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OpinionIsrael at War

How the US, UN and media saved Hamas Nazis 30 years ago

Israel expelled Hamas. The world forced Israel to take it back.

Terrorists of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, April 27, 2020. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Terrorists of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, April 27, 2020. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Daniel Greenfield

“Deporting The Hope For Peace?” Newsweek asked. The hope for peace was Hamas.

The year was 1992. The Clinton administration was trying to get Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat to sign on the dotted line of the Oslo Accords to create a terror state inside Israel. In the name of peace. Unfortunately Hamas kept killing Israelis.

Fifteen-year-old Helena Rapp had been stabbed to death at a bus stop on the way to school. A few days later, Rabbi Shimon Biran, a father of four, was similarly murdered by an Islamic terrorist.

Fed up with the latest killings, Prime Minister Rabin put 417 Islamist terrorists on buses and dumped them in Lebanon. The monsters he deported included top Hamas terror leaders.

On the six buses were current Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, who would vow, “by Allah, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine,” Abu Osama, who helped draft the Hamas charter calling for the extermination of the Jews, Hamas co-founders Mohammed Taha, Hammad al-Hasanat, and Mahmoud Zahar, who threatened, “They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people,” Hamad al-Bitawi, who proclaimed that “Jihad is a collective duty” along with Abdullah al-Shami, the head of Islamic Jihad, and many other present and future Islamic terror leaders.

The New York Times headlined its coverage, “Ousted Arabs Shiver and Wait in Lebanese Limbo.” Newsweek also sympathetically described how the Hamas terrorists were “shivering in the cold.” The Washington Post lingered on their handcuff “welts.” The Associated Press warned that seven of the terrorists were “said to be suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.”

In reality the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists had been equipped by Israel with raincoats, blankets, food and $50 each: more than enough to buy whatever they needed in Lebanon.

“‘We are thirsty, cold and hungry,” said Dr. Abdul-Aziz Rantisi,” is how the Times began its story. It mentioned that Rantisi was planning a hunger strike, not that he was a terrorist leader.

The Los Angeles Times suggested that the “free speech” of the terrorists had been violated. It asked them to “define Hamas’ membership conditions” and “many answered, ‘To pray and be good Muslims.'” That is how the media explained the Islamic terror group to Americans.

The Red Cross, which after over a month has still failed to pay a visit to the Israeli hostages, including children and old women being held by Hamas, was quickly on the scene with “three truckloads of tents, food, blankets and bedding.” The aid organization set up tents for the Hamas terrorists who were apparently too lazy or incompetent to set up their own tents.

The head of UNRWA trekked out from Vienna to visit the expelled Hamas terrorists.

Bernard Pfefferle, the local chief delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross, wept, “They won’t survive the winter out there like this.” In fact, they survived just fine.

U.N. Under Secretary General James O. C. Jonah, Bernard Kouchner, France’s minister for humanitarian affairs, and many other foreign dignitaries tried to visit the Hamas terrorists.

French Ambassador Daniel Husson asked to meet with the Hamas terrorists to “express France’s sympathy with their cause.”

Amnesty International organized a letter writing campaign whining that the Hamas deportees were “living in tents in freezing conditions” and demanding the “safe return of the deportees to Israel.” B’Tselem, a pro-terror ‘human rights’ group operating inside Israel, denounced the deportations as “a flagrant violation of human rights.” During the Oct. 7 attacks, Vivian Silver, a B’Tselem board member, was killed by the terrorists she had spent her life advocating for.

B’Tselem had been one of the pro-terrorist groups that had originally challenged the deportations in Israel’s leftist Supreme Court in a bid to keep Hamas inside Israel.

The media relentlessly covered the Hamas deportees the way it had failed to cover their victims. By the end, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi had held a record of 1,500 press conferences. Every time the Islamic terrorists sneezed there was a correspondent there to write about it, a photographer there to take a picture of it and a human rights activist there to condemn Israel for it.

