Archive for the ‘HAMAS’ Category

Another Muhammad Movie in the Works

In HAMAS, ISLAM, MUHAMMAD, SON OF HAMAS on September 19, 2012 at 16:44

Son of top Hamas leader to produce epic historical account of the prophet Muhammad despite controversy surrounding Anti-Islam film.

Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of the NY Times bestseller Son of Hamas, condemns the film Innocence of Muslims, on one hand, and the ignition of violent protests throughout the Arab world, on the other.

Innocence of Muslims is clearly not even worth mentioning,” released Yousef, the son of a top Hamas leader who turned his back on his father’s terrorist organization and worked to save the lives of many innocent people from terrorism. “While I personally find this Anti-Islam ‘video’ tasteless and insulting, it is the price we pay for democracy and freedom. This video is obscene and offensive to both Muslims and non-Muslims and to make matters worse, political and religious parties are taking advantage of this state of chaos and confusion to push their agendas. And when governments submit to their will, they reward and legitimize the terrorists and threaten everyone’s freedom to hear the truth and openly express their opinions. Our freedoms cannot be hijacked by violence.”

Brushing off the accusations across the Middle Eastern media that Mr. Yousef played the lead role in the video he commented,“Anyone with the ability to see with their eyes, can see that these are unjust lies spread as a smear campaign against me. Another form of terrorism. More importantly, I am saddened by the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three American security guards in Libya,” he added, “which Al-Qaeda as it turned out, had plotted to execute on 9/11 regardless of the movie. My condolences to the victims’ families.”

Recently back from his trip to Israel where Yousef announced his plans to make an epic $30M film version of the Islamic leader, Yousef said his vision will not insult Islam nor be a religious film, but be based on historical facts taken from the most trusted Islamic resources. “Islam deserves to be represented in this arena like all other religions. We cannot expect religions to peacefully co-exist if we do not have some sort of equality in how we can celebrate all religions and question their beliefs.”

Unlike convicted felon Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile, the man behind the film Innocence of Muslims, Yousef was born a Muslim, the grandson of an Imam, and the son of an Imam who also founded the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas. Yousef is now casting the film and promises that it will be at par with some of the most respected Historical movies produced in Hollywood and around the world.

In the footsteps of their father

In HAMAS, ISLAM on April 15, 2011 at 23:56

Huweida Arraf, one of the leaders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) called the hanging of ISF activist Vitorrio Arrigone (36) a “senseless killing.”

And it was, absolutely. But not for the reason Ms. Arraf cited.

“Vittorio was really loved in Gaza,” she told reporters. “I didn’t think there was even a 1 percent chance they would kill him. It was a complete shock.”

Yes, he was loved. Ever since his 2008 arrival in Gaza, Arrigone had identified himself with the plight of the Palestinian people. He shared our pain, wept for our children, and opposed Israel, convinced that Zionists are responsible for all of our troubles. On April 5, thousands of Palestinians turned out to a Hamas rally to honor the Italian militant.

And now he’s dead—a “barbaric murder” and a “vile and irrational gesture of violence on the part of extremists indifferent to the value of a human life,” said the Italian Foreign Ministry. Killed by an al-Qaeda-inspired Salafi group that sees Hamas as too tame and too slow.

Mr. Arrigone is dead, not in spite of the fact that he loved and was loved, but because he did not understand.

ISM activist Rachel Corrie was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer in southern Gaza in 2003 because she did not understand. That same year, a British ISM activist was shot to death by an Israeli soldier because he did not understand.

Senseless killings all.

These compassionate Westerners, along with the pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Mavi Marmara a year ago and a thousand more in the 15-ship Freedom Flotilla that plans to test the Israeli blockade next month, rush into the Palestinian territories like bulls—backs arched, heads down, committed, determined, righteous, and ignorant.

They pour into Gaza to condemn and ease a non-existent humanitarian crisis. They come to bully Israel and shame the international community. They wrap black and white kefiyehs around their necks, drink strong coffee, march, and shout through bullhorns. And they die. Victims of the movement they don’t understand. Of the very religion they defend. Of the politics that manipulates them like pawns and shrugs when they are sacrificed.

Their hearts are too big for their heads. They stop their ears when we warn of the complexities of the Middle East conflicts. They get a little sand in their shoes and lamb in their bellies and think they understand. But they know nothing of the oceans of blood soaked into Middle Eastern sands over fourteen centuries, shed by Muslim swords.

