Mon, 19 Jan 2009 21:11:31 +0000 – By Matt SanchezMilitary Commentator
Why should the average American even care that Israeli forces are leading an offensive in Gaza to cripple Hamas? Roughly five percent of Americans have passports and few would want to vacation in the Middle East anway. We all know the conflict between Arabs and Israel is never ending and the less we get involved the better, right?
Although the impressions and opinions listed above are as common as they are comforting for those who don't want to be bothered with the details, there are five very important reasons why you should be concerned about what's going on in Gaza:
1. Hamas is for the creation of an Islamic state of Palestine
Members of Hamas have called for the creation of an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law.
Defenders of Sharia will argue religious law has varying degrees.
One of the fringe benefits of the Hamas version of Sharia is the death penalty for those who engage in any activity that can "hurt the Palestinian morale". Yes, this is a religious obligation from Hamas to keep your chin up and have a nice day--or else.
2. The Palestinian Conflict is Not a Matter of Muslim vs. Jew
The biggest victims of Hamas violence in Gaza have been Muslims. Two rival Palestinian political factions, Fatah and Hamas have mutually accused each other of torture, terrorism and targeted assassinations-- and they have the video footage to prove it.
But the tiny Christian, centuries old minority in Gaza gets the worse treatment of all. The Christians aren't are not "occupying Gaza", nor did they deny anyone access to their homeland, yet under Hamas, Christian schools have been bombed, Bibles have been burned and Christian leaders have been killed.
3. The Deck Is Stacked Against Israel
Despite an enormous advantage in firepower, intelligence and military training, Israel is the underdog in this conflict -- there is enormous pressure on Israel not to attack Hamas.
So, why should you care? Because Hamas and other Islamists throughout the world view Israel as a warm up for the greater foe-- the United States.
4. Hamas Weakens the Powers of International Institutions
Whether you like it or not, the United Nations has a role to play in the world, or at least in the parts of the world where no other institution has any social sway. The "Arab street" concedes some legitimacy to the UN--except when that same Arab Street claims the UN is only doing the Zionist bidding of the United States--but as far as authority goes, the over-hyped bureaucracy headquartered in the ailing building near the East River is a power player in the Middle East. UN programs supply food and aid, and that's important when Hamas officials are too busy planning their next attack to tend to the annoying details of running a country and building an economy.
So far, the UN has been very slow to define terrorism, but maybe if they learned more people have died from terrorist violence than from climate change, they might start a movement to fight the rise of radicalism right after they lower the sea levels.
5. The Radical Islamic Terror of Hamas Will Spread Beyond the Current Confines of Gaza:
It's not surprising that both the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department openly recognize a Hamas presence on American soil.
In Senate testimony FBI Director Robert Mueller had this to say:
"Of all the Palestinian groups, Hamas has the largest presence in the U.S. with a robust infrastructure, primarily focused on fundraising, propaganda for the Palestinian cause, and proselytizing."
Hamas is just the local franchise of a bigger organization. Different brands of Hamas can be found in Indonesia, Somalia, Algeria, and so many other countries that most Americans will not visit. But Americans may not need to travel because if groups like Hamas are allowed to win in Gaza this ever more popular business just might open up an operation in a city near you.
Americans are a busy people, so, I've made this top-five chart as user-friendly as possible, but some things will never be easy to understand.
In San Francisco, protestors held up signs calling Hamas militants "freedom fighters". Only those who do not live next to Hamas have the luxury of considering members of the terrorist group "freedom fighters" but this may be a great opportunity for a learning experience. Members of the Hamas tourism bureau should invite San Francisco protestors to Gaza and insist they have a really nice day.