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The Palestinian people are not Hamas … or are they?

The Palestinian people are not Hamas … or are they?

There are a lot of statements made that we should disassociate the people of Palestine with the barbaric terrorist actions of Hamas – or any of the other Islamic terrorist organizations.

We should all be able to agree that there are a lot of Palestinians – and other Arab ethnicities – who abhor the actions of the extremists.  They hate that these terrorists operate in the name of their religion.  They see the terrorists as apostates or infidels.

Undoubtedly, there are lot of people in Gaza who see Hamas as brutal overlords who care nothing about the Palestinians or Islam.  But rather as a malignant force hellbent on bringing down Israel and exterminating Jews and others.

Many Gazans have seen how Hamas cowardly uses Palestinian men, women and children as shields.  How Hamas has blocked their escape from the war zone.  And how they kill Palestinians who protest.

But are the Palestinian people the innocent victims of Hamas’ occupation of Gaza – or are they in full support of Hamas’ objectives and brutal means?  We should remember that not all Germans were in the Army.  Hitler drew most of his power from the citizens who cheered and supported his policies.  The people who attacked Jews on the streets, vandalized their businesses and were responsible for Kristallnacht – and who turned them in to the Gestapo to be sent to death camps.

We have seen great numbers of the Palestinian population rise up – but not against Hamas as the evil oppressor, but against Israel and the Jewish people.  The chant “death to Israel,” “death to Jews,” and even “death to America” are their mantras.    They raise their fists in allegiance to Hamas.  We saw how Palestinian people cursed the young hostage being paraded through the streets — and spit on her.  We saw the jubilation of the crowds in Gaza over the slaughter of the Jews by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. 

We have also seen how large numbers of “the people” have come to the streets to celebrate and support the actions of Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist actions – even Muslims in America.

In World War II – as American soldiers entered one nation after another – the people lined the streets and cheered.  We were seen as the liberators.  This is not the situation in Gaza or the West Bank.  There are no indications that the people of Gaza see Israel as liberating them from the evil occupation and oppression of Hamas.  No matter how many times we make the blanket statement that the Palestinian people are also the victims of Hamas, we must understand that it is only true of some of the Palestinian people.  The others are all-in with Hamas.

Couple this with the fact that situation in the Middle East is not a conflict between nations carried out by men and women in uniform.  There is virtually no ability to know if that person on the street has the heart of a terrorist or an innocent citizen.  Terrorist even train and use young children as combatants.  Is that 10-year-old on the side of the road an innocent child or a killer – or even a suicide bomber.

We can talk about the innocent people caught up in this conflict – and there are many.  But we also need to understand that the distinction is literally impossible to make in the heat of battle.  It is safe to say, however, that the evil of hate driven terrorism is in the hearts of a lot of those so-called civilians – and they too are often armed and act on their blind hatred of Jews.

What we have to understand is that there is no moral equivalency between Hamas – and all the other terrorist groups – and Israel at this moment.  Islamic terrorists are evil in their intent and unjustified in their actions.  Not since World War II has the chasm between good and evil been so wide and so obvious.

It will be a difficult war, and there will be a large number of casualties on all sides.  It is, however, an existential war that may become a much broader engagement than it is at this time.  A lot of so-called civilians will die – the innocent along with the guilty.  It is an existential battle that must be taken to wherever it leads – and must be won by those on the side of good.  Even with sincere concern and sympathy for those who will suffer and die as innocent victims.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Tom

    Well if GOP representative Santos can claim he is Jewish because he feels that way and does some things that have roots in Judaism, then I suppose we can view Palestinians the same. They voted in favor of letting Hamas represent them in 2007. They gave Hamas their vote in exchange for Hamas giving them food and medical supplies funded by Iran. They seem to have no problem protesting Israel. I often wonder why good Palestinians don’t just expel them on their own. But that is hard when Hamas is your relative, friend, spouse, child, etc. What Christian family in the USA expels their non-believing cousin? Look at all of the GOP representatives in Congress who feel Trump lied about the election – yet they do not publicly say so for fear of losing their colleague’s support as well as constituent votes. Look what they did to Liz Cheney when she spoke up! Look at how the GOP calls its moderates “RINOs”. The same poor behavior that the GOP right wings shows when its moderate members speak against it will be experienced times 1000 by good Palestinians when they speak up about family members that favor or are in Hamas. The only thing to do in both cases is to get rid of them all and let God sort it out after the fact!