They cannot or will not see that the Salafis follow in their father Muhammad’s footsteps, killing infidels wherever they find them. A caption on the YouTube video that showed a bruised and blindfolded Arrigoni called Italy “the infidel state.” To them, Mr. Arrigoni was an infidel, no matter how much he was loved by the Palestinian people.

They cannot or will not see that Hamas follows in its father Muhammad’s footsteps, playing politics when it suits them, building schools when they need to, blowing up school buses when they have the opportunity.

The good, bad, and indifferent are all Islam. And Islam, more than a religion or a cultural or political system, is an excuse. Anything and everything is justified in the name of Allah, reflecting the countless contradictions and errors in the Qur’an itself.

Unless Westerners open their eyes and ears (see, and begin to act with their heads as well as their hearts, Islam will devour more victims like Vitorrio Arrigone.

More flotillas will challenge the Israeli blockade, some bringing food and activists from Western nations, others bringing long-range rockets, surface-to-air missiles, and sophisticated anti-tank weapons and explosives from Iran, Syria, Russia, and China.

And Islam will advance unopposed to fill the leadership vacuums in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

That it’s not false doesn’t make it true

In HAMAS on December 15, 2010 at 01:46

Israeli journalist Zvi Bar’el wrote an item in Haaretz recently that got a lot of people excited, people who suddenly had hope that peace between Palestinians and Israelis might be within reach after all.

They were wrong.

PNA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the report said, “told foreign journalists that his group will respect the results of any referendum on a peace agreement with Israel, even if the agreement runs contrary to the movement’s principles. Moreover, ‘Hamas will not oppose the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, whose capital is Jerusalem, and which includes a resolution of the refugee problem and the release of prisoners from Israeli jails.’ ”


“Not a return of refugees, not the destruction of the State of Israel, no preconditions,” Bar’el wrote. “More importantly, [Haniyeh] allows the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas to conduct negotiations with Israel that would lead to an agreement, which would then be brought to the Palestinian people for a referendum.”

This, from Haniyeh, is the same as “No new taxes” from President Obama. It’s politispeak. It has nothing to do with reality, even though Haniyeh, on a one-to-ten terrorist scale with Abdullah Barghouti as a ten, ranks among the doves.

Does Haniyeh speak for Hamas? Yes.

Does he decide for Hamas? No. The military guys, even the ones in Israeli prisons, decide for Hamas. The Qur’an decides for Hamas.

Israeli leaders speak the same language.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Shaul Mofaz just threatened to topple Hamas if it fires long-range missiles into Israel.

Politispeak, which should be translated, “Look at me! Listen to me! I was Defense Minister. I was Chief of the General Staff of the IDF. I should be Prime Minister.”

Does he speak for Israel? Yes.

Does he decide for Israel. No.

Despite the saber rattling and political posturing, statements like these do not signal change.

The reality is that:

  • Hamas is steadily acquiring more sophisticated weapons.
  • The apparent expansion in the West Bank is artificial and relies entirely upon an uninterrupted flow of dollars and Euros. As such, this faux prosperity will be short-lived. Collapse is assured.
  • When Hamas smells economic blood in the West Bank, it will call its brothers in other Islamic nations to help it take over, in the name of reunifying the Palestinian people and maneuvering into striking distance of the heart of Israel.

The furious insignificance of Hamas – Part III

In HAMAS on October 6, 2010 at 15:30

Many Middle East analysts point to Tehran as the power behind the Hamas throne. If the flow of Iranian money and weapons could be cut off, they believe, Hamas would wither and die.

But Hamas does not rely that heavily on Iran. It needs Iran’s weaponry and training, but it also receives substantial financial support from Qatar and other Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, as well as from individual deep pockets throughout the Arab world. During the Hajj, for example, (the annual season for pilgrimage to Mecca, November 14-18 this year) Hamas fundraisers, including exiled leader Khaled Meshaal, descend on Mecca, meet with Muslims from all over the globe and collect millions of dollars in donations.

Other observers wonder why Iran—a Shi’a Muslim nation—is helping Sunni Hamas in the first place.

