To quote the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem:
Abandoning the basic moral principle that all human beings were created equal (“b’tselem elohim”) is a loss of humanity.
The Israeli state (with US and EU support), the Zionist movement and Israeli settlers on the occupied West bank have been treating Palestinians as inferior creatures for decades. Even the US-based outlet Vox understands that the Hamas attack:
… comes after nearly two decades of the US and world leaders overlooking the more than 2 million people living in Gaza who endure a humanitarian nightmare, with its airspace and borders and sea under Israeli control…. Gaza is in essence a refugee camp (about 70 percent of those living in Gaza come from families displaced from the 1948 war) and an open-air prison, according to human rights groups. The United Nations describes the occupied territory as a “chronic humanitarian crisis.” Israel has blockaded Gaza since Hamas assumed control of the territory in 2007, and neighboring Egypt to the south has also imposed severe restrictions on movement.
We have seen that no peaceful efforts to persuade Israel to change its tack have had any effect whatsoever. Negotiations have had no effect whatsoever. Subservience on the part of Palestinians have had no effect whatsoever – they just continue getting killed, their homes continue being confiscated, their holy shrines continue being insulted.
Yes, Hamas has committed vicious war crimes. No doubt about it.
But I ask you: What else could they do? How do you propose keeping your hands clean when defending a country from inside a prison?
I don’t much like the preamble of the Document of General Principles & Policies, issued by Hamas; talk about the Islamic Ummah leaves me pretty cold, I must admit. But starting with paragraph 14, I find my interest roused. Here from pragraph 16:
Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion. Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine. Yet, it is the Zionists who constantly identify Judaism and the Jews with their own colonial project and illegal entity.
Hamas rejects the persecution of any human being or the undermining of his or her rights on nationalist, religious or sectarian grounds. Hamas is of the view that the Jewish problem, anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews are phenomena fundamentally linked to European history and not to the history of the Arabs and the Muslims or to their heritage.
The Zionist movement, which was able with the help of Western powers to occupy Palestine, is the most dangerous form of settlement occupation which has already disappeared from much of the world and must disappear from Palestine.
And further on (paragraph 20) regarding a two state solution:
However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus.(my emphasis)
Again I quote Vox:
The dread Israelis are feeling right now, myself included, is a sliver of what Palestinians have been feeling on a daily basis under the decades-long military regime in the West Bank, and under the siege and repeated assaults on Gaza,” writes the Israeli journalist Haggai Mattar in 972 Magazine. “The only solution, as it has always been, is to bring an end of apartheid, occupation, and siege, and promote a future based on justice and equality for all of us. It is not in spite of the horror that we have to change course — it is exactly because of it.