OpinionIsrael at War

Time to bring Hamas to justice

The terrorists who committed murder, rape and kidnapping on Oct. 7 must stand trial, including in the United States.

Israeli prosecutor Gavriel Bach at the Jerusalem trial of Adolf Eichmann, April 18, 1961. Seated are prosecutors Gideon Hausner, Jacob Robinson and Jacob Breuer. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Israeli prosecutor Gavriel Bach at the Jerusalem trial of Adolf Eichmann, April 18, 1961. Seated are prosecutors Gideon Hausner, Jacob Robinson and Jacob Breuer. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Leonard Grunstein
Leonard Grunstein is co-author of the book Because It’s Just and Right: The Untold Back-Story of the U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

The Biden-Harris administration released its “Fact Sheet” on the “Administration’s Actions to Address Conflict-Related Sexual Violence” on June 17, 2024. It is available on the White House website.

Curiously missing is any mention of the Oct. 7 massacre and the mass rapes committed by Hamas. Nor is there mention of the kidnappings, sadistic murders and other atrocities Hamas committed against women on that day and since.

In her remarks later that day at a White House event intended to raise awareness about “Conflict-Related Sexual Violence”—which included a screening of Sheryl Sandberg’s film “Screams Before Silence” about the Oct. 7 mass rapes—Vice President Kamala Harris did mention Hamas’ sexual violence.

She said, “We cannot look away and we will not be silent.” She asserted, “My heart breaks for all these survivors and their families and for all the pain and suffering from the past eight months in Israel and Gaza.” She also noted, “In the days after Oct. 7, I saw images of bloodied Israeli women abducted. Then it came to light that Hamas committed rape and gang rape at the Nova Music Festival. … I’ve heard stories from a former hostage of what she witnessed in captivity. These testimonies, I fear, will only increase as more hostages are released.”

However, in terms of actions to be taken, Harris mentioned only that “President Biden and I have made clear Hamas needs to accept the deal that is on the table for a ceasefire which will bring the hostages home and lead up to a permanent end to the hostilities.”

There was no call for justice or an action plan to bring the Hamas perpetrators and their enablers to justice. There wasn’t even an announcement of the imposition of additional sanctions or strengthening of existing sanctions against conflict-related sexual offenders along the lines stated in the “Fact Sheet.”

The question is: why not? Why isn’t the U.S. demanding that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and his cohorts in Qatar be expelled and delivered into the hands of the U.S. so they can face justice under U.S. law? Why aren’t they being personally sanctioned and their sizeable fortunes seized? Why are they permitted to walk free in Qatar and enjoy their billions in ill-gotten gains? Gains derived, in no small measure, from U.S. and other aid sources.

It must be remembered that in December 2004, Congress passed the Koby Mandell Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The law was named after Israeli-American citizen Koby Mandell, who was brutally murdered by a Palestinian Arab terrorist on May 8, 2001.

Congress found that, in the period since 1968 and through the passage of the law, numerous American citizens have been murdered or maimed by terrorists around the world, including more than 100 in Palestinian terrorist attacks.

The law also noted that the U.S. government had not devoted adequate efforts or resources to the apprehension of terrorists who have harmed American citizens overseas, particularly in cases involving terrorists operating from Palestinian-administered areas. The operative provisions of the Act (Section 3) included setting up a special office within the Justice Department tasked with prosecuting terrorists who have harmed Americans overseas.

So, why is the Justice Department not seeking to prosecute the Hamas rapists, murderers and kidnappers of Americans on Oct. 7?

There is also the Taylor Force Law, which provides for reducing funding to the Palestinian Authority until its despicable “pay-to-slay” program that bankrolls terrorists is ended. Shockingly, even as American citizens and others were murdered, kidnapped, raped and maimed on Oct. 7 by Hamas, those directly involved in the atrocities continue to be rewarded under this program. It is unfathomable how Secretary of State Antony Blinken could announce additional funding for the P.A. under such circumstances.

It should be noted that besides clear violations of explicit U.S. laws, including against murder, rape and kidnapping, the taking of hostages is prohibited by the United Nations’ Hostage Convention. Funding terrorism is prohibited under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The Terrorist Bombings Convention criminalizes the use of an explosive or incendiary weapon or device that can cause death, serious bodily injury or substantial material damage, as was done by Hamas on Oct. 7. The criminal offenders are not just those who directly commit. the offense. Those who organize or direct others to commit the offense thereunder or contribute to the commission thereof are included.

This is not a time for impotent calls for a ceasefire. On Nov. 1, 1943, as evidence of the atrocities, massacres and cold-blooded mass executions perpetrated by the Nazis was received, the U.S., U.K. and Soviet Union issued the Moscow Declaration that those responsible for or taking part in these abominable deeds would be sent back to the countries where they committed them to be judged and punished in accordance with their laws.

It’s time to bring Hamas’s Haniyeh and his cohorts to justice. Young Americans would benefit from witnessing a real trial that brings to light and confirms beyond a reasonable doubt the evil deeds perpetrated by villainous Hamas. It seems so long ago when the trial of arch-villain Adolf Eichmann occurred in 1961. The naked and awful truth of the Holocaust was laid bare. It shook up a post-war generation unschooled in the lessons of the Holocaust and the absolute evil of the Nazis.

A public trial of the evil that is Hamas and its leadership might have the same salutary effect of educating a post-9/11 generation. It would pierce the arrogant subversion of truth and moral inversion that seems to have taken hold among some who are indoctrinated in the propaganda disseminated by Hamas and its cohorts.

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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