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Media Legitimize Hamas as Peace Partner Despite October 7 Atrocities

An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of an attack following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip lying on the ground in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

After Hamas terrorists rampaged through southern Israel in a spree of murder and rape on October 7, Israel declared war on a Nazi-like enemy. No one in their right mind has seen it as an opportunity for diplomatic negotiations, let alone peace, with the genocidal terrorist organization.

Yet as time goes by, a disturbing trend of treating Hamas as a legitimate partner has emerged in mainstream media coverage of the conflict.

The line of argument is two-fold: First, these people assert that what Hamas has done shows that the Palestinian issue cannot be ignored. Second, they misrepresent the true character of Hamas.

The conclusion, as seen in The Economist and Foreign Affairs magazines, is an implicit legitimization of evil.

The Economist, in a recent piece titled “Does Hamas want to keep fighting Israel or start talking peace?”, effectively validates what the terror group wanted to achieve on October 7:

When Hamas smashed across the Gaza border on October 7th, killing some 1,200 Israelis and abducting around 250 more, it thrust itself into the very centre of international attention. The issue of Palestinian statehood, which had been forgotten as Arab countries established diplomatic relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords, is once again seen as the key to stability across the region.

It then moves on to the second point: a misrepresentation of what Hamas stands for. By claiming that the terrorist group is divided between so-called “moderates” abroad and “extremists” in Gaza, it creates the absurd impression that peace with the right leadership may be possible:

… it also depends on high-stakes struggles within Hamas: between a radical wing in Gaza and more moderate elements in exile in Qatar and Lebanon; between those aligned closely with Iran and its “axis of resistance” and those wanting closer ties with Arab governments; and crucially over whether to implicitly recognize Israel or to keep fighting to exterminate it. Who wins these arguments will affect whether a peace deal based on a Palestinian state alongside Israel can ever materialize.

Based on that, what follows is a skewed attempt to portray the 1988 Hamas founding charter, a document that calls for the annihilation of Israel, as irrelevant. Why? Because in 2017 the “moderate” former Hamas chief Khaled Meshal pushed for the publication of a revised document that endorsed a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders.

Nowhere does The Economist mention that Meshal himself had made clear that the new document does not replace the original one. The Economist also ignores various expert views who claimed the new document was merely a rhetorical attempt by Hamas to widen its global appeal while continuing with its violent activity.

Instead, the magazine relies on “Hamas people” to give the impression that Yehya Sinwar, the mastermind behind the deadly October 7 attack on Israel and a convicted mass murderer, became “more extreme” after the 2017 document failed to lead to a political settlement with Israel:

Mr Sinwar had signed up to to the new charter, but became more extreme after it failed to lead to a political settlement with Israel, Hamas people say. The attack on October 7th marked the ascendancy of the extremists.

To avoid contradicting the entire premise of the article, The Economist concludes by infantilizing Hamas, saying it would have to stop being “a spoiler of peace” — an apologetic term masking the group’s own description as a glorifier of war.

Good vs. Evil

Similar patterns of whitewashing Hamas appear in a recent Foreign Affairs piece, whose headline calls to “Extend the Cease-Fire in Gaza — but Don’t Stop There.”

Like The Economist, it begins by claiming that the Israeli-Palestinian issue cannot be ignored now. But instead of seeing Israel’s goal of wiping out Hamas as a possible way forward, the writers deduce that the terrorist group (through intermediaries) should eventually be invited to the negotiating table:

… if an extended cease-fire holds, Washington should immediately convene the parties that met in February to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and issued the so-called Aqaba Communique: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the United States, and representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This time, however, Turkey and Qatar—U.S. security partners who maintain open channels to Iran and Hamas—should be invited, as well.

This explanation completely ignores Hamas’ intentions to destroy Israel, as expressed in its founding manifesto. Instead of labeling the terrorist group’s ideology as unacceptable or unrealistic, Foreign Affairs writers choose to describe Israel’s stated goal of “ending Hamas” as unrealistic:

If an extended cease-fire holds, it could pave the way for a resolution to the current war. Any agreement must end Israel’s blockade and functional imprisonment of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. It must also deny Hamas the capability to launch attacks on Israel. The Israeli government’s stated goal of “ending Hamas” is understandable in light of the group’s October 7 atrocities, but it is unrealistic. Hamas will endure as a political movement as long as the denial of Palestinian rights endures.

While claiming that “it is hard to imagine that anything good could come of the last two months of horror and bloodshed,” the piece ends with a utopian call for “a sustained diplomatic process” toward “a secure and peaceful future” for both sides.

But the October 7 attack, in which Hamas terrorists slaughtered, mutilated and kidnapped innocent Israeli men, women, and children, should have obliterated any view that legitimizes the terrorist group as a political actor.

