The slaughter of innocent civilians on October 7, 2023 perpetrated by Hamas against Israel was despicable, heinous, and evil. From Israel’s perspective these acts of horror and terror are unforgivable.
Unfortunately, Hamas is to Israel what ISIS was to America – a creature of their own making. While hard to believe, Hamas was created by Israel to counter Yasser Arafat’s PLO, and avoid having a two state solution imposed on them by the international community.
Israel and Hamas have one thing in common: neither of them want a two state solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem. So, Israel encouraged, funded, and helped to build Hamas into an a rival organization with Arafat’s PLO.
As far back in 2009, and under similar circumstances, Rep. Ron Paul claimed that Israel encouraged and essentially started Hamas in order to counteract Yasser Arafat and the PLO, and to deter the two state solution from becoming a reality.
Recently, Professor John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago told interviewer Andrew Napolitano that the state of Israel, “to some extent, allied with Hamas to undermine the Palestinian Authority…because they were interested in a two state solution.” And so, according to Mearsheimer, “Israel was a partner with Hamas to undermine the Palestinian Authority.”
Of course, Arafat himself had confirmed this in an interview with an Italian newspaper saying, “Hamas was a creature of Israel.” Arafat also said that the former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin subsequently told him that Israel’s efforts in encouraging Hamas was the “gravest of errors.”
Medhi Hasan, from the Intercept, reports that “Former Israeli official Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev…told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement as a ‘counterweight’ to… the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat.”
Furthermore, according to Hasan, “Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for more than two decades, told the Wall Street Journal in 2009 that Hamas is ‘Israel’s creation.’”
However, as Hamas grew and became harder to control, the US and Israel intervened in Gaza so the Palestinians could hold elections in hopes of replacing Hamas. The elections were a great success. However, the outcome was not at all what America and Israel anticipated. Hamas was elected and gained the majority of seats in the Gazan legislature.
So, with America’s and Israel’s help, Hamas was transformed from a rag-tag group of Islamic militants, which Israel thought they could control and use for their own nefarious purposes, into well-formed, and well-armed radical Islamic political and militant power.
At present, the US and Israel find themselves in a kind of Frankensteinish situation: “We made the monster, and now we must kill it.”
In retaliation for the attacks on October 7, Israel has now killed 4,500 Palestinians in Gaza of which 1,756 are children, and 1,032 are women. Additionally, 15,400 Palestinians have been wounded. All but a few of these casualties are civilians.
According to reports, In the first six days of the war Israel dropped over 6,000 bombs. It’s estimated that 14 Palestinian civilians are being killed every hour.
Even by the Old Testament standards, Israel has already exceeded the proportionality of the Lex Talionis, “an eye for eye, hand for hand, and tooth for tooth, life for life.
It appears Netanyahu’s government is bent on inflicting the worst Old Testament practice on the Palestinian people known as the ban: the practice of killing every man, woman, and child.
Moreover, the displacement of more than a million people from the north of Gaza to the south is Israel’s own version of the “trail of tears.”
The withholding food, water, and other humanitarian assistance in not only inhumane, it’s using starvation as a weapon. The attack on Israel by Hamas was rightly called Medieval by many analysts. Yet, Israel’s premodern siege style warfare has not received the same kind of condemnation.
Fortunately, on Oct 21 the first trucks carrying humanitarian aid were allowed to enter Gaza. But as one Gazan resident told Reuters, “We don’t want to receive aid. We want the destruction and killing of children in their sleep to stop.”
It’s past time for the killing to stop. There is no military solution to this problem. Hostages must be released. Perpetrators must be brought to justice. And full diplomatic efforts need to be mobilized in order to address the Palestinian/Israeli problem once and for all.
This is not only for the good of Hamas, or the Palestinian people who support them. It’s essential for Israel to survive as a healthy state.
Israel needs to recognize that the Hamas and Hizballah they’re facing today are not the same enemies they faced in 1948, 1967, or 1973. They are now much stronger, and more formidable. The same is true regarding the coalition of Arab states that opposed Israel in those wars.
If Arab states and Islamic militias sense that Israel has crossed a red line, and they are dangerously close to that now, they currently have the capability to threaten Israel’s very existence.
Recognizing that “geopolitical tensions are at their highest in decades,” UN Assistant Secretary-General, Khaled Khiari’s noted that, “Today the stakes for preventive diplomacy and dialogue could not be higher.”
Khiari is right, and it’s time for Israel to start listening – for their own good.
Jim Fitzgerald is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and a missionary in the Middle East and North Africa. His articles have appeared in American Greatness, American Thinker, Antiwar.com, and the Aquila Report.