Photo Credit: Israeli FM website
Uwe Becker, mayor and treasurer of the German city of Frankfurt

{Written by Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker and originally posted to the Mida website}

Israel has not only the right to defend itself, but the Israeli government has the duty to protect its citizens.

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Over the past hours, days and weeks, the terror organization Hamas has set hundreds and hundreds of acres of farming fields in the South of Israel on fire. Hamas has sent firebombs to homes of Israeli families and attacked Israeli children, women and men with a hailstorm of mortars and rockets.

Hamas has organized and orchestrated violent mass riots along the border fence to Israel with the declared aim to break the fence and infiltrate the country for another wave of terror against Israeli civilians. It is the worst terror since the last escalation in 2014.

Hamas destroyed the border crossing at Kerem Shalom, through which the Gaza Strip is supplied with food, goods and medicine for the Palestinian people. But Hamas doesn’t care for its own people. For the corrupt Hamas leaders, their own people, Palestinians who also seek peace, freedom and prosperity, are just figures on their playing board.

The bad social and economic situation of Gaza is not the result of Israeli policy, but of the violent Hamas regime, that is governing the Gaza strip since violently overthrowing the Fatah in 2007 after Israel withdrew in 2005.

Democracy, the rule of law, equal rights for women and men and the freedom of opinion, of press and of religion end where the political responsibility of the Palestinian organizations begins, although most of the Palestinian women, men and children long for freedom, peace and security in the same way that Israelis do.

Nobody is preventing Hamas from making Gaza an ideal Palestinian example for democracy and the upholding of human rights. But Hamas sacrifices the good of their own people through the abuse of power and even uses their own people as human shields, when they attack Israel.

European tax money goes to Gaza, while there is no sufficient guarantee, that this money really goes to the construction and reconstruction of buildings instead of being misused to build terror tunnels and other terror infrastructure, for organizing riots or being transferred to the private accounts of the corrupt Hamas leaders.

In the past, Israel has already made many concessions to come closer to peace in the Middle East. From the Sinai Peninsula to Gaza, there have always been withdrawals of Israel after wars and battles that were declared or fought against the country. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the people of southern Israel are suffering from permanent rocket attacks that are only paused from time to time.

Now, Hamas is “generously” offering a “ceasefire”. Imagine for a short moment what you would think, if a terror organization that attacks you permanently would offer a “ceasefire”. Hamas is not a trustworthy government of an adversarial state, but a corrupt terror organization that lives from the present instability.

We have to come to a common consensus in Europe that the only answer to terror can be a strong solidarity with the State of Israel.

Yes, the Israeli government could be more courageous in defining a possible path for a longer process of stability in the region. And yes, more steps towards a possible peace have to be gone from both sides. But the main problem for the whole process is the missing of a trustworthy partner on the Palestinian side.

The less Europe shows and practices solidarity towards Israel, the more it strengthens Hamas and other Palestinian groups to whom the present instability is their insurance of existence.

The EU should freeze its financial aid towards the Palestinians until they stop their present forms of terror and until they end their pension programs for terrorists and their families.

Decisions like the last resolution of the Irish Parliament on supporting the anti-Semitic BDS movement do nothing more than only stabilize terror structures. They do not help the Palestinian people.

What kind of a “free Palestine” do some European politicians mean, when they argue in this direction. Real freedom for Palestinians can only be achieved, when there is no more Hamas suppressing its people.

Israel has not only the right to defend itself, but the Israeli government has the duty to protect its citizens. And our European duty is to stand in solidarity with Israel and its people.

No other country in that unstable region of the Middle East is so closely linked to the principles and values of our European societies like Israel, but unfortunately, too many Europeans are too blind to really understand that the upholding of those values in this region, what is also in our own European interest, is the main core of the conflict, at least in present times.

(Uwe Becker is mayor and treasurer of the German city of Frankfurt)

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