Why are respectable media outlets willfully blind to this fact, as well as to Hamas’ unwavering genocidal ideology? Why is wiping Hamas out — like the decision to wipe out the Nazis — not considered a preferable future solution?

The answer, at best, seems to be a misunderstanding of good and evil or, at worst, a tacit acceptance of the latter — especially when it’s targeted against Jews.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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Amid Security Fears, Muslim Access to the Temple Mount During Ramadan Will Be Limited

Palestinians walk at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City May 21, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

i24 NewsAs the month of Ramadan approaches, concerns over security have prompted Israeli authorities to implement limitations on Muslim access to the Temple Mount site, and Al-Aqusa Mosque.

The decision, made in accordance with recommendations from the Minister of National Security Ben Gvir, comes amidst opposition from the Minister of Defense Gallant, Shin Bet, and the army.

The restrictions include a cap on the number of individuals permitted to enter the site, with additional sorting based on age. While the details regarding the authorization of Palestinians from East Jerusalem are pending, the implementation of security measures proposed by Itamar Ben Gvir, which would allow security forces to intervene in response to provocative behavior, was rejected.

Under the current plan, only Muslim pilgrims aged 60 or above with permits issued by the Shin Bet will be granted access to the Temple Mount. However, domestic intelligence agencies have expressed reservations, fearing that such restrictions could exacerbate tensions and fuel Hamas’s rhetoric about Israel’s intentions to seize the site and deny Muslims access.

This sentiment was echoed by Walid Al-Huashla, an Arab MP from the Ra’am party, who condemned the decision as dangerous and racist. Al-Huashla warned of the potential consequences of the measures, accusing Prime Minister Netanyahu of capitulating to provocateurs and exacerbating tensions in Jerusalem.

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Unopened Medicine Boxes Bearing Names of Israeli Hostages Found in Hospital Raid

Some of the drugs found at the hospital. Photo: IDF

i24 NewsThe Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet forces executed a strategic mission at Nasser Hospital in Gaza, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of terrorists and the discovery of a cache of weapons hidden within the hospital premises.

Prior to entering the hospital complex, the forces engaged in intense battles, including face-to-face combat and repelling rocket fire from within the hospital compound.

The forces apprehended numerous terrorists and terror suspects who had sought refuge within the hospital including individuals linked to the October 7th massacre. These individuals were subsequently transferred to security forces for further investigation.

IDF releases footage of soldiers uncovering unopened boxes of medicine in Al-Nasser Hospital that were meant to be transferred to Israeli hostages – some of which should have been refrigerated but was found sitting out.

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 18, 2024

During the operation, a substantial quantity of weapons was seized, with some weapons concealed in a vehicle believed to have been used in previous terrorist attacks. Additionally, a vehicle belonging to Kibbutz Nir Oz, which had apparently been stolen, was recovered from the hospital vicinity.

IDF forces also discovered un-opened boxes of medicine bearing the names of Israeli hostages. The packages were found sealed and undistributed, raising concerns about the previous breached agreement in which Qatar would distribute medicine for the chronically ill hostages.

The medical assistance includes essential treatments such as inhalers for asthma patients, medications for diabetics, insulin injections, glucometers, medications for heart disease and blood pressure, as well as treatments for intestinal infections and thyroid gland imbalances.

During talks, Qatar had committed to providing verifiable proof to Israel that the medications will indeed reach the hostages. However the IDF finding the France-sent boxes with medicine, indicates the never reached the hostages.

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The Myth of British Exceptionalism

Britain’s former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts after the general election results of the Islington North constituency were announced at a counting center in Islington, London, Dec. 13, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Hannah McKay.

JNS.orgThat old image of the Jewish family with a packed suitcase at the ready in case they are compelled to suddenly leave their home has returned with a vengeance across Europe.

In France and Germany, home to sizable Jewish communities, the “Should we leave?” debate is raging in earnest. Both of these countries experienced record levels of antisemitic incidents in 2023, most of them occurring after the Hamas pogrom of Oct. 7 in southern Israel. Similar conversations are also being held in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Belgium and Spain—countries with tiny Jewish communities that are nevertheless enduring a painful rise in antisemitism.

What about Britain, though? It’s a pertinent question insofar as there has always been a “British exceptionalism” with regard to the continent. During World War II, the Nazis failed in their quest to conquer the British Isles, in contrast to the rest of Europe. After the defeat of Hitler, the British supported efforts to transform Europe into an economic and political community that eventually became the European Union, even joining it. Yet Britain was never fully at peace with its identity as a European state, and as is well known, the “Brexit” referendum of 2016 resulted in the country’s full-fledged withdrawal from the European Union.

