Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Palestine's Cost For Voting For Hamas

Various news agencies were reporting Israeli bombing atrocities in Gaza during the last several days. Most of the media criticism was centered around the shelling of three facilities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

In fact, the Israeli bombings were a subject of criticism by numerous speakers at Tuesday's United Nations Security Council meeting. In recent days, Israel's shells have fallen around three schools, including a girls school, and a health center for Palestinian refugees.

However, there is another side of the story that is being overlooked by the mainstream media. Consider that there were two witnesses that saw a small group of Hamas militants firing mortar rounds from a street near the girls school.

If these eyewitness accounts are correct, it certainly would not be the first time that Hamas was intentionally drawing Israeli fire toward civilians. The militants were near an area where more than 350 innocent refugees had gathered to get away from the bombing.

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev is claiming that among the casualties at the United Nations Relief Agencies were two senior Hamas members. So, what were two members of Hamas doing at the United Nations Relief Agencies to begin with?

That question was posed by the Inner City Press to a spokesperson for the United Nations. The evasive U.N. answer was as follows: "we are defending our right to defend refugees. There were no armed men... they might have been Hamas but they were there as refugees."

The mainstream media is eager to report Israeli mistakes but in its bias, fails to report and highlight the use by Hamas of innocent civilians as human shields and the exploitation of the United Nations Relief facilities for protection and international propaganda.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and most Western nations. Since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007, 1,685 rockets have been launched into Israel. There were more than 1,200 rockets launched by Hamas into Israel last year alone. The intent of Hamas is clearly stated in its Charter: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

The Gaza military offensive is in reality a defensive measure by Israel for the security of the country. It is a military action against a known terrorist organization that is long overdue. In 2006, Palestine elected terrorism in the name of Hamas as its majority party in a free and democratic election. For the country, it was an opportunity lost and in retrospect that vote comes at an increasing humanitarian cost.

Free democratic elections are national decisions that have long term consequences. 100 tons of Israeli bombs dropped on Gaza in the last few weeks and the resulting human tragedy have become Palestine's cost for voting for Hamas.

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