Suicide attacks carried out by Palestinian militant groups had already killed many Israeli soldiers and civilians. This is an act of war. Those who masterminded the attacks said that their actions are justified. They will continue to fight using unconventional methods until they can uproot Israel from Palestine. There are two opposing views as to the real root cause of the attacks. According to Hamas, one of the major Palestinian militant groups operating in the area, Israel is a threat to their way of life and making them economically weak. Their survival depended on eradicating the Zionist state from their lands. On the other hand, Morton Klein said that the real reason for their hatred stems from religious and nationalistic beliefs.
Importance of Issue
It is essential to deal with this issue because of at least three reasons. First, if Hamas’ claim is valid, then it is ethically wrong to allow a nation to oppress another. Second, the methods used by Palestinian militant groups can be considered as acts of terrorism, not to mention that it is an act of war against Israel. Finally, the collateral damage resulting from this conflict is too significant to ignore. Consider the hijackings and suicide bombings directed at Israeli civilians. These acts of terror are not limited to Palestinian soil but in Europe and other parts of the world.
The Perspective of Hamas
In this article, Hamas made many generalizations and did not delve deeper into the specifics of the issue. Thus, it must be assumed that Hamas was referring to the fact that after World War II, the nation of Israel was created overnight, and for that to happen, a portion of Palestine was given to the fledgling state. In the process, a significant number of Palestinians became refugees overnight.
Based on these events, it is easier to understand what Hamas is fighting for. Before the coming of Israel, Palestine was under Arab rule or Palestinian rule. They did not have to share it with anyone, especially a foreigner like the Israelis. Also, thousands of refugees were forced to leave their homeland, and it is indeed a violation of human rights. But after this point, Hamas could not provide any more evidence to their claim that the presence of Israel is disrupting Arab unity and undermining their ability to grow as an economic and military power (Hamas, p.101).
Instead of providing evidence to support their claim, Hamas began to discuss the need to force Israel out of Palestine using military force. Hamas believed that this is the only viable solution to the problem. Hamas also claimed that their focus is solely on removing the Zionist state in Palestine and nothing more. They do not quarrel with other governments, but it is implied that this promise only stands if these governments do not show any form of support for the Zionist state.
Morton Klein reacted to Hamas’s official stance that the main reason for their fight against Israel is rooted in economic issues. The author clarified his statement by saying, “The historical record clearly demonstrates that Arab extremist ideology, rather than poverty is at the core of Arab-Jewish conflict” (Klein, p.108). Klein proved his point by pointing out that some of the suicide bombers did not come from low-income families. Klein also said that Israel did something to improve Palestine’s economic well-being or at least to develop the region within the historic Gaza strip. Klein noted that Israel built universities in Judea-Samaria-Gaza (Klein, p.109). Thus, there is no way to prove that Israel wanted them to remain poor and would like to make them feel inferior.
But the most interesting thing that Klein said concerns the intense hatred of the Palestinians against Israel to the point that they are willing to bring the war outside Palestine to hurt Israelis and their supporters. This is a clear demonstration that the goal of the Palestinian militant groups is not just to win against the struggle against human rights violations but something more sinister. Klein made it clear that the Palestinian extremist groups wanted Israel decimated.
Looking at both perspectives, it can be argued that Klein and Hamas agreed on one point only. Both sources agree that one of the main reasons why Palestinian militant groups conflict with Israel is nationalistic pride. The Palestinians believed that their land was stolen from them and that it is their right to reclaim what they have lost with whatever means necessary.
But Klein and Hamas disagreed on the other root cause of the conflict. Hamas said it is for economic reasons, while Klein said that the evidence point to the contrary. The fighters who joined Hamas are well-educated, and they have every reason to live, and yet they chose to strap bombs to their bodies and shoot their way to death to kill a few Israelis. This kind of hatred and this level of dedication is not the by-product of hunger. There is another explanation for this intense level of hate.
Analysis and Opinion
There is only one facet of the issue that can make other people sympathize with Hamas. It is on the issue of human rights violations resulting from the dislocation of families and the creation of a nation of refugees when the nation of Israel was established in Palestine.
Even if one brings up the historical fact that Israelis used to live in these lands and therefore has the moral right to share the land with present-day occupants, it is still a valid issue that the refugees should have been treated more kindly by the governments that instituted the creation of a Zionist state. However, it can be argued that it is not the Israelis’ fault that this has happened. Consider that before the creation of Israel, six million Jews were killed in the holocaust, not to mention the millions of others killed in the thousand year persecution of Jews as they left their homeland and were scattered abroad.
Also, the existence of refugees does not justify the use of suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians. Politicians may have made a mistake, but militant groups have no reason to kill women and children using violent tactics that produce the most gruesome results. There is a way to address the refugee issue without killing people. In this regard, Hamas has to be challenged concerning their claim that Israel is the cause of Arab disunity. If it is true that Arab nations love each other and that there exists a spirit of brotherhood among the Palestinians, then why Arab nations, especially the neighbors of Israel, cannot provide a program to absorb the refugees.
If the refugees were absorbed in the 1950s, then poverty and social inequality in the refugee camps should not have existed. There is more. Hamas cannot prove that the fight against Israel is limited to their occupation of a piece of land in Palestine. If this is the case, then the violence and military action against Israel should have been conducted within Palestine and ideally within the region where Israel is currently occupying. However, Palestinian extremist groups brought the fight outside their country, and they had no qualms about hurting other people that have nothing to do with the conflict. Consider, for instance, that in 1968 they hijacked an airline from Rome. Surely not all who were on board are from Israel.
How can they explain that Palestinian extremist groups disrupted the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany? Many non-Israeli nationals were negatively affected by the action. It is an act of terror, and more importantly, it was conducted thousands of miles away from Palestine. It seems very clear that Palestinian extremist groups are not just content to force Israel out of Palestine, but they also wanted them destroyed once and for all.
There is something sinister to the desire of Hamas and other Palestinian extremist groups to destroy Israel as a political entity and as a people. It is terrifying to know that professionals and those that belong to the cream of the crop of Palestinian society are willing to die for a cause. It is a deep sense of patriotism and hatred that stems not from the desire for freedom but a terrible hatred for the Jews.
Klein, Morton. “Palestinian Hatred of Israel Causes Terrorism.” Terrorism: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Laura Egendorf. MI: Greenhaven Press, 2004. 106-110. Print.
Hamas. “Israel’s Occupation of Palestine Causes Terrorism. Terrorism: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Laura Egendorf. MI: Greenhaven Press, 2004. 10-105. Print.