Political Perspective by Tim King - Salem-News.Com
It’s time to move past convenient political descriptions.
(SALEM, Ore.) – The term ‘terrorist’ group ranks among the most overused descriptions in existence for a political enemy. Hamas, an acronym of Harakat-Muqawamat al-Islamiyah, meaning “Islamic Resistance Movement”, is the only political group that stands fast for Palestinian human rights-in the face of Israeli occupation.
The classification of this elected political group as a “Terrorist Organization” by the U.S., European Union, Israel, Japan, and Canada, is strictly a matter of political convenience and there is no factual basis for the term in this case, unless it is equally applied to Israel, which stands in violation of a long list of war crimes in two conflicts, according to the United Nations.
In the 1990′s, at the request of western diplomats, the political bureau of Hamas stated that the group is: “a Palestinian national liberation movement that struggles for the liberation of the Palestinian occupied territories and for the recognition of Palestinian legitimate rights.”
It is a fact that militarily, or sometimes with brute strength and heavy construction equipment, Israel has been taking possession of Palestine steadily and sometimes in bursts, since first arriving here in 1947.
Israel’s actions frequently are condemned by the world community, but the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has the perpetual blessing and endorsement of the U.S. government and has avoided answering to war crime charges, though Israeli officials are mindful when passing through certain nations that they would be arrested in some cases and held for an International Tribunal.
The map tells the entire story of Palestine and Israel, and for some will explain why a group like Hamas puts its foot down over the seizure of land and elimination of its own people. It is extremely important to comprehend that this land was, in spite of propaganda to the contrary, indeed Palestine. It is also important to note that prior to the formation of Israel, the cultures and different religious faiths co-existed.
With Israel, everything comes back to the murderous injustice they faced due to the ambitions of Adolf Hitler. The celebrated “return to Israel” in 1947 and 1948 that happened greatly due to the aid of the U.S. and Great Britain, is very much in their eyes, as well as those of large percentages of Christians, a Biblical prophesy. But it has led to what many see as an attempt to drive Palestinian people into extinction. Many live in conditions that are unimaginable, in refugee camps, and it is all because of the fighting that Israel’s existence has represented to the Middle East.
Jewish people were subjected to a horrible fate during the Third Reich; an unforgivable genocide that claimed six million, but other civilian losses that fall under nationality, rather than religion, compete with and actually dwarf the number of Jewish people lost.
Civilian ‘Deaths Due to war and Repression’ in WWII
- China: 7,000,000 to 16,000,000
- Soviet Union 12,254,000 to 14,154,000
- Dutch East Indies 3,030,000 to 4,030,000
- India 1,500,000 to 2,500,000
It should be noted that of the Soviet civilian losses, approximately one million people were Jews executed by the Nazi’s. But these other numbers, so large and equally important, are rarely if ever mentioned when observing the Holocaust. This is what has brought harsh criticism from people like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who does not dispute the losses of Jewish people, but wants to see the tribute include all of the tragically lost 32,244,100 to 49,579,600 civilians who died as a result of WWII.
The False Promise of the 20th Century
Two decades before WWII, the western powers tricked Arabs into helping the allied cause, and then abandoned a treasured promise to honor Arab nations. This is history that Palestinians in particular have never forgotten.
Arabs were promised by Lawrence of Arabia during World War One, that if British forces were aided in taking control of Jerusalem away from Turks, that the Arab world would be left alone afterward to govern their own affairs. The Arabs joined forces with the British and took Jerusalem away from the Turks who were part of the German Axis, helping greatly in the strategic plan to win the war.
It took only a short time for British honor to take a dive though, and The ‘Balfour Declaration’ changed the course of the world, leading us to where we are today.
As our writer Dr. William Cook explained in his article, A Tale of Lies, Deceit, and Terrorism: the Birth of Israel: “The Balfour Declaration in 1917 gave the formal approval of the British government to the establishment of ‘a Jewish homeland’. Profound issues of legitimacy have always been present in the Israel/Palestine Conflict.” 
The promise of a free Arab world was very short lived.
Alan Hart, Salem-News.com writer who covered all of the relevant world news in the 1960′s and 1970′s for ITN and The BBC, wrote in the article, Israel and the ‘De-Legitimization’ Oxymoron: “The only real relevance of the Balfour Declaration is in the fact that it was an expression of both the willingness of a British government to use Jews for imperial purposes and the willingness of Zionist Jews to be used. The truth is that Britain had no right whatsoever to promise Zionism a place in Palestine, territory the British do not possess.” 
According to the document written by Azzam Tamimi for the political bureau of Hamas, the group, “regards itself as an extension of an old tradition that goes back to the early 20th century struggle against British and Zionist colonialism in Palestine.” Between Israel’s basis that its residents are “The Chosen People”-Zionism; and the broken promise of Sir Lawrence to allow autonomy to the Arab nations, it is little wonder that a fiery spirit still exists.
Hamas was elected by a majority of registered voters, yet denied the chance to exist in legitimacy. Members are keenly aware of Israel’s continued illegal seizure of land that comprised Palestine only a few short decades ago. Other political groups representing Palestinians bow down to Israel’s wishes, Hamas does not. This is defined as terrorism.
Background on Hamas
23 years ago Hamas was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. This happened at the beginning of the First Intifada, one of the uprisings against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories, as Wikipedia explains.
In reality, the word Intifada means literally, “to shake off” and does not necessarily allude to military conflict.
Hamas became well known in Palestine by the mid 90′s, for funding and operating schools, health-care clinics, mosques, day-care centers, youth groups and athletic clubs.
According to Wikipedia, “An estimated 80-90% of Hamas revenues fund health, social welfare, religious, cultural, and educational services.”
