In the Arab world, objectively analyzing the situation in Gaza and its environs is like deliberately stepping on a mine. Condemning Hamas can be seen as treason or blasphemy within the movement and among its supporters. It’s why even many who know that Hamas is a terrorist movement choose silence over honesty.
But in times like these, silence is shameful.
It is shameful given the brutality of Hamas’s attack against hundreds of civilians in Israel’s south, acts of violence against women, children, and even babies that demand to be called out.
But Hamas must be condemned for its violence against Palestinians, too.
Hamas has no problem shedding the blood of its people in order to achieve political and authoritarian goals. These goals have become linked to the regional agendas if its allies—Iran, Hezbollah, and even the Houthis. Of course, they had help from Israel; occupation and oppression generate despair, which in turn generates extremism. Israel’s decades’ long campaign of discrimination, harassment, and violence against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been fertile soil for the growth and development of extremist thought. Hamas could never have thrived absent the painful reality that millions of Palestinians live in.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II explained the situation well in his speech before the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly when he said, “Five million Palestinians live under occupation no civil rights, no freedom of mobility, no say in their lives.” No architecture for regional security can withstand such human rights abuses.
No doubt, the unprecedented brutal attack in the South of Israel created a state of euphoria for Hamas. Yet what was the goal? What did Hamas want to achieve from the “Al-Aqsa Tsunami” operation?
Saleh Al-Arouri, deputy head of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, told Al Jazeera that the “Al-Aqsa tsunami” operation was a preemptive operation against one Israel was intending to carry out against Gaza. Yet what did they actually achieve? As a result of the Hamas operation, Israel lost over a thousand civilians and soldiers, but it gained unprecedented international support.
Now Israel will begin the slow work of destroying Hamas, which will cost thousands of Palestinian lives. If Hamas’s goal was to drag two million Palestinians in Gaza into a war they did not want, they it succeeded. If their goal was the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, they succeeded. Beyond the atrocities committed against Israelis are the deaths of the Palestinian civilians that will follow.
The legitimate right to resist occupation and oppression does not include dragging an entire people into a war—including children, women, and the elderly, millions of civilians who no one consulted and who will inevitably be killed, on both sides of the conflict. And Hamas, which turned its weapons on the Palestinians when it usurped the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority 16 years ago, will not be embarrassed to kill civilian prisoners, as its official spokesperson clearly stated.
At the same time, it is important to realize that when people lose hope because of oppression, occupation, and humiliation, they no longer fear death. Death becomes the best and easiest option because it puts an end to their suffering.
The only way out of this is to find a way to peace, for both sides to learn the value of life.
Dr. Muhannad Alazzeh is a former member of the Jordanian Senate and a human rights expert.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.