Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sparked a new controversy by stating that the intention of several European countries to recognize a Palestinian state amounts to rewarding terrorism. Netanyahu maintains that such recognition validates Hamasthe group that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2006, after winning the legislative elections that year.

Hamas has between 20,000 and 30,000 militants in Gaza, a territory where more than 2 million people live in conditions of extreme poverty. However, Palestine is not limited to the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, more than 3 million Palestinians reside, totaling almost 5.5 million Palestinian citizens.

Francisco Carrión, journalist for ‘El Independiente’, explains in ARV that “it is an obscene simplification. Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2006 after an election victory. It has been radicalized just as Israeli politics has been radicalized in recent years. “There are many other Palestinian elements, parties and groups.”

Jesús A. Núñez Villaverde, co-director of the Institute for Conflict Studies and Humanitarian Action (IECAH), adds that “evidently It is a self-serving confusion on the part of the Israeli government“, the most extremist government in its entire history, which clearly establishes that no distinction must be made because all Palestinians are potentially terrorists.”

Netanyahu, under pressure from his far right, has recently used a video released by the hostages’ families to criticize his own failure to bring back the Israeli hostages. Francisco Carrión points out that Netanyahu is “determined to continue muddying and to say that supporting the Palestinian State is validating Hamas.”