  2. Wes Kussmaul

    It’s an old lesson: if you treat a whole population with disdain and disrespect, and lump them all in with a terrorist subset of that population, then they will ally themselves with that terrorist subset and will return the disdain and disrespect to you.

    Decades ago, the leadership of Israel could have used the old old lesson “divide and conquer” and spent some effort to identify and befriend the reasonable part (the majority) of the Palestinian population. They would have spied on their mutual (with Israel) enemy Hamas. Instead, they were pushed to support Hamas.

    It’s too late now.

    Now, the West’s leadership talks about “Iran” as the enemy. What do they mean by “Iran” – the Iranian people or the ayatollan government and military? The Iranian people have historically liked America, but we’re working hard to push them into the hands of the ayatollas.

    Divide and conquer. Some call that regime change, but regime change is typically practiced by replacing a dictator who is one’s enemy with a dictator who is friendly to oneself. That typically backfires. But if you befriend the whole population and support their effort to change their own leadership, the result is an alliance.

    • Tom

      I agree. The one size fits all policies of no entry/exit, curfews, no passports, etc. are much at the root of what has caused Palestinians to favorably view Hamas. I also think that shooting missiles into Israel, or invading Israel and slaughtering innocents, are not healthy or productive ways to call for change. Many past U.S. administrations have ignored this situation. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. And roost they shall. Killing all Hamas means killing family members, friends, of Palestinians which will bear poisonous fruit as well. It will just kick the can down the road. The US and Biden Admin needs to step up and show real leadership but that it hard when people on both sides do not want the two state solution, nor does IRAN which is why they are being called out. Iran continually stirs the pot to keep the solution from happening and stop all discussion of it. By Iran, I mean the regime, its mullahs which are split on the issue, and all citizens who agree with the regime. 🙂

    • larry Horist

      Tom … You seemed to have drifted off the subject of my commentary.

      • BWH

        In my observation, most, if not all, people native to the area called Palestine hate the Jews more than they love their own children. Therefore it’s okay to put them in harm’s way.

  3. Frank stetson

    Wes. +1

  4. Sussan

    Little Palestinian boys will grow up like Hamas. They too will be terroriyd.

  5. R. Hamilton

    If a majority (2/3 or more!) of a culture/subculture is hostile and supports the actively hostile among them, sorting out those who are a danger to others from those who are not is neither difficult nor reliable; and given that some sympathies may exist between those who are not a problem and those who are, those who are not yet a problem probably would be if their neighbors who are a problem are permanently removed (prison or death) from their communities.

    _Trying_ to be selective is perhaps civilized and compassionate, but it may not be feasible among those who refuse to police their own.

    Extend the concept to any loud group (foreign or domestic, if with due process applicable to the latter) that is also statistically very overrepresented in violent conduct. The living have not yet been oppressed to death (even if some large fraction of their complaints are legitimate), and therefore are the foremost responsible for their own outcomes even if everything around them is rigged against them – which is generally NOT true in the Middle East; “Palestinians” (those the Romans didn’t expel when they dispersed the Jews, genetically some portion of which had ancestors long ago that were Jews who gave up their religion rather than their home) could be quite prosperous if they worked with their imagined oppressors (who have considerable skills both technical and agricultural) rather than seeking a war of extermination they cannot win.

  6. Frank stetson

    Susan; little boys in Gaza are the terrorists. Median age is 18, ten years younger than world average and 20 years younger than us. I would gather it’s kind of a Lord of the Flies environment and may contribute to the inhuman conditions and actions.

    All over the world, little people are sown the seeds of hatred often through unintended outcomes. During Obama when the drones frequently flew in Pakistan, kids learned to stay inside on sunny days and play outside in bad weather. That’s gotta warp your thinking. During Trump, little boys were separated, I think 1,000 may not be reunited. Can you even blame that kid if he turns terrorist?

    As the world becomes smaller, our hearts need to become even larger as we attempt to prove all men created equal and then make it so. Still wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be better.

    And trust me. Who am I to preach. I want justice but also Hamas wiped from the planet. Then Putin’s Russia. And China be warned, be careful.

  7. JoeyP

    Israel will not be WIPED out . . . But we need to get rid of HAMAS and their sympathizers – DEPORT them!

