David Calling

Dangerous Breeding Ground

Some will say that Benjamin Netanyahu is wise to have let Hamas off the hook.  In war relentless but in victory magnanimous, was Winston Churchill’s advice.  This was applicable to European enemies with a long tradition of negotiation and diplomacy which could allow the victorious and the vanquished to come to terms. Israel and Hamas share no such tradition.  Hamas has the aim of wiping out Israel, and no amount of negotiation and diplomacy is ever going to change that.  This last attempt to attack Israel has evidently been a mistake, a very expensive mistake in terms of dead Gazans and the destruction of the Strip’s infrastructure. 

To Hamas, that is no concern at all.  Preparation for the next round will obviously be long and difficult, but they will find Iran or Turkey or some other sponsor to come to the rescue.  Hamas has to pretend that its defeat is no defeat at all, but brings the liberation of Palestine a stage nearer.  Defeat would also be shameful, and the culture forbids that.

The fight against people who do not share their culture, and do not want to understand it, puts Israel into a very difficult position. Its victory appears not to be a victory, and Hamas’s defeat not to be a defeat. The only possible issue out of this deadlock is an uprising in Gaza in which the population throw out the whole Hamas apparatus that has brought them to this calamity. Hamas has already  proved that it rules by fear, and does not hesitate to stage public executions.

Magnanimity on Netanyahu’s part will not be understood as a Churchillian way of proceeding, but as weakness:  He did not possess the courage or determination to fulfill the war aim of wiping out the enemy. Hamas would have wiped Israel out, but instead of wiping Hamas out Israel instead offers to see Hamas’s point of view and to make concessions.  This cultural divergence is the breeding ground for wars past, present, and alas future.

David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

Most Popular

How to Avoid a China-Led World Order

As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, it has opened our eyes to China’s rapidly expanding role in the international order and global economy. Beijing’s outsize role in the World Health Organization has come under attack, as has the muscular diplomacy used by China’s foreign ministry in responding to ... Read More

How to Avoid a China-Led World Order

As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, it has opened our eyes to China’s rapidly expanding role in the international order and global economy. Beijing’s outsize role in the World Health Organization has come under attack, as has the muscular diplomacy used by China’s foreign ministry in responding to ... Read More
Education

Science, Coronavirus, and Notre Dame

A few weeks back, the University of Notre Dame outlined its plan for reopening campus in the fall, detailing the way in which the administration hopes to bring students back to South Bend to resume in-person classes. Like the overwhelming majority of colleges and universities in the U.S., Notre Dame shifted all ... Read More
Education

Science, Coronavirus, and Notre Dame

A few weeks back, the University of Notre Dame outlined its plan for reopening campus in the fall, detailing the way in which the administration hopes to bring students back to South Bend to resume in-person classes. Like the overwhelming majority of colleges and universities in the U.S., Notre Dame shifted all ... Read More
Elections

Biden’s Middle-Class Tax Pledge

Biden is pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year. As I note in my Bloomberg Opinion column, Democratic proposals to increase income taxes keep getting narrower in scope. In 1993, President Bill Clinton and a Democratic Congress raised income taxes on households making more than ... Read More
Elections

Biden’s Middle-Class Tax Pledge

Biden is pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year. As I note in my Bloomberg Opinion column, Democratic proposals to increase income taxes keep getting narrower in scope. In 1993, President Bill Clinton and a Democratic Congress raised income taxes on households making more than ... Read More