Thursday, May 23

End Hamas’ violence


A mock border wall was on display in Bruin Plaza for Palestine Awareness Week. The wall is meant to represent the border walls put up by Israel around the West Bank.

A mock border wall was on display in Bruin Plaza for Palestine Awareness Week. The wall is meant to represent the border walls put up by Israel around the West Bank. Max Chang


BY MOLLY CORNFIELD

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict yields an everlasting argument about right versus wrong where supporters of either side play an irresolvable blame game.

At every college campus and their versions of Bruin Plaza, heated arguments and slogans fill the public domain as students relay different versions of history.

But how is relaying different versions of history in any way constructive in promoting peace?

Instead, those claiming to work toward peace need to focus on the real problem: Hamas, the radical terrorist organization that rules, but does not stand for, the Palestinian people.

Though Hamas is often depicted as a proponent of Palestinian rights, in actuality Hamas oppresses the Palestinian people and impedes the Palestinian goal of statehood. In fact, Hamas has killed hundreds of fellow Palestinians since coming to power.

For instance, after coming to power in 2006 Hamas developed the tactic of tying up political rivals and throwing them off roofs. Hamas has selfishly deprived its citizens of humanitarian resources and confiscated hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid shipments meant for the Palestinian people.

Instead, Hamas gave that aid to militia and terrorist cells. Hamas’s inhumane attitude toward the Palestinians surpasses mere murder, as Hamas intentionally puts Palestinians at risk by using civilians as human shields. Hamas gunmen deliberately fire on Israel from schools and mosques in order to maximize risk to Palestinian civilians.

In 2005, Israel evacuated all Israeli citizens from Gaza. This peaceful gesture went unrecognized, and Hamas responded with an increase in rocket attacks. Hamas also retaliated by perpetrating 52 suicide bombings, killing 288 Israelis and wounding hundreds more.

Hamas refuses to pursue a peaceful coexistence between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, despite the compromises Israel has made. Hamas’ charter and spokesmen continue to call for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews. What the international community had hoped would be a thriving Palestinian democracy has become a launching pad for terrorism. Efforts have been made by the international community to revive the peace process.

However, Hamas has been entirely uncooperative in regard to the guidelines for legitimacy outlined by the international community and has staunchly refused to meet any of their conditions.

Since Hamas became the de facto government of the Gaza Strip by way of a bloody coup, the Quartet (the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia) have refused to recognize the Hamas government until it meets three conditions: recognize Israel, end violence and terror against Israel, and abide by past Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

By refusing these conditions, Hamas has passed the test of true radicalism. Most fanatic groups that come into power make an attempt to work with the international community, at least displaying a facade of moderation.

This week Palestine Awareness Week comes to UCLA. Hamas’s attitude toward Israel yields no leeway or room for compromise. We have the power to use this platform in order to raise voices for open dialogue and urge both sides to end suffering.

Let’s pressure Israelis and Palestinians to go back to the negotiation table. They have to make tough decisions and take action.

Don’t let cheap rhetoric and empty slogans control the discourse. Supporters of both sides are obligated to find a solution. If we set an example of appeasement and dialogue, our leaders will have to follow.

Cornfield is a second-year undeclared student and public relations chair of Bruins for Israel.

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