  8. frank stetson

    Insightful and brave story Joe, one of your best so far! IMO. And sorry in advance, but you got me thinking……

    My father’s division was one of the first into the camps in WWII. He was not there, having suffering a chance encounter with a Panzer the week before, but he heard from friends there… Both my parents, who were pretty much without hate, hated the Germans fiercely —- all of them, all of their lives for the exact reasons you noted.

    There is no excuse for this level of violence by people hiding within a population. Period. Frankly, if Gaza suffers for a short period as Israel seeks justice, so be it. Not too long though and avoid as many innocents as possible.

    As to the people hiding Hamas, some supporting, all accepting, that sort goes with the territory of authoritarian rule. Unlike the Germans, these folks have been under Israel’s rule forever, and unlike the Germans, these folks are very young. The old are dead. And remember, Gaza is an apartheid nation; there people do not have the rights of the Israeli citizens, of German citizens, they have less than the Israelis, there are not citizens like the Germans. You or I would be pissed in that scenario and might harken back to a Declaration and revolution where we did not always play fair, but sometimes hid behind trees dressed in non-uniform camo. We even ended the thing by attacking on Christmas day for a little sneaky advantage.

    Yet, this was barbarism, not sneaky or new tactics and there must be justice and it will extend to innocents. And there shall be justice by Israel, us, and I hope others. Hamas must be diminished to the point of having no effect. At minimum.

    That said, it can also be said that there will not be peace in Israel until the Palestinians are either citizens or given their right to govern themselves via a two-state solution. I like the former, but that’s up to Israel.

    As to citizens, it’s easy to see when living in a violent authoritarian State that all will evince support at some level, it’s called survival. Some will pitch in too which may even profit them with a bigger piece of the pie. It beats being killed by Hamas. Until the entire landscape changes, Palestinians have full citizen rights, I don’t expect this to change. That’ part of what AOC, Tlaib, Sanders and others are saying although I think they need to say it differently given the current war. We are on the right side now, the side of right. We may not be perfect, but that imperfection can be addressed after Hamas is gone.

    One last point. In Trumpism, even if you are a Republican in good standing, if you don’t comply, you are attacked, pushed out of office, or worse. In you do not 100% comply with Trump, you will be marked. You will need extra security; you will need extra protection. Since 2017, the Republican Congress has seen an unprecedented 45% turnover, a few of which have gotten other government positions. They are being driven out; Mittl even noted spending $5K a day for security. Even in this silly speaker selection, death threats, death threats to spouses, all sort of shit is flying. Ask yourself: what did Jordan expect from a fourth vote, in secret, he was bound to lose, if not maybe to create a target list. He has the public defectors, the secret vote added a few more who were afraid, yes AFRAID, to vote in public. Look at what happened after a Trump rally on 1.6.2021. Look at all the State Capital’s that have been breached violently by Republicans. The governor of Michigan and the kidnap plot. It’s the way of the autocrat to physically attack anyone not toeing the autocrat’s beliefs. His minions regularly pose with weapons against their adversary or even someone not toeing the Trump line. His followers regularly employ violence to gain advantage. Sure, you can say – never here, but how close are we? Sure, you can say Dems do it to, but be real, any Dem violence is not led by one autocrat and it’s a patch-work quilt of smaller insurrections. It has not yet built up to a 1.6.2021 affair.

    Point is much of this is due to frustration and the feeling there is no way out. Whether Palestinian, Democrat, or Republican, protest choices are being made that are not legal, and in the case of Palestine, downright inhuman terrorism. The best answer is to remove the frustration which, in the case of Gaza means becoming full citizens with equal rights, but also an equal listening to the things that are the frustrations. We Americans need to listen and to address our frustrations too. Yes, we are nowhere near the Palestinian level of frustration, but there are a lot of frustrated Republicans listening to an autocrat whose campaign plank is retribution and revenge. He said it: “I am your warrior, I am your justice. For those who have been wronged and betrayed … I am your retribution.” In return he PROMISES to be your savior as is the way of the autocrat, ““I will prevent World War III, which we’re heading into.” A prudent man would never make such a promise. As the court cases pile up, Trump’s list of revenge candidates grows. And if he’s given the power, he will start there —— and then, like Gaza, it may escalate and expand.

