From the River to the Sea: The Challenge of Hamas, and the Role of the West
By: James Maclaren
The world holds its breath as Israel begins its final preparations for an expected ground assault into Gaza. Yet while the conflict has been created by an atrocious act of terror, it is Israel which is forced to defend itself from the liberal criticism of western voices determined to prevent Israeli forces exacting retribution on Hamas and creating the security conditions its citizens deserve.
IN THE WAKE OF the October 7th brutal attack on the Jewish people and the State of Israel by Hamas, a chilling chant has gained prominence and significance on the streets of western capitals: "From the river to the sea." It is a chant that leaves no room for compromise and signals the relentless determination of Hamas, backed by Iran, to seek the complete destruction of Israel and, with it, the obliteration of Jewish identity. The audacious nature of Hamas's actions should send shockwaves around the world, making it clear that any notion of a negotiated two-state solution has all but perished.
It is perplexing to witness how some in the liberal West appear steadfast in holding Israel to the highest standards of behaviour screaming about international law as the wounded nation prepares to respond to the murder of over 2,000 of its citizens, and heinous acts of barbarism such as rape, torture, and beheadings of women, children, and babies. Unfathomably, they cling to the hope that a ceasefire can restore peace and lead to peaceful negotiations. This is, at best, a naive perspective and, at worst, it may be a deliberate attempt to consolidate the terrorist success and head off the impending storm—an assault led by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) against the heartlands of Hamas, in which the terrorists shamefully hide behind the Palestinian people, deliberately putting them in the sights of Israeli weaponry trained towards them. There is no appetite for a ceasefire from the Israeli State, nor should there be. A reckoning is required.
These western apologists for the Palestinian cause are prepared to turn a blind eye to the crimes of Hamas and prefer to harbour unrealistic notions that Israel can be made to turn the other cheek. The BBC ridiculously lecture Israeli politicians on the Geneva Convention while refusing to even condemn Hamas as terrorists. The Israeli nation, and Jews worldwide, cannot, should not and will not accept a meek response to this egregious act of terror. To compromise or negotiate with Hamas after this would spell the demise of the Jewish state. Hamas is pure evil, and one does not appease evil; one ruthlessly destroys it, as the Allies did with the malevolent force of Nazism. In doing so you accept the consequences. Regrettably, there will be casualties, most of whom will be because Hamas is prepared to use its own population as human shields to protect themselves, all while inciting accusations of war crimes from overly liberal, squeamish Western quarters. Putting off the decision to deal with these thugs is to simply invest in further generational conflict and the loss of innocents.
Israel must plan its actions wisely with cold calculating logic and execute them without succumbing to the red rage that accompanies revenge. The world is scrutinizing Israel, in what sometimes seems a one-sided affair with Hamas seeming unchallenged on its own behaviour. Israel's objective must be the unconditional destruction of Hamas, not some compromised return to a status quo. When this new phase of the Israel-Hamas conflict ends, only Israel must be left standing, and from the remnants, a new peace can be forged with the Palestinian people, free from Hamas tyranny with moderate and engaged in a new process in which reasonable voices can prevail.
As for the West, with its hand-wringing commentary and daily demonstrations that test the patience of tolerant people, its leaders must stand resolutely with Israel and disregard the appeasers, the naive, and the useful idiots who gullably aid Hamas's cause and give bemused terrorists succour. The West should grant Israel the freedom to eradicate Hamas from Gaza once and for all. Israel, as the only democratic nation in the Middle East, and a member of the United Nations since 1949, can be trusted to exercise restraint and responsibility in its actions. Israel will strike decisively, but it must also be swift to repair and, ultimately, to forgive.
The primary role of the West is not to restrain Israel, or become sidetracked by humanitarian aid arrangements, but to isolate the conflict and prevent external interference. The strategic imperative for America and its closest allies is to focus on countering Iran and its ambitions to escalate the conflict into a regional war. The war might of the United States should be positioned and made to deter any attempts at interference in the ongoing conflict from Tehran. This role is crucial to ensuring that Israel can operate without external hindrance.
The chant "From the river to the sea" may have gained prominence, but if good is to triumph over evil it is Israel that must have the last word. The demilitarisation of Gaza with the removal of Hamas will make a complex situation considerably simpler. Israel, as a democratic nation committed to the rule of law, must be allowed to protect its citizens and ensure its own survival. The West's duty is to support this endeavour while simultaneously working to prevent the conflict from spiralling into a regional catastrophe. It is a delicate balance that must be maintained for the sake of peace and stability in the volatile Middle East.