BY FARZANA HASSAN, TORONTO SUN
Hamas claims it rejects the ceasefire proposal brokered by Egypt because it wants a better life for its citizens.
It will therefore accept no less than the lifting of Israel’s seven-year Gaza blockade.
The resultant fighting continues to hammer Gaza’s citizens.
They are dying by the hundreds.
Yet Hamas, for all its rhetoric, doesn’t really care.
The reasons for this callousness may be doctrinal: Hamas celebrates death.
In the Islamist’s perverse lexicon, martyrdom is the highest goal a devout Muslim can attain.
To Hamas’ way of thinking, the women and children who are dying because of Hamas’ decisions and actions are attaining a blessed escape from their miserable lives on earth to join the ranks of the most honoured in paradise.
Hamas is indeed a pernicious death cult, an organization that thrives not on governance but on jihad.
Islamists even boast the enemy cannot overpower its foe if that foe is not afraid of dying.
Life simply has no value for Hamas.
Its stated reasons for continuing the fight are merely a political ruse.
How ironic, then, that Hamas denies itself the honour of martyrdom, reserving it for the impoverished and the desperate.
Hamas is a vicious and corrupt organization that thrives on the misfortunes of those it claims to defend.
It misuses mosques, schools and hospitals; it even hid rockets in a UN school.
Hamas has no qualms about starting wars.
It fires rockets across the Israeli border, then lets its own citizens die in the Israeli response.
For Hamas, this is being done for a higher purpose, because Allah graces those martyred in a noble cause.
Its unholy alliance with other Islamist groups, notably Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, shows it favours an Islamic resurgence.
Hamas would be happy to see Egypt wage war on Israel.
Following the Israeli hand-over of Gaza in 2005, there have been three major conflicts between Gaza and Israel.
The first two, in 2006 and 2009, like the current conflict, featured Israeli ground invasions.
The pattern has become familiar: Hamas or an affiliated group captures or murders an Israeli (or three Israeli students, on this occasion), knowing Israel will retaliate.
The price of the resulting Israeli rage is borne by blameless Palestinian civilians, including women and children.
Since Hamas took over Gaza, there has also been an Israeli blockade.
This has caused mass unemployment of Palestinians, many of whom now require aid just to survive.
It is up to the Palestinians to reject Hamas and the unproductive cycle of provocation and death it inflicts on them.
Hamas cannot be annihilated because it has the villain’s advantage of simply disappearing underground.
However, as a visible entity currently in control of Gaza, it can and should continue to be marginalized politically.
According to an April agreement between Fatah and Hamas, an election is due before the end of October.
Palestinians should seize this opportunity to choose the kind of security seven years of Hamas control has not delivered them.
Unfortunately, too many see Hamas as their only path to salvation.
In fact, Hamas is the main cause of their misery.
True, Fatah, its rival political faction, has been ineffective and corrupt.
However, the first step towards improvement in the lot of the Palestinians is to vote for a party whose vision goes beyond medieval notions of martyrdom.
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