From his perspective, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gains political currency by collaborating with Hamas. He needs the respect of the Sunni world if the Shi’a are to spread their doctrine and take control of the entire Middle East. So he supports Hamas, Syria and other Sunni in addition to Shi’a Hezbollah to show the Arab world that Iran’s concern extends to all Muslims, regardless of theological differences (of course, Hezbollah receives the lion’s share; Hamas receives only token support by comparison).

Nevertheless, Iran continues to play a key role in the destabilization of the region. So does the United States.

America, out of its own kind of ignorance, keeps the conflict burning between Israelis and Palestinians by supporting the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and enabling the PA to persecute Hamas.

Between FY 2007 and 2010, the U.S. government gave the PA $392 million to train and equip its security forces, oversee construction of related infrastructure projects and develop the capacity of the Palestinian Authority. And the State Department requested another $150 million for FY 2011.

When will Washington realize that it cannot join hands with people who do not believe in liberty and personal freedom? The PA does not believe in any concept in the American Constitution. Its security forces persecute and torture people for any reason, and people end up hating the United States because they know that it supports Abu Mazen* and his forces.

Like the PA, Egypt is considered a moderate regime and is supported by the U.S. It persecuted the Muslim Brotherhood for decades, and as a result we have to deal with Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri today. People fled persecution in Egypt, and they will flee persecution in the West Bank and find a place like Somalia, Afghanistan, Chechnya or Iraq where they can express their frustration and hatred and attack the United States.

This only fuels a deadly hatred in the heart of every Hamas member. And at some point, they will uproot Abu Mazen. But Hamas will not take over the West Bank as it did Gaza.

The worst case scenario in the West Bank is that Hamas will create underground cells, launch missiles into Israel, continue to kill Israeli settlers and perhaps assassinate key Fatah and PLO leaders. They do not have the weaponry for a coup or the tunnels through which to smuggle in the weapons. And, despite a huge base of people who sympathize with them, it would be virtually impossible for Hamas to recruit thousands of members to their military wing as they did in Gaza. The Gaza phenomenon was unique. It was a crime of opportunity that is unlikely to reoccur in the West Bank.

So, do I see any hope for my people?

Today, Hamas is doing the same thing it did 15 years ago, and I expect it will continue in the same disruptive and unproductive rut indefinitely. The unholy alliance of the U.S. and the PA will ensure that hatred continues to burn and spread in the West Bank.

There are now two Palestines. And the Bible says that a house that is divided cannot stand.

While peace-brokers continue to drag the same worn cards to the table, they leave the ace out of the deck. Islam has always been the chief obstacle to peace and reconciliation.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed before on independence, self-government and other important issues. There have been truces and ceasefires. Every intervention under the sun—military, diplomatic, economic, logistic—has been tried and failed.

And as long as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Salafis are part of the equation, dialogue and compromise and agreement are impossible. The god of the Qur’an stands in the way.

There can never be dialogue with Islam because every discussion begins and ends with “God said . . .”

Only if the people of the Middle East get rid of Islam, will they be able to deal with their problems and live in peace again with one another. Otherwise, Islam will continue to be the spoiler.

* Abu Mazen is a typical Arabic honorific that means “father of Mazen.” Abbas and his wife, Amina, have three sons: Mazen, Yaser and Tareq.

The furious insignificance of Hamas – Part II

In HAMAS on October 3, 2010 at 19:34

In addition to governing by kidnapping and torture, Hamas controls hundreds of tunnels that admit goods through Egypt into Gaza. Hamas gives the best to its own and sells the rest at black market prices to Palestinian families, half of whom are unemployed. It steals international medical aid and sells it in its own pharmacies. Hamas even bulldozed the homes of nearly 200 families and stole their land to build an Islamic religious center, similar to the proposed 9/11 mosque in New York City.

Last year, the UN was forced to stop all aid to Gaza because Hamas stole blankets and food meant for my people. This summer, Hamas broke into the offices of nongovernment charities, including United Nations partner organizations, and shut them down, cutting off resources to 80 percent of Gaza’s residents.

Fatah supporters carrying Abbas heir-apparent Mohammed Dahlan during a rally in Gaza City in 2007. (AP)

When Hamas campaigned in 2005, one of its two planks was to clean up PA corruption, especially the gangster rule of Fatah strongman Mohammad Dahlan. But Hamas is just as corrupt as the PLO was under Yasser Arafat and his cronies and the PA is today under Mahmoud Abbas.

