Hamas Must Stop Attempting to Bomb Israel

Hamas is “objectively even if not subjectively” the best friend of the Israeli settlers, right-wing Israeli extremists, and the Netanyahu government. Hamas leaders know very well that their bombs are not getting through Israel’s missile shield. There is no possible military advantage to continuing these futile attempts to rectify the imbalance in casualties between the 200 Palestinians already killed by Israeli attacks and the one Israeli killed by Hamas shells. But the extremists in Hamas, like the rogue band of criminals who murdered three Israeli youth, have succeeded in their goal: to create fear among Israelis that leads them to rally to those racists who wish to punish the entire Palestinian people for the actions of a few.  Such reactionaries wish to thereby “prove” to the Palestinian people that there is no possibility of peace with Israel and to discredit the strategy of the Palestinian Authority that has renounced violence for the past 8 years.

Still, the Palestinian Authority achieves little in the way of independence and dignity for all its efforts at negotiations with Netanyahu. Hamas’ actions, particularly its bombings of Israeli civilian targets, are as unethical and outrageous as the human rights violations carried out by Israel in its bombings of Gaza that have caused widespread death and injuries, even while Israel’s seven-year blockade of Gaza leaves the Gazans, most of whom have never endorsed Hamas’ policies, without the medical supplies necessary to heal the wounded.

The message to Hamas from Spiritual Progressives is this: Stop the attempts to bomb Israel.  These acts are immoral, ineffective, and counter-productive toward the only legitimate goal: peace and openhearted reconciliation among the people of the region.

Yes, I know that Israel’s policies over the past three decades have set all this up. We at Tikkun have been consistent critics of Israel’s Occupation of the West Bank, its blockade of Gaza, and its talking of peace while building more and more settlements thereby “creating facts” on the ground that make it harder and harder for there to be a place for an independent Palestinian state.  We criticize Israel’s violation of the dignity and human rights of the Palestinian people. Israel could change all this by adopting humane policies toward the West Bank and Gaza. Instead, its recent actions terrorizing the Palestinian population gives Hamas the support it needs. But the Israeli government is more concerned to destroy the alliance between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas than to provide a reasonable life for Palestinians. So the tragedy continues and Israelis and Palestinians both suffer.

This is not to minimize the pain of Israelis—rushing to shelters to avoid missiles that are thankfully being intercepted. If such attacks were to happen in the U.S., the result would be a right-wing triumph even worse than the one after 9/11. Netanyahu’s recent statement essentially confirming that he will never accept an independent Palestinian state show how foolish the U.S.’s calls for “more negotiations” are, because the U.S. just adds fuel to the fire by simultaneously asserting that it supports Israel’s right to defend itself when in danger. Israel’s legitimate fear of ISIS, Iran, and fundamentalist forces in the Middle East, does not excuse the state from confronting those of us who argue that the strategy of “power over” is not one that will strengthen Israel in the long run—it will weaken it. It is a strategy of generosity of spirit and generosity of action that could undermine the emerging anti-Israel coalition.

But that is exactly what Hamas seeks to head off, because Hamas wants to encourage those forces in Israel that will, through their repressive actions toward Palestinians, convince much of the rest of the world that Israel is an evil force that must be eliminated. In the short run, Hamas’ goal is to weaken the Palestinian Authority and to emerge as the champion of Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israel’s immoral policies toward the Palestinian people. Hamas’s demands all seem quite reasonable to most Palestinians, and really make sense: free the newly arrested Palestinians who were doing nothing but sitting in their homes when Israeli troops invaded looking for the three kidnapped Israeli teens (a complete sham since the Israeli top leadership knew that those teens had already been murdered the very night they were kidnapped), stop the blockade of Gaza and allow Gazans access to the Mediterranean sea for fishing purposes, and end the targeted assassinations of Palestinians and the drone strikes that have caused an average of 2-3 children to die every week for the past eight years (something that most Israelis and most Americans don’t know or can’t grasp). This form of state terrorism is either ignored or excused away by many Israelis and by the media and therefore most people have no idea of how awful it is for Palestinians to live under these conditions.

