For the last few months the media have been reporting about Israel's temporary banishment of 400+ Hamas terrorist leaders. The U.N. Security Council, unconcerned apparently about dreadful things being perpetrated in many part of the world, "strongly condemned" Israel for these temporary expulsions and threatened sanctions. Wishing to avoid such sanctions Israel offered to take back over 100 of these people and to cut the exile of the remainder in half. In order to be able to judge Israel's actions, the world must understand who and what Hamas and the Muslim fundamentalist really are.
What are the facts?
A fundamentalist terror organization. Hamas is a Muslim fundamentalist terrorist organization that was born in Gaza in 1978. Hamas ideology combines pan-Arab religious and fundamentalist principles with radical Palestinian aims. It insists that "all of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea is holy Arab territory" and that the "liberation" of all of that territory, not just the "West Bank" and Gaza but all of it, including Tel Aviv and Haifa and, of course, Jerusalem is the immutable aim of the movement. Autonomy for the Palestinian Arabs, as envisioned in the Camp David Accords, or even a Palestinian state, as proposed by the PLO, are totally unacceptable or at best just tactical steps in the "liberation of all of Palestine."
Terror also against fellow Arabs. A basic ingredient in the ideology of Hamas is the use of terror, not only against Israeli Jews, but against all who oppose its political and religious zeal and ideology. Hamas has killed hundreds of Palestinians, usually in the most gruesome manner and often in front of their families, for being "collaborators" with the Israelis or for suggesting political solutions to the "Palestinian problem" that are not in full accord with Hamas' ideology. But Hamas and fundamentalist Islam are not foes of just Israel. They are in mortal conflict with all secular Arab regimes. Some years ago, Iraq's Saddam Hussein boasted that he (personally) had shot 600 of "those traitors." In 1982, in response to a fundamentalist uprising, President Assad of Syria ordered an all-out assault on the Syrian city of Hama, in which an estimated 20,000 people were killed. During the 1988 riots in Algiers, the army unceremoniously shot and killed between 150 and 300 demonstrators. Similar bloody scenarios have been replayed in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Arab countries. There was never any public outcry. The media largely ignored those vents, and there was certainly no emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council
Expulsion, a legitimate punishment. Different countries have different customs and different laws. In the United States, we have the death penalty by hanging, lethal injection, firing squad, electric current, or poison gas which is considered unspeakable and barbaric in much of the world, including Israel. The Arabs have public beheadings and amputations, which we consider to be beyond the pale. The Israelis, having adopted their laws from the British mandatory power, punish with expulsion for certain serious crimes.
There are those who insist that, regardless of the crimes committed by "the 400," and regardless of Israeli law, the expulsions are in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. But that Convention was composed in 1949, for a very specific purpose, namely to prevent repetition of the crimes of the Nazis, who, to serve their manic purposes, transported entire populations (or their survivors) from one end of Europe to another. And the Convention clearly states that "...the occupying power may undertake total or partial evacuation...if the security of the population...demands it." Certainly, Israel, just as any other country, has the right to self-preservation and the duty to protect its citizens. And that duty demanded, in conformity with Israeli law and in full compliance with international law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention, that the 400+ Hamas terrorists be expelled.
Despite reams of bad press, it is clear that Israel has shown and continues to show a forbearance towards those who have vowed to destroy it that no other country would have shown. We, nor any other western country, would tolerate such open sedition, armed insurrection against established authority, and incitement to the destruction of our country. The fact that the Israelis have allowed the so-called intifada to survive for so many years, that they have expelled for only a limited term the 400+ leaders of the Hamas terrorists, is testimony to Israel's humanitarianism. That these people continue to camp in no-man's land, with none of the Arab countries wishing to receive them, is being done for purposes of media circus only. Can the world imagine what Israel would do if Syria, for instance, would expel the Jews still remaining in that country? Israel would immediately take them in of course, just as it has taken in hundreds of thousands of other refugees and expellees from Arab countries.
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Gerardo Joffe, President