Thursday, September 24, 2009

Regarding That "Boy in Gaza": Obama Overlooks Genocidal Regime and Real Barriers to Peace

By Barry Rubin

It's clear that numerous Hamas children's shows, mosque sermons, and publications advocate genocide but this never seems to elicit a Western government response. The absence of any mention of Hamas or the problem it poses to Israel-Palestinian peace is quite notable in President Barack Obama's UN speech.

Here’s a debate on a Hamas children’s show, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” aired on al-Aqsa television, September 22. The issue being discussed is whether all the Jews in Israel be killed or merely expelled and their society destroyed?

The bear puppet Nassur makes the following statements: The Jews must be “erased from our land.” "We want to slaughter them, Saraa, so they will be expelled from our land….We'll have to [do it] by slaughter." "There won't be any Jews or Zionists, if Allah wills. They'll be erased."

The young girl hosting the show says: "They'll be slaughtered." But at another point says: “Just expel them from our land."

Then they reach a true dialectical resolution:

Nassur: "We want to slaughter them, so they will be expelled from our land, right?"

Saraa: "Yes. That's right. We will expel them from our land using all means."

Nassur: "And if they don't want [to go] peacefully, by words or talking, we'll have to [do it] by slaughter."

This is an open call for genocide, worse yet is teaching children this is what they must do. One of Obama's closest advisors in the White House, Samantha Powers, is an alleged expert on genocide yet she's totally unconcerned with this issue. Guess she's only an "expert" on genocides after they happen.

It has become a cliché that those who would commit genocide announce it beforehand, as Germany’s dictator once did in his book or as happened in Rwanda in radio broadcasts before the mass murders. Supposedly, the world is united in opposing such a horrendous policy.

Yet while there are sanctions against Hamas, there is no concerted effort to overthrow the regime, even by those who claim to be in favor of Israel-Palestinian peace as a high priority. But as long as Hamas is in power there can be no such peace. Indeed, the main international activity was to restrain Israel in its war in Gaza and then to criticize it afterward in a way that positively benefits Hamas.

How can this behavior be reconciled with the fact that on a daily basis Hamas is clearly seeking to carry out genocide in terms of all the standard international legal and moral definitions?

Here's Obama’s only mention of Gaza in his speech to the UN:

“We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It is paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the night. It is paid by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own. These are God’s children. And after all of the politics and all of the posturing, this is about the right of every human being to live with dignity and security.”

This is meant to be one of those even-handed throwaway lines about how everyone is suffering. But let’s examine it more closely.

More importantly, what about the alleged lack of clean water and actual lack of a country by the Palestinian boy in Gaza?

If he has no clean water—which more than likely isn’t true—it’s because the Palestinian Authority didn’t build the proper facilities during the dozen years it governed the Gaza Strip even though U.S. aid money was given for the project! And because since then Hamas prefers to sustain a war against Israel and use its income for military goals.

What about the fact that the Palestinian boy—and why not a Palestinian girl, who faces a whole range of oppressions?—will not enjoy freedom because he is living under a repressive dictatorship which will force him to fight for decades. That boy is being taught by Hamas mosques, schools, media, and clubs to believe that Jews are subhumans and that his duty to wipe them out--child, woman, man--one way or another. Isn’t that significant?

Yet this is the president of the United States speaking and one should expect some basic logic. Let’s assume that he gets the Palestinian Authority and Israel to make peace (of course this isn’t going to happen). A Palestinian state is created on the basis of this agreement. That agreement would have no effect whatsoever on the little boy in Gaza! He’d still be living under Hamas rule and his life wouldn't change or improve in any way.

In fact, things would probably get worse in Gaza if the PA and Israel made peace. Hamas would try to wreck the agreement, perhaps using that boy as a suicide bomber. It would plow every penny it could get on weapons; it would provoke wars leading to more damage on the infrastructure and casualties.

Isn’t that worth pointing out? So to help the boy really, the United States would have to call for and help bring about the overthrow of Hamas.

Obama could have done so in his own way, drawing a contrast between what he might call the wonderful, peace-loving, moderate Palestinian Authority and the evil repressive Islamists of Hamas. But that would be defining enemies, taking sides, showing leadership.

Instead, in his UN speech, Obama never mentioned Hamas—not once—and did not condemn it. Yet what is a bigger barrier to peace: the building of apartments on existing Israeli settlements or the fact that almost as many Palestinians and almost as much land is governed by Hamas as by the Palestinian Authority?

[Note: I also can’t help but adding that if he wanted to discuss genocide he might have said something about Sudan—I don’t know if the term is appropriate for what’s going on in Sudan but many observers say it is. That, however, would have been embarrassing since the Sudanese government leads the “nonaligned” movement, the most powerful bloc in the UN, which is his supposed mechanism for solving world problems!]

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books: . To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports: .

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