Hours after last week’s multiple bombings of London’s transit system Arab and Muslim organizations issued strongly worded statements denouncing the terrorism.
Yet, the majority of these same groups remained silent after the suicide bombing near an Israeli shopping mall in Netanya near Tel Aviv one week later.
While the fatalities from the London bombing has reached 52 and is continuing to climb, the suicide bomb in Israel has now claimed five civilian lives and injured more than 30.
Rather than be equally outraged, most Arab and Muslim American organizations maintain a duplicitous policy, one intended to deflect post-September 11 backlash in the U.S., and the other intended to embolden Palestinian extremism against Israel.
There is no justification for suicide bombings regardless of the provocation.
No one elected Hamas
The Islamicists encouraging suicide attacks against Israel not only cross moral limits, they also undermine the democratic principles that Palestinians themselves are seeking to instill in their own society.
No one elected Hamas or its partner Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both most likely involved in the suicide attack and the majority of suicide bombings that have taken place since the peace process began in 1993.
Palestinians have an elected government headed by President Mahmound Abbas. Hamas and PIJ have neither a moral nor or legal right to act in any capacity against Israel outside of the elected government.
Clearly, part of the problem is Abbas lacks the strength and courage to act. He was weakened when Hamas refused his gesture inviting them into a coalition with his government.
Islamicist organizations like Hamas and PIJ hide behind the popular argument they are engaged in legitimate resistance to the Israeli occupation. While the occupation violates many laws and moral issues of its own, suicide bombing, which intentionally targets civilians, is not a form of resistance but a egregious act of vengeance.
Resistance is the act of defending oneself, seeking to end a conflict and end oppressive policies.
Abbas must issue ultimatum
The sole purpose of the Islamicist inspired suicide bombings has been to fuel the conflict by undermining the peace process. By preventing peace, Hamas and PIJ seek to push Israel to more oppressive militarily responses. That Israeli reaction in turn helps the Islamicists gain public support but exploiting the suffering of the Palestinians. Their growing strength is nourished by that suffering.
Ironically, right-wing Israelis also continue to empower the Islamicists by supporting errant policies such as the Wall, the mostly concrete barrier Israelis call a “fence.” The fact, as the recent suicide bombing proves, the Wall does not work.
Rather than reach out to Hamas to invite the rogue group into a political coalition as Abbas has done, he should issue an ultimatum to immediately arrest, punish and even kill anyone who attempts to take the law into their own hands.
Israelis can also help by speaking out against the excesses of their own government and be more vocal in denouncing the military oppression in the occupied territories.
But as long as Palestinians fail to crack down on Hamas for the criminals that they are, Israel will respond to them as terrorists they have become.
Hamas is able to continue this campaign of violence not only because Abbas is a weak president, but because Palestinian society under occupation and in the Diaspora continues to tolerate violent acts of vengeance, especially those related to the Palestinian cause.
Everyone should understand the anguish of Palestinians living under occupation. Every day, they witness their homes being destroyed, their land being confiscated and crimes against them being whitewashed or brushed aside.
Yet, what cannot be tolerated is the exploitation by Arab and Muslim organizations in America of Palestinian suffering. Rather than remain silent, they must denounce suicide bombings and position themselves as moral critics of wrongful Israeli policies.
Instead, many Arab and Muslim American organizations go one step further and blacklist, ostracize and publicly denounce any Palestinian, Arab or Muslim who dares to speak out against Hamas or PIJ, as a sign to others to remain silent.
If these American organizations would find the courage and strength to speak with moral courage, they would strengthen the hand of Abbas not only to crush the terrorist organization Hamas, but to empower him to stand up to Israel and make stronger demands for concessions at the negotiating table.
As long as these organizations remain silent, and Abbas fails to act forcefully, Hamas and PIJ violence will continue at the expense of Palestinian suffering.
Ray Hanania is a syndicated columnist and former national president of the Palestinian American Congress. His regular Ynetnews columns take a satirical and humorous approach to the political and cultural situation. He can be reached at www.hanania.com