In Gaza, Hamas is the oppressor — not Israel

I’m just back home in the U.S. from a visit to Israel, where for four straight Fridays the Hamas terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip has organized protests at the border with Israel involving thousands of Palestinians. Some of the protesters have attacked Israel’s border security fence “with explosives, firebombs and other means,” The Associated Press reported.

“Huge plumes of smoke from burning tires (set afire by demonstrators) engulfed the border area,” the AP reported from the scene. “Some of the activists` threw stones toward the fence or flew kites with flaming rags dangling from their tails.”

In other words, what’s happening on the Gaza-Israel border is not a peaceful protest. While most protesters aren’t joining in the violence, some are violent and dangerous terrorists who want to tear down Israel’s security fence to make it easy to launch deadly attacks on the Jewish state.

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Acting to defend their nation, Israeli forces have killed 34 Palestinian attackers along the border since the protests began March 30, despite the best efforts by the Israelis to use the minimal force required.

No nation on Earth would welcome terrorist murderers to cross its borders to take the lives of innocent civilians. And if terrorists assaulted any other border on the planet, the number of attackers killed would undoubtedly be much higher.

The protests are scheduled to end with a massive Palestinian march on the border May 15, the 70th anniversary (on the secular calendar) of Israel gaining independence from Britain.

You might think the United Nations and countries around the world would be condemning the violent protests – but you’d be wrong. Israel’s s actions to defend its border prompted the usual Israel-bashing at the U.N., in the media, and wherever left gathers to condemn the only democracy in the Middle East.

It’s tragic that violence is a daily fact of life in much of the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian territories.

When you speak to Israelis and Palestinians who aren’t involved in the politics of the region – as I did on my recent visit to Israel – one fact stands out: they all want peace. They’re weary of the costs of war and they’re sick of seeing their children fighting and dying in a never-ending battle that benefits no one.

An Israeli woman told me that Palestinian women taking part in nascent peace movements have had their lives and the lives of their families threatened if they continued to campaign for peace.

The average Gaza resident hardly desires to spend Friday afternoons burning tires and risking getting shot or killed. But as long as Hamas calls the shots, some are drawn to violence.