Hamas, the Islamist terror organization that rules Gaza, proved its control over the 1.8 million Palestinians living there as Israel and the United States were celebrating the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, exhorted thousands of Palestinians in Gaza to attempt to break through the border fence with Israel. The result of this attempt — accompanied by firebombs and flaming tires — was 62 Palestinian deaths, the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war.
Predictably, the world blamed Israel, accusing it of using “disproportionate” force in defending the country. Yet Hamas itself — which has spared no effort in building tunnels to attack Israel and has repeatedly fired rockets at the Jewish state — said that 50 of those killed were its members. Even so, the spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights chastised Israel, telling reporters, “The mere fact of approaching a fence is not a lethal, life-threatening act, so that does not warrant being shot.”
We beg to differ, especially since any other country would be expected to defend its border with force against a potential infiltration of armed terrorists, even if those terrorists were cynically using unarmed civilians as cover, as Israel claims Hamas was doing.
In an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley gave her usual straight talk, rightly putting the blame squarely on Hamas. Haley shredded the argument that the move of the U.S. Embassy was somehow to blame for the rioting at the Gaza border that day. “The Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy,” she pointed out. “Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results.” And in a statement that finally closed 70 years of daylight between Israel and the United States, she declared unequivocally, “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
The United States then blocked the adoption of a Security Council statement calling on an independent probe into the deaths.
There is no doubt that the people of Gaza are living in deplorable conditions under the rule of Hamas, whose proclivity for warmongering as opposed to state building has repeatedly led Israel and Egypt to close the borders. The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which Hamas drove out of Gaza in a coup, has stopped paying Gaza salaries. To suggest that any of this is Israel’s fault is to dabble in fantasy.
As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, Israel has a right to self-defense. The solution is to put responsibility where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of Hamas. Hamas would do more for the Palestinians by working to better their quality of life, rather than directing its energies and cold-heartedly sacrificing lives in an effort to destroy the state of Israel.