Letter: Hamas is hardly evil
I take issue with Melanie Sturm classifying Hamas as evil in “Confronting evil in Gaza” (The Aspen Times, Commentary, July 31). Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and the Synagogue Council of America, in an interview on “Democracy Now!” indicated that peace could be attainable if the Obama administration reversed decades-long support for the Israeli occupation. He is an ordained Orthodox rabbi and president of the U.S./Middle East Project.
Regarding the Hamas charter that calls for Israel’s destruction, Siegman said: “The difference between Hamas and Israel is that Israel is actually implementing (a destruction policy) — actually preventing a Palestinian state which doesn’t exist. Millions of Palestinians live in this subservient position without rights, without security, without hope and without a future.”
With respect to Israel’s justification for killing Palestinians in the name of self-defense since 1948, Siegman said: “If you don’t want to kill Palestinians, if that’s what pains you so much, you don’t have to kill them. You can give them their rights, and you can end the occupation. And to put the blame for the occupation and for the killing of innocents that we are seeing in Gaza now on the Palestinians — why? Because they want a state of their own? They want what Jews wanted and achieved? This is a great moral insult.”
Hamas came into being in 1987 in response to Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land since the 1967 war when Israel preemptively attacked Egypt. Hamas won the election in 2006 because it was providing humanitarian services not provided by the Fatah government or Israel. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal agreed to accept Palestinian statehood along the 1967 borders alongside Israel.
Americans are very much responsible for this situation as we give over $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel each year, provide funding for the Iron Dome, never hold Israel accountable and currently are providing arms that we have stored in Israel.
It is absurd to call Hamas evil for wanting to end the blockade of Gaza, killing and imprisoning Palestinians without trials and the occupation of the West Bank.
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