By Bill Diem
The atrocities that Hamas soldiers did in Israel are like the atrocities that Sioux warriors did against pioneers moving to Oregon. The Sioux killed men, women and children who had done nothing to the Sioux. In response, the United States went all in on destroying Indian culture. Few voices were raised to say the Indians were trying to preserve their way of life.
The atrocities that Hamas soldiers did to peaceful Israelis living quiet lives is like the 9/11 attack that Osama Bin Laden made against the Twin Towers in New York, killing thousands of innocent Americans going about their lives. In response, President Bush went all in against terrorism, and made war on Iraq based on the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It took another administration to find and kill Bin Laden.
The Middle East is a bloody mess. Hamas soldiers killed more than a thousand innocent Israelis. Since then, Israel’s military has killed more than 6,000 Palestinians.
A French newspaper made a cartoon after Israel began its retaliation. It showed the small Hamas military attacking the much larger, more powerful Israeli military, and the legend said: “After inventing suicide bombings, Hamas invented the suicide war.”
Don’t think of words like “Jew” or “Muslim” or “Christian” here. Think of geography. People of Israel. People of Palestine. People of the United States. People of the Upper Peninsula. Today, if you say, “The People of Israel are killing the people of Palestine in retaliation for murders by the Hamas soldiers,” people will quickly say that you are anti-Semitic, bringing religion in where it wasn’t. The assumption behind their accusation is that all Palestinians are Hamas soldiers, that they all want to kill the people of Israel, and that the only way to secure peace for Israel is to kill all the Palestinians.
That was about the feeling of American leaders in the 19th century. In 1869, when Comanche Chief Toch-a-way introduced himself as a “good Indian” to Gen. Philip Sheridan, who oversaw Indian Territory, Sheridan reportedly replied, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”
Most political leaders say things like, “We are 100% behind Israel.” The President of Turkey has been the only exception, who said that Hamas soldiers are trying to defend their territory,
I don’t know anyone who thinks that what the Hamas soldiers did in Israel was right, fair, or just. Bloodthirsty young men had their beliefs, but their mothers would not have agreed to what they did.
I do know people who think that Israel’s indiscriminate retaliation of bombs and tanks in Gaza, killing six times more civilians than Hamas killed, is wrong, unfair, and unjust. It is impossible to believe that young Palestinians who survive the bombings are going to think that Hamas was wrong.
Down the road, history will say that the United States should have been pressuring Israel to let Palestinians have their own country, which was the deal many years ago. Now Hamas wants to kick Israel out, and right-wing Israelis want to kick all Palestinians out.
But the few are not the many. Most Israelis and Palestinians just want to live ordinary, peaceful lives. Sort of like the people of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.