During an interview with a Middle Eastern journalist, Abu Mohammed, a secular businessman with close family ties to the old Fatah security services, said, “After the takeover, people thought it might get better if the religious guys were in charge of the money, that security would improve and corruption would end. But they’re just as corrupt. If you’re not in Hamas, you get nothing. If anyone does anything, they are arrested, tortured or killed. Just like with the Israelis. Except the Jews always give you a lawyer.”

Yet, in an interview September 27 with CNN’s Nic Robertson in Damascus, exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal shamelessly told the world that, “Hamas’ strategy relies on reaching a way of determining our own destiny, taking back our land, defending our people against the occupation and the settlements and then working on establishing a true Palestinian state that will have true sovereignty.”

Khaled Meshaal

Is this how you defend your people? By destroying their homes to build your mosques? By stealing their international aid to line your pockets? By kidnapping and torture and forcing your religion on them? Is how you allow them to determine their own destiny?

When Meshaal is not blaming Israel for everything bad in Gaza, he blames the international community who he accused of “stand[ing] in silence and do[ing] nothing while the Palestinian people suffer, while they get killed, and they get oppressed.”

The Israelis have a word for that. It’s called chutzpah!

Hamas doesn’t get it. It cannot see what lies ahead if it continues along its present course.

For 14 centuries, the Arab world has been a major contributor to the world in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, architecture, horticulture, philosophy, art, music, literature. But Hamas, now that it has its opportunity to show the world how it can govern, is using Islamic sharia law to crush the life, soul and creativity out of the people who gave it their trust.

Women are forbidden to ride on motorcycles with men. Male hairdressers are not allowed to work in women’s salons. “Modesty patrols” check cars for men riding with unrelated single women. A female Palestinian journalist was arrested at the beach for laughing in public and not wearing a head covering. Female lawyers are banned from courtrooms, unless they wear a hijab. Hamas has shut down Internet cafes, movie theaters and bars where young people hang out, as well as a hotel and restaurant whose owners refused to enforce the new law against women smoking nagilas (water pipes).

One reporter from Abu Dhabi wrote that people in Gaza “seem to be losing any sense of hope and increasingly, according to social workers, smugglers and even the police, turning in massive numbers to cheap narcotic tablets smuggled through tunnels from Egypt. A sense of lethargy and hopelessness now pervades almost every aspect of life here.”

If a government oppresses its people, if it makes a big deal out of petty things like this, how can it work together with the community to resolve bigger issues of health, education and the future of the Palestinian people?

Hamas has become the Taliban of Gaza. Since its emergence in 1994, the Taliban battled Afghan warlords and the Afghan government to gain power. But when it finally attained its objective, it was unable to build any society. Its culture was non-culture. Its modus operandi was to oppress and destroy. Its GNP was drugs and terrorism.

Even under the best conditions, Gaza will remain a hot spot on the Mediterranean, like Somalia in the Horn of Africa. Sunni Islam filled the void created by the revolutions and counter-revolutions that plagued Somalia since the early 1990s. Last year, the Somali parliament approved sharia law nationwide. As a result, the Islamists will control the country beyond the foreseeable future. And they too will produce only fear, hatred and destruction.

My next blog posting will examine the key issues in the Middle East. And they are not the ones you read in the daily headlines.

The furious insignificance of Hamas

In HAMAS on September 29, 2010 at 01:14

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time,

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Macbeth, Act 5, scene 5

These words, written four centuries ago, describe Hamas and life in the Gaza Strip today.

People hear news from the Middle East, and they ask me, “Mosab, what is Hamas doing? Where are they going?” And I tell them that Hamas is doing nothing and going nowhere, because Hamas, for all its zealots and college graduates, is ignorant.

This doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. But the most dangerous thing about Hamas is that it doesn’t know. It doesn’t know it’s going nowhere. It doesn’t know how to build anything more than a little clinic with only one doctor and insufficient medicine, which only gives it a humanitarian face, concealing its true identity.

It doesn’t know how to govern itself, much less a nation. It’s not that its members are uneducated; they’re just ignorant. They have no wisdom or common sense. They are unteachable, unreachable and unimpeachable, because their mind is made up and they will hear nothing except what comes out of their own mouths. Hamas believes it is right and the rest of the world is wrong. That it is righteous and everybody else is bad, because Allah said so.

