It’s not the elephant in the room — it’s the monster in the room. Radical Islam is the monster, and it is on the march in the Middle East. And those who are suffering the most from radical Islam’s rise there are Muslims themselves, although Christians, Jews, and ethnic minorities of all kinds — gays too — don’t have it much better.
The pictures from Iraq are horrifying, as the world watches in real time radical Islam’s ruthless intentions; as we watch Muslims, Christians, and ethnic minorities stagger to safety under treacherous conditions near the Syrian border; as we watch ethnic cleansing in slow motion live on TV, the governments of the Western world beset by paralysis.
These religious Nazis know no moral boundaries, and understand only one language: absolute power. They want total control of every aspect of the human being, including whom to pray to. Especially whom to pray to.
Like rapists, the monster wants control not only of its victims’ bodies. It wants control of their minds and souls.
Because the rest of the civilized world lost its nerve nearly a century ago, and never got it back.
Everyone, that is, but Israel. But that’s because Israel doesn’t have a choice; it is surrounded by the monster. Israelis know it intimately. And Israelis know that to defeat the monster, one must confront it and kill it. Otherwise it will kill them.
In their neighborhood, the monster’s name is Hamas. This monster used to use women and children as human bombs. But leave it to Hamas to redefine depravity. In Gaza last month, Hamas practiced human sacrifice, using women and children as human shields while piling up the body count. Hamas booby-trapped hospitals and schools, and did so with the full knowledge that it would cause the deaths of countless innocents.
Regrettably, the rest of the world knows little about Hamas. There is a mention now and then in media reports of its being a terrorist organization, but this is always in passing. Then the cameras cut to the pictures of dead women and children.
What the world never gets is the full picture of Hamas. There is very little in the media about what Hamas is, what it has been, and what it wants to become. There is very little about its vision of the world — its vision of the future for the people of Gaza.
What we know is only that it doesn’t believe in a future for Israel.
If that context were provided, the world would know that the battle in Gaza is not a land dispute, or a battle of moral equivalents. The ongoing battle in Gaza is not a case of the Hatfields and the McCoys, a senseless blood feud over a patch of land that, over the years, just goes on for no good reason.
This is a battle between good and evil, the battle in Gaza — and the battle throughout the Middle East. It’s a battle between modernity and religious feudalism. Between freedom and totalitarianism. Between moderate Muslims and extremists hell-bent on imposing their will on the majority of peaceful followers of Allah.
Ask any Christian, woman, or gay person where he or she would choose to live — in Israel or anywhere else in the Middle East — and we know what the answer would be.
It’s the media’s fault that this context has not been adequately provided. It wouldn’t be a heavy lift to do it. But they don’t.
How did Hamas come into power in Gaza? Are the people of Gaza free to do as they please? Can they oppose Hamas without fear of retaliation? And what kind of life has Hamas provided for Gaza’s people since it has been in control? Has it invested in their future? Does it even care about their future?
These are important questions that deserve answers. But the media instead focus mostly on Israel, and the degree to which Israel is responsible for the disproportionate body count in Gaza. Last Sunday on ABC’s This Week, New Yorker editor David Remnick summarized the belief of many in the media and in academia in one sentence: “These cycles are not going to end until the occupation ends,” Remnick opined.
That’s right. Remnick actually believes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is the cause of the problems in Gaza.
But if the occupation of the West Bank was the reason for the latest round of rocket launchings, why weren’t those rockets launched from the West Bank? Those rockets came from Gaza, which Israel relinquished almost a decade ago.
A lot of good that accommodation did.
The fact is that there is an occupying force in Gaza, and it’s Hamas. There is in increasingly larger swaths of the Middle East a real occupying force, and it is radical Islam in its various iterations. All of them are committed to ending not only Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but Israel’s occupation of Israel.
Which brings us back to Hamas. The terrorist group has an interesting beginning. Its name is actually an acronym for the Arabic words for Islamic Resistance Movement. Its inaugural suicide bombing in Israel — one that Hamas acolytes celebrate — took place back in April 1993. Hamas hasn’t looked back since, recruiting record numbers of suicide bombers to strike its mortal enemy.
And make no mistake about it, that’s what Israel is: a mortal enemy. In one of Hamas’s earliest public pronouncements — Leaflet #65, issued in October 1990 — Hamas had this to say: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
The Hamas Charter is a sprawling document of hate. It’s what you’d expect from a writing partnership between Mullah Omar and Ted Kaczynski.
So how did Hamas gain control of Gaza? The same way the Nazis gained power in Germany: a combination of brute force and bribery.
Christians, gays, and secular Muslims are terrorized and tortured in Gaza, and worse. Hamas has not hesitated to murder innocent Palestinians who impede its agenda, though no one knows for sure how many. Gaza isn’t a haven for cutting-edge journalism. There is no Gaza equivalent to Woodward and Bernstein. And needless to say, there is no Justice Department in Gaza to inspect election results for voting irregularities.
Since it has gained control of Gaza, Hamas has spent the vast majority of its energy doing two things: plundering the aid intended for Gaza’s citizens, and keeping much of it for themselves. It spends the rest on the destruction of Israel.
If Hamas is so bad, how does it manage to recruit so many young men to join its ranks? For the same sorts of reasons the Bloods and Crips so successfully recruit in America’s inner cities. Those young men don’t joyfully join gangs. They do so for many reasons, none of them good. To be a part of something bigger than themselves. To be a part of a family, with what they think are strong paternal influences. And most often, young men join gangs to protect themselves from other gangs.
But if those young men had real choices — real options — they wouldn’t join gangs.
With Hamas, there is one big difference: It also injects religion into the mix. It is not simply an economic enterprise, seeking profit. It is seeking world domination, and the elimination of its enemies.
That is the real story of Hamas. The story you haven’t heard from the media. And that is the real occupation you won’t hear about from the media, either. The real story of Gaza — and its occupier, Hamas — writers like David Remnick will never acknowledge.
— Lee Habeeb is the vice president of content at Salem Radio Network. He lives in Oxford, Miss., with his wife, Valerie, and daughter, Reagan. Mike Leven is the president and