Israel and Hamas have just finished fighting yet another mini-war. This is just the latest war Hamas has fought since it took control of Gaza in 2006. Since then, the Palestinians have had two autonomous states, in Gaza and the West Bank.
Some background: Over the last 15 years, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (run by the Fatah party, or the Palestinian Liberation Organization) have been arch enemies. Hamas, which grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, is dedicated to Islamic law and destroying Israel. The Palestinian Authority, which has been weakened over the years by corruption and a lack of vision, never lived up to its pledge during the Oslo Accords to reject violence and, for years, waged a brutal war of terrorism against Israel – sending suicide bombers and others with the mission of killing Israelis.
After the Second Intifada in 2000, the left wing/peace movement all but collapsed in Israel. Israelis were tired of terrorism and were weary of giving away any more land. But in 2005, it withdrew from Gaza – removing over 9,000 Israelis and shuttering 25 settlements. This led to further bloodshed and eventually Hamas’s takeover of Gaza. Since then, Hamas has spent its billions from Iran on acquiring sophisticated weapons like missiles. Last month, it fired over 4,000 rockets at Israel. Most were aimed at big cities, like Tel Aviv, but some reached far into northern Israel. Hamas has an army of 30,000 and hundreds of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
In the past, much of the media has been able to provide proper background to the conflict during wars. This time, respected print and broadcast journalists failed and essentially presented Hamas as a victim, and Israel as the oppressor. There was no talk or analysis of Hamas’s oppression of its people or its desire to destroy Israel. Instead, some politicians, like Ayanna Pressley – who represents Boston in Congress – went as far as equating the Palestinian movement with Black Lives Matter. “Our destinies are tied,” she told members of Congress in a May speech.
Pressley’s blatant ignorance around the subject is harmful, and based on fantasy. The media, including The Boston Globe, and The New York Times, and CNN, downplayed Hamas as a brutal, militant theocracy. Respected publications should review their coverage and learn from their mistakes. Facts matter, especially in the case of life and death in the Middle East.