Hamas' goal should be to help its own people, not destroy Israel

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The PG’s Aug. 7 editorial cartoon is a grotesque distortion of the situation in Gaza. And, just in case your readers didn’t get the message, the introduction above the cartoon on Rob Rogers’ blog misleadingly suggests that the depiction represents a mainstream view held by an unidentified “many people.” The images in the cartoon leave no room for doubt that Mr. Rogers wants your readers to believe Israel is responsible for the people of Gaza being held hostage there under the threat of Israeli attack.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In 2005, Israel left Gaza. Since then there has been no Israeli presence in Gaza. Almost immediately, Hamas began firing rockets into southern Israel. Now armed by Iran and others, these rockets have become more sophisticated through the years and are capable of reaching the middle of the country and the north, an intolerable situation. Hamas took complete control of Gaza in 2007 and since then has violently repressed the population and pursued a murderous strategy of terror against Israeli civilians.

During the most recent hostilities more than 3,000 rockets have been launched from Gaza, indiscriminately targeting most of the civilian population of Israel. Hamas embeds its weapons and rocket launchers in densely populated areas of Gaza in proximity to schools, hospitals and mosques and instructs the civilians in those areas to ignore advance warnings from Israel to evacuate before Israel fires on those targets. In addition, Hamas stole tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid and building materials meant for the care and well-being of its own people to construct a complex network of tunnels into Israel from which it would attack, kill and try to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.

What it will take to stop this latest round of fighting is for Hamas to think more about improving the lives of its own people and abandon its single-minded goal of eliminating the state of Israel. Hamas holds the key to a better life for the people of Gaza. It is up to the rest of the world to convince Hamas to lay down its arms and set the people of Gaza on a course toward improving their lives.

Israel has shown time and again it is ready for peace and security.

Regional Director
Anti-Defamation League
Cleveland, Ohio


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