Poorly researched article spreads lies by normalizing Hamas

Margarita Rosario’s column titled “Hamas is not ISIS, ISIS is not Hamas: UN speech misleading” does not offer insight to what the title suggests. Indeed, there are similarities and differences between Hamas and ISIS worth consideration, yet her writing consists of ill-founded, poorly researched arguments and false information regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Throughout the column, Rosario fails to distinguish between Hamas and the Palestinians. Governing the Gaza strip since 1997, Hamas is a terrorist organization, as designated by the U.S. Secretary of State, and the Palestinians are a people group who reside primarily in the Gaza strip, the West Bank and Israel, under the leadership of Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Democracy, respectively. Israel is the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East, and therefore all citizens living within its borders (including Palestinian Israelis) receive freedom of religion, speech and respect of human rights. These basic freedoms are not granted on the same level to Palestinians who live under the control of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

In regards to Netanyahu’s statement in his United Nations speech, “ISIS is Hamas and Hamas is ISIS,” Rosario misinterprets the statement as if it was directed to the Palestinian people as a whole. She argues, “Palestinians are not the war criminals, as Netanyahu so ineptly suggested.” Of course they are not. There is an obvious distinction between Hamas, the true war criminal, and the Palestinians who are suffering in Gaza. However, Rosario defines Hamas as a “Palestinian nationalist movement,” that is “aimed at resisting Israeli expansion into the West Bank,” completely disregarding the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization with a charter that calls for the destruction of all Jews in Article Seven. Hamas refuses to recognize the right for Israel to exist, with a mission is to destroy Israel in its entirety.

Rosario’s writing is offensive in its attempt to shine a positive light on Hamas, as she continues onward to mention that the terrorist organization is the “largest means of social welfare” for Palestinians, “contributing greatly to the running of schools, mosques and medical centers.” In reality, innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza under Hamas’ control are living in extreme poverty, and their human rights are being violated as homes and schools are used as military bases, and women and children are used as human shields. Funding and resources intended for civilians is reallocated by Hamas for missiles and weaponry. Ironically, Israel supplies Gaza with the electricity, cement and other materials that are in turn being used to make tunnels for the storage of rockets and kidnapping of Israelis. Clearly Hamas is not an organization that “provides” for the Palestinian people, as Rosario suggests.

Rosario goes on to mention the death rate between Israeli and Palestinian civilians, which is, again, unrelated to an analysis on differences between ISIS and Hamas. Deaths on both sides of the conflict are devastating, and proportion comparisons are unnecessary and insensitive. If Israel had not invested in bomb shelters and the Iron Dome to keep citizens within Israel safe, then the casualties of Israelis would be much higher. If Hamas was not using innocent Palestinians as human shields, then the casualties of Palestinians would be much lower. The contrast of moral values between the two sides is undeniable. The Israel Defense Force avoids using weapons and tactics that lead to Palestinian civilian harm, whereas Hamas intentionally targets Israeli citizens and fosters a society that glorifies suicide bombers.

Above all, Rosario’s article attempts to emphasize that it is a danger to the Palestinians to associate ISIS with Hamas. Again, this is utterly false. Hamas alone is a danger to Palestinians. One cannot simultaneously defend Hamas and advocate for Palestinian rights without presenting a contradiction.

Let us revisit the title “Hamas is not ISIS and ISIS is not Hamas,” and again confirm that this is true. The two are not identical, and I commend any writer who is interested in composing an intellectual and fact-based article on what sets the two groups apart. Yet there is an unquestionable, critical similarity: Both ISIS and Hamas are terrorist groups nurtured by the same radical Islam, which call for the genocide of Yazidis and Jews, respectively. For the sake of innocent Yazidis, Jews and all democratic nations, both terrorist groups must be eliminated.

Danielle Dossantos is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior majoring in food science.

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