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November 22, 2014

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Hamas needs to be called out for its crimes

Editor's note from Brian Greenspun, publisher and editor of the Sun: The continuing bloodshed in Gaza compels more illumination of the facts that are so easily overlooked by the world community. What appears to be happening to the casual observer from afar is far from the reality of what is playing out in Gaza.

I am particularly impressed by a column by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the renowned Simon Wiesenthal Center that explores the international silence over how Hamas painstakingly and connivingly developed a war infrastructure at the expense of the peaceful people who live in Gaza. I am willing to guess that what he writes here will be news to you, and disturbing.

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The scope of Hamas’ terrorist tunnel freeway system is shocking. Specially-trained shock troops would have launched a mega attack on Southern Israel on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, that would have left thousands murdered and maimed and scores, if not hundreds, of drugged kidnapped hostages dragged back to Gaza.

Who stands behind Hamas, and why did they believe they could get away with it?

Without question, Iran continues to play a key role in using lackeys like Hezbollah and Hamas to inflict death and destruction on the Jewish state. The Emir of Qatar, a supposed ally of the U.S. and funder of Al-Jazeera, continues to be a key player in bankrolling and legitimizing Hamas and providing a five-star home for Hamas’ top leader.

Not to be outdone is another U.S. ally and NATO partner, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, a key demonizer of the Jewish state and cheerleader for the Gazan spawn of the Muslim Brotherhood. And finally, it is not lost on Hamas that the Obama administration, instead of urging Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to remove Hamas from their so-called unity government, continues to insist that terrorist Hamas be negotiated with, alongside its target: democratic Israel.

But there are other players as well that continue to embolden and empower Hamas. Let us remember that the Gaza/Hamas scenario is a recurring nightmare — it’s happened before in 2006, 2008 and 2010 — but the international community, including the United Nations and the world’s nongovernmental organizations, says and does virtually nothing, and when they do act, they often succeed in only making things worse.

In 2014, flak jacket-wearing “war” correspondents on the ground and talking heads back in TV studios from London to Los Angeles repeatedly ask: Why don’t Palestinian civilians have bomb shelters?

There are two discomforting reasons.

First, bomb shelters might actually minimize civilian casualties among Gaza’s hapless populace, something that would negatively impact Hamas’ core strategy in its asymmetrical war against Israel. Hamas counts on spawning martyrs on demand for the 24-hour, Internet-driven news cycles to depict Israel as a Nazi-like monolith bent on murdering innocent babies and their mothers.

The second reason is that there is a desperate shortage of cement, but no one ever demanded to know why. That’s because the series of new tunnels were built with thousands of tons of diverted cement from 24,000 concrete slabs that Israel was pressured into allowing into Gaza to ease a so-called crisis in the civilian construction center. Those slabs were used to build sophisticated tunnels designed as advanced terrorist underground highways extending into Israeli territory.

Not a peep of protest or outrage from the international NGOs that had clamored for the release of the “building materials for Gaza’s civilians.”

The hall of shame reads like a who’s who of Europe’s Civil Society, including Christian Aid, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Handicap International, IKV Pax Christi, International Federation for Human Rights, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Medico International, MS ActionAid Denmark, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Quaker Council for European Affairs, Save the Children UK, and Trocaire.

Amnesty International UK and 21 other groups published “Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade” claiming that, despite the easing of the Gaza blockade, “Gaza needs 670,000 truckloads of construction materials for housing alone in Gaza, while “an average of only 715 truckloads of construction materials” per month had been let in.

Gisha, an NGO based in Israel, complained: “The Israeli approval process requires international organizations to document in tremendous detail every nut and bolt design for construction projects as if we were regulating highly specialized weapons.”

I wonder if Gisha spokespeople would still argue the point today while their fellow citizens do the 15-second dash to take cover from Hamas’ endless supply of underground missiles.

Instead of calling out Hamas for its crimes against humanity — against the people of Gaza, NGOs are instead leading the ludicrous charge of “disproportion response” by the Israelis, when what really upsets Hamas (and its “humanitarian” fellow travelers) is the lack of “proportionality” between Israeli and Palestinian casualties.

Palestinian innocents forced to become “human shields” deserve all our sympathies. Deserving our scorn, however, are international NGOs that maintain their deafening silence in the face of brutal Hamas’ continuing policy of using its own women and children as cannon fodder.

This commentary appeared on foxnews.com.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Follow the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Facebook and on Twitter.

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