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Hamas Bears Lion’s Share of Blame for Israel-Gaza Tensions

Author: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow
November 18, 2012
Daily Beast


When fighting flares over Gaza, world leaders and pundits scamper to the same old and feeble solution: a ceasefire. But that "magic" formula has never worked well and won't succeed now, at least for long. There is only one path to arrest the latest Gaza killings and reduce risks of future bloodshed, and that is for all parties involved to stop blaming everyone else, and start looking at themselves.

There is plenty of responsibility for bloodshed all around, especially with Hamas, and all parties have to see what they've been doing wrong before there is a chance of doing things right. Remaining blind to one's own sins not only guarantees more deaths in Gaza and Israel, but ramps up the odds of new Gaza warfare further inflaming an already burning Middle East.

Hamas bears the lion's share of the blame. Hamas and its friends fired off 600 rockets last year and 700 already in 2012, before Israel escalated its military operations. Hamas's leaders have a million excuses about who started shooting whom first, and how, claiming, for example, that radical groups it couldn't control fired most of the rockets. But a month and a half ago, Hamas claimed all the credit again. Whichever terrorist group actually did the shooting, Hamas had to know full well that if rocket fire against southern Israel continued, the Israelis would not put up with it and would fire back in spades—and that Gazan civilians would be killed. Knowing that puts the responsibility for those deaths on Hamas. It's hard to escape the thought that some of Hamas's leaders even revel in displaying Gazan casualties as a way of scoring propaganda points against Israel, at the expense of their own dead.

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