Israel's annihilation of Hamas is the proportionate response
Category: News & PoliticsVia: gregtx • 2 months ago • 163 comments
Hamas murdered more than 700 people and wounded many thousands during its invasion of Israel on Saturday. The casualty numbers keep rising. Even for a society that has so long suffered terrorist persecution, this attack was extreme and catastrophic.
Most of the world is disgusted by the terrorist atrocities. Video clips reveal that the barbarians who claim to be freedom fighters stripped and abused civilian women, desecrated their bodies, terrorized screaming children, lined up Holocaust survivors, and dragged them off as captives. The Hamas fighters and their supporters yelped and capered in delight. It was a grotesque and damnable spectacle. The images testify to an enduring truth that the killers are motivated by a fetishistic desire to subjugate and slaughter Jews simply because they are Jews.
Jew hatred is enshrined in the Hamas charter, which declares the group's struggle to be "against the Jews." This is not about freeing land that was never a country — referred to as Palestine. It is about venting murderous hatred against a people. Hamas embraces antisemitic falsehoods, even referring in its charter to the discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Unalloyed hatred undergirds what Hamas did on Saturday and what it has done for decades.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders recognize that the latest mass atrocity has changed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict forever. It made the long-standing and explicit Hamas goal of annihilating the Jewish nation a looming reality. As long as Hamas exists, its reason for being will be to exterminate Jews. This is uniting the divided Israeli polity to wage a defensive war of survival. This war is necessary, unavoidable — a moral and existential necessity.
As night follows day, there will be politicians and activists on the Left who denounce Israeli retaliation. They will suggest, perhaps after three or four days of Israeli military action in Gaza, that the Jewish state's response is "disproportionate." When this moral casuistry comes, as it will, it should be rejected. Israel must have a free hand to destroy Hamas.
This point must be emphasized because it is common (and uncommonly stupid) to decry the supposed excesses of Israeli military action. The insipid clamoring posits that because hundreds of Hamas or Islamic Jihad rocket launches tend to kill only a few Israelis, Israel is unjustified in responding with air strikes that kill larger numbers of Hamas fighters. This ignores the effect rockets have on Israeli civil society, forcing citizens to abandon their lives for bunkers. No credible democratic government can be expected to tolerate such aggression against its citizens.
Hamas has the intention and capacity to rampage even amid Israeli bunkers. This expands the proper limits of Israeli proportionality. A sustained Israeli campaign to annihilate Hamas, not just its leaders but also its soldiers, support structures, and capabilities is proportionate. If the Israelis leave a heap of smoldering ash where Hamas used to be, that would be proportionate. Because Gaza is densely populated and Hamas uses mosques and apartment buildings as bases for its military operations, Israel's campaign will be bloody, and innocent Palestinians will die. But Israel has the right to wage attritional war against an enemy hell-bent on wiping it off the Earth.
Hamas cannot be allowed to manipulate global public relations to its advantage. It is surely banking on a few days of painful conflict, giving way to Israel buckling under international pressure to suspend military action. The United States must ensure that this does not happen. Whether that means United Nations Security Council vetoes or U.S. action to impose costs on those who try to prevent Israel from defending itself, the U.S. must stand firm.
It is not certain that Israel can succeed in eliminating Hamas. But it has the right to try. The more of Hamas's forces, weapons, and structures that Israel can eliminate the safer Israelis will be, and the better the Middle East will be. The more of Hamas's forces, weapons, and structures that survive this war, the greater threat Israelis will continue to face.
Previous conflicts have shown that if Israel imposes sufficient costs on Hamas, its leaders stop the attacks in favor of cease-fires. A far harsher cost must now be imposed to restore deterrence in Israel's favor.
Like those Palestinian terrorists who hijacked airliners and cruise ships in decades past, Hamas claims that its ultimate goal is the liberation of the Palestinian people. We now have proof that Hamas's strategy for freedom is not one of violence pursuant to political negotiation but rather of genocide. For Hamas, a free Palestine is not something to be constructed by peace talks and land swaps but by the construction of a great new Auschwitz.
Having tasted that bitter ambition, Israel has the right to use great force to prevent its further construction.