Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
Eliezer Stein, a writer for a Jewish online publication, Hamodia.com, was struck by the same graphic photograph that we were. It was published on the front page of The New York Times August 23rd edition. The photo shows three armed Hamas killers, wearing black tee shirts and black hoods, roughing up three hooded, kneeling men with their hands tied behind them. The Times’ captioned the photograph: “Gazans Suspected of Collaborating Are Executed.” The killers are described in the caption as “militants.” They are said to be “preparing to execute.”
There’s a lot wrong with this picture. First, what constitutes a militant in Gaza City?
We have a lot of experience with militants in America. Malcolm X was often described as a militant during the struggles for Civil Rights in the U.S. But, there is no record of his having murdered anyone. Or even advocating murder. His impatient demand for equal justice under law and his evocation of a natural right to rise up against “a long train of abuses” was no more than that asserted by our own Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence.
So, those Hamas black tee shirt killers are something far more than militants. Into the story, we read that these Hamas homicides were conducted immediately following a success claimed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against three top Hamas leaders.
Reading between the lines, we can surely doubt that any careful investigation was carried out by Hamas to make sure that those “suspected of spying for Israel” were actually involved in the targeting of the top terror chiefs. If these “suspected collaborators” could have been rounded up within hours of the IDF strike, surely their activities must have been known before. Surely, Hamas would have wanted to protect its top brass.
What are we actually seeing in this photograph? It is overwhelmingly likely that “up to 18” who were shot down in the street were grabbed by Hamas killers and dispatched simply as a warning to other Gaza residents not to mess with Hamas.
Hamas, you see, equals Homicide. When Western leaders like Jimmy Carter urge us to sit down with Hamas, to legitimize them, to make nice, they are really asking us to admit the acceptability of murder as a method of statecraft.