During the mass protests along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel last weekend, sixteen Palestinians were killed. Western leaders like the EU’s foreign-policy chief, Frederica Mogherini, and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders responded as if the IDF had opened fired on peaceful protestors. But, writes Eli Lake, this was not at all the case:
It’s not just that the Israeli Defense Force claims to have video showing peaceful marchers interspersed with militants wielding Molotov cocktails and burning tires. The organizers of this civil disobedience, Hamas, are themselves devoted to bloodshed. As the Qassem Brigades, [a Hamas military unit], helpfully announced on Sunday, five of the sixteen marchers killed . . . were [its] members. [Israel identified five more as known terrorists.] . . .
Bernie Sanders . . . tweeted, [in reference to the demonstration], “it is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.” [But] the organizers of the march, Hamas, do not allow Palestinians to “protest for a better future.” As the sovereigns of Gaza, Hamas authorities arrest Palestinians for spreading rumors online. They have cracked down on male barbers for cutting women’s hair. If you are deemed a
“collaborator,” Hamas has been known to drag your corpse behind a motorcycle.
All of that aside, even if Hamas were committed to nonviolence—which it clearly is not—its aims should horrify Western progressives and conservatives alike. Hamas does not seek a two-state solution; it seeks to replace the world’s only Jewish state with one ruled by fanatics. The title of the weekend’s event, “The March of Return,” is a giveaway. The idea is that every Palestinian family and its descendants have a right to return to the Israeli territory that Palestinians fled during the 1948 war for independence. Such a return would overwhelm the existing Jewish majority.
And this is why it’s so dangerous to treat last weekend’s march like the Arab Spring or the brave demonstrations in Iran a few months ago.