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December 22, 2014

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Palestinian government must break with Hamas

Editor's note from Brian Greenspun, publisher and editor of the Sun: Rabbi Marvin Hier is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. He is a man well-known for his moral clarity and his willingness to speak forthrightly about issues of consequence.

Civilians in Israel have been bombarded by Hamas rockets being fired from homes, mosques, hospitals and other non-military sites throughout Gaza. In an effort to silence those deadly missiles, Israel is striking back with great precision but not without some civilian casualties — which is part of Hamas’ cold-blooded plan.

On cue, many news outlets and others are focused on the lopsided death toll, as if that is a factor in what is right and wrong. Yes, civilian deaths are tragic but what is worse is suggesting that some equivalency is required!

Rabbi Hier recently called on President Barack Obama to let the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas know that he has to choose, right now, between the terrorists of Hamas and the good people of the United States.

It is moral clarity at its best.

• • •

Now is the time for President Barack Obama to make that inconvenient call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and finally deliver the news to him that the United States can no longer support a Palestinian government that includes ministers affiliated with Hamas, the terrorist group now firing hundreds of Iranian missiles at Israel’s major population centers. As one astute Israeli journalist remarked to me last week from a bomb shelter in Jerusalem, this fantasy idea that Abbas sold to the State Department and White House is absolutely dead, even though it has not yet officially been buried.

As I write these words, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., has introduced a resolution co-sponsored by 40 senators from both parties including Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., which says: “Whereas Hamas has entered into a unity governing arrangement with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority; and Whereas the agreement implies Fatah and the Palestinian Authority’s support for Hamas’ belligerent actions against Israel — We call on the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity government with Hamas and condemn the rocket attacks on Israel.”

That the Obama national security team could sign off on an idea that makes the distinction between active Hamas operatives and so-called independently minded “technocrats” is just mind-boggling.

Where were these so-called nonpartisan bureaucrats in the new Palestinian unity government when it came to preventing their leaders from again inflicting untold tragedy and suffering upon the citizens of Gaza? This was their opportunity to show the Israelis that the White House was right to support the idea that there are, in fact, nonpolitical voices in Gaza who think differently from the old guard.

But these “technocrats” remained silent. Not one of them seized the moment to part company with the past and chart a new course by, for example, publicly expressing regret over what happened to the innocent three boys on their way home from yeshiva in Gush Etzion.

To take the opportunity to write an editorial or send a brief letter of condolence to each of the parents of the Israeli teenagers so brutally murdered by Hamas, the organization they represent.

Over 600 Israelis personally visited the tent of the bereaved Palestinian Khdeir family whose 16-year-old son Mohammed Abu was burned alive by Jewish terrorists.

Why was there no similar outpouring from Palestinians in the West Bank or letters of sympathy from Gaza residents to the families of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel?

If it’s because these “technocrats” are fearful of even making such a symbolic gesture to the Hamas leadership, then how are they ever going to muster the courage to tell their leaders that they must engage in peace talks with Israel? It seems that the only one who has told the truth about Abbas’ unity government was Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza who told the world that “we are leaving the chairs but not leaving the role.”

Now is the time for President Obama and the leadership of the European Union to recognize there are no real technocrats in Gaza, only “terrorcrats” who either fully support Hamas or are too fearful to ever speak out against them; they are nothing more than impotent enablers, helping to prop up one of the world’s most destructive terrorist groups.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is absolutely right in drawing the conclusion from all this that Israel can never leave the Jordan Valley and place the security of millions of Israeli citizens in the hands of electronic surveillance.

As for the people of Gaza, who overwhelmingly voted to put their fate in the hands of Hamas, they have two choices: either vote Hamas out or forever remain hostage to Hamas’ insanity until the messianic era.

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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