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Op-ed attacks Hamas wasting Palestinian civilians’ lives and property with useless wars

Excerpt of an op-ed by Anwar Rajab

Headline: "Following the latest round of escalation – the resistance and things that are forbidden to say"

“They are all similar to a great extent regarding the reasons, means, and results, even if there is a difference in the levels of violence and destruction, in the numbers of loss of life and property, and the number of days [of fighting] and the orphans. The intent here is the wars and rounds of escalation that the Gaza Strip has been experiencing for more than a decade…

In everything connected to the results of these rounds, according to the evidence, numbers, and statistics, they have been a disaster for the civilians in the Gaza Strip, and not for anyone but them – including the factions, their capabilities, and their leaders ('the resistance's situation is good,' as [Hamas leader] Khaled Mashaal said after the destructive war in 2014) [parentheses in source]. The number of Martyrs stands at thousands, including whole families that have been erased from the Palestinian population registry. The number of wounded and amputees is nearly 20,000, and thousands of them are still without treatment and without a prosthesis (this number does not include the Martyrs and wounded of what are called the Marches of Return) [parentheses in source] (Marches of Return refers to recurring violent riots in Gaza; see note below –Ed.). The number of homes that have been completely or partially destroyed is over 15,000, and hundreds of families are still helpless and cannot find shelter. Over 150 factories have been destroyed, which has added tens of thousands of workers to the list of unemployed. This is in addition to the destruction of the infrastructures and economic damages estimated to be over $5 billion.

There is no need to also mention the rise in the percentage of the poor, unemployed, and beggars, and the increasing erosion of the social foundation (murder, theft, divorce, suicide, and emigrating from death to death) [parentheses in source] (“emigrating from death to death” refers to Gazans who try to get to Europe in decrepit dangerous boats –Ed.) – and after all of these things, we hold victory celebrations. Regarding the results on the Israeli side, they are not noteworthy in comparison to what happens to us, and this is a discriminatory and unfair comparison because [in Israel] the moment the war abates life returns to normal and its results are dealt with without holding festivals and victory celebrations. Instead discussions, processes of demanding accountability and demanding answers, and drawing conclusions begin – so what is your position on the matter? At this opportunity we must say that the criteria for victory and defeat are not determined by the extent of the losses to the Israeli occupation state, but rather according to the extent of our losses. The important question here is: If Hamas justifies its lack of participation in the latest round of escalation and leaving the [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad abandoned and alone on the battlefield (refers to the November 2019 Islamic Jihad rocket barrage; see note below –Ed.) by the fact that it wants to spare the Palestinian civilians the tragedies of a comprehensive war, then why does it continue its boastful talk? And why does it continue to stockpile weapons at the expense of the civilians and their right to live in dignity?

This does not stop the tragedies that are directly harming the lives and needs of the Palestinian civilians; this is accompanied by tragedies with dangerous political consequences, and foremost among them the tragedies of the media discourse of the armed factions. This discourse gives us defeat after defeat in the ‘narrative war,’ as the ‘resistance’ leaders are good at giving the Israeli occupation fuel for propaganda from time to time, while boasting of their alleged victories, extraordinary capabilities, strong armies, intercontinental missiles, and beheadings…

This provides the discourse of victimhood – at which Israel excels – with credibility in the eyes of the international community. In addition, it weakens the national rational discourse, which depends on the power of justice and logic in presenting the discrimination against the Palestinian people as a victim of the Israeli occupation, which is the last occupation in the world. In this context, we will note that in the three previous wars the armed factions launched approximately 10,000 missiles at the Israeli settlements and cities with no effective results but that which some boast about, which is that the ‘resistance’ imposed a curfew on the Israelis.

At this opportunity, we wonder how to measure this achievement in comparison to the thousands of Martyrs, the wounded, and the destruction that were caused as a result of the Israeli missiles…

In summary: The time has come to stand determinedly and talk with great courage in order to stop this harm to our national cause, and to the lives and dignity of the Palestinian civilians – especially in the Gaza Strip – in the name of the ‘resistance.’ Experience has proven that [the resistance] has been hijacked as a ‘concept,’ and that it is being dealt in for the benefit of partisan interests and agendas. In this sense, it has caused immeasurable damage to our cause and our people, especially because it has become a pawn that serves states, policies, and axes in the region that give and deny [assistance] according to the extent to which the ‘resistance’ serves their agenda.”

"The March of Return" refers to massive violent riots in Gaza, in which thousands of Palestinians are rioting on the border with Israel and attempting to cut through the security fence, attacking with firebombs, flaming kites, and gunfire. The riots began on March 30, 2018, and were scheduled to last for 6 weeks until Palestinian "Nakba" Day on May 15. On the day the US embassy opened in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018, the Palestinian attacks escalated and 62 Palestinians were killed. A senior official of the terror organization Hamas, Salah Bardawil, stated that 50 of the 62 belonged to Hamas, while Islamic Jihad identified 3 others as belonging to it. The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli research institute, published research documenting that from the start of the riots on March 30 until May 15, 93 of the 112 Palestinians killed in the riots (approximately 83%) were members of terrorist organizations. Petitions against the IDF's use of live fire to combat the rioting submitted by organizations that advocate for Palestinian rights were rejected by Israel's Supreme Court on May 24, 2018. The court accepted the state's argument that the riots were "organized and directed" by Hamas, a terrorist organization, and thereby rejecting the claim that the riots were peaceful and civilian in nature. PMW reports were referred to in the Supreme Court's decision.

Islamic Jihad rockets, November 2019: In response to Israel’s assassination of senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror organization in Gaza Baha Abu Al-Ata in a targeted rocket strike on Nov. 12, 2019, PIJ fired over 450 rockets at Israel over a period of 48 hours until a ceasefire was reached on Nov. 14, 2019, which Islamic Jihad promptly breached by firing 5 more rockets.

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