When it comes to antisemitism, however, Britain is very much part of the European rule, not the exception. Again, that’s important because while the British don’t deny that antisemitism is present in their politics and culture, they don’t believe that it’s as venomous as its German or French variations. “It is generally admitted that antisemitism is on the increase, that it has been greatly exacerbated by the war, and that humane and enlightened people are not immune to it. It does not take violent forms (English people are almost invariably gentle and law-abiding),” wrote George Orwell in an essay, “Antisemitism in Britain,” penned towards the war’s close in April 1945.

At the same time, Orwell conceded that British antisemitism was “ill-natured enough, and in favorable circumstances, it could have political results.” To illustrate this point, he offered a selection of the antisemitic barbs that he had encountered over the previous year. “No, I’ve got no matches for you. I should try the lady down the street. She’s always got matches. One of the Chosen Race, you see,” a grumpy tobacconist informed him. “Well, no one could call me antisemitic, but I do think the way these Jews behave is too absolutely stinking. The way they push their way to the head of queues, and so on. They’re so abominably selfish. I think they’re responsible for a lot of what happens to them,” a “middle-class” woman said. Another woman, described by Orwell as an “intellectual,” refused to look at a book detailing the persecution of Jews in Germany on the grounds that “it will only make me hate them even more,” while a young man—a “near-Communist” in Orwell’s description—confessed that he had never made a secret of his loathing of Jews. “Mind you, I’m not antisemitic, of course,” he added.

I’d wager that were Orwell to tackle the same subject today, he would write a similar essay. The rhetoric he quotes echoes eerily in what we are hearing almost 80 years later, particularly the denial that recycling antisemitic tropes makes one an antisemite, as well as the digs against chosenness—because antisemites have never understood (or don’t want to understand) that Jewish “chosenness” is not about racial or ethnic superiority, but a duty to carry out a specific set of Divine commandments.

Last week, the Community Security Trust (CST), a voluntary security organization serving British Jews, issued its annual report on the state of antisemitism in Britain. The CST has been faithfully issuing these reports since 1984, and over the last few years, it has regularly registered new records for the number of offenses reported. 2023 was the worst year of all; there were a stomach-churning 4,103 incidents reported—an increase of 81% on the previous annual record in 2021, when 2,261 incidents were reported (largely due to that year’s conflict between Israel and Hamas for 11 days in May).

Instructively, the worst month in 2023 was October, in the days immediately following the rapes and other atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists on that black day. Oct. 11 was, in fact, the worst day, with 80 incidents reported. As the CST pointed out, “[T]he speed at which antisemites mobilized in the U.K. on and immediately after Oct. 7 suggests that, initially at least, this increase in anti-Jewish hate was a celebration of the Hamas attack on Israel, rather than anger at Israel’s military response in Gaza.”

Of course, the present situation in the United Kingdom differs from Orwell’s time for two main reasons. Firstly, in 1945, there was no Jewish state, and antisemitism revolved around cruder tropes invoking supposed Jewish rudeness, clannishness, financial power and so forth. (Even so, Britain was also one of the first Western countries to experience antisemitic rioting linked to the Zionist movement and Israel; in 1947, after two British officers in Mandatory Palestine were executed by the Irgun, or “Etzel,” resistance organization, violence targeting Jewish communities broke out across the United Kingdom, thereby establishing the principle that all Jews, everywhere, are to blame for the alleged evils of Zionism.)

Secondly, in 1945 Britain was still largely a white, Christian society. In the interim, it has become far more diverse and is now home to nearly 4 million Muslims who constitute 6.5 percent of the population. Since the late 1980s—when the Iranian regime issued a fatwa calling for the death of the Anglo-Indian author Salman Rushdie, alleged to have slandered Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses—what was once a relatively docile population has become politically animated, with the Palestinian cause pushed front and center.

In the four months that have passed since the Hamas atrocities, with weekly demonstrations in support of Hamas in London and other cities, Muslim voices have been disproportionately loud in the opprobrium being piled not just on Israel, but on those Britons—the country’s Jewish community—most closely associated with the Jewish state. Of course, this doesn’t apply to every Muslim, and many of the worst offenders are non-Muslims on the left. Indeed, the Oct. 7 massacres have enabled the return to politics of a particularly odious individual whom I had forlornly believed had been banished to the garbage can of history; George Galloway, an ally of Hamas and one-time acolyte of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who is standing in the forthcoming parliamentary election in the northern English constituency of Rochdale for an outfit called the “Workers Party of Britain,” whose manifesto combines nationalism and socialism, but which would probably balk at the description “national socialist” in much the same way that some antisemites balk at the description “antisemitic.”

British Jews have weathered a great deal in recent years, especially the five years when the Labour Party, the main opposition, was led by the far-left Parliament member Jeremy Corbyn, who has since been turfed out of the party by his successor Sir Keir Starmer. Having survived that, the belief has spread that they can survive anything. But there’s another question to be asked: Is the effort worth it? Increasingly, and worryingly, growing numbers of British Jews are now answering “no.”

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