- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009



This month, there was an “International Conference in Support of the People and Economy of Darfur,” and billions of dollars were raised not just from America and Europe but also from Arab and Muslim states concerned over the war crimes - including mass murders and mass rapes - being perpetrated against the people of Darfur, most of whom are black and Muslim.

You realize, of course, that I made that up? Not the part about the terrible things happening in Darfur, that’s precisely true, but the part about a major international meeting on behalf of Darfurians. Scores of donors gathered instead at an “International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza,” in Sharm El-Sheikh, a resort in Egypt where a total of $4.5 billion in pledges was collected.

The people of Gaza have long been receiving more aid per capita than just about any other group in the world - a high multiple of what Darfurians receive - but Gaza is in an especially sorry state these days. The reason: Gazans elected Hamas to rule them, and Hamas’ has vowed to exterminate Israel and, in pursuit of that goal, routinely fires missiles at Israeli towns.

In response, about two months ago Israel invaded Gaza and went after Hamas leaders and fighters. Many in the “international community” criticized Israel’s response as “disproportionate” though it did not stop the missile attacks. There have been more than 100 since the Jan. 18 “cease-fire.” Logically, doesn’t that suggest the response was insufficient, rather than excessive?

What’s more, Richard Kemp, former commander of British Troops in Afghanistan, carefully examined the Israeli military action and came to this conclusion: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare where any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of civilians” than did the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza, he told the BBC.

But the worsening crisis in Darfur has not gone entirely unnoticed. Hamas, as well as Hezbollah and their mutual sponsor, Iran, spoke out strongly - in defense of Sudan’s militant Islamist president, Omar al-Bashir, the individual most responsible for the death and destruction in Darfur.

Hamas supporters in Gaza even held a march in support of al-Bashir who recently expelled 13 aid agencies that had been attempting to assist Darfurians - not by constructing new buildings but simply by providing food and water, which are in very short supply in Darfur right now. Shocked by this defense of an oppressor and against his victims, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference issued statements sharply critical of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

That’s not correct either. The Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference said not a word critical of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. The Arab League did said it would send a delegation to the United Nations to argue for suspending an international arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir.

It’s worth noting: There is one nation in the Middle East that has opened its borders to refugees from Darfur. That nation is Israel. Perhaps Israelis see a parallel between Darfur - which has been undergoing genocide - and their nation, which was created after the genocide known as the Holocaust, and which is under genocidal threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

I don’t mean to seem callous about the hardships endured by Gazans. But I do mean to emphasize their responsibility - and the fact that unlike the Darfurians they could alleviate their suffering by tolerating Israel’s existence, and pursuing peace.

So long as they are led by Hamas, however, they must be guided by the Hamas Charter, which not only pledges to “obliterate” Israel, but also plainly s states, “There is no solution to the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.” With the exception, perhaps, of conferences that put dollars and Euros in their pockets.

Clifford D. May is a nationally syndicated columnist and president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.

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