The remaining 10% to 20% is largely dedicated toward the military, and there is a history of tragic suicide bombings that Hamas signed its name to. However, that ended a long time ago, and it needs to be stated. The first suicide bomb claimed to be the work of Hamas happened in April 1993, but Hamas ended these attacks in 2005 and had completely renounced them by April 2006, more than four years ago.
Taking that position, renouncing your own behavior; isn’t the easiest thing for a political group often more associated with militant behavior, to do. Some would read it as a strong desire to move forward.
Also that year according to Wikipedia: After the elections, in April, 2006, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar did not rule out the possibility of accepting a temporary two-state solution, but also stated that he dreamed “of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it . . . . I hope that our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (will materialize). . . . This dream will become real one day. I’m certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land”. Al-Zahar added that he did not rule out the possibility of having Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state, stating that the Palestinian Muslims had never hated the Jews and that only the Israeli occupation was their enemy.
After Hamas was elected, violent fighting erupted between the group and Fatah. Hamas was able to retain control of Gaza; party officials were tossed from posts in the Palestinian National Authority government in the West Bank.
The next thing that happened: Israel and Egypt’s decision to impose an economic blockade on Gaza.
Hamas ceased rocket attacks on Israel in June 2008, after reaching a ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt. In spite of Hamas efforts to prevent them, other organizations continued to attack Israel. Then on 4 November 2008, two months before the end of the six-month ceasefire, Israeli Defense Forces illegally crossed the border into Gaza, killing seven members of Hamas.
This was the reason for the renewal of the Hamas rocket attacks that led to Israel’s massive strike on Gaza. Israel’s ensuing retaliation was one of the most severe in modern history, inflicted upon a civilian population.
In case you didn’t know, the people of the Gaza strip are 100% walled in and surrounded by a sea on one side heavily patrolled by the Israeli Navy.
Tim King Reporting For Salem-News.Com
Report: UN Vote to continue investigation of Israel for International War Crimes
During Israel’s attack in the winter of 2008/2009, more than 1400 people in Gaza were slaughtered by Israel’s military in their open air prison with illegal weapons like depleted Uranium (DU), and white phosphorous; almost 400 innocent children among them.
In spite of the extreme brutality and objections from the UN and a whole list of countries and human rights groups, many Israeli citizens condone this attack called ‘Operation Cast Lead’ which by name alone, suggests nothing but a lashing of brutality toward an unarmed people.
In Gaza during this military attack that began in December 2008 and lasted until January 2009, between 230 and 280 schools were destroyed, and approximately 55 hospitals and medical facilities were specifically targeted. Hamas fighters were attacked and Israel placed major effort into killing as many as possible. Doctors in Gaza hospitals that managed to treat people during the attack, reported seeing no militants while treating hundreds for injuries that were in many cases, according to the physicians, “indescribable”.
In the article, White Phosphorus Bombs, a Legacy of Suffering, our writer Yousef Al-Helou in Gaza wrote: “Nafez Abu Shaban, head of burns department at Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical center, has treated dozens of patients who suffered sever burns, he is keeping a piece of phosphorus covered under sand in jar to prevent it from exposing to oxygen.“‘Of course at the beginning of the war, we thought it was normal burns, but then patients came back to the hospital suffering from sever pain, and even some patients died, patients who suffer from 15% surface burns area should not die, so we started to ask why? Some of the doctors who came to Gaza to help us seemed to have experience said these burns as a result of the use of white phosphorus bombs,’ Doctor Nafez said”.
98 to 7
98 nations voted in the UN last February to follow up the Goldstone Report, which views Israel as a suspect in war crime allegations over the attacks on Gaza. The vote allowed the investigation to basically move forward.
The seven countries voting against it, were Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Panama, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and, the United States.
Statistically, Israel has killed far more Palestinians and continues to each day, while Hamas victims are comparatively few, though no less significant. The same holds true for political prisoners that the respective sides are holding. In his article, Erdogan; the New Hero of Islamic World, our writer Kourosh Ziabari in Tehran, cited figures that are alarming to humanitarian rights groups.
“According to the Gaza-based freelance journalist and photographer Sameh Habeeb, the Israeli forces launched a massive attack on Gaza’s infrastructures in June 2006 after an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was incarcerated by Hamas. Shalit is the only Israeli prisoner being kept in the jails of Palestinian authorities while the Israeli regime is keeping 7,383 Palestinian prisoners, 340 of whom are Children.” 
Through its funding and management of schools, health-care clinics, mosques, youth groups, athletic clubs, and day-care centers, Hamas has helped a great number of people over the years, yet it has not been allowed to assume its rightful place in the world.
While this takes place, the U.S. government blocks world efforts to investigate Israel for war crimes. It all seems very contrary to the supposed democratic values of the west. Israel still maintains apartheid laws for Jews and non-Jews. Israel continues to steal land from Palestinians, shoot peace activists, farmers and fishermen, and it is hard to understand why the world simply allows it to go on, while denying the legitimate election of Hamas. It seems like dirty politics at best.
In conclusion, Hamas is or at least has been, a terrorist group; and I say that because of the suicide bombings that ceased in 2005. Those were acts of terrorism. But the clear and demonstrated efforts to reduce violence are part of the story, and never mentioned in U.S. media when Hamas hits the script. Honest news media would look at the bigger picture, rather than always parroting the Israel-friendly version. The use of illegal weapons in Gaza and the rampant killing of 1400 civilians in a single conflict, is worse than anything Hamas has ever dealt Israel.
 Oct-05-2009: Jewish Appeal to Support the Goldstone Report – Salem-News.com
 Jun-07-2010: Erdogan; the New Hero of Islamic World – Kourosh Ziabari Salem-News.com
 Dec-28-2008: Israel Drew First Blood Against Hamas (VIDEO) – Tim King Salem-News.com
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com’s Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation’s only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org