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OpinionIsrael at War

Hamas goes full ISIS, and some still call for Israeli restraint

Their actions bear a horrifying resemblance to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State, whose infamous online videos in the mid-2010s as a means of psychological warfare rocked the West to its core.

The scene on a main road near the southern Israeli city of Sderot after Israelis were killed by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip after they infiltrated the border and launched a barrage of rocket fire , Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
The scene on a main road near the southern Israeli city of Sderot after Israelis were killed by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip after they infiltrated the border and launched a barrage of rocket fire , Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Eitan Fischberger
Eitan Fischberger is a Middle East analyst based in Israel. His work has been published in National Review, NBC News, New York Daily News, Tablet Magazine and other news outlets. Tweet him @EFischberger.

In the early hours of Saturday, as the world slept, a barrage of rockets rained down on Israeli towns, leaving (as of Sunday afternoon) as many as 700 Israelis dead and more than 2,000 wounded. In the midst of those dreadful morning hours, a since-deleted tweet from the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs in Israel shockingly called for Israel to exercise restraint in the face of this unprovoked assault. While a subsequent statement from U.S. President Joe Biden contained no such sentiment, calls for restraint were echoed by many others, including the governments of Australia, Russia, Turkey, Egypt and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. Such a stance not only undermines the gravity of the situation but emboldens those responsible for the heinous coordinated assault.

These terrorists are responsible for capturing entire Israeli towns and for the alleged rape of Israeli women, desecrating the bodies of dead Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the streets, and abducting dozens of civilians and transferring them into Gaza, including women and children, even infants. As is customary in today’s day and age, these despicable acts were filmed and uploaded by the terrorists to social media.

The sheer audacity and malevolence of this attack are beyond compare. In their quest for chaos, the perpetrators have shown a complete disregard for human life, seldom seen even among the most infamous terrorist organizations.

Given the viciousness exhibited in Hamas’s own charter, which states that its “struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious” and that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it,” the group’s attack shouldn’t shock us. But it has nonetheless. Their actions bear a horrifying resemblance to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State (ISIS), whose infamous online videos in the mid-2010s as a means of psychological warfare rocked the West to its core.

On a strategic level, this attack demonstrates that simply “mowing the lawn” every few years and then allowing Hamas time to rearm is not simply foolish but gross negligence that costs civilian lives. Israel must therefore shift gears and ensure the safety of Israeli citizens by incapacitating the threat at its root—namely, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The regime has long been one of the primary backers of Gaza’s terror groups, whether in terms of supplying weapons, training fighters or providing funding. The Biden administration’s approach to Iran, especially its eagerness for a renewed nuclear deal, has only empowered this rogue state, indirectly fueling the flames of terrorism in the region by giving the regime a pass to continue strengthening its terror proxies and even allowing it to receive billions of dollars in previously blocked funds.

Thwarting Iran’s ability to operate its terror proxies is a monumental task that Israel will not be able to achieve without the help of the United States and other allies.

Unfortunately, the responses by multiple governments and elites imply they fundamentally misunderstand (or just don’t care) about Iran’s role in the conflict. Whatever the case may be, calls for Israel to refrain from decisive action after far and away the deadliest attack in the nation’s history takes an indescribable amount of chutzpah. I’m hard-pressed to think that Australia’s Sen. Penny Wong would call for restraint if, God forbid, China launched a similarly deadly, multi-pronged assault on Australian territory.

In light of the unprecedented attack against Israel, the need for international backing is more warranted than ever. Part of this backing involves recognizing and addressing the role of external actors like Iran in fueling such conflicts. Whether or not Israel gets this justified treatment in the long term remains to be seen. But the barbarity displayed by Hamas and its allies should finally put to rest any notion that these monsters can be negotiated with.

The world must recognize the evil of these terrorists and the existential threat they pose to the Jewish state. It is high time that nations stand in solidarity with Israel and condemn not just the terrorists but also those who empower them, starting with Iran. As we mourn the loss of innocent lives, let us also call for a decisive victory against terror.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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