is "objectively even if not subjectively" the best friend of the Israeli
settlers, right-wing Israeli extremists, and the Netanyahu government. Hamas
leaders know very well that their bombs are not getting through Israel's missile
shield. There is no possible military advantage to continuing these futile
attempts to rectify the imbalance in casualties between the 200 Palestinians
already killed by Israeli attacks and the one Israeli killed by Hamas shells.
But the extremists in Hamas, like the rogue band of criminals who murdered three Israeli youth, have succeeded in their goal: to create fear among Israelis that cause them to rally to the racists who wish to punish the entire Palestinian people for the actions of a few, thereby "proving" to the Palestinian people that there is no possibility of peace with Israel, and thereby discrediting the strategy of the Palestinian Authority that has renounced violence for the past eight years and achieved little in the way of independence and dignity for all their efforts at negotiations with Netanyahu.
Hamas' actions, particularly its bombings of Israeli civilian targets, is as unethical and outrageous and as much a violation of human rights as Israel's indiscriminate bombings of Gaza that have caused widespread death and injuries (while Israel's seven-year blockade of Gaza leaves the Gazans, most of whom have never endorsed Hamas' policies, without the medical supplies necessary to heal the wounded).
So the message to Hamas from Spiritual Progressives: Stop the attempts to Bomb Israel. These acts are immoral, ineffective and counter-productive toward the only legitimate goal: peace and open-hearted reconciliation among the people of the region.
Yes, I know that Israel's policies over the past three decades have set all this up. We at Tikkun have been consistent critics of Israel's Occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza, its talking of peace while building more and more settlements thereby "creating facts" on the ground that would make it harder and harder for there to be any place for an independent Palestinian state, its violation of the dignity as well as the human rights of the Palestinian people.
Israel could change all this by adopting humane policies toward the West Bank and Gaza. Instead, its recent actions terrorizing the population gives Hamas the support it needs. But the Israeli government is more concerned to destroy the alliance between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas than to provide a reasonable life for Palestinians. So the tragedy continues and Israelis and Palestinians both suffer.
And don't minimize the pain of Israelis -- rushing to shelters to avoid missiles that are thankfully being intercepted. If that were to happen in the US, the result would be a right-wing triumph even worse than that which happened after 9/11.
Netanyahu's recent statement essentially confirming that he will never accept an independent Palestinian state shows how foolish U.S. calls for "more negotiations" while simultaneously asserting that it supports Israel's right to defend itself when in danger just adds fuel to the fire. And the legitimate fear of ISIS, Iran, and fundamentalist forces in the Middle East -- while convincing Israelis that they are in deep danger -- does not excuse Israel from confronting those of us who argue that the strategy of "power over" is not one that will strengthen but rather weaken Israel in the long run. It is a strategy of generosity of spirit and generosity of action that could undermine the emerging anti-Israel coalition.
But that is exactly what Hamas seeks to head off, because Hamas wants to encourage those forces in Israel that will, through their repressive actions toward Palestinians, convince much of the rest of the world that Israel is the evil force that must be eliminated.
In the short run, Hamas' goal is to weaken the Palestinian Authority and to emerge as the champion of Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israel's immoral policies toward the Palestinian people. The Hamas demands all seem quite reasonable to most Palestinians, and really make sense -- free the newly arrested Palestinians who were doing nothing but sitting in their homes until Israeli troops invaded their homes looking for the three kidnapped Israeli teens (a complete sham since the Israeli top leadership knew that those teens had already been murdered the very night they were kidnapped); stop the blockade of Gaza and allow Gazans access to the Mediterranean sea for fishing purposes, and end the targeted assassinations of Palestinians and the drone strikes that have caused an average of two-three children killed every week for the past eight years. This is something that most Israelis and most Americans don't know or can't grasp, because this form of state terrorism is either ignored or excused away by the Israelis and by the media, so most people have no idea of how awful it is for Palestinians to live under these conditions.
Of course, the only real solution is a peace agreement. We at Tikkun have already outlined the terms of that agreement, and they are described more fully in Embracing Israel/Palestine (order it at www.tikkun.org/eip).