Of course, the only real solution is a peace agreement. We at Tikkun have already outlined the terms of that agreement, and they are described more fully in Embracing Israel/Palestine.


3 thoughts on “Hamas Must Stop Attempting to Bomb Israel

  1. I hate to say but dear Rabbi you remind of Uri Avnery who in a 2012 article called Iranian president Ahmadinejad to be a “Mossad agent” based on similar to your twisted theory.

    I like you to listen the truth about Hamas from an Israeli-born British writer, author and musician, Gilad Atzmon.

    “The situation is clear. Israel is desperate for a break in the violence. In spite of its endless ‘bravado,’ and military might, Israel lacks the military capacity and the courage to encounter Palestinian resistance on the ground. The Israeli elite recognizes that the military can’t resolve the problem, if anything, its extensive use would diminish Israeli manoeuvrability on the international front,” wrote Atzmon.

    “Hamas, on the other hand, has won its biggest military, political and ideological victory to date – it has managed to deliver some elementary messages to all of Israeli society: “You are living on our Palestinian stolen land, our right to return is elementary and is not negotiable. You Israelis don’t belong here, you never did, and you better had consider your options immediately,” adds Atzmon.

    “Hamas’ strategy in the last week has displayed a rare genius in the method it used to capitalise on Israel’s superior technology and the Iron Dome in particular. What could be smarter or more ethical than putting Israel under a constant barrage of rockets, delivering your essential message with missiles, yet knowing that no one will be hurt?,” says Atzmon.



    It has happened so many times before, and it is happening again.‎
    Palestinians kidnap and murder three Jewish teenagers. Palestinians fire thousands of missiles into ‎Israeli town and villages. Each missile is intended to kill and terrorize Jewish men, women and children. ‎
    Each of these missile attacks is obviously an act of war, as well as a war crime. Those committing these ‎acts have for years publicly and proudly declared that their goal is to destroy Israel and kill every Jew in ‎Israel. These are the people that dress their children in suicide vests for the world press, and raise their ‎children to have no goal in life other than do die killing Jews. ‎
    Predictably, the peace loving Politically Correct world, as it always does whenever Palestinians kill or ‎terrorize Jews in Israel, minimizes these atrocities, describing them as “unfortunate”. ‎
    Then these same peace loving Politically Correct people and pundits will repeat their false argument that ‎the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are the cause of these murders and terrorist attacks. They ‎assert that if only Israel would withdraw to the 1967 borders, peace and harmony would reign in the ‎region. For them, the Jews are the Oppressors of the poor Palestinians, who have no choice but to ‎shoot missiles into Israel as heroic acts of resistance. It is therefore only Jewish stubbornness and ‎intransigence that prevents peace. ‎
    They in effect assert that the Jews have only themselves to blame for acts of those who want to kill ‎them. This is the essence of anti-Semitism through the ages. ‎
    The fact that Palestinians have fired thousands of mortars and missiles into Israel from the Gaza Strip, ‎which Israel totally vacated years ago, seems not to matter to these people and pundits. The fact that ‎there were dozens of terrorist attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against Jews in ‎Israel prior to 1967 is either ignored or forgotten. The fact that the PLO, an organization dedicated to ‎the destruction of Israel, was created in 1964, three years before any Settlements, is never mentioned. ‎
    All of this proves once again that where Jews are concerned, facts and logic have never been ‎particularly relevant. ‎

