Is there such a thing as an innocent Palestinian?

The Israel Defense Force’s daring rescue of four hostages being held by a Palestinian journalist, his physician father, and other so-called civilians in Gaza’s Nuseirat camp last weekend should have ended the narrative that all Palestinians are victims. Yet, instead of being outraged that Gazan families were holding Israelis captive – or even being happy that several hostages had finally been freed – the international community condemned Israel for the “civilian” deaths caused by the raid. 

The United Nations human rights office put out a statement saying they were “profoundly shocked” by the bloodshed. I’m sure no one bothered to ask why U.N. agencies allow Hamas to store weapons in their facilities or why they build them over tunnel shafts.

The BBC and other major media outlets ran with casualty reports from the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry that claimed 274 Palestinians had been killed and another 698 wounded during the operation. MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin asked viewers, “How many innocent Palestinians killed is acceptable to rescue Israeli hostages?” This begs the question: Is there such a thing as an innocent Palestinian?

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s top diplomat, took to X on Sunday to express his indignation. He wrote: “Reports from Gaza of another massacre of civilians are appalling. We condemn this in the strongest terms. The bloodbath must end immediately.” (Borrell was also the first EU official to announce that Norway, Spain, Ireland and Slovenia would recognize a Palestinian state.) 

The reaction from the Left over the operation was so inappropriate that satire site The Babylon Bee published an article hilariously titled, “Palestinian Researchers Discover Startling Correlation Between Holding Hostages In Your Home and People Shooting You.”

Has the world collectively lost its mind? How have declared members of a terrorist group, along with their supporters and their civilian accomplices, who perpetrated a depraved, unprovoked attack upon Israeli citizens and soldiers, killing more than 1,200, and wounding thousands more, become the victims?

A poll released by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in March found that Palestinian support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza has increased since Oct. 7 and remains high. Just 7% of Gazans blamed Hamas for their suffering. Remarkably, “71% of all Palestinians supported Hamas’s decision to attack Israel on October 7 — up 14 points among Gazans and down 11 points among West Bank Palestinians compared to three months ago. Fifty-nine percent of all Palestinians thought Hamas should rule Gaza, and 70 percent were satisfied with the role Hamas has played during the war.”

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Research Manager David May explained the reason for such a strong level of support: “Palestinians are living in another reality — one in which Hamas did not commit atrocities on Oct. 7 and one in which Hamas did not march the Palestinian national project off a cliff. This perception gap will further complicate Israel’s day-after plans.” 

May’s colleague at FDD, Richard Goldberg, put it even more bluntly: “While Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels across the Middle East talking about a two-state solution and a Palestinian state, the main impediment to such schemes remains the same: a radicalized Palestinian population that supports terrorism against Israel instead of peacemaking.”

He nailed it. Palestinians aren’t interested in a peaceful coexistence with the Israelis. Instead, they want to kill all the Jews and take over their land – from the river to the sea. Their culture remains one of intolerance, hatred, and violence. Children are indoctrinated to hate Jews at an early age. A 2020 study of 400 Palestinian school textbooks found that “children are being systematically taught to hate Jewish Israelis and violently resist a Jewish presence in Israel.” 

Recent messages from Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar to mediators in Qatar and Egypt reviewed by the Wall Street Journal shed light on the group’s reluctance to agree to a ceasefire deal to end the war in Gaza. For starters, he is certain Hamas is winning the propaganda war against Israel. 

As far as Sinwar is concerned, the more Palestinian civilian deaths, the better. He’s happy to sacrifice Gazans because he knows it will increase international sympathy.

In one message, he wrote, “We have the Israelis right where we want them.” In another, he considers the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties from conflicts in other locations (such as Algeria) to be “necessary sacrifices.”

Sinwar is a ruthless man with a violent past. He is a product of the Palestinian culture. After serving 22 years in an Israeli prison for multiple murders, he was one of 1,000 Palestinians to be freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011, according to the Journal.

The majority of Gazans are linked in some way to Hamas. They might keep an eye out for IDF troops, hold hostages in their homes, or store weapons on their property. However small one’s role may be, most activity on the Gaza Strip is dictated by the terrorist group.

Jewish News Service Middle East Correspondent Josh Hasten summed it up best in a recent podcast: “The Palestinian people support Hamas. If they didn’t, they would be turning in the leadership of Hamas to the Israelis. They would be putting the weapons that are in their homes out in front and say[ing], ‘Take ‘em. We don’t want them anymore.’ … They support Hamas. The Palestinian people voted for Hamas. The Palestinian people are Hamas.”

Hasten is right. As the polls show, there are very few innocent civilians in Gaza. And the sooner the world recognizes this, the better.

A previous version of this article appeared in the Washington Examiner.

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2 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as an innocent Palestinian?”

  1. Hamas are just like any other guerrilla force: they are wholly dependent on the larger civilian workforce to supply them with food, clothing, shelter, and concealment, and they are just as legitimate targets as the German and Japanese munitions factory or transportation workers whose homes were reduced to rubble as factories were bombed.

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