The Goldstone Report: The UN Blood Libel

Hamas: The UN and Ignoring Terrorism

Hamas, named for the Arabic acronym for "Islamic Resistance Movement," was founded in 1987, during the first Palestinian intifada. Its goal, then and today, is to destroy Israel and create an Islamic Palestinian state in its place. Hamas established itself as the most violent and extreme manifestation of Palestinian nationalism, challenging and eventually exceeding Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in its opposition to peace and capacity for destruction.

Hamas has been declared a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, as well as the European Union, Canada, and Australia.

The 1988 Covenant of Hamas calls explicitly for the destruction of Israel: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." It continues: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors." The document is also plainly antisemitic, calling for "struggle against the Jews" and for defeating the "plan of World Zionism," which it claims is "embodied in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The Covenant also propounds bizarre conspiracy theories, alleging that "Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others" are all manipulated by Zionists to achieve world domination.

The anti-semitic nature of Hamas' leadership and program of action has been manifested over and over again - though repeatedly trivialized or ignored by the UN's "human rights" system. On November 8, 2006 Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad, said:

"Israel should be wiped from the face of the Earth. It is an animal state that recognises no human worth. It is a cancer that should be eradicated." In July of 2001 Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, right-hand to Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin and eventually leader himself, said: "I urge all the brigades to...target the Israeli political leaders and members of parliament..."; "the Hamas political leadership has freed the hand of the brigades to do whatever they want against the brothers of monkeys and pigs."

For two decades, Hamas has used mass murder as its chosen method of pursuing its objectives. In the mid-1990s, it began to use suicide bombings against Israeli civilians on buses, in markets, and in other public spaces. Hundreds of Israelis have since been killed, and thousands more wounded, in such attacks. Hamas terrorism contributed to the collapse of the peace process in 2000, and expanded dramatically during the ensuing so-called second Palestinian intifada. In 2001, Hamas began launching rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian targets. It continued to do so for more than seven years, launching thousands of missiles that killed and wounded dozens of Israelis, making normal daily life in southern Israel impossible.

Following Israel's departure or "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas continued to shell Israeli towns and to carry out other terror attacks. In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections. Instead of moderating its ideology, as predicted by many Western observers, Hamas used its new power to expand its terror operations and to attack its domestic political opponents in the minority Fatah party, which still held the executive branch of Palestinian government. It refused to adhere to international demands that it cease terror and recognize past Palestinian agreements with Israel. Gaza became politically and economically isolated as a result.

In 2006, Hamas launched another unprovoked attack on Israeli soil in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. He has been held ever since in complete isolation and in flagrant violation of international law. Since then, Hamas has attempted numerous additional kidnappings.

Relations between Hamas and Fatah deteriorated rapidly, despite attempts by regional power brokers to cement a national unity government, and in May 2007 Hamas launched a coup against the Fatah executive in Gaza. In the process, Hamas killed dozens of Palestinian civilians and brutally executed its opponents, throwing them from tall buildings on several occasions. Following its seizure of complete power over Gaza, Hamas accelerated its terror campaign against Israel and continued to carry out human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians.

During the Gaza War of 2008-2009, Hamas used Palestinian civilians as human shields, a war crime under international humanitarian law. It hid soldiers and weapons in crowded civilian areas, launching rockets from those areas at civilian targets in Israel. Though its military capacity was severely weakened in the war, it continues to smuggle weapons into Gaza. It has formed a strategic alliance with Iran, which provides Hamas with weapons, money and training. It continues to indoctrinate Palestinian children to hate Jews and to believe in jihad as a way of life. It has created a terrorist state in Gaza, committed to a mission of war and genocide. Yet the UN has repeatedly minimized or dismissed the need to protect Israelis and Palestinians from Hamas.

Since its emergence in the late 1980s, the United Nations has refused to act against the terror and destruction wrought by Hamas, while acting swiftly against Israel's attempts to defend its citizens. In 1992, when Israel attempted to expel 413 Hamas operatives and supporters, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 799, which condemned "the action taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to deport hundreds of Palestinian civilians." Many of the deportees would eventually return to a life of terror. In the mid-1990s, Hamas' campaign of suicide bombings inside Israel, was met by Security Council Resolution 1073 expressing concern for "casualties on both sides." This moral equivalence between terror and attempts to stop terror protected Hamas and allowed it to develop and expand its capacity to kill Israeli civilians.

In March 2002, when Hamas suicide attacks reached a bloody crescendo, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1402 expressing concern about violence on both sides, but its general call for "an immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction" reaffirmed the perverse equivalence between terrorism and attempts to stop terrorism.

In 2004, when Israel killed Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, then-Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UN Human Rights Commission condemned Israel's action as as an "extrajudicial killing." But Yassin, who personally instigated and authorized suicide bombing and exhorted his followers to "armed struggle" against Israelis and Jews "everywhere," was a combatant in a war. The legal term "extrajudicial," by definition, applies only to individuals entitled to judicial process before being targeted. Combatants - including the unlawful combatants of Hamas who seek to make themselves indistinguishable from the civilian population - are not entitled to such prior judicial process. And International Committee of the Red Cross manuals state that civilians who take a direct part in hostilities forfeit their immunity from attack. (Furthermore, judicial process was not an option for Israel since it would have placed both Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian civilians at much greater risk. As the Secretary-General should have known, the legal limit in targeting combatants like Yassin is the rule of proportionality, or "incidental loss of civilian life" which is not "excessive" (in the language of the Geneva Conventions) - a standard which was clearly met.)

As soon as Rantissi took over the leadership of Hamas in March 2004, he called for more bloodshed: "The doors are wide open for attacks inside the Zionist entity." Weeks later Israel killed Rantissi, but found itself subject to the same UN criticism. Not a single civilian was killed with Rantissi; killed were only two Hamas accomplices (one of whom was his 27-year old son). In other words, the law of self-defense is never applied by the UN in Israel's favor even with zero civilian casualties.

Hamas conducts a war in which it launches rockets from schools, uses ambulances as transport for combatants, hides behind women and children, and dresses its gunmen in civilian clothing as camouflage, all in flagrant violation of international law. Palestinian civilian casualties are, in fact, Hamas's weapon of choice. But the UN is apparently oblivious to this grotesque calculation. Asked about Hamas' use of civilians as human shields, UN Relief and Works Agency chief Karen Abu Zayd responded: "I don't know of these human shields being used... What I would say is that Hamas very much leave us alone; let me say, they respect us."

When the UN and Hamas respect each other, it becomes clearer why Hamas continues to act with impunity and its Israeli victim stands accused.