From the left: Gauging America’s reaction to Hamas terrorist attacks

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Man’s Inhumanity to Man

By Lance Simmens

There is no justification whatsoever for the massacre that was inflicted on October 7. None. The subsequent responses to this atrocity have resulted in more bloodshed and deaths.  The immediate response to the massacre has been, expectedly, preparation for a ground invasion aimed at decapitating Hamas, the terrorist organization responsible for the initial assault in northern Gaza. In preparation for such a counter assault a mass evacuation is underway while Israel literally levels the way for what will be brutal building to building warfare. 

However, such preparation has resulted in two major problems: one, massive loss of life, as of this writing nearly 8,000 Palestinian deaths, 3,000 of which are children; two, a border in southern Gaza that only recently has been operative but still not anywhere near the needs that include dwindling food and water, no electricity, and simply no where to go for an exodus of the most congested human concentration anywhere on Earth.

The United Nations General Assembly recently voted on a resolution which called for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.” This language was crafted as a compromise between”humanitarian pauses” and “immediate ceasefire,” but its intention was clear: the fighting needs to halt immediately for humanitarian reasons. This resolution has been adopted by the General Assembly, with 120 votes in favor, 14 against and 45 abstentions. 

While the Biden Administration has voiced its full support for Israel, 55 House Democrats have signed a letter to the President calling “for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to bring aid into Gaza and allow Palestinians and other civilians out of the Strip and asked that humanitarian aid be ensured for both Palestinians in Gaza and Israelis.”

Thomas Friedman recently opined in the New York Times there are larger issues that need to be thoroughly thought through. “If Israel goes into Gaza now it will blow up the Abraham Accords, further destabilize two of America’s most important allies (Egypt and Jordan) and make normalization with Saudi Arabia impossible—huge strategic setbacks…Iran’s No. 1 strategic objective with Israel has always been…to reoccupy Gaza. Such an Israel would be so morally, economically and militarily enfeebled, it could never threaten Iran’s nuclear program and hegemonic ambition.”

Protests have sprung up in many countries and in US cities calling attention to the realization that many innocent lives are being lost and will continue unless there is a recognition of how to deal with the Palestinian withdrawal. Many have cautioned that acting in haste can result in serious unintended consequences as experienced in the post 9-11 invasion of Iraq. We must learn from our mistakes.

Christian Paz, of Vox offers “in the long run, progressive activists and organizers say they still stand by a more nuanced position for the US to be critical of Israel’s unequal treatment of Palestinian people, of the occupation of Palestinian territory in Gaza and the West Bank, and of American military support that ignores human rights violations.”

In that same article Sandra Tamari, a Palestinian American organizer in St. Louis, who leads the Adalah Justice Project offered “these calls for restraint, for de-escalation, for humanitarian aid and forceful condemnation of the killing of civilians aren’t a very radical position…right now, the demands are very simple: stop the bombs and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza so that more people don’t die.”

There is also a growing movement that suggests Hamas has laid a trap for Israel.  Writing in the Guardian Robert Freedlander offers the following: 

“A long, bloody war is what Hamas and its Iranian backers — desperate to derail recent moves towards ‘normalisation‘ of relations between Israel and several of its neighbours, most crucially Saudi Arabia – yearn for. It will mean that, even if the infrastructure of Hamas is destroyed, the hatred that powers it will not be: on the contrary, it will grow in the hearts of a new, bereaved generation of Palestinians.”

Are we creating a future generation of hateful terrorists? Could we possibly be making things worse? I do not have the answers, but I fear we are at a very dangerous crossroad where there may be no victors, only victims.

John Arquilla, a retired professor of strategy at the Naval Postgraduate School writes “if Isreal overreacts in Gaza, it will drain out whatever residual good feelings towards Israel exist, and that is Hamas’s big bet. Israel has built so much, enjoys so much and contributes so much to the world, and has so much more to contribute. To risk all that in an act of revenge or rage that will not fundamentally alter its strategic dilemmas is exceptionally unwise.”

There is sufficient latitude in this dilemma to seriously question whether a strategy that advocates cutting off one’s nose to spite their face could very well lead to intervention by other state actors and an escalation of hostilities. Please, above all, factor in the impact it will have on future generations. Protect the children.