New York Times Op-Ed Blames Israel for Hamas Violence

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There is a school of thought that sees Palestinians as perennial victims, free from responsibility for any actions or decisions that they may take. For advocates of this way of thinking, it is always Israel that is to blame.

No surprise then that the New York Times has given op-ed space to Nathan Thrall from the International Crisis Group whose analysis of the current situation beggars belief:

As Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities and Israel follows up its extensive airstrikes with a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the most immediate cause of this latest war has been ignored: Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the Palestinian “national consensus” government that was formed in early June.

These obstacles include preventing the payment of salaries to Hamas appointed civil servants and not easing Gaza’s border restrictions. Hamas itself is conveniently whitewashed as the Palestinian unity government “pledged to comply with the three conditions for Western aid long demanded by America and its European allies: nonviolence, adherence to past agreements and recognition of Israel.”

Thrall cannot begin to contemplate that Hamas itself, still entrenched in the Gaza Strip, has not changed its violent and rejectionist policies towards Israel. And what of the thousands of rockets that have been launched from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians even before this recent escalation? For Thrall, they are not even worthy of a mention.

Ditto for the kidnapping of three Israeli teens by Hamas-affiliated terrorists. Instead, according to Thrall:

Hamas is now seeking through violence what it couldn’t obtain through a peaceful handover of responsibilities.

Why should Israel be responsible for the payment or rather, non-payment, of Hamas salaries? This bone of contention was a major cause of the breakdown of the Palestinian unity government due to the Palestinian Authority’s unwillingness or inability to pay up rather than Israel, which had no part to play.

Understandably, the U.S. was not prepared to be part of a transfer of funds to a terrorist organization:

Speaking to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, an Israeli security official said that the funds were not transferred to Hamas “due to international sanctions” imposed on the movement, but would not elaborate. He called Hamas’s decision to break a 20-month ceasefire last week by launching rockets at Israel “an internal Palestinian issue that has been thrust upon Israel.”

Why then is firing rockets at Israel an acceptable reaction to an internal dispute between Hamas and Fatah?

Regarding the unity government, did Thrall really expect Israel to reward Hamas for what was a barely aesthetic change? Was Hamas really attempting to follow a peaceful path but was blocked at every turn by Israel? According to Thrall, the answer is an unequivocal yes:

The current escalation in Gaza is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement. The road out of the crisis is a reversal of that policy.

We are left to wonder exactly what world Nathan Thrall is living in and, indeed, what would possess the New York Times to publish such tripe. But then, the New York Times is merely following a pattern of blaming Israel for Palestinian terrorism.

Ultimately, Thrall cannot tell the difference between cause and effect. It was Hamas violence that prompted Israel to blockade the Gaza Strip, not Israel’s actions that caused Hamas to initiate what has now escalated into a full-on Israeli ground incursion.

 

You can send your considered comments to the New York Times – letters@nytimes.com – remembering to include your postal address and daytime telephone number to stand a chance of publication.

 


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