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OpinionIsrael at War

The ‘humanitarian situation in Gaza’ is code for killing Jews

Those who plead mercy for terrorists care about neither Israel’s nor Gaza’s civilians.

Israeli soldiers in Kfar Aza, a kibbutz near the Israeli-Gaza border, on Oct. 15, 2023. Photo by Edi Israel/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers in Kfar Aza, a kibbutz near the Israeli-Gaza border, on Oct. 15, 2023. Photo by Edi Israel/Flash90.
Jerome M. Marcus
Jerome M. Marcus
Jerome M. Marcus is a lawyer in Philadelphia.

Advocates for the destruction of Israel use words in special ways. The trending phrase today is “the humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

Superficially, this means concern for the safety of noncombatants in the parts of the Gaza Strip where Israeli bombs are currently falling. But that’s not what it actually means.

Ask yourself the following question: What is the cause of the danger faced by those noncombatants? In law, the “cause” of a harm is the thing that made it happen and about which one then asks: Is this thing wrongful? Is its presence against the law?

So, in Gaza, what is the cause of the bombs Israel is dropping?

If you say that the cause of the harm is Israel, what you are saying is that the bombs should not be dropped. That in turn means one of two things: Either Israel should not seek to catch and punish the Hamas murderers and their commanders, or Israel it must do so in some other way.

What does it mean to demand that Israel not go after Hamas in Gaza? The meaning should be clear, but let’s spell it out: It means that Hamas terrorists should be entitled to cross a national border, slaughter 1,400 civilians while committing atrocities that would make Hitler and Chielmnicki proud, then run away when armed soldiers show up to put a stop to the slaughter, and reach the safety of their homes in Gaza.

Therefore, advocates who claim to be concerned solely about the humanitarian situation in Gaza would have us be content with the people who committed these crimes remaining free and unpunished. Which is why those worrying about the noncombatants in Gaza were completely unconcerned about the Jewish noncombatants in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

If action from the air is ruled out, the only alternative to leaving Hamas unpunished is for Israel to conduct a ground campaign without having first used its air force to degrade Hamas’s ability to defend itself from that campaign. If that were to occur, everyone acknowledges that many more Israeli soldiers would be killed or wounded. Thus, to demand that Israel fight Hamas but not from the air is to demand that more Israeli soldiers die.

No doubt those espousing concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza are untroubled by these additional Jewish deaths. But if one knows anything about urban combat, one would know that demanding a ground campaign with no air operations also means demanding that many more Gaza civilians die. This is because the process of finding and then catching or killing Hamas fighters would take far longer and proceed only block-by-block through all the areas where those fighters are hiding in schools, tunnels, mosques and homes.

Why would anyone who cares about the humanitarian situation in Gaza demand such a thing? There are only two possibilities: They don’t understand what the impact of such a ground campaign would be, or they don’t care. The truth is that it can only be the latter, because if they cared, they would think through the impact of a prolonged ground campaign on the people they profess to care about.

This gives us clarity: Those demanding absolute focus on the “humanitarian situation in Gaza” are demanding more Jewish death. They want Jewish civilian deaths to go unpunished and they want Jewish soldiers to die in greater numbers. And they, like the Hamas “fighters” who are using all of Gaza as a human shield, are at best indifferent to the deaths of Arab civilians as well.

There’s a reason for this: They know that those deaths are a useful propaganda tool. This tool is to be used to justify more Jewish deaths.

Anyone who actually cared about Gaza’s civilians would be demanding, first and foremost, that the Hamas “fighters” not hide behind civilians. They would be demanding the release of hostages. That means all hostages—both the Jews who were dragged to Gaza from Israel and the Gazans being used as human shields.

That those professing concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza do not demand these things tells us that they care only about the ability of Hamas to kill Jews.

Israelis, thank God, have now learned this, though the price of that lesson has been astronomical. The left-right spectrum in Israel, from which I write at the moment, has disappeared, at least for now. The country is united in its conviction that Hamas must be completely destroyed.

The rest of the world has not learned. Instead, it is listening sympathetically to people who pretend to be concerned about innocents. But the reality is that they don’t give a damn about any innocents, including their own. What they want is Jewish death. They want impunity for the people who cause Jewish death. They want the death of more Jews who come to kill or capture the murderers of Jews.

Hamas says these things out loud, in plain Arabic and even in English. Those who defend Hamas—and yes, there are many people defending Hamas—say it plainly too. But even when they claim to be talking about something else, when they claim to be concerned about the “humanitarian situation in Gaza,” what they are actually saying is that they want more dead Jews.

It’s essential that we understand what the words these people are saying actually mean.

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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