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For the past week, the eyes of the world have been on the Middle East. The brief respite offered by the catastrophe of the civilian jet shot down over the Ukraine did not divert the world’s interest. Israel is in a fight for its right to be a free and sovereign country. The Palestinians say they want a free and sovereign country. But the efforts of Hamas to destroy the peace and security of Israel points to the larger problem: Unless the Palestinians denounce the atrocities committed by Hamas, the Middle East will continue to be a hot spot for terrorism, and Israel will not have peace.

Many people moan about the deaths of the Palestinian people, bemoaning Israel’s attacks on civilian population areas. Yet, I hear no bemoaning, no beseeching, no cries of horror by the Palestinian people or the main stream media about Hamas using civilian populace areas, civilian schools, and civilian medical facilities to launch their rockets against Israel. This makes the Palestinian people the biggest hypocrites on the planet, next to Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. If you allow a military asset to be used from your area of responsibility (AOR), your AOR is no longer a protected site. You have forfeited any protection for you and any other civilians in the area. The Geneva Convention specifically prohibits such use, and removes protection from those places under the International Laws of Armed Conflict. What was once a medical facility for all, becomes a legitimate target if you allow rockets and mortars to be launched from your facility. What was once a civilian residential district, where children played and families live, becomes a legitimate strike object when you allow murderous terrorists to stockpile weapons and war-making material in the basements and inside apartments. At such a time, you must expect counterstrikes against the war-making capabilities of those you harbor in your facilities.

The world blames Israel for the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians. The world, as usual, is wrong. Once a people submit to having their holy institutions, their medical facilities, and their homes, to be places of maintaining war-making material, those people, and, yes, unfortunately, their children, are no longer innocent bystanders. The adults have, themselves, place their families, their livelihoods, and their homes in harm’s way by their actions. The responsibility falls on the Palestinians, not the Israelis, for the deaths. In war, those who would wage war, and permit the war-makers asylum, are directly responsible for any actions that may befall them. To lay blame on others is disingenuous, and disgusting.

If the Palestinians wish to have peace, to stop the deaths of their young people, their children, and their families, and wish to stop the destruction of their property, they need do only one thing. They need to stand up to Hamas and say, Enough! No More! We sacrifice no more of our lives, our families, for your misbegotten war. By denouncing and running the terrorists, the Palestinians can take the first step to peace. It would not be easy. The right thing never is. But, that is the right thing, and the Palestinians know this.

“We Must All Stand Together, Or Assuredly, We Shall All Swing Separate…”