    You may be frustrated at the current situation under Democratic rule, but I hope you can reflect on my feeling’s if day one of the next Trump reign ever happens —- God forbid.

  9. Lyudmila

    Who told you that Palestinians want to become citizens of Israel? The Palestinians want to throw Israel into the sea. Although, They only get fresh water from Israel, electricity, heating, food, building materials – also from Israel, they go to work in Israel, etc. Palestine is a “state” that has been unable to create anything except pipe bombs to destroy Israel , at the expense of which it exists.

    • Frank stetson

      Laud: fair question, the Palestinians did.

      Yes, there are those on each side that want to eradicate the other. There are also factions that support each solution mentioned although more Jews against citizenship, more muslims think two state will never happen.

      You say Palestinians exist living off Israel. Do you think Israel lives off cheap labor?

      Wiki on the subject pretty good and easy discussion on topic.

      Two sides to every story. Only one answer to recent inhuman terrorism.

  10. AC

    Are the Palestinian non-combatants considered collateral damage and an acceptable cost of war? Situational ethics change how human beings seem to be valued. If a suspected enemy target is located among private civilian residences, the greater priority being the target’s destruction.
    How many innocents will get wounded or perish. On the other hand, Hamas collaborators could live in those homes, too.
    Far from the target Israel Military placements fire and rockets armed fly, drop detonating with a terrible compression blowout. Any calculation made later comes from satellite camera’s pictures.
    Our military forces engaged in Vietnam faced the same situation question. Which South Vietnamese people could be trusted, while It was suspected that many women and children held sympathies with Vietcong ideas.
    There, in jungle fire fights, rustic homes stick buildings congregated to form a village. Whose inhabitants also became collateral damage or they got added to enemy kills.
    As we are want to say, it’s complicated. Never the less, on all sides concerned, all people there have value. Their value no more no less than any of us.
    Although, we believe we’re safe, secure in America’s rich lap. And, we of privileged standing are comfortable with options. The wars far away across the globe do not have to be our concern. It’s a choice, optional, for us.
    Which side one sympathizes with matters, but not how existentially vulnerable life is for those in harm’s way from war’s consequences. For those there everything matters.
    Larry, true, we in the west, outsiders in fact, historically choose Israel over Palestine. Why is that! Political philosophical differences pit us at odds with Palestine Arabs. The differences others have with us amounting to terrorist hate and intent on death to us, so called infidels.
    That threat in radical Islamists philosophy has burned centuries long and shows no sign in anyway of going away, period.
    Islam as another faith with so many others in our country poses no threat to our nations security. No more trouble than the countless Protestant denominations, Roman Catholic Church parishes, Jewish Synagogues, and the rest.
    How then should we think and advocate support?

    • larry Horist

      AC … You miss the reality completely. You say we choose Israel over the Palestinian people. No so. It is the question of Israel (and the democracies against international Islamic terrorism. And when you say we are safe in American, you seem to have forgotten about 9/11 and a number of other terrorist attacks on America, and Americans overseas … and American hostage.

      • AC

        9/11 I will remember always.
        You say I miss the point. What that points to is obvious. Many things affect one’s perception. Fortunately. You and I live in a country where differences between perceptions is not unlawful, for the time being.
        Intolerance is on a general rise seeing no leveling off. Hypocrisy is common and gaslighting replaces honest debate. Win at any and all costs and by any means available.
        PBP Titles identify on sight differentiating your titles from the rest. Reading beyond titles reinforces past impressions foretells where a thread will lead. On my part partaking of your word play is informing to my interest about others who come from a diametrical opposing position.
        The broader perspective gained, I appreciate politics in a more nuanced way beyond expectation. The world is better here than it is for the common person in Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan to mention a few.grappling under autocratic intolerance.
        What will finally end our fragile democracy will be individual’s’ intolerance steeped deep in fear. Feet of loss will over-ride solid judgment.
        Are we Americans on what is the proverbial slippery moral slope? Has Trump since his coming full force on the large expanse that is the world stage and touched off reality comprised in the word associated with loss and now in familiar use, existential..

        We having fun yet?
        I can only speak for myself.

  11. Homer

    The thought is: IF you are in agreement with Hamas then you are culpable w/them! You have two choices, you are either in agreement or disagreement! Being in Hamas means you are the so called leaders of a group of people who are Muslims and religious and you have control over the general population.