Well, not quite. But for those who constantly point to the evil policies of Hamas as an excuse to blockade and bomb the people who voted for them, I would take a close look at the leading candidates in Israel’s upcoming election.
Exhibit 1: Benjamin Netanyahu
This is a man calling for the violent re-occupation of Gaza to “liquidate” its elected government. This is a man who says he will “naturally grow” the West Bank settlements. This is a man who says he will “never” negotiate over Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights, or control of the West Bank water supply. This is a man who says establishing a Palestinian state would leave Israel with “an existential threat and a public relations nightmare reminiscent of 1938 Czechoslovakia.” This is a man who Yitzhak Rabin’s widow says helped to incite his murder….He insists they [ the Palestinians] have no right to a share of the land because they “stole” it — in the year 636 AD. He writes: “It was not the Jews who usurped the land from the Arabs, but the Arabs who usurped the land from the Jews… twelve hundred years ago.”
Exhibit 2: Avigdor Liberman
…A Russian ex-nightclub bouncer who was once arrested for attacking a boy who he suspected of insulting his son. Lieberman grew up in the Soviet system — and he retains a Soviet mindset. His party, Yisrael Beytenu (Israel, Our Home) has campaigned claiming that Israel’s two million Arab citizens are “a danger to the country”, to be dispensed with, in part, by ethnic cleansing. Lieberman wanted to bus thousands of released Palestinian prisoners to the Dead Sea and drown them. Today, he has moderated his stance and merely wants to “transfer” many hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arabs — inevitably by force — to the scraps of remaining land that will be labeled Palestine after Israel has annexed the major illegal settlement blocks. If your name’s not on the list, you’re not staying in…He would like to begin these racist expulsions with a simple, swift move: executing Israeli Arab members of the Knesset. Since they have spoken to the democratically elected Palestinian leadership, they are “traitors”, Lieberman argues. They should be dealt with “like Hamas.” At other times, Lieberman shifts analogy, and says the correct model for dealing with Gaza and the West Bank should be to copy Vladimir Putin’s approach to Chechnya in the 1990s. One third of the civilian population died.
It is pretty clear that the views of Netanyahu and Liberman are every bit as repulsive as Hamas, perhaps even more so. Does that justify an a complete economic blockade of Israel (including humanitarian aid) and the bombing of civilian centers in retaliation for this awful choice? No, it does not. However repulsive these men may be, it is still necessary to talk to them, to forge ahead with peace talks. But isn’t it funny how people have different standards when it comes to the Israeli and Palestinian electorates?