"I have taken a few days since Hamas launched its brutal and inexcusable terrorist attack on the Israeli civilian population before making a statement. I condemn Hamas and their ruthless assault. Like most Americans - and certainly like most elected officials on the local level - 1 am no expert in the region's politics. I spent these days reading about the situation between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, including over a century of history and the details of Saturday's violent escalation. I have also discussed it in depth with people who have close personal connections to the region, and who have already lost loved ones in the violence. Ultimately, as both a representative of significant Muslim and Jewish communities, I am moved to issue this statement after fair and thorough research and education.
"While blame was once more evenly distributed, the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and its dominion over the Gaza Strip, now 56 years old, are the primary root of the violence. While Israel traded land for peace with Egypt, turning over the Sinai it captured in 1967 in exchange for normalized relations, the country held onto the West Bank and allowed it to flood with illegal settlers in an unending military occupation that eventually gave way to systemic subjugation. So committed to these illegal settlements is the Israeli government, in fact, that they were unable to repel Saturday's terrorist attack from Gaza because their army was so preoccupied with repressing Palestinians in the West Bank.
"This is the nightmare into which the majority of living Palestinians were born. The system is unjust, traumatizing, and cruel, with no end in sight. The Palestinian movement for national liberation is legitimate. It is a movement I support and endorse. It is a movement with a broad range of legitimate tactics, and any observer would be a fool to not expect violent resistance after all these decades of oppression, dispossession, and humiliation. Also, Hamas decades ago chose terrorism and power over Palestinian life and freedom. Those who support and celebrate them are, at best, dangerously misguided. Palestinians must achieve statehood alongside Israel and the Occupation must end.
"And the attack on civilians launched by Hamas this weekend was an act of barbaric terrorism. Parachuting into a music festival to slaughter teenagers, dragging children from their homes, parading the naked corpse of your victim through the streets, and massacring innocent civilians are unspeakable crimes against humanity that should be globally condemned. The single worst day of violence against Jewish civilians since the Holocaust is a day that will live in infamy.
"Both of these can be true at the same time. Both are."