When I consider Israel’s security, I think about children like Osher Twito, who I met in Sderot – children, the same age as my own daughters, who went to bed at night fearful that a rocket would land in their bedroom simply because of who they are and where they live. That’s why we’ve invested in the Iron Dome system to save countless lives – because those children deserve to sleep better at night. That’s why we have made it clear, time and again, that Israel cannot accept rocket attacks from Gaza, and have stood up for Israel’s right to defend itself. And that’s why Israel has a right to expect Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.The US still officially considers Hamas a terror group. Yet, in this speech, Hamas is considered capable of renouncing violence and recognizing Israel, while Hezbollah is considered irredeemable.
I think about five Israelis who boarded a bus in Bulgaria, who were blown up because of where they came from; who were robbed of the ability to live, and love, and raise families. That’s why every country that values justice should call Hezbollah what it truly is – a terrorist organization. Because the world cannot tolerate an organization that murders innocent civilians, stockpiles rockets to shoot at cities, and supports the massacre of men, women and children in Syria.
This is even more jarring because on the very same day that Obama made this distinction, the "political arm" of Hamas - not the Al Qassam Brigades, but the "pragmatic" Khaled Meshal - issued a major policy document that re-affirms Hamas' commitment to terrorism and to never accept Israeli sovereignty over a single square inch of land.
Obama is doing no one any favors by being conciliatory towards Hamas. On the contrary, he should have made it clear to Abbas that any unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas would put Fatah in the same terrorist category - because, if Obama was clear-sighted, he would know that Hamas' principles are far stronger than Fatah's quasi-acceptance of Israel is, and it is not possible for Hamas to ever change.
In fact, today is the ninth anniversary of the death of Hamas founder and master terrorist Sheikh Yassin, and the pro-Fatah media is singing his praises. If anyone is going to bend their principles in a unity agreement, it won't be Hamas.
Obama spent a lot of time talking about how important peace is to the Israeli people, as if they don't know that already. Yet his downplaying of Hamas' terrorism, indeed his refusal to call Hamas a terror group and to insist that other countries do the same, is a major reason that peace is impossible.
Evil must be called out and confronted, not accommodated and swept under the rug. Obama's asking Hamas to accept Israel is as absurd as asking Al Qaeda - or Hezbollah - to do the same.
While the president said a lot of good things, this shows that he still doesn't get it.