    And, predictably, the Politically Correct International Community, will warn Israel not to react to these ‎missiles and attacks for fear of derailing the Peace Process. If Israel responds militarily to these attacks, ‎the Palestinians will once again cry that Israel is using “Disproportionate Force” and inflicting “Collective ‎Punishment” on them. The peace loving Politically Correct International Community, which remained ‎silent as the Palestinians have fired literally thousands of missiles into Israel, will of course join in ‎condemning Israel. ‎
    And, once again, there will be little or no press coverage of the hundreds of missiles being fired into ‎Israel from the Gaza Strip, or the damage death and terror being caused among Jews in Israel by those ‎missiles. The press will, once again, never mention that the Palestinians are intentionally firing these ‎missiles from areas where children live precisely so that those children will be killed if Israel chooses to ‎try to stop those missiles from being fired. The Palestinians will then parade bodies of their dead ‎children, who they have raised to have no other goal in life other than to die as suicide bombers killing ‎Jews, in front of the world press, to make sure Israel is blamed for its aggression. ‎
    Of course, every missile attack or murder of Jews in Israel is “Collective Punishment” for the ‎unforgivable crime of simply being alive, being a Jew and living in Israel. But we never hear that from ‎anyone in the press or in the Politically Correct world. ‎
    If a Palestinian blows himself up in a suicide bombing, killing Jewish men, women and children in the ‎process, the Palestinians celebrate and Israel is blamed. If Israel kills a suicide bomber before he can ‎kill Jews, the Palestinians cry that Israel is oppressing them, and of course Israel is blamed. There is ‎literally no act of violence or atrocity the Palestinianscan commit against Jews for which the Jews will not ‎be blamed. ‎
    The Politically Correct world’s message to the Jews of Israel basically comes down to this: “ If you ‎defend yourselves you will harm innocent Palestinians. The only Politically Correct thing you can do is ‎die. Let them kill you or you will ruin the Peace Process.” ‎
    It is all so predictable. It is all so banal.‎
    Israel should respond to this vile absurdity with its own clear policy: ‎
    ‎“If you attack and kill our people there is no Peace Process to ruin. We will not allow ourselves to be ‎killed in order to placate world opinion or satisfy some notion of what is Politically Correct. We will not ‎apologize for choosing to live. We will defend ourselves. We will no longer go quietly to our deaths. If ‎any harm comes to Palestinians because we refuse to die, that is the responsibility of the Palestinians ‎who choose to attack us and put their own children at risk.”‎
    For thousands of years before the creation of Israel, people slaughtered and terrorized Jews as they ‎wished with impunity, secure in the knowledge that the Jews were powerless to defend themselves. ‎
    If the establishment of the State of Israel has any significance, it must at least stand for this: Those who ‎kill Jews now do so at their own risk.‎

    Michael S. Kolker
    July 28, 2014‎

    Michael S. Kolker is a trial attorney in Seattle. He has lived in Israel

  3. As it has been indicated above that Michael Kolker is a trial attorney, I would observe that much of what he says is an emotional rather than factual appeal to the jury. As a Jew, how could I not be moved by his stirring reminder of two thousand years of oppression, his impassioned plea that Jews must never allow themselves to be defenseless again. Inspiring stuff! But he leaves out a few points. Instead of the “founding myth,” the forcible displacement of many Palestinians under a “mandate” granted by a colonialist Western power (I say this not to question Israel’s “right to exist” but to suggest that even the hard-line version of the Palestinian position cannot be dismissed if one is attempting to negotiate with them); the fact that Israel does not actually equal “the Jews” as Mr. Kolker’s response implies (some of whom could foresee, in 1948 and earlier, the predicament in which Israel find itself today); the fact that civilian settlement of the West Bank is not the same thing as justifiable continued military occupation pending a peace settlement, but a middle-finger to the world announcing annexation. I don’t think Hamas are “good guys,” but I believe their rockets were meant to provoke exactly the response we saw from Israel last summer — unnecessary overkill, the appearance of contempt for non-Israeli lives. Taking the bait, the message Israel sent the world was, to paraphrase: “Those who kill Jews do so at the risk of Jews killing innocent children.”

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