Hamas has a lot of justice on its side in the 2008 dispute.

The Palestinian refugees in Gaza were victims of injustice. They lost their homes and farms to make room for the new Israeli nation. The Jews were tormented by the Europeans for over hundreds of years, but the Palestinians paid the price for a solution to the Jewish problem.

Hamas is relatively free from the corruption that permeated the leadership of previous Palestinian organisations. Whereas the leaders of the PLO and Fatah used their positions to enrich themselves and their families, Hamas have mostly been successful in getting aid to the people who need it. Their effective system social of social support is one reason for their popularity.

Unlike most modern governments, Hamas won a democratic election that was not rigged in their favour, and despite American funding and Israel television support for the opposition.

Israel has kept a chokehold on Gaza by limiting trade and imports of fuel and food. Electricity supply is intermittent and many children are malnourished.

Hamas established a ceasefire for most of 2008. This ceasefire was broken first by the IDF in June 2008, when an elderly Gazan farmer was injured by Israeli rifle fire.

The ceasefire was killed at the beginning of November by an Israel airstrike that killed four people in southern Gaza, while Americans were too busy voting to notice. Hamas responded by resuming the fire rockets at Israel.

Unfortunately, justice does not guarantee victory.

Launching rockets against Israel was a foolish mistake, which does not help their cause. (It is also immoral). The reality is that Palestinians in Gaza will never take back their homes and land by military means. Israel now has one of the most powerful military forces in the world. They made fools of themselves in Lebanon in 2007, but they are not going to be beaten on their home soil. There are only three nations in the world that are capable of invading Israel and none of them will support the Palestinians.

Whatever the justice of their situation, attacks on Israel will only produce further disasters for the Palestinian people. This is the reality of war. Skinny people should not pick fights with bullies. Weak people should not start wars with strong nations. War is a futile option when your enemy is more powerful than you.

Sometimes the better course is to walk away from injustice and wait for justice in heaven. Reality dictates that the Palestinian refugees will never return to their homes in Israel. Clinging to that hope just locks them into the past that has already disappeared. Their only viable hope is to start building a new life in Gaza where they now live.

Hamas would be wiser to focus on building up the economy of Gaza and building a better life for their people. That will be difficult to do as Israeli control will continue to be suffocating. I cannot see the Israelis allowing them to establish an airport or seaport in the foreseeable future, so trade will continue to be difficult. Despite the obstacles, a strong economy is a better hope than futile wars.

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