Gaza's Inhabitants Share the Blame with Hamas

(BESA Center-Bar-Ilan University) Hillel Frisch - Many assert that Israel must act to improve Gazans' economic welfare, even if this means that Hamas will increase its revenue through taxation of the incoming goods. That revenue is used for terrorist training, armaments, missiles, digging tunnels into Israel, and cultural programs geared at killing and maiming Israelis - measures that cost Israeli lives. The claim that Gaza's inhabitants are hapless victims of Hamas simply has no moral basis. They are silent about, or even openly support, the trading of Israeli soldiers' corpses for Hamas terrorists. Few in Gaza can claim never to have seen the videos Hamas released of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, which were aired on all the Hamas and Islamic Jihad outlets and viewed by tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands. The open support for this evinced across Gaza's social media outlets is especially reprehensible in light of Islamic law, which specifically prohibits such acts. Islamic law has a rich legal tradition on these matters and the rulings are explicit. Islamic law prohibits the taking of innocent prisoners, and the trading of corpses for prisoners or for a ransom is specifically forbidden. Where are the voices of Islamic clergy, Palestinian religious officials in the PA, the Gaza-based Association of Palestinian Islamic Scholars (Rabitat Ulama Filastin), the Islamic men of religious letters, the qadis (religious judges)? Where are their counterparts within the State of Israel? Why, then, are they silent over the persistent, flagrant violation of Islamic law by an organization, Hamas, that considers itself a movement of wasatiyya - the middle-of-the-road Islamic path that presumably opposes the radical jihadism propounded by ISIS and al-Qaeda? If Hamas is so different from ISIS, why is it so similar in deed to that organization? Gazans can expect Israeli empathy only if they take a stand against the barbarism of trading in corpses or incarcerating the mentally unbalanced in order to release terrorists. Gazans need to demonstrate their commitment to basic human values that comport with their Islamic convictions. The writer is a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at its Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

2017-07-07 00:00:00

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