When I was in the Israeli prison at Megiddo, Hamas behaved like a mini-regime, controlled by thugs and tyrants. The maj’d, its security wing, tortured men until they made up anything, denounced anyone to make the pain stop. And the maj’d were so stupid that they believed the confessions. I read those confessions. They were ridiculous, and virtually all of them were eventually disproved. I remember wondering what it would be like if Hamas ever gained control of the government in Palestine.

I don’t wonder anymore.

Nearly five years ago, they won the elections. When the international community refused to recognize the legitimacy of their victory, a furious Hamas soaked the streets with Fatah blood.

And what have they done with Gaza since then? Nothing. They have built no infrastructure and formed no government departments. They have not advanced Palestinian culture or improved Palestinian society. Prime Minister Ismail Haniya was responsible for the maj’d in prison, and he rules Gaza the same way today.

Everyone is gagged and crippled by fear. For my people in Gaza, Hamas police are like Hitler’s Wafen-SS, Mao’s Red Guard, the Kremlin’s KGB or Ceaucescu’s Securitate. Anyone can be kidnapped and tortured into confessing that they are collaborating with Israel.

Palestinian Hamas security officer Abu Abdallah Lafi, displays a part of a navigation system which Hamas alleges were found in the possession of Palestinians collaborating with Israel, during a press conference in Gaza City, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010. Hamas has sentenced a Gaza man to death on suspicion of spying for Israel, the latest step in its secretive campaign to rid the territory of alleged collaborators. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

In a recent news conference, Abu Abdallah Lafi, a Hamas internal security official, said, “we have arrested many,” including women, who he called “a real danger to the unity of the people and their resistance” against Israel. Hamas spokesman Ehab Al-Ghsain boasted that his people had obtained “serious confessions and uncovered many collaborators who stood behind assassinations of some leaders of resistance and implemented policies of the enemy’s intelligence service against our people.”

I promise you that all of these “serious confessions” were obtained by unrestricted torture. And the “collaborators” have absolutely nothing to do with the Shin Bet.

Al-Ghsain told reporters that these collaborators planted bombs at training camps and government offices and helped to coordinate IDF raids and assassinations. But I know from 10 years working in the highest levels of the Shin Bet that this is not how Israeli intelligence operates.

Hamas knows nothing of Israel. It does not know how to govern. It does not know how to create or build. It understands nothing about human rights. It knows only how to destroy. Hamas is a colony of hornets in a sack. And Gaza is the sack.

“Nothing is more terrible,” said German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “than ignorance in action.”

To be continued . . .

Hamas Scores Deadly PR Victory

In HAMAS on June 3, 2010 at 13:35

Hamas is no stranger to drama. In its early days, the organization waged an effective public relations war against Israel. The global media was fed a limitless supply of film and photos showing Palestinian children throwing stones at 65-ton Israeli battle tanks. Gut-wrenching pictures of Jewish soldiers firing live ammunition at unarmed Arab demonstrators. Wailing crowds carrying bloody Palestinian bodies to hospitals and cemeteries.

After the First Intifada, a frustrated and impatient Hamas armed itself and abandoned its founding policy of nonviolence.

Soon, suicide bombers began slaughtering Israeli civilians in pizza parlors, at checkpoints, on buses and college campuses, on the Sabbath and during Passover. No one was safe.

It wasn’t long before the public image of Hamas changed from freedom fighters to terrorists. Everything the organization did, including participation in the election process, seemed to result in bad press.

To the amazement of the global community, Hamas won the elections. But it immediately demonstrated that it was not fit to govern. Armed clashes with Fatah, the opposition party and the largest faction within the Palestinian Authority (PA), ran up an ever-increasing death toll, and in June 2007 Hamas finally gained absolute control of Gaza—1.5 million people crammed into a strip of land 25 miles long and 8 miles wide.

It was not fit to govern because its agenda has never been to serve and protect the Palestinian people. It always has been the destruction of Israel, using any means, any people at its disposal, whether using human shields against tanks and heavily-armed troops during the al-Aqsa Intifada or using images of Palestinian suffering as photo ops to destroy Israel’s reputation and economy. The agenda of Hamas is that of the Qur’an, which defines Jews as sons of pigs and monkeys and mandates the death or oppression through excessive taxation of all non-Muslims.

It was not fit to govern because it is led by men like Ismail Haniyeh. Though he was elected  to serve as PA Prime Minister, his only leadership experience was as head of the maj’d, the security wing of Hamas, that fabricated evidence against its own members and tortured suspected collaborators in Israeli prisons.

