These deaths coincide with Israeli threats to kill any Palestinian member of Hamas, including members of the Palestinian government.
Ironically, these deaths have not been deemed as newsworthy in the New York Times or the Washington Post, CNN, and only seemed to have been mentioned in passing in the USA Today in an article on the Israeli threat mentioned above. Washington Post instead decided to focus on the Oscar nomination of "Paradise Now" and the reaction of family members of people killed by suicide bombings.
Meanwhile the United States, Israel, Europe and much of the world have continued to argue for economic and military isolation of Palestine until the ruling Hamas party "renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist." Israel has taken this opportunity to impound money it has taxed from Palestinians, and the U.S. government has demanded back money it had given to the Palestinian Authority before the election victory by Hamas. The Palestinian crisis is so severe that the World Bank has given an emergency $42 million dollar grant to keep the PA from collapsing BEFORE the Hamas party formally takes power. Israeli leaders have called this strategy "putting starving Palestinians on a diet."
Ironically, while Hamas itself has held to an informal truce for over a year, and Israel has continued attacks that kill Palestinian civilians and threaten to assassinate Palestinian politicians and heads-of-state, international attention has focused on Hamas' violence and Israel's "right to defend itself." This moral double standard is can only be seen as hypocrisy as Palestinians and others who identify with them. While many may consider this position as "Pro-Israel," it could lead to more violence and destabilization in the Middle East that conflicts with Israel's long term interests.
A recent combative Al Jazeera interview with Aziz Duwaik illustrates a more nuanced position of local Hamas politics (and Al Jazeera editorial policy). Aziz Duwaik is professor of urban planning at the Najah University of Nablus and elected member of parliament in the recent Palestinian legislative elections as a representative of Hamas
Do you fear a Holocaust against Muslims similar to what happened to the Jews?
Why not? The Holocaust was committed by human beings, not by citizens of another planet, and Germany, where Nazism thrived, was probably the most culturally advanced European country in the 1930s and 1940s.
But Europe is now democratic, unlike Nazi Germany?
Yes, but who told you those democracies don't commit genocide? America is a democracy, but we saw recently how this democracy invaded and destroyed two small and weak countries based on lies, while most Americans were duped into believing that Bush was doing the right thing.
Let's talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Do you still want to destroy Israel?
You are asking the victims of Israeli oppression, occupation and racism if they are interested in destroying their oppressors and tormentors? This is a tendentious question that should be asked to Israel, which is occupying our country and oppressing our people and carrying out ethnic cleansing against us.
In fact, all that we want is to be free. Is freedom for the Palestinian people tantamount to destruction of Israel?
Are you not are evading the question?
I am not evading anything; it is you who is evading and ignoring reality here. Just take a look and see for yourself who is destroying whom, who is stealing whose land, who is savaging and persecuting and brutalising whose people, and who is practising ethnic cleansing and slow-motion genocide against the other.
But the question remains, how can Israel possibly talk with Hamas as long as Hamas refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist?
Why on earth should we recognise Israel while Israel refuses to recognise Palestine? Indeed, we can't understand why the international community, strangely enough including some Arab leaders, is demanding that we recognise Israel but making no similar demands on Israel that it ought to recognise Palestine.
But Israel is a reality while Palestine is not.
Palestine is also a reality. There are nearly five million Palestinians living in Palestine and these people have an inherent right to self-determination. Do you think that we are children of a lesser God or something?
Israel has recognised the PLO and said it will accept President Bush's vision which calls for the creation of a Palestinian state that would live in peace alongside Israel?
The important thing is not what Israel says but what Israel does. Israel has built hundreds of Jewish-only colonies in the West Bank and transferred hundreds of thousands of its citizen to the occupied territories. This alone shows the mendacity of its claims regarding Palestinian statehood.
Are you implying that the creation of a Palestinian state is no longer possible or realistic?
Precisely. Israel has effectively killed all prospects of a genuine and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank. In a nutshell, there is no room left for a true and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank. The implanting of so many Jewish colonies has made the creation of such a state utterly impossible.
Will you be willing to negotiate with Israel?
Negotiation in itself is not the issue. The issue is our rights as human beings and as a nation. If Israel is willing and ready to come to terms with our human, civil and political rights, then we can negotiate, otherwise we will not allow ourselves to repeat the same failed process of the past 10 years all over again. We maybe weak politically, but we certainly are not stupid.
The Oslo process was not a peace process. It was a process of deception and cheating and lies which enabled Israel to truncate our homeland with settlements and separation walls and roadblocks and closed military zones. We will not deceive our people as the Palestinian Authority did for 10 years.
Some authoritarian tendencies of Hamas, and its history of attacks on civilians certainly are reasons for sincere, legitimate concern. However, Israel's plan to kill Palestinians and call for the isolation and destruction of Hamas while Hamas sticks to a truce and struggles for legitimacy can only reinforce the most radical elements in Hamas, while marginalizing those who call for co-existence and a peaceful resolution. The other powerful countries that support and participate in this strategy are only damning the region to continued violence, and the continued loss of life of the guilty and the innocent alike. Unfortunately the death toll of children in Israel and its occupied Palestine will not stay at 830 forever.