Hamas, a brutal occupier of Gaza, oppressing and murdering Muslim and Jew, Palestinian and Israeli alike
OPINION- William R Collier Jr- There seems to be a trend among those who believe that Israel is riding roughshod over the Arab Palestinians, and it is a dangerous trend…for Arabs and Muslims. That trend is the excusing of extremist violence and tyranny directed not at Israel but at fellow Arabs by the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah, and ISIS. Average normal Muslims who want to live in a free and modern society, who embrace the values of tolerance and liberty, even for non-Muslims in their midst, are infidels to these bad actors.
The continued allowance and excuse-making for any group or entity that opposes the Israelis is only making those radical, hateful, and despotic groups more powerful in the Middle East. Countries that wish to prevent the spread of tyrannical Salafism in their land need to think twice about supporting radical Salafists abroad, as we see with Qatar and its near love affair with Hamas. Does a true Muslim use his own children and wife as a human shield while cowering behind women’s skirts to make war? I have never met a real Muslim who would not despise this, but when Hamas does this, few Arab or Muslim countries openly rebuke it as they should. I can only think of Egypt as one Muslim nation that has openly rebuked these practices by Hamas.
Even among Palestinians, there is a growing jingoistic fervor that is causing otherwise kind and decent Muslims, whose moderation is itself offensive to groups like Hamas, to look the other way, to make excuses for Hamas, while Hamas grows in strength. Sadly, if the trend continues, Hamas will march right into the West Bank and many an Arab and a Muslim will see what terror Hamas itself inflicts on its own people. Who needs the Israeli “occupation”: when Hamas occupies any space everyone who fails to follow their throwback ideology of barbarism disguised as Islam will suffer. They cause Palestinians to suffer even worse than if Israel occupied their land.
The damage being done to the Muslim world and Arab nations is immense. There is a growing suspicion in America that Hamas and Hezbollah, and even ISIL, are the true face of the Arab and Muslim world and the negative consequences could be tremendous. While this is not true (anyone who knows anything about the Arab world can easily attest to that), seeing no real alternative than these Salafist totalitarian extremists, Americans will assume it is.
Never mind that President Obama is largely ignoring this popular sentiment, for he will not be president forever. It is possible that the next president will be so influenced by this sentiment that the US will become increasingly hostile to Arab and Muslim nations and lump them all in with the likes of Hamas.
Three nations, two not even Arab, are making this possible. They are Turkey, Iran, and Qatar. Turkey is lurching towards becoming a Salafist dictatorship under Erdogan, Iran is a Salafist dictatorship, and Qatar is just, apparently, trying to placate Salafists, hoping that its neighbors, instead of itself, earn the ire of those radical fascists. These three nations are giving the Salafist totalitarians money and diplomatic cover, and even weapons.
Is the dream of a Palestinian state free of Jewish occupation worth the cost of raising up an occupier like Hamas, which hates all Arabs and Muslims who fail to adhere to its Salafist totalitarianism? Would Hamas not be a more brutal occupier of Palestinian lands than the Israelis?
Salafist radicalism is as much the enemy to average moderate, decent, and freedom loving Muslims as it is to Christians and even Jews. Whatever the Arab beef with Israel, using and empowering Hamas as a weapon against Israel is a dangerous game that is not worth the risk to the peace, safety, and freedom of Arabs and Muslims in general.
I want a free Gaza. why not start by freeing Gaza from Hamas?