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Barbarians Through the Gate

The murderous events of this past weekend surely now constitutes the fifth military conflict. If Israel does what it must, and what no other nation would hesitate in doing, perhaps this war will be the last.
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October 8, 2023
Palestinian citizens stand near an Israeli enclave on October 7, 2023 in Gaza City, (Photo By Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and ever since then, has never known a moment’s peace. The Gazans could have turned their seaside strip into an Arab Singapore. Instead, they opted for a resurrected Philistine, a blood-soaked enclave governed by corrupt savages that has no national purpose other than to launch attacks against Israel.

Biblical Israel once needed Samson and King David to smite the antecedents of Hamas. Today, Israel is a thriving modern nation, an industrial wonder, a military marvel, and a moral ideal. Gaza, it seems, hasn’t made many strides these past 2,200 years.

Indeed, the Gazans are demonstrably incapable of statehood. And short on humanity, too. They elected Hamas, after all. In casting their ballots, they knew what they were getting into. Four wars against Israel’s far more lethal firepower—all initiated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Ceaseless skirmishes. Thousands of their own dead.

The murderous events of this past weekend surely now constitutes the fifth military conflict. If Israel does what it must, and what no other nation would hesitate in doing, perhaps this war will be the last.

After all, Israel, for its entire history, has had very few reprieves from Islamist madness. The rest of the world has come to know the implacable death wish that is the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Houthis, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas—which includes beheadings, stoning, and dismemberments, all medieval practices that mainstream media ignores, treating the Muslim Brotherhood like a college fraternity.

Israel tried removing itself from the Gazans. What they received in return were tens of thousands of misfired rockets, most which landed harmlessly in the orchards of southern Israel or intercepted by Iron Dome.

By necessity, Israel’s military, along with its Egyptian counterparts to Gaza’s south, erected a security fence, and imposed air and sea blockades to halt the flow of materials used to make rockets and terror tunnels.

Whatever feelings of invincibility Israel once had with war victories and border protections has now been shattered. For the first time, the fence was breached. Thousands of rockets, with greater payload, were fired at the same time, overwhelming Iron Dome. Hamas got better; Israel’s vaunted security apparatus slipped.

The conclusion of the Days of Awe resulted in shock and awe. Nothing like this has ever occurred in the 75 years of Israel’s existence. Comparisons are being made with 9/11. They are inapt, although it bears remembering that in the immediate aftermath of the Twin Towers collapsing, CNN captured Palestinians throwing candy in celebration. Very soon thereafter, that film was embargoed and never shown again.

One can’t overstate the doomsday scenario of a few days ago. Palestinians invaded Israeli border towns, wilding throughout the landscape, shooting down fleeing civilians who had attended a dance festival. Women and children were murdered in their homes; the women violated and mutilated, their bodies stripped naked, later to be dragged along the streets of Gaza as terrorists returned to showcase the trophies of their rampage.

At last count, 600 hundred Israelis were murdered with 1,600 severely wounded. Scores of hostages have been taken and stored away inside the tunnels of Gaza—IDF soldiers and civilians, some of whom, reportedly, are children.

It finally happened. The barbarians crashed through the gate. Hamas’ charter never hid its true intentions: murder Jews. Statehood was an American and European delusion. If Hamas was in Cleveland, the Jews of Shaker Heights would have long been dead.

As a result of this epic killing spree, the “Occupation” paradigm, always a false description of historical events, has been inverted: Gaza, for a short time, now occupied Israel.

It proves that Iron Dome is defenseless against inhuman foes. There is no fail-safe for savages on the ground.

Israel is at war, again. But what will this one look like? Statements from the Biden administration, and other countries, expressed solidarity with Israel, condemning Hamas, and reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself. But in the past, such moral and logical imperatives of national defense came with conditions.

Israel can defend itself, of course, but it can’t kill any Arabs—and surely no women and children, even if terrorists are hiding among the civilian population, using their homes as command centers, and warehousing their weapons. This is the moral dilemma of asymmetrical warfare. The Revolutionary War was fought on battlefields at a distance from Colonial farmers. George Washington wasn’t holed up in a South Carolina barn, with a child on his lap.

The IDF can warn Gazans through leaflets, roof-knocks and cell phone messages of an impending airstrike, but they won’t leave. They see themselves as an auxiliary army, preemptive casualties of a Holy War, and foolproof propaganda.

They know the West is squeamish about blood. And, they fundamentally misunderstand the martyrdom of Muslims. The West bizarrely believes that the people in Brentwood and Brooklyn have the same values as those in Gaza and Ramallah. Israel is forced to fight adversaries who have little affinity for their own lives—even the lives of their own children. Where else on the planet are human shields a parental duty?

Hamas knows that the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC are willing accomplices in a strategic public relations gambit. Dead children with weeping mothers make for a compelling newsfeed. Note, however, that video images of terrorists dragging dead and mutilated Jewish bodies through the streets of Gaza are being blurred out by these very same media outlets.

When Jews kill Arabs, even in national defense, it’s a war crime that must be exposed to the world; when Arabs kill Jews, the footage is unfit for human eyes. But what is to be done when a sworn enemy is guided by an endgame that celebrates death? All that’s left is moral anguish and an impossible task.

During the Obama administration, especially during the 2014 Israel-Gaza campaign, the president recognized that Hamas was the aggressor, but he was adamant that Israel must show “restraint.” Was the same duty imposed on America after 9/11?

After each of the wars that Israel was forced to wage against Hamas, the disproportionate body count between Jews and Arabs became an international incident. The United Nations established commissions to investigate, followed by General Assembly condemnations. Even Senator Bernie Sanders judged Israel harshly, while grossly misstating the facts.

Get ready for the Squad to propose a congressional resolution condemning Israel and calling for an immediate ceasefire. We are already hearing the word from progressives, “de-escalate.”

Get ready for the Squad to propose a congressional resolution condemning Israel and calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Everyone has an opinion on what Israel may not do in response to Islamic terror. Asking what they can and should do results in an immediate change in subject. Even Amos Oz, celebrated Israeli novelist and founder of Peace Now, surprised a German TV crew when he pointed out the impossible moral quandary Israel faces. An Israeli peacemaker knows that such monstrous adversaries must be killed.

It’s time for Israel to plug its ears and do what must finally be done. And pampered, clueless American Jews and their feckless leaders must stop lecturing Israelis who send their children to serve in the IDF how to defend their nation.

In the 2014 War, President Obama pleaded with Prime Minister Netanyahu for a temporary ceasefire. Hours later a terrorist emerged from a tunnel and killed an Israeli soldier. Life is cheap in the Middle East; words and promises are even cheaper. Lip service is an invitation to a bloody lip.

Israelis used to say that they won’t allow the Arabs to “out-crazy us.” A few days ago, Hamas did just that.

In response, President Biden warned other nations who are hostile to Israel, “The world is watching.” When it comes to the killing of Jews, Mr. President, the world has always been watching. That’s precisely the problem.


Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro University, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. He is the legal analyst for CBS News Radio. His most recent book is titled “Saving Free Speech … From Itself.” 

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