Anytime Palestinian terrorists carry out particularly grizzly or large-scale attacks against Israelis, protagonists of the Palestinian cause do their best to either justify such actions or explain away the incidents entirely.
These propagandists do this because deep down they know that these attacks, in particular, are beyond the pale of all human decency and the moral values of those whose support they hope to garner.
Such was the case when three Jewish teens - Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel - were abducted and killed by Hamas operatives in June. Palestinian political activists and their supporters worldwide suggested that the Israeli youth had either not been attacked at all or that Israel itself had carried out the attack to justify further military crackdowns.
Some conjured up theories that Yifrah, Shaar and Frenkel were actually older than reported and had already begun their mandatory army service, thereby making them legitimate military targets.
Even the Palestinian Authority got in on the game, at one point insisting that the entire episode was an Israeli fiction.
On Friday, Hamas clarified that, nope, none of those conspiracies were accurate, and that those among its own ranks had indeed seized and brutally executed three Israeli children.
In an interview with Yahoo! News, overall Hamas leader Khaled Mashal (pictured), speaking from the comfort of his “hideout” in Doha, Qatar, admitted that “Hamas members” were behind the attack.
Mashal did go on to assert that the Hamas leadership did not have prior knowledge of the “operation.” But even if it had, the summary execution of teenage Jewish boys would have been deemed legitimate.
“Our view is that soldiers and settlers on the West Bank are aggressors, and they are illegally living in this occupied and stolen land. And the right to resist is the right of Palestinians,” said the Hamas leader.
Earlier in the week, senior Hamas cleric Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri told a conference of Muslim scholars in Turkey that the murder of the three Jewish boys was a “blessed heroic action.”
It is instructive to draw a comparison with Israel in such cases. And this summer’s triple killing provides a perfect opportunity, as Jewish extremists responded by abducting and savagely murdering an Arab youth, 16-year-old Mohammed Khdeir.
Yes, there were scattered voices in Israel that initially suggested Khdeir had been the victim of an honor killing or of a running feud between his and another Arab family (there were many more Israeli voices whose first reaction was to skewer their own nation). But the Israel Police swiftly put all such rumors to rest by publicly concluding Israeli Jews had committed the murder.
Israelis from the halls of power to the man on the street immediately and without hesitation castigated the unrepentant killers and any who would dare to share their psychotic views.
Israel is far from perfect. But, as a nation, it does not tolerate such bloodthirsty viciousness from within. Can the same be said of Hamas, or of any leading Palestinian group, for that matter?