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Last updated: August 23. 2014 2:15PM - 481 Views
Mark Figley Contributing columnist



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Mention the term Hamas to the average American and the reaction may be one of puzzlement. Ask the same question of any Israeli and the reaction will be anything but.


On June 12, 2014, three Israeli teens were kidnapped in the West Bank by suspected members of Hamas, a terrorist off-shoot organization affiliated with the radical Muslim Brotherhood. Israel then launched a massive search operation, arresting hundreds of suspected Hamas members. Despite denials by Hamas of any involvement in this act, it publicly praised the kidnappers. On June 30, the teens’ bodies were discovered beneath a pile of rocks in a field. Israel vowed to punish the perpetrators, and on July 1 attacked Hamas’ positions from the air after several rockets were fired into Israel.


In the days and weeks that followed, Israel would face some 3,500 rockets reining down upon it, compliments of Hamas. On July 17, Israel launched a ground assault into the Gaza Strip for the third time in five years. The Jewish state was determined to destroy Hamas’ rocket-launching capacity and its extensive underground tunnel network used to attack and kidnap unsuspecting Israelis. Yet despite the continuing threat Israel has faced for years at the hands of Hamas, world opinion and media bias has concentrated its blame upon Israel for the heavy civilian casualties (1,900 Palestinians killed and over 9,000 wounded) that resulted from its Gaza invasion.


What of the tremendous toll this perpetual state-of-war has had on the people of Israel?


While another truce has come and gone, with Israel withdrawing the majority of its forces from Gaza, Hamas continues to fire rockets that once led up to 80 percent of Israeli citizens to exist in bunkers during the height of the conflict. Israel has reacted with military strikes upon the same rockets that led it to originally say enough is enough, remaining equally determined to spare as many Gaza civilians as possible in defending itself. Israel’s concern is unmistakable, taking the form of text messages and leaflets warning Palestinians of coming military strikes, even at the risk to Israeli military forces. Has such a concept ever been conceived of during the course of modern warfare, especially when facing an enemy as ruthless as Hamas? Yet although Israel has weakened the Hamas threat, destroying approximately 32 of its terror tunnels (one of which was used during a surprise Hamas mission that led to the death of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnapping of a third), the threat of such tunnels has led Israel to consider constructing an underground security fence to combat them. Is there even one other nation on earth that lives under such conditions?


Contrast Israel’s mindset of sparing the civilians of an adversary with that of Hamas, an organization that deliberately targets Jewish civilians, while using its own women and children as human shields, hoping they are killed to further their cause. This is achieved through firing weapons from schools, hospitals and private residences, refusing to allow civilians to leave. This is depravity without bounds that is further spelled out in the Hamas charter.


Founded in August, 1988, this charter calls for the destruction of Israel. Its Preamble states that “Israel will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” Article Seven of the Charter states, “The time (liberating Palestine) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide between rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” Article Thirteen says “(Peace) initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.”


Still, despite the threat posed by radical Islam, the international community blames Israel for the violence in Gaza, with some even calling for an “imposed settlement” of the Jewish/Palestinian conflict. The Obama administration even committed $47 million in aid to Hamas, pressuring Israel to show military restraint despite continued enemy rocket attacks, while U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-Moon went as far to accuse Israel of engaging in war crimes during its Gaza incursion. Anti-Israeli bias is everywhere.


During the war in Gaza, social media sites and pro-Palestinian demonstrators across the U.S. and Europe have increasingly referenced the Holocaust. Hollywood actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem signed an open letter condemning the Israeli “genocide” in Gaza. Signs and chants of “Death to Israel” have been common at American protests, and signs have targeted “Jews,” not Israelis. Violent anti-Semitic rallies have occurred in Paris, with calls to expel Jews. Anti-Jewish slogans have been chanted during Berlin protests. Meanwhile, British protests have criticized the BBC’s “pro-Israel” war coverage.


Anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews is on the march. While much of the “civilized” world sleeps, ominous signs are all around that modern-day Naziism is alive and well. Admitting this fact is the first step in preventing the history of the Holocaust from repeating itself.


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