Indy Mid-East reporter’s tweet exposes profound misunderstanding of the conflict

Regardless of whether Netanyahu's comparison between Hamas and ISIS is accurate, the point is that Hamas - like other Islamist extremist movements - can not be placated in the long-term by Western political concessions.  The antisemitic extremist group's fundamental grievance isn't an economic one, but, rather, the continued existence of a Jewish state - and no journalist covering the region can possibly report accurately on the conflict if they fail to comprehend this most basic truth. 

The Independent’s new Middle East correspondent, Bel Trew, tweeted this earlier amidst the largest escalation of violence between Hamas and Israel since the 2014 war:

Here’s more from the Haaretz editorial endorsed by Trew:

Once again, as if in an inevitable cycle, rockets are flying toward Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip, residents of these communities are hiding in reinforced rooms, Iron Dome batteries are intercepting missiles to the best of their ability, air force jets are being sent on bombing runs, clouds of smoke are towering over Gaza, dramatic consultations are being held in army headquarters, empty boasts are being heard on both sides, and reports of dead and wounded are beginning to mount.

….

Netanyahu knows very well that Hamas isn’t the Islamic State, and the proof is that negotiations are taking place, albeit indirectly, between Hamas and Israel on a long-term cease-fire.

But more importantly, the prime minister of Israel must not relate to two million people living under siege in miserable conditions as if they were an incorrigible gang of terrorists. To do so demonstrates shockingly irresponsible leadership.

Netanyahu understands quite well that the clashes in Gaza are the result of despair, distress, poverty and the lack of an economic horizon. Therefore, the solution isn’t military, but political. Gaza residents need jobs, electricity for hospitals, fuel to operate factories, generous investments and an emergency plan for rapid reconstruction. Quite aside from the humanitarian aspect, both Israel’s security interests and quiet for communities near Gaza require the fulfillment of these conditions.

The editorial completely ignores Hamas role in perpetuating the conflict, and repeats mind-numbingly banal and thoroughly misguided cliches about the conflict that may be popular within the media echo-chamber, but which have little connection to reality.  This narrative suggests that a “cycle of violence” exists between Hamas and Israel, one that’s largely the result of poverty in Gaza – as if, absent the Israeli blockade, Hamas would cease building rockets and other instruments of terror, renounce their call for Israel’s destruction and instead focus on building roads, schools and hospitals. 

It’s so simple, but this needs to be spelled out anyway: the blockade is the result of Hamas violence, not its cause.

Regardless of whether Netanyahu’s comparison between Hamas and ISIS is accurate, the point is that Hamas – like other Islamist extremist movements – can not be placated in the long-term by Western political concessions.  The antisemitic extremist group’s fundamental grievance isn’t an economic one, but, rather, the continued existence of a Jewish state – and no journalist covering the region can possibly report accurately on the conflict if they fail to comprehend this most basic truth. 

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