aug 21, 2014 03:38|
|double trouble [108 words]||jane||Aug 21, 2014 03:31|
|An UGLY INCONSISTNCY [22 words]||Roald Øye||Aug 21, 2014 03:06|
|"Orcs" [94 words]||Jens Erik Bech||Aug 21, 2014 03:03|
|rockets prove more than analogies [131 words]||Richard Sherwin||Aug 21, 2014 02:51|
|An understatement [9 words]||Henry Law||Aug 21, 2014 02:34|
|Unfair comparison [74 words]||Alan Lasnover||Aug 21, 2014 02:05|
|Military defeat of Hamas and Isis will only yield a temporary fix [153 words]||Elliott||Aug 20, 2014 23:22|
|You are partially right. [87 words]||rich||Aug 20, 2014 20:43|
|Peace [43 words]||Ezrom Serame Mokgakala||Aug 20, 2014 20:10|
|? correction [34 words]||irene bainbridge||Aug 20, 2014 19:30|
|Thanks for your articulate contributions to sanity [31 words]||FX Meaney||Aug 20, 2014 19:22|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.
The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.
What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.
by Steven J. Rosen
Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."
"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.
In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.
by Burak Bekdil
It was the Islamists who, since they came to power in the 2000s, have reaped the biggest political gains from the "Palestine-fetish."
But the Turkish rhetoric on "solidarity" with our Palestinian brothers often seems askew to how solidarity should be.
by Raheel Raza
One blogger writes that Malala hates Pakistan's military. I believe it is the other way around.
I would so like to see the day when Malala is welcomed back in Pakistan, with the whole country cheering.
by Francesco Sisci
Democratic evolution in China was being seriously considered. The failures of U.S. support for democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Libya gave new food for thought to those opposed to democracy. Lastly, the United States did not strongly oppose the anti-democratic coup d'état that overthrew a democratically elected government in Thailand.
On the other hand, Russia -- dominated by Vladimir Putin, a new autocrat determined to stifle democracy in Russia -- provided a new model.
The whole of Eastern Europe and most of Latin America, formerly in the clutches of dictatorships, are now efficient democracies. This seems to indicate that while democracy cannot be parachuted into a country, there is a broader, longer-term global trend toward democracy and that its growth depends on local conditions.
As economic development needed careful planning, political reforms need even greater planning. The question remains: is China preparing for these political reforms?