Hamas has launched a barbaric attack on Israel. There can never be any justification for cold-blooded murder. Hamas has butchered babies, women and innocent children. Hamas massacred young people at a music festival and Hamas kidnapped innocent civilians, including Americans.
Before talking about what we should do next, it is important that some of the facts around the Israel-Palestine issue are made clear. I majored in history at the University of Southampton. The university has within it the Parkes Institute for Jewish/Non-Jewish Relations, and I was privileged to study many aspects of Jewish history, from the fall of Masada, Jews living in Europe throughout the ages, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I shudder when I see falsehoods about this conflict being perpetrated.
In 1948, fresh from the horrors of the Holocaust, the Jewish people finally were given a homeland. It is worth pointing out that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem not only was allied with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis but also had asked Hitler to publicly declare that Germany favored the “elimination of the Jewish national home” in Palestine.
The cause of a Jewish Homeland had been developing for several years, particularly under the British Mandate of Palestine. To be clear, the United Nations developed a plan respecting both Palestinian and Israeli rights and their rights to a homeland.
To be clear, there had never been a nation of Palestine before. Palestinians had lived under successive empires and never had the opportunity of a democracy.
In 1948, rather than accept a fair and equitable solution, the Palestinians, egged on by Arab states, launched a war to annihilate the fledging Jewish state.
After Israel survived, Israel did not go in and invade the Gaza Strip, it did not go in and take over the West Bank. No, it was the Arabs who did so. Egypt took Gaza and Jordan took the West Bank. At the same time, while hundreds of thousands of Palestinians became refugees, 100,000s of Jews were kicked out of Arab states.
Israel has then had to fight successive wars to guarantee there can never be a second Holocaust.
Israel never intended to take over Gaza and the West Bank for all eternity, and Israel has engaged in peace talks several times and has offered a Palestinian homeland eight different times.
From 1948 onward, there have been eight different attempts at giving the Palestinians a homeland, and every single time, the Palestinian leadership, backed up by other Arab states, has said no — the most egregious being the Camp David Plan and then the Taba Plan in 2002. when Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestinians, dragged his feet and then 18 months later suddenly said he was willing to negotiate. This is after rejecting peace and launching the second Intifada, sending terrorist death squads to suicide bomb innocent Israeli civilians.
This context is important as, even after the second Intifada, Israel tried again and withdrew from the Gaza Strip, evacuating settlers in 2005.
Instead of a democratic Palestinian government taking over, we all know what happened: Hamas took over. Indeed, the only Arabs who have full voting rights are the ones who live in Israel. Israeli Arabs have had voting rights and civil rights that their kin can only dream about. In the West Bank, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority keeps postponing elections and rules by decree.
We hear talk of Gaza being an open-air prison. It is worth pointing out that Israel has said it is more than happy to see Egypt expand its borders and take back Gaza, and Egypt has refused. Egypt currently is blocking Palestinian civilians from entering Egypt at the border.
When we hear talk of blockades, we need to ask how Hamas managed to get so many weapons delivered to use to massacre babies this week. Instead of sending aid, or importing goods Palestinians need, it seems more fashionable to import rockets and grenades. Instead of maintaining a clean water supply, Hamas has used water pipes as rocket launchers, depriving the very people they claim to protect clean, fresh drinking water. Hamas does not care about Palestinian civilians; it only cares about murdering Jews. It is Hamas who has enslaved the Palestinians and stolen their futures and any hope of democracy, and it is Hamas who has stolen the futures of Israeli children by killing them in cold blood.
The U.S. must respond. We must rescue American hostages; indeed, help rescue all hostages immediately. We must demand that they are set free, and we must stop trying to appease Iran, the main backer of Hamas.
Terrorists only know strength. We cannot send $6 billion over to Iran. Instead, we must accept that Hamas is as bad as ISIS and just how ISIS was destroyed not by words but by actions, only the destruction of Hamas will bring peace to the region.
Terrorists cannot be allowed to destroy the lives of innocent Israelis and Palestinians, not for one day more.
Neil Fitzgerald is an international nonprofit leader having served in the U.S., U.K. and globally for various nonprofit and charity boards. He served as a conservative council member in the U.K. and as a campaign manager. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.