Martin Dyckman: If the people of Gaza want peace, they need to get rid of Hamas.

It would be awkward to talk about a moral high ground in a context such as the conflict in Israel and Gaza, where so many innocents are dying and so many more — on both sides — are in peril.

The current clash, however, should be an eye-opener for those harrumphing outsiders who would hold Israel to nobler standards than they seem to expect of its enemies.

Such people include — as an example — the Presbyterian Church (USA), whose convention voted narrowly last month to disinvest in three companies that do business with Israel.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza has been one of the policies most deplored by high-minded critics — even as they have had little to say about Egypt’s equivalent blockade or, until now, the Hamas habit of firing rockets into Israel without caring where they fall.

Now there is indisputable evidence of the justification for those blockades.

As if the rockets weren’t already justification enough

Israeli soldiers have uncovered so far dozens of elaborate and costly tunnels, mostly from Gaza into Israel.

Hamas built them for the exclusive purpose of committing terrorism –murder and kidnapping — inside Israel.

One was used in 2006 to kidnap the Israeli soldier Galid Shalit, who was held for five years before being exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

It was the discovery of a mile-long tunnel last year that prompted Israel to tighten the blockade by prohibiting all imports of concrete into Gaza.

When that happened, the harrumphers and the tsk-tskers wept tears over all the homes that would not be built for needy Gazans.

As if Hamas ever intended to build any.

By one report, on the pro-Israel website Tablet, those tunnels have consumed 800,000 tons of concrete.

That would be enough to build an entire city.

I suspect the figure is wildly exaggerated. But by any reasonable measure, those tunnels represent significant resources that could have — and should have — been invested in schools, hospitals, houses, and infrastructure for the people of Gaza.

That concrete could have even been used to build bomb shelters for them, or to store Hamas’ rockets in secure bunkers at safe distances from the mosques and schools where it seems Hamas prefers to stash them.

Israel’s policies over the years have not been blameless. Settlement construction and expansion, for example, should have been halted long ago.

But those who wish to judge Israel should keep in mind this fact: It is the only nation in the history of the world to have never known peace on any single day of its existence.

Its former enemies Egypt and Jordan eventually agreed to make peace, recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

In the West Bank — by rights, the future Palestinian state — Fatah’s Palestinian Authority acknowledges Israel’s right to exist.

But Hamas, Fatah’s new reconciliation partner, remains an implacable enemy, the obdurate obstacle to any comprehensive peace and the recognition of a viable Palestinian state.

To get Israel back to the bargaining table, Hamas would need only to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.

But it won’t, because it can’t.

Hamas’ sole reason for being — its business model, so to speak — is its sworn determination to destroy Israel.

Expecting Hamas to abandon that is like asking the Mafia to give up loan sharking, gambling, and extortion.

It’s what they do.

It’s all they know.

The people of Gaza surely knew that when they voted Hamas into power. But they were beguiled by Hamas’ promises to govern more honestly than Fatah.

It is something other than honest, however, to divert civilian commodities to importing rockets and exporting terror.

It is corruption of the basest sort to use a civilian population as a cover and shield for launching deadly rockets and building sinister tunnels.

If the people of Gaza are to live in peace, they need to get rid of Hamas.

For all of its military power, Israel can’t do that for them.

Golda Meir famously remarked — 57 years ago — that peace would come “when the Arabs all love their children more than they hate us.”

It’s understood that Hamas hates Israel. It should be just as plain to the world that Hamas doesn’t give a damn about the children of Gaza either.

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the St. Petersburg Times. He lives near Waynesville, North Carolina. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Martin Dyckman

One comment

  • Ruth Cann

    August 1, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Mr. Dyckman…Thank you for greeting me with your article in the Sun-Sentinel this morning…Haven’t read anything to compare to it. Glad to know someone else gets it… Eerie how your Galid Shalit example appeared simultaneously with breaking news this morning…

    Glad you are not one of those in the media remaining neutral in order to give terrorists equal time with democracy… Highly commendable! Only wish the world knew what you and I do…
    Again, thank you…

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704