Finley: Hamas, ISIS are of the same evil

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Benjamin Netanyahu is calling out the United States and its western allies on their hypocrisy in the war on terror. It's a reckoning that's both merited and overdue.

In speeches and interviews over the past week, the Israeli prime minister said the terrorists the U.S. is seeking to "degrade and destroy," in President Barack Obama's words, share the characteristics and objectives of the terrorists Israel is battling.

The Islamic State, or ISIS, and Hamas are "two branches of the same poisonous tree" Nethanyahu told the United Nation's General Assembly.

Both are committed to the destruction of western ideals and the creation of a new world order dominated by Islam.

While the west prefers to view Hamas as narrowly focused on ejecting Israel from the Palestinian territories, in truth, Netanyahu says, it is by its charter a chapter of militant Islam, which, whether Sunni or Shiite, "share the same fanatical creed."

Israel, he says, is the little Satan in the minds of the militants. The real prize is the big Satan, America, and wiping Israel off the map is just a stepping stone to subjugating the United States.

"That's why Israel's fight against Hamas is not just our fight, it's your fight," Netanyahu told the General Assembly. "Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow."

So why, he asked, is there almost universal condemnation of ISIS, while nations purportedly committed to fighting terror have made Hamas a protectorate?

"Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS," Netanyahu said in his U.N. speech. "And yet weeks before, some of these same countries that now support confronting ISIS opposed Israel for confronting Hamas."

This is a contradiction that must be reconciled. Netanyahu is dead right that Israel is engaged in the same battle that Obama is now pressing in Syria and Iraq.

Israel had the opportunity to score a major victory in the terror war by degrading Hamas' ability to make war and ending its control of Gaza. Had Hamas been destroyed, as Netanyahu set out to do in the 51-day conflict, it would have sent a powerful message to ISIS and other terrorist groups.

Instead, the U.S. joined other western nations in urging Israel to show restraint in the name of limiting civilian casualties, and ultimately pressured it to pull back before its goals were met.

Does Obama think the bombs he is pouring on ISIS won't also kill innocent civilians? Will he hold himself to the same measure of restraint he demanded of Netanyahu when ISIS fighters embed themselves in the civilian population?

Of course not. And if he does, he won't win.

The U.S. and other nations that have pledged themselves to end terror should have been shoulder to shoulder with the Israeli soldiers as they moved through Gaza, destroying arms stores and terrorist tunnels.

There is undeniably considerable sympathy for the Palestinian cause in this country and elsewhere. But the cause must be separated from the terrorists who are pressing it.

What's good for ISIS should be good for Hamas.


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