Even if it was all a lie.

“EXPELLED PALESTINIANS RUN OUT OF WATER,” a Washington Post headline blared. In that same story the paper mentioned that they were getting their water from a stream. Other stories complained that they were running out of water while surrounded by snow.

In reality, the Hamas and Islamic terrorists had plenty of food and water. At one point even a New York Times article admitted that “on Thursday, the Palestinians said that they had fasted during the day to preserve food stocks that had dwindled to some vermicelli and potatoes, with drinking water completely gone. Yet today, an Associated Press reporter said that the deported men were cooking rice, chickpeas and canned meat, and that some had eggs.”

A week after they were deported the New York Times claimed that the Hamas terrorists would start “dying from pneumonia” in a few days. None of them died even after seven months.

In reality, they were holding lavish religious feasts with Hezbollah and Iran’s IRGC terrorists.

Israel had dumped the Hamas terrorists in Lebanon, but the Hezbollah-allied government refused to take them and blocked the road with tanks to keep them from leaving. The Lebanese government wouldn’t allow aid to pass through to the Hamas terrorists, but did allow reporters and camera crews through to document the “shivering” of the Hamas leaders.

In a foreshadowing of Egypt’s policy of blockading Gaza, Lebanon kept the Hamas terrorists from entering the country. And the international community and the media placed the blame on Israel, rather than Lebanon, which was preventing them from entering its territory.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 799 condemning the deportations of Hamas terrorists and demanding that Israel “ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied territories of all those deported.”

The first Bush administration voted for the resolution even though it had shrugged when a year earlier, the Kuwaits had expelled 200,000 ‘Palestinians’ using tanks and troops.

“I think we’re expecting a little much if we’re asking the people in Kuwait to take kindly to those that had spied on their countrymen that were left there, that had brutalized families there, and things of that nature,” President George H.W. Bush had observed.

Israelis however were supposed to take kindly to the Hamas terrorists massacring them. The Bush administration “strongly condemned” the deportations.

Bill Clinton was no better.

“I share the anger and the frustration and the outrage of the Israeli people. And I understand how they feel. They have to deal very firmly with this group Hamas, which is apparently bent on terrorist activities of all kinds,” Clinton, who would soon be taking office, said. “On the other hand, I am concerned that this deportation may go too far and imperil the peace talks.”

“We are not sure that President-elect Clinton and his team fully comprehend the danger from Islamic fundamentalism,” Rabin had observed before his meeting with Bill Clinton.

The Clinton administration mostly certainly did not. But neither did Rabin.

Prime Minister Rabin had only temporarily deported the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists for two years to improve his domestic image and buy some quiet time for peace negotiations. His coalition of leftist and far-leftist parties was soon divided between him and future prime minister Shimon Peres’s far-leftist Cabinet coalition. “No one is enjoying the suffering of these people,” Peres said. “Israel deported them, but it did not mean to hurt them.”

The leftist coalition Meretz Party called deporting Hamas “a gross violation of human rights.”

Under pressure from the Clinton administration, which warned that it would not protect Israel from U.N. sanctions, and members of his own leftist coalition Rabin offered to allow the Hamas terrorists back if they promised to “desist from terror and violence for the duration of the peace negotiations.” The terrorists refused to promise that. And so he agreed to take in over a hundred of them now and the rest in a year. Hamas began returning to Israel in 1993. Thirty years ago.

Israel had expelled the leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and then took them back in.

Two weeks after Rabin agreed to take back the Hamas terrorists, the World Trade Center was bombed by the Islamic Group which, like Hamas, had come out of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Our struggle against murderous Islamic terror is also meant to awaken the world which is lying in slumber. We call on all nations and all people to devote their attention to the real and serious danger which threatens the peace of the world in the forthcoming years. The danger of death is at our doorstep,” Rabin had warned. But the world went on slumbering. And so did Israel.

In 2023, Israel and the world have the opportunity to undo or repeat the mistakes of 1993.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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