Hamas blamed for high death toll

Opinions Columnist | Public Relations Senior

The blame for the mass number of Palestinian innocents being killed in the Israel/Gaza conflict lies with the Hamas government.

A government is elected to protect its people, not endanger them. Hamas must take responsibility for the recent failed ceasefires it caused when it went back on its word and fired at Israel.  Israel is trying to protect its people from future conflict with ceasefires and peace talks. Hamas should be doing the same. If Hamas truly wants its people to stop dying, then it should stop attacking and start negotiating.  

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal was recently interviewed by CNN’s Nic Robertson. During the interview he was asked why Hamas is firing rockets from its own civilian neighborhoods. The Hamas leader kept on dodging the questions, answering with death toll statistics rather than a straightforward answer. That interview is a clear indication that Israel is not the only one using propaganda.

Missiles were found in a UN school located in between two other UN schools. This is where the assumption of Hamas using its citizens as human shields comes into play. Both in the media and in battle, Hamas is hiding behind their citizens and using them as collateral damage. With these factors in play, it is ridiculous to even argue that Hamas is putting their peoples’ best interests before their own.

According to international law, Israel remains the occupying power over Gaza. It has the right to regulate economic flow. Hamas terrorist attacks forced Israel to tighten its borders and security over Gaza. This was a warning to Hamas to stop terrorist attacks, but again, Hamas did not comply and cared more about their cause than the livelihood of its citizens.

The argument that Israel does not have the right to defend themselves and attack Gaza when seeking Hamas terrorists is hypocritical. Have we forgotten the many innocents America killed in Iraq and Afghanistan on our war against terror? Innocents are always the victims when a regime cares more of its cause than its people. It is time for Hamas to take responsibility for its civilian casualties.

Hamas has continuously put its people between hostile relations with Israel from its origins. Hamas’ founding document, the Hamas Covenant of 1988, states, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” Hamas should not have started its politics with such bold statements against a powerful neighbor.

It is clear Israel has far more advanced weaponry than Gaza, which includes advanced defense weapons. These weapons are placed along the border, intercepting the countless missile attacks Gaza has sent forth to Israeli civilian areas. This is why the death toll is so lopsided. Israel has an army whereas Hamas’ warriors dress like civilians.

If Hamas wanted war it should have had better war tactics against Israel to prevent endangering its people. It should have fired missiles in more remote places instead of right next to occupied civilian buildings and told their citizens to listen to, not ignore, Israeli bomb warnings.

Hamas’ argument that Israel is failing to see it as an independent Palestinian state is false. Israel took its people and military out of Gaza in the 2005 disengagement plan. Clearly, Israel recognized Gaza as its own Palestinian state. It was not until Hamas took control of the Gaza strip in 2006-2007 that tensions escalated.

The current ceasefire is the best thing that has happened in months between these two states. Hamas and Israel must gain each other’s trust and stop pointing the finger. This can be a long and complicated process if both governments do not hold up their end of the bargain.

The reasons why this war began are complicated and embedded with “he said, she said” politics.  The fact that Hamas still denies putting its people in danger is mind-boggling. This is not a fight between Israelis and Palestinians. It is a fight between the Hamas and Israeli governments. Above anything else, this is a humanitarian issue and desperately needs to be resolved by these two states quickly in order to protect innocent Gazans. 

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