By Harry Storm
Palestinian lives are not the priority for Hamas and its supporters
Pro-Palestinian protests continue to occur around the globe, as they have for nearly three months, calling for a ceasefire that would end the Israeli war against Hamas, accusing the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) of “genocide,” and holding placards with the pictures of Palestinian children and infants killed or injured by Israel’s “brutal” attack.
But what you are extremely unlikely to hear at these protests are calls for Hamas to surrender and/or give up the 100+ Israeli hostages it is still holding somewhere in Gaza.
This is quite remarkable, given that it is the surest way to stop the killing in Gaza, which purportedly is what is motivating Arabs and Muslims worldwide, as well as pro-Palestinian activists, woke/left millennials and Gen Z’s, to march in such great numbers.
Yet one never hears these calls. Why?
The obvious answer is that the protesters don’t want Hamas to surrender or give up the hostages. Which begs another question: Why wouldn’t pro-Palestinians want Hamas to surrender or, at a minimum, give up their hostages in return for an end to the war and the killing, and allow Palestinians in Gaza to return to their homes and resume their normal lives? Another obvious and simple answer: Because, just like the terrorist organization they support, their goal isn’t to save Palestinian lives or reduce Palestinian suffering.
The real objective of protest organizers and hard-core anti-Israel fanatics is to harm Israel as much as possible. For them, lives in Gaza are expendable, just as they are for Hamas. Far from actually caring about the fate of innocent Palestinians in Gaza, including children and infants, hard-core protesters consider Palestinians to be cannon fodder, useful only when their injuries or deaths can be blamed on Israel.
Every Palestinian death or serious injury, especially that of a child caught on video, gives Muslim and western anti-Zionist activists yet another stick to beat Israel with. Videos of dead, injured or otherwise suffering Palestinians are also used to gain support from millennials, gen Z’s and other new followers who swell pro-Palestinian demonstrations (although many may be joining the marches just to be part of the group).
These young protesters serve as useful idiots for the cause by boosting the size of the demonstrations demanding that Israel accept a ceasefire – which in the current context would amount to an Israeli defeat that could render much of southern Israel uninhabitable..
Meanwhile, Hamas leaders watch the massive worldwide protests from their luxury abodes in Qatar or the safety of the tunnels they built for themselves, even as the population of Gaza suffers the consequences of their Oct. 7 massacre. According to senior Hamas official Abu Marzouk, “Protecting civilians [in Gaza] is the responsibility of the United Nations and Israel, the underground tunnels in Gaza are to protect the fighters.”
Given the size and scope of the protests, the Hamas leadership surely must believe their policies that put their own people in harm’s way are finally bearing fruit, and that the world is finally coming to its senses.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that “calling for a ceasefire is calling for Israel to surrender.” And he’s right. Hamas initiated this war with a vicious massacre of 1200 Israelis as well as kidnapping 240 more to Gaza. A ceasefire without Hamas surrendering – even if it releases the remaining 130+ hostages it still holds – would amount to a Hamas victory and would vindicate the decision to storm the border on Oct. 7.
Should Hamas be permitted to continue governing Gaza, it’s likely that nearby kibbutzim and towns, such as Beeri and Sderot, which have been evacuated, will remain empty. And allowing Hamas to remain would further embolden Hezbollah in the north, whose attacks since Oct. 7 have already caused the evacuation of tens of thousands of Israelis from border towns and villages near the Lebanese border.
And this is precisely what the pro-Palestinian zealots organizing the protests really want. The people who spit out “Zionist” as an insult or worse are not interested in two-state solutions, or a prosperous Gaza (or Palestine) living side by side with Israel. They want Israel dismantled or annihilated because they consider the world’s only Jewish state to be uniquely evil, much like how Nazis and their sympathizers viewed the Jews.
It’s noteworthy that no other conflict in the world, not Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, or the re-emerging genocide in Darfur in Western Sudan, has resulted in even a fraction of the vast number of protesters we’ve seen regularly marching against Israel. China’s imprisonment of 1 million Uyghurs in concentration camps has generated many articles, but few if any mass protests. During the Syrian civil war, which saw more than 600,000 civilians killed, including nearly 4,000 Palestinians, there was much concern in the West about Syrian refugees, but few if any marches demanding a ceasefire.
Why do Palestinians in Gaza seemingly attract so much sympathy? Palestinian poet laureate Mahmoud Darwish, no friend of Israel, understood that the attention focused on conflicts between Palestinians and Israelis had little to do with the Palestinians and everything to do with their enemy. In a conversation with an Israeli journalist, he famously said:
“Do you know why we Palestinians are famous? Because you are our enemy. The interest in us stems from the interest in the Jewish issue. The interest is in you, not in me. So we have the misfortune of having Israel as an enemy, because it enjoys unlimited support. And we have the good fortune of having Israel as our enemy, because the Jews are the center of attention. You’ve brought us defeat and renown.”
Darwish died in 2008, by which time he probably would have been pleased that the “unlimited support” he believed the world provided to Israel in that interview had waned significantly. I suspect he also would have been surprised to learn that feminist and LBGT groups were lining up to join pro-Hamas rallies in cities across the world.
But I doubt very much that he would have believed that Palestinian suffering was the reason Hamas terrorists were getting so much worldwide support, especially from such unlikely groups, given Islamic fundamentalist views about women and gays. He knew then what has become more apparent by the day as the Gaza war and the pro-Palestinian protests continue: That the furore about the war isn’t really about Palestinians at all. That even the dead and injured children are just weapons to be used to attack Israel. And that, once again, it’s all about the Jews.