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Photo: AFP
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar at border protests
Photo: AFP
Ben-Dror Yemini
The blame lies with Hamas, not Israel
Op-ed: Hello neighbors. We want you to live alongside us in peace, prosperity, welfare and independence, but your leaders constantly choose to perpetuate the problem rather than solve it. Our hand is offered in peace, please accept it.
Hello neighbors. You've been living in distress for many years. We know. We're not ignoring it. Most of us even feel your pain, because we want neighbors who live in welfare, prosperity, and with a better future for themselves and their children.

 

 

A little over a decade ago Israel left the Gaza Strip, withdrawing from every last centimeter. It could've been a turning point. For the first time, some of the Palestinians faced the option of having full independence. For the first time in history, they could've realized all of their desires. It could've been a new beginning.

 

But in short time, Hamas took over the strip. Hundreds of Palestinians were killed during that violent takeover. The Hamas regime's first step was to cancel all agreements with Israel, primarily the agreement on the border crossings. It was not Israel that put a blockade on the strip; Hamas imposed the blockade by canceling all of the agreements. Despite that, from then and until this very day, hundreds of supply trucks pass through the border crossings from Israel into the strip.

 

 (Photo: EPA)
(Photo: EPA)
 

Most Israelis have no interest in Gaza's collapse or in a humanitarian crisis there. And despite that, you're marching towards crisis. Not because of Israel; because of the Hamas regime.

 

Hamas knows how to invest—but only in the death industry. More tunnels. More rockets. Had Hamas invested everything it spent on tunnels in building neighborhoods, schools and hospitals instead, the situation in the strip would've been much better. Hamas wouldn't be dragging you and us to more and more conflicts.

 

 (Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

 

And what came of the investment in rockets and tunnels? Only suffering for the residents of the strip. No, it has nothing to do with Israel. Look around, dear neighbors, look at other countries. You're not alone. Everywhere radical Islam has taken over, the result is destruction and ruin. This happens in Somalia, in Nigeria, in Syria, in Libya, in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Is there one place in the world where radical Islam helped residents? Just one?

 

 (Photo: AFP)
(Photo: AFP)

 

When Hamas rose to power, the international community set conditions to the continuation of aid: "The Quartet Principles." Accepting these principles would've led to the end of the blockade and to a better future. Even Arab leaders pressed Hamas to accept these terms. But Hamas leaders decided to say "No." It's time to protest against them. It's time to pressure them so you could have more water, more electricity, more food and more welfare. They're the problem, not Israel.

 

 (Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

 

For almost 70 years now that the Arab world keeps you as "refugees." No, it's not because of Israel. It's because this is what the leaders of the Arab world wanted. They had an opportunity to establish an Arab state in 1947, but they said "No" and led you to the Nakba. They had decades to rehabilitate the refugees, but they didn't want to. There was another opportunity to resolve the refugee problem with Clinton's peace initiative and other initiatives later on. But your leaders kept saying no.

 

 (Photo: AP)
(Photo: AP)

 

Allow us to remind you that you were not the only one in the world to suffer a "Nakba." Tens of millions were uprooted from their places of birth after the First and Second World Wars. Close to a million Jews were also expelled or had to flee from Arab countries. Many of them had their property taken and confiscated. They arrived in Israel as refugees. It wasn't easy for them at first, as it hasn't been easy for tens of millions others. But none of those tens of millions is a refugee anymore. Only you. Anyone with eyes knows the blame lies with your leaders. They didn't want to solve the problem, and you're paying the price.

 

We don't want suffering. We want you to live alongside us, in peace, prosperity, welfare and independence. Let's not fight each other. Let's drop the delusions—and there are those on our side who prefer delusions as well—for a better reality. The entire world will help, if only you come with good will rather than hatred and incitement and delusions of the "right of return."

 

We also made many mistakes. There's a lot to fix, a lot that needs fixing. But we're also offering our hand in peace. Please accept it. Instead of another delusion and a "March of Return," which is all about provocation and violence, let's go on a shared march of peace, reconciliation and mutual recognition. You've been on the same march for 70 years now, on the old path, with the same result: More suffering, more distress. So you should try a new path, one that has hope. Please, accept our hand, which is offered in peace.

 


פרסום ראשון: 03.31.18, 11:56
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