Politics & Policy

Israel’s Moral Mission

Hamas supporters clash with Israeli forces in Ramallah (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Hamas belongs in Hades.

The fighting in Gaza and Israel this month has been nothing less than a battle for civilization itself. On one side is the civilized, humane, morally serious state of Israel. The other side, Hamas, is a fetid, rotten branch of international Islamist terrorist evil. The United States should be doing all it can to help Israel wipe Hamas from the face of the Earth.

Moreover, if the corrupt and two-faced Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) will not help Israel destroy Hamas, then Fatah itself should be targeted with sanctions, while the United States should conduct a merciless diplomatic offensive against the PA.

Under the presidency of Barack Obama, of course, the United States will do none of these things. Obama’s sympathies seem to lie with the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is a part. But Obama’s moral obtuseness (or worse) provides all the more reason for the rest of us to raise our voices in support of Israel’s morally urgent attempts to eliminate most or all of Hamas’s illegitimate military/terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

Israel is on the side of the angels in this current warfare. Some angels are avenging angels, and if those avengers are needed, so be it.

Perhaps never since the Yom Kippur War of 1973 has the utter moral superiority of Israel been more distinct, even to many of the usual foggy-thinking chatterers who accept the fiddle-faddle that Palestinians are oppressed. In that 1973 war, Israel was clearly the victim of a perfidious surprise attack by multiple Arab states at once; for a few days, the tiny Jewish nation seemed in mortal danger (especially on and from the Golan Heights). With its usual military prowess, Israel then reversed the tide and, in effect, won a signal victory and preserved its entire territory.

What’s worth noting about that event is that, after the war, Israel controlled the Sinai peninsula, the West Bank, and Gaza. Since then, it has willingly relinquished the entire Sinai in return for peace with Egypt and generously relinquished governance of both Gaza and the West Bank in sincere but vain hopes for peace with Palestinian terrorists. It even went out of its way, in multiple respects, to try to help Gaza become a thriving area under Palestinian control — “a new Singapore,” as Israeli spokesmen are wont to say — only to have its good will repaid with hatred and violence again and again and again.

So now, operating from territory Israel could have permanently (and not unjustly) claimed as its own, territory it relinquished in return for a promise of peace, the barbarous Hamas regime lobs thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians; builds and uses tunnels into Israel for the purpose of violence, kidnapping, and terror; and acts in all other ways according to its 1988 charter devoted to “rais[ing] the banner of Islam over every inch of Palestine” while “Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them)” — and, again and again, “assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill.”

When Palestinians kidnap and murder three Israelis, Palestinian officials do nothing to find or punish the malefactors. When four Israeli youths murder a young Palestinian, Israel arrests and tries the murderers while pledging official reparations for the victim’s family, in communal expiation for the individual sins. When Israel targets known killers from Hamas, it first notifies civilians nearby, asking them to leave so they will not be harmed. Yet when Hamas attacks Israel, it deliberately attacks civilians so that, if successful, as many as possible will suffer.

Hamas’s barbarism is so blatant that even the United Nations, that hotbed of vicious anti-Semitism, issues statements blaming Hamas for using civilians as human shields and schools as staging places for bombs. The Washington Post editorial board, a rare haven of sanity in the American liberal wind tunnel, blasts “the depravity of Hamas’s strategy. “While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes,” they write, “those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels.”

But of course Hamas does not value the lives of its children if jihad is thereby advanced: The organization’s charter lists “death for the cause of Allah” as its “most sublime belief.”

This is, of course, worse than madness. Madness is unwitting; this is pure evil, chosen knowingly and intentionally.

The evil should no longer be tolerated. This is no time for half measures. Every nation with an ounce of decency and character should stop all craven tergiversating and temporizing. The moral mandate should be clear: Israel merits all diplomatic support, and indeed significant material support if necessary, to root the vermin from their tunnels and, if possible, exterminate Hamas forever.

— Quin Hillyer is a contributing editor for National Review. Follow him on Twitter: @QuinHillyer.


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