Are the Gazans Who Voted for Hamas Ever Responsible for their Actions?
Hamas didn’t just take power. It won an election. There was never any doubt then or before what its favorite tactics involved.
The media acts as if the Muslims in Gaza are in a category apart from Hamas, but they’re no more separate than the Japanese were from their government or the Germans were from their government. Less so since Hamas did win an election.
That’s the question that Thane Rosenbaum raises.
The people of Gaza overwhelmingly elected Hamas, a terrorist outfit dedicated to the destruction of Israel, as their designated representatives. Almost instantly Hamas began stockpiling weapons and using them against a more powerful foe with a solid track record of retaliation.
What did Gazans think was going to happen? Surely they must have understood on election night that their lives would now be suspended in a state of utter chaos. Life expectancy would be miserably low; children would be without a future. Staying alive would be a challenge, if staying alive even mattered anymore.
To make matters worse, Gazans sheltered terrorists and their weapons in their homes, right beside ottoman sofas and dirty diapers. When Israel warned them of impending attacks, the inhabitants defiantly refused to leave.
On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen, invite them to dinner with blood on their hands and allow them to set up shop in your living room as their base of operations. At that point you begin to look a lot more like conscripted soldiers than innocent civilians.
The soldier-civilian distinction has never mattered to the other side. As I’ve already documented, there are numerous Fatwas defining all Israelis as soldiers. And Hamas and its supporters insist on defining all civilians as Jihadists.
Hamas does not recognize the distinction between fighters and civilians either on its side or on the Israeli side. That makes the conventional laws of wars useless.
I had discussed this topic earlier in The Myth of Collective Punishment.
When the Palestinian Authority unity government of Hamas and the PLO wants to go to the UN, it is said to represent the political will of a populace. But when Hamas attacks Israel, suddenly it’s not a collective act, but an individual crime. If Israel targets Hamas leaders, then it’s attacking political representatives. But if Israel blockades an area run by terrorists who claim to be a state, it’s accused of engaging in collective punishment. The terrorists claim political immunity as leaders of a collective and immunity from collective attack as individuals, rather than leaders and citizens of a political entity.
The terrorists use rules that they don’t believe in and don’t follow against their enemies.
We have to come to terms with the fact that many of the rules of warfare that we follow have no application when fighting terrorists not only because the terrorists violate them, but because these rules are alien to them.