Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Hamas and Israel conflict. Country flags on broken wall. Illustration.

Israel’s Fight Against Hamas May Deter Future Terrorist Attacks. Anti-Israeli Students Should Consider This.



It will come as no news to anyone other than Rip Van Winkle that anti-Israel protests recently occurred on university campuses nationwide. Columbia University, Yale, Harvard, Berkeley, and other institutions of higher learning all hosted such demonstrations.

One would expect these events to demonstrate a great understanding of the Middle East, especially with professors of Middle Eastern Studies attending and, in some cases, even leading them. Yet, that wasn’t the case. This essay, therefore, aims to educate anti-Israel protesters on crucial information about war.

Some commentators who really ought to know better claim that if Israel thoroughly pursues Hamas, it will create enmity amongst Arab youth. Therefore, Israel should stand idly by when viciously attacked as they were several months ago.

The claim is widely bruited that the reason for the enmity of present Palestinians for Jews in