JCRC STATEMENT ON THE RECURRING HAMAS MISSILE ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAEL
STRONGLY CONDEMNING THE DELIBERATE TARGETING OF ISRAELI CITIZENS AND CALLING FOR THE PALESTINIAN PUBLIC TO SAY “NO” TO THE SELF-DESTRUCTIVE POLICIES OF HAMAS AND PA/PLO LEADERSHIP
Published: May 10, 2019
The Jewish Community Relations Council of El Paso and Southern New Mexico (JCRC-EPSNM) strongly condemns yet another round of rocket attacks by Hamas that has deliberately targeted, wounded, and killed Israeli civilians. Furthermore, JCRC-EPSNM calls for the ill-served Palestinian Public who have been repeatedly victimized by their autocratic and unaccountable leaders to say that enough is enough with self-defeating policies, to demand an immediate and permanent cessation of violence and a change in leadership in Gaza and the West Bank that will embrace democracy, full and permanent peace with Israel, and the serious pursuit of a stable, prosperous, and non-threatening Palestinian state.
CRUELTY AND FOOLISHNESS:
Once again Hamas has engaged in its usual mix of homicidal cruelty and sheer, self-destructive foolishness, raining missiles down for several days on southern Israeli towns and cities. Once again Israeli civilians, men, women, and children alike, were repeatedly alerted by wailing air raid sirens of impending rocket attacks and made a mad dash for bomb shelters. In the south of Israel, it should be noted, they have 20 seconds to get to safety, unlike the relatively leisurely 60 seconds for Tel Aviv and a bit longer for Jerusalem and Haifa when Hamas aims missiles at them.
Some of the 690 rockets Hamas indiscriminately launched from Gaza were completely ineffectual, but the Iron Dome anti-missile system was called on to intercept 240 of them. Nonetheless, some Hamas rockets got through, and Israelis suffered destruction and casualties. Four Israelis were killed—one was a Bedouin Arab in Ashkelon—dozens of others were wounded by shrapnel, dozens more were treated for shock. A municipal sports stadium took several hits, and a warhead exploded near a kindergarten. Fortunately, there were no sport fans or toddlers present to be wounded or killed, as the Israeli government had essentially shut Southern Israel down for the duration of hostilities.
Now at last there is a tenuous cease-fire, following swift, well-justified Israeli military retaliation against Hamas’ aggression. Perhaps it will hold—until the next round.
THE ILL-SERVED PALESTINIAN PEOPLE:
Has any people ever been as poorly served by their own leadership as the Palestinians? Perhaps the poor North Koreans under the various Kims, or Ugandans under Idi Amin, or Syrians under Bashar al-Assad. But Hamas and, to a lesser extent, the Palestinian Authority with the earlier sanguinary misadventures of the PLO behind it, have been an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinian people. If their goal has been to create the conditions for establishing a viable Palestinian state, they have failed miserably. Every attack, whether missiles, kidnappings, shootings, or stabbings, on either side of the Green Line, gives the most uncompromising players in Israeli politics and society more and more ammunition, as it were, to persuasively argue that it would be suicidal for Israel to allow an independent Palestine to come into existence. An Israeli public that in the past supported a two-state solution quite understandably finds these arguments increasingly compelling.
But to be blunt, the evidence over time leads reasonable observers to the conclusion that the rival Palestinian leadership factions have little-to-no interest in actually establishing a State of Palestine. To paraphrase the late Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, they have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Rather, they are evidently driven by a toxic admixture of motivations: a well-founded fear that they are hopelessly inept at state-building; devolving from this fear, a preference, like John Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost, for ruling over Hell versus being subject in Heaven—a common malady afflicting shabby dictatorships throughout the less-developed countries; anxiety that in their ineptitude and venality they are locked into the ruthless equation, as foreign policy commentator Thomas Friedman has put it, of “Rule or Die”; and of course, an anti-Semitism that ranges from the merely very unpleasant to the genocidal.
Lest anyone think the latter claim is hyperbolic, the 1988 Hamas Covenant straightforwardly declares, "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."
A CALL FOR PALESTINIANS TO DEMAND LEADERSHIP AND POLICY CHANGE:
When will beleaguered ordinary Palestinians say, “Enough—No More”? When will they reach the point where they are willing to peacefully protest en masse in Gaza and the West Bank against calamitous, self-defeating policies? When will they find the courage, as Gandhi and his followers did during the Indian independence movement, to expose the dictators as the murderous overlords that they are by taking to the streets to demand that the scoundrels immediately relinquish control; to sweep them out and choose new leaders who pledge good government that serves the public interest; to bring about an end once and for all to war and terrorism, and with it bring in peace and cooperation with Israel for the advancement of both nations and peoples?
It is essential for the Palestinians to demand new leaders, new policies, permanent peace now and final negotiations for a safe, secure State of Palestine that pledges to be a good neighbor. Then, and only then, will the uncompromising position of Israeli hardliners be overcome, and the significant majority of Israelis who have in the past supported the two-state solution will return to their original position.
Until and unless this happens, the Palestinian people will continue to suffer because of their leaders’ ineptitude, venality, and violence. And Israel will stoically redouble its security efforts, continue to endure absorbing attacks and enforcing occupation, and through it all persevere as perhaps the world’s most successful new nation established over the past century.
In conclusion, we join with all those who love peace everywhere in repeating the words of the ancient prayer: “May the Lord give strength to his people and bless them with peace.” Psalm 29:11
David Kern, Chair
Neal Rosendorf, Chair Elect
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater El Paso
Robert French, Executive Director
Jewish Federation of Greater El Paso & Jewish Community Foundation of El Paso
Janet Wechter, President
Jewish Federation of Greater El Paso
To read our previous statements click here