In Haaretz today
By Bradley Burston
Tags: Hamas, Burston, anti-Semitism
To the Westerner who "understands" the terrorist: Spare us the explanations. Spare us the learned, sociology-drenched justifications.
Spare us the reasons why you "get" Palestinians when they gun Jews down in cold blood. Spare us the chapter and verse on how the plight of the Palestinians is at the root of Islamic terrorism the world over, and if the Palestinians were to receive full justice, Islamic terrorism would pass from the world. Spare us. You may well believe, with the blind faith of the hopeful and the fear-stricken, that when these people are through with the Jews, they won't come for you. Think again. Spare us the post-modernism and the radical chic and the guff. Open your eyes. When a gunman walks into a Jewish religious seminary at the main entrance to that part of Jerusalem which has been Jewish since 1948, and which was stolen from no one, pay attention. When he opens fire on religious students hunched over books in a library, firing and firing until blood soaks holy book bindings and open pages of Talmud and the whole of the floor, pay close attention to the reactions of the self-styled people of faith who run Hamas. Spare us the conclusion that the only reason Hamas kills Jews, and that its underlying motive for encouraging others to do the same, is to force Israel to agree to a cease-fire. Spare us the "Israel's policies are responsible for the bloodshed" and "the seminary is, after all, an ideological bastion and symbol of the religious right" and all the other scholarly, arrogant, condescending and amoral ways of saying "they had it coming to them." Spare us the understanding for the motivations of the mass murderer who kills with God on his lips. Spare us the understanding of the words of the Hamas official who says that after all the Israeli killings of Palestinians, the Jerusalem killings are "our only joy." Spare us the sight of the thanksgiving prayers for the great victory, prayers that began in Gaza City mosques just after the slaughter of the Jews. Spare us the sight of the sweets being handed out by little children to motorists in passing cars in the Strip, sweets to celebrate the young Jews dead on the floor, the young Jews dead at their desks, the Jews killed for the crime of being Jews in that place of study and worship. Spare us the righteousness of those who condemned Baruch Goldstein for entering a holy place with an assault rifle and murdering Palestinians, but who can understand why a Palestinian might do the very same thing, Open your eyes. Last week, when Israeli forces drove into Gaza, and some 120 Palestinians were killed, many of them were gunmen, but with children making up another sixth of the total, one grieving father spoke with quiet eloquence, saying "Other places in the world, when this happens, there is a great outcry. When this happens here, the world is silent. No one cares." He's right. The world has grown content to let Palestinians die. The reason is not simple callousness. And it is not, as Hamas proclaims to its followers in Gaza, that the Jews control the world media and world finance, and thus Western government as well. The reason is terrorism. The world has grown weary of the Islamist's creed, that only the armed struggle can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the only proper resolution is the end of Israel. Even the Israeli left, which for decades championed the Palestinian with courage and determination, has, in large part, had it with the Palestinians. The reason is terrorism. The reason is murder. The reason is that the rulers of Gaza are people who see an intrinsic value in the killing of Jews for the sake of increasing the number of dead Jews in the world. The rulers of Gaza cannot bring themselves to accept the concept of sharing the Holy Land with the Jews. The best that the rulers of Gaza can do, is to bring an end to hope among their own people and ours as well. They believe that the Jewish state is temporary, and that they Jews will soon abandon it to Islamic rule. After all this time, you'd think they'd know the Jews a little better.