On the eve of one of the most holy days in Judaism, and night of the Passover seder, Hamas in Gaza used the holiday to attack Israel.
They threw rockets and firebombs at Israelis. They carried out shooting attacks. They sent a 7-year-old girl to “infiltrate” Israel. They used a disabled man to try to provoke a response from Israeli forces. They urged 30,000 people to join a violent mob against Israel at the Gaza border.
The rioters didn’t say “Kill the soldiers!” or “Kill the Israelis!” – instead they said “Kill the Jews!”
How would Christians feel if they were shot and attacked in such a way on Easter morning? How would it feel if they saw a mob yelling “Kill the Christians!”?
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What if a mob throwing rocks were to yell “Kill the Muslims!” on the first day of Ramadan?
Would the world be outraged then?
Many understand that some in Gaza live in poverty, which can lead to frustration and sometimes violence. On the other hand, we know that Hamas receives billions of dollars in outside support. Are they using the funds to build infrastructure for their people? For schools? Hospitals? No. They use the money for weapons and to build tunnels into Israel to perpetrate terrorist attacks. Some of the money has also been found in Hamas leader’s private, hidden bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens.
Hamas revels in showing the world poverty in Gaza, and they falsely blame Israel. The poverty is self-inflicted, and only seen in sectors of the strip. Israel provides supplies to Gaza 364 days/year, whereas Egypt only opens its borders 15 days/year. Notably, a recent video of a protest at a university in Gaza showed young men who were well dressed and well fed, near large modern buildings.
It’s important for westerners to understand the Hamas culture. As Mordechai Kedar, Israeli scholar of Arabic culture notes, “From the standpoint of Hamas, it is not so bad if Gaza Muslims suffer, because that is considered bla’a, one of the tests Allah presents to believers in order to determine whether or not they deserve a passport to Paradise.” He goes on to say this is why Hamas is so ready to sacrifice hundreds and even thousands of innocent civilians.
Hamas is a political and military organization, and also a radical religious one. Kedar notes that “as a religious movement, it must adhere to the principle that forbids any deviation from the path dictated by Allah, who only allows his earthly representatives to talk to the Zionist infidels about technical issues such as transferring food, medical supplies” etc. Hamas can’t be seen as negotiating with Jews, so they incite their people to throw rocks and shoot rockets instead.
In short, the Hamas leadership does not care about its own people. They don’t seek peace. Their true agenda is to eliminate Israel and Jews from the Middle East. This, despite the fact that Jews are indigenous to the area – they have lived there for more than 3,000 years, long before the development of Islam in the early 600s. Our Christian friends are celebrating the ascension of Jesus, a Jew who lived in Judea (West Bank), on the Easter holiday.
While cultural barriers make it challenging, I look forward to a day when Hamas stops exploiting its people for their own political purpose – when they stop using violence to advance their political agenda – when they stop attacking Jews on key holidays, and actually sit face to face with Israelis to negotiate for peace in good faith.