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KENNETH MOENG MOKGATHLE | Evil deeds of Hamas should be condemned by all

Smoke rises from an explosion in Gaza on October 28 2023 in Sderot, Israel.
Smoke rises from an explosion in Gaza on October 28 2023 in Sderot, Israel.
Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

George Orwell, author of the popular classic Animal Farm, once said, “All the war propaganda, all the screaming and lies, and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”

I was reminded of these wise words when people who hate Israel wasted no time in blaming Israel for the bombing of al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the militia group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people at the hospital.

Subsequent independent investigations have supported the IDF ’s stance that a misfired rocket by PIJ, which was meant to hit Israel, hit the hospital instead. The world seems to be missing the point on the recent brutal attacks and abductions by Hamas, with many attempting to justify these evil deeds.

There are more than 200 women, children, elderly and people with a disability being held hostage. The priority should be to make a call to speedily release all these prisoners. In April 2014 the world united to condemn the atrocities of the terrorist group Boko Haram when 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria were kidnapped and later freed due to intensified worldwide campaigns.

It is irrational that when Israel is facing a similar attack by another terrorist group, Hamas, some are trying to blame Israel by justifying that group’s evil acts. We should all be condemning Hamas and calling for the immediate release of those abducted. It is embarrassing that our government, political parties and activists in SA are not concerned about their own citizens who died in Israel.

The department of international affairs and cooperation has a duty to find out how many of its people are casualties of the Israel-Hamas war. As for the claim that Israel is denying food, medicine, electricity and other basic necessities to the people of Gaza, this is nonsense.

Israel has provided those essential services to Gaza even after leaving the territory in 2005. It is important to note that Hamas, which was elected to office in Gaza in 2007, is responsible for looking after its own people.Hamas prioritised building up its armed capacity to annihilate the state of Israel while neglecting the needs of its own people.

There is a poorer condition of living in Gaza than ever before. It knew that provoking Israel would resultin massive casualties but did itany way. It is also important to distinguish between the Palestinians in Gaza and Hamas. Most of its senior leaders are living comfortably in countries such as Qatar.

Every country has an obligationto defend its own people. In so doing, Israel must ensure it minimises the impact of military action on civilians. It should not behave like Hamas, which forced entry into Israel and killed everyone it came across. The ANC’s uMkhonto weSizwe was fighting for the rights of the majority of South Africans pre-1994.

However, it never carried out the kind of massacres we have seen Hamas commit, nor did it ever abduct white civilians. There is an acceptable way of fighting guided by international humanitarian law whose purpose is to defend unarmed civilians. Hamas no less than Israel should be expected to abide by these rules.

■ Mokgatlhe is an independentwriter and political commentator

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