OpinionIsrael at War

There can be no compromise with evil

Allowing Hamas to survive will kill the dream of peace.

Israeli soldiers operating against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 1, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Israeli soldiers operating against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 1, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Clifford Sobin
Clifford Sobin is the author of Israel’s Struggle with Hezbollah: A War Without End.

It has been five months now. The Israel-Hamas war drags on. Questions mount. Second-guessers proliferate.

Everyone asks: When will it end? How should it end? Will it ever end?

These are all valid concerns. But they fail to address the central issue: Should Israel accept any plan that allows Hamas to survive as a governing terrorist entity?

I think the answer is no.

It is beyond question that Hamas is evil. Most readers of this piece know that. And you also know that Israel can never allow Hamas to commit another Oct. 7.

On the other hand, you see horrible images from Gaza. You read and hear reports of Gazans suffering and dying, even though some or most of it is carefully manipulated to pull at your heartstrings. Some of it is outright falsified. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that more than two million Gazans now live lives envied by none. This is a direct result of Hamas’s tactic of cowering behind Gazans, leaving Israel with the complex task of sparing the lives that Hamas cheerfully expends.

How can evil be rooted out if doing so increases suffering in the short term?

Doing so requires looking to the future both passionately and dispassionately. We must remember history’s lesson that evil appeased creates only an illusion of peace. It masks the certainty of future death and destruction on a potentially greater scale. Evil does not change. It sees mercy as weakness.

For both individuals and nations, survival requires a willingness to defend oneself against evil. This is a fundamental right and duty. That doesn’t mean we embrace violence. Rather, it is our refusal to tolerate violence that justifies our defense. By exacting a price from evil, we dampen its inclination to violence while honoring and protecting the miracle of life.

Israel is no different. It is a spark that could be easily extinguished. We learned the consequences of timidity from the failure of millions to stand up to Hitler’s depravity. Never again. Not for Israel. Nor for America or any nation.

We must understand that Hamas’s evil nature will never compromise. It has only one vision, one reason for its existence: Destroying Israel and replacing it with a jihadi Islamic state that would endanger the entire Western world. Moreover, appeasement would embolden Hezbollah and Iran. New enemies, also emboldened, would rise as well.

Furthermore, Hamas’s evil has devoured the people of Gaza. Through intimidation, murder and radicalization, Hamas has put its ideology first and Gaza’s well-being last. It stole resources intended for Gazans and erased any trace of freedom and tolerance from their souls. Gaza has become a dead land, not because of Israel’s justified defensive measures but because its people have been chained to Hamas’s nightmarish dreams.

An end to Hamas could bring an end to the enslavement of Gaza. In their rush to pressure Israel to accept a permanent ceasefire, foreign nations sentence Gazans to permanent servitude to those who consider them cannon fodder. This dark future is a certainty if Hamas survives, even in weakened form.

If appeasement prevails, the future human cost would be even greater than today’s. If Hamas continues to exist, more Israelis will die. So will more Gazans in the inevitable future war. Gazans will remain impoverished with nowhere to go and no hope for the future. They will be sustained by hate rather than enlightenment. Dreams of a two-state solution will die.

So, when will it end? How should it end? Will it ever end?

Answering the first two questions is simple: The war in Gaza will end when Rafah is taken. The longer this is delayed, the longer the war will last and the longer the suffering will continue. Ceasefires will only prolong hostilities. The sooner Hamas is eliminated, the sooner Hezbollah can be dealt with. Then the world and Israel can move on to the next threat: Iran’s nuclear program.

But answering the third question is hard. Will it ever end? The answer to that question lies in the hearts, minds and politics of the Western world. The more the world pressures Israel to stand down and castigates Israel for the “humanitarian” situation, the more Gazans will continue to suffer. Israel’s enemies will be incentivized to join the war. Hamas will continue the fight. The hostages still in Hamas’s possession will continue to die.

Israel must now decide whether to knuckle under to Hamas’s demands or move into Rafah during Ramadan. Then, Israel must decide what to do about Hezbollah and Iran.

Half measures mean defeat. It is in Israel’s interests, the world’s interests and the long-term interests of Gazans to act resolutely and decisively to end Hamas’s existence. Otherwise, the monster will continue to feed. Hezbollah will continue to provoke. Iran’s shadow over the region will grow. Peace will have no future.

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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