You might think that with all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Gaza lately, the Palestinian suffering would move people like no other cause in the world, but if so, you would be wrong. Few activists, journalists, or diplomats genuinely seem to care what those people are going through.
Consider this: Hamas, not Israel, refuses to allow donated food and medicine in. If it’s “collective punishment” when Israel restricts certain items, what should we call it when Hamas refuses all of the items? Few seem to have given it any thought. So far I haven’t found a single person indignant about the Israeli blockade who has said or written a word about Hamas refusing to allow donated goods into the territory. Even those who actually donated and delivered the items are quiet about it.
And consider what Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote at the Hudson New York website on Tuesday. He describes how the Hamas raid on several non-governmental and human-rights organization offices recently was largely ignored by the media, how Hamas banned municipal elections, how hundreds have been arrested for protesting its draconian rule, and how dozens of opposition leaders have been jailed or killed since the terrorist army seized power. “Under Hamas,” he writes, “the Gaza Strip is being transformed into a fundamentalist Islamic entity resembling the regimes of the Ayatollahs in Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
And yet, for the most part, the only people who vigorously protest Hamas are Palestinians, Israelis, and Israel’s supporters in Western countries. Most “pro-Palestinian” activists in the Middle East and the West hardly say anything about the Taliban of the Eastern Mediterranean except when cheering them on at creepy rallies.
An extraordinary amount of time and energy has been spent in the last ten days denouncing Israel for its supposedly inhumane treatment of Gaza, but Hamas — under which Palestinians fare orders of magnitude worse — gets a pass from most of the people yelling at Israel. It’s not hard to figure out who and what all the fuss is really about. If Gaza weren’t at war with a half-Western Jewish country, Palestinians who suffer as a result would get no more attention than victims of the civil conflict in Yemen.