Palestinians Cannot Fight Hamas While Under Israeli Attack


  • Israeli President Isaac Herzog this week said Palestinians should have overthrown Hamas.
  • But anti-Hamas activist Rami Aran, who was tortured by the group, said that’s not possible now.
  • No one will “make any kind of revolution against Hamas under the Israeli missile,” he said.

Rami Aran knows what it’s like to stand up to Hamas, while living under its rule in Gaza, and to seek peace with Israeli civilians: doing so got him tortured and pushed into exile.

In 2020, Aran, a leader of the Gaza Youth Committee who now lives in Cairo, was thrown into a jail in Gaza City for organizing a cross-border video call. “Skype With Your Enemy,” it was called — an effort to bypass hostile political leaders on both sides and build relationships between regular people in Israel and Palestine. Aran, jailed, was blindfolded and placed in stress positions for weeks at a time and ultimately coerced into leaving the Palestinian territory.

So when Israeli President Isaac Herzog this week chided residents of Gaza for not overthrowing Hamas — “They could have risen up, they could have fought against that evil regime,” he said — Aran took umbrage. Not only did he do just that, at great personal cost, but thousands of other Palestinians defied the militant group, protesting Hamas’ rule and its bungling of basic governance; as the Associated Press reported, “Hamas’ security forces quickly dispersed the gathering.”

Amid an Israeli attack, the most intensive in the history of Gaza, such protests are an impossibility.

No one will “make any kind of revolution against Hamas under the Israeli missile,” Aran told Insider in an interview. It will have the opposite effect. “They are creating more Hamas, more Hamas, more Hamas,” he said — an entire new “generation” of people radicalized by Israeli bombardment and the propaganda of armed extremists claiming to defend them.

As The Times of Israel noted this past week, there had been — until the massacre of more than 1,300 Israelis, the vast majority civilians — something of a symbiotic relationship between the terrorist organization and the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long opposed the creation of a Palestinian state. So long as Hamas remained in control of the Gaza Strip, while their rival Fatah ruled parts of the West Bank, statehood would simply not be viable. The conventional wisdom was that Hamas’ misdeeds would generally be inflicted on those over whom it ruled, since coming to power in a 2006 election; an extremist group operating next to southern Israel would also weaken voices within the country calling for a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

“Most of the people in Gaza do not support Hamas,” Aman said, characterizing the 2006 election as a protest vote against corruption and the failure of the peace process. Indeed, a recent poll by the Washington Institute found that a large majority wanted Gaza’s day-to-day governance to be led by the Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank, and for Hamas to maintain its ceasefire with Israel — knowing they would pay the price for breaking it, not the leadership of Hamas in Qatar.

“I believe that what is happening now, it will not destroy Hamas,” Aran said. “It will destroy the people and all the people in the Gaza Strip,” he continued, arguing that the terrorist group and the Israel Defense Forces each only know violence and that their respective sponsors should instead be working to negotiate prisoner exchange (Hamas abducted over a hundred Israeli civilians, including women, children, and an elderly Holocaust survivor, while over a thousand Palestinians are currently being held without charge within Israel, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem).

“We need to stop this war, now, and start thinking about how we can release all women and kids and babies and civilians who are arrested and kidnapped, not just from last Saturday,” Aran said.

Instead of viewing the majority of Gaza’s residents with suspicion over a massacre carried out by the armed extremists who oppress them, Aran said they should be seen as men, women, and children who have little power over their own fate but desire the same life.

And outside powers should be encouraging all sides to deescalate, another cycle of violence seeding more death and destruction down the line.

Gazans “are now looking at America and [see] that they are targeting them,” Aran said. “American sends many things, many weapons — a battleship — to Israel. For what? We don’t need more missiles. We need America to send water, to send food — to build.”

Diplomacy, he argued, should be the United States’ export to the region.

“We need America to host an initiative, for both people, not to ‘stand’ with anyone,” he continued. “And we don’t need Russia to ‘stand’ with the Palestinians. No, I need a country to stand with humans. I’m very upset. I’m very sad and the situation is very bad. But I believe that there are Israelis and there are Palestinians — they are talking, not just fighting, and believe that we can live in a good future.”

“Israeli and Palestinian, in this conflict? Both of them are losers. No need to blame each other. Both of us are killers, and both of us are paying the price,” he said. “This war must end now.”


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