Four weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas joined together to form a single Palestinian unity government. Three weeks ago, three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer, and Naftali Frankel were abducted and murdered by Hamas militants. Two weeks ago, a Palestinian teenager named Mohammed Abu Khadeir was abducted and murdered by Jewish extremists. Last week Hamas pounded the state and the people of Israel with hundreds of rockets. Last week the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Protective Edge to target Hamas operatives and Hamas terror sites.

I’m not going to get into the numbers of this and that. There are already enough articles contorting numbers and making judgements. This isn’t one of those, although they are important. It has been a little over a month since this conflict began. And while the media and the international community continue to point fingers in different directions, I urge us all to point the finger in one direction and one direction only: at Hamas.

The truth of the matter is this conflict is not between Israel and Palestine. Nor is it between Israelis and Palestinians. It is really between Israel and Hamas as well as Palestine and Hamas. Hamas is a cancer, both to the Israeli and Palestinian populations. It is just as toxic to the Palestinians as it is to the Israelis, if not more.

Hamas came into power in Gaza in the elections of 2006. They promised the people of Gaza “change and reform.” Maybe at first they actually meant it. The organization was founded in 1987 and didn’t have a military wing until 1991. Unfortunately, not in 2006 and not now in 2014, has Hamas proven that it is worthy of governing the Palestinian people. They claim that they wish to be the official governing body of the Palestinians, yet they do not accept the responsibilities that come with it.

Hamas has neglected to provide for the basic needs of the Palestinian people. Israel, even after officially disengaging from the Gaza strip in 2005, has continued to provide food, water, medical supplies and electricity to Gaza since then. Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of the Palestinian government? (Not to mention the fraction of Israeli tax dollars that are spent on providing these resources.) If Hamas really cared for its people, it would spend its funds on basic Palestinian necessities and not on acquiring more ammunition to terrorize the people and the state of Israel.

Even in the last week, Hamas has succeeded in causing pain and hardship to the Palestinian population of Gaza. Hamas rockets knocked down the Israeli infrastructure providing electricity to 70,000 Gazans, twice. Israel made the necessary repairs instantly, both times. And in its “aerial russian roulette” campaign against Israeli cities, Hamas succeeded in firing rockets at the Palestinian city of Ramallah. The IDF also reported today that at least 100 rockets fired by Hamas since July 8th have landed in Gaza. That’s 1 in every 10 rockets.

Yet, Hamas seeks the recognition of the international community as a legitimate governing body. If Hamas wishes to be considered a legitimate government, the world should treat it like one. Legitimate governments do not abduct innocent teenagers to serve as pawns in furthering their political agenda, and then murder them in cold blood. Legitimate governments do not fire hundreds of rockets at innocent civilians and celebrate once a nursery school is hit. Legitimate governments do not encourage their people to stand on the roofs of rocket launch sites to prevent the “enemy” from destroying their weapons of terror. Legitimate governments do not tie those who disagree with their policy to motorcycles and drag them through the street. Legitimate governments most certainly are not recognized terrorist organizations.

If Hamas really wants to be considered a legitimate government, it should focus on saving Palestinian lives and not on destroying Israeli lives. It should spend money on bomb shelters, not rockets and missiles. It should allocate resources on food and water, not launchers and terror tunnels. If Hamas really wants to be considered a legitimate government, a government serving the best interests of the Palestinian people, it should put down its weapons in the name of Peace.

For the sake of the people of Israel, for the sake of the people of Gaza, for the sake of all people who value human life and freedom all over the world, and for the sake of ever establishing a real and everlasting peace in this world, Free Gaza and Israel from Hamas.