Hamas was unfit to govern because it refused to respect or honor previous international agreements made with the PA. Hamas continues to reject any negotiation, compromise or agreement with Israel. At best, it may agree to a truce. But to Hamas, a truce is nothing more than an opportunity to stockpile weapons and expand operations.

A truce also gives Hamas the opportunity to script another public relations campaign.

In 2008, for example, Hamas continually violated its truce with Israel by firing hundreds of rockets across the border at civilian targets. All the while, its leaders knew from decades of experience that this would eventually force Jerusalem’s hand. Hamas taunted Israel with threats that, should Israeli Defense Forces enter Gaza, their troops, like Gilad Shalit, would be abducted. It boasted of projected Israeli death tolls. It sent messages in Hebrew to the mobile phones of Israeli citizens warning, “Rockets on all cities, shelters will not protect you.”

The result was Operation Cast Lead, which left 1,400 Palestinians dead, hundreds of businesses and factories destroyed, and tens of thousands homeless. But that mattered less to Hamas leaders than their huge PR victory. By September 2009, hundreds of complaints had been filed in the Hague calling for investigations into alleged war crimes committed by Israel during what was now being referred to as the Gaza War.

Last week, Hamas launched another clever PR campaign.

The so-called Freedom Fleet, with 10,000 tons of humanitarian cargo and 700 pro-Palestinian/anti-Israeli activists was warned repeatedly that it would not be permitted to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza harbor. But Hamas’s media machine was already running at full speed.

While the ships were being loaded, Hamas provided reporters with photo ops showing hard-working, hopeful Palestinians laboring night and day to prepare the harbor, moving sand, paving roads, erecting light poles. The hope and the sweat were very real, but my people were only being used by Hamas leaders who knew that no ship would ever pull in to those waters.

Prime Minister Haniyeh tipped his hand when he told reporters, “The flotilla’s message is clear. . . . The meaning of the flotilla is that the entire world opposes the siege on the Gaza Strip, and if Israel behaves like pirates and sea-terrorists—we will win.”

And they did—at the cost of nine innocent lives, pawns in a deadly media game.

What did it win? Arab streets throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Indonesia ablaze with hatred. Global condemnation of Israel and sympathy for Hamas and its suffering people. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, sealed since it seized power in 2007, reopened like a pressure release valve by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The Reality behind the Hype

I am sorry, my Palestinian brothers and sisters, but Israel has the right, like every other country in the world, to protect its borders. Every time they were open, weapons and enemies poured in, just as Iraq’s enemies poured in before its borders were secured after Saddam’s fall.

Israel had every right to inspect the flotilla’s cargo before letting it into Gaza. What government would do otherwise? What guarantee did Jerusalem have that the ships did not carry long-range missiles from Iran like the ones sold to Hezbollah, even warheads with biological weapons?

And even if Israel could trust Hamas, which it cannot, there are now tens of thousands of al-Qaeda-like Salafi terrorists in Gaza who see Hamas as too wishy-washy and tame and who would not hesitate to detonate a nuclear device, even if it meant their own destruction along with Israel.

No, Israel cannot open its borders or lift the blockade. If Israel removes the naval blockade, we will see what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “an Iranian port on the Mediterranean,” and, given the close relationship between Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, within five years a war would break out that would devastate Europe and the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands would die.

But the deeper issues in Gaza go far beyond humanitarian needs, military strength and national security.

The members of Hamas can never be free as long as their minds and hearts are prisoners to Islamic ideology. And non-Muslim Palestinians can never be free as long as they define freedom in terms of borders and self-determination. At best, they would be prisoners in an independent state. Still driven by anger, hatred, and revenge. Still controlled by an angry, intolerant, vengeful god or believing in no god at all.

If they do nothing else, I pray that the Hamas leaders would at least have the courage, compassion and wisdom to set aside their ideology and begin to care about their brothers and sisters, instead manipulating and abusing them as a means to an end.

If they were no longer determined to destroy Israel, they would be able to apply their time, efforts and resources to providing the Palestinian people with food, medicine, and education, strengthening their society, rebuilding their infrastructure.

If they would talk with Israel and the international community while respecting former agreements, at some time in the future there might no longer be a need for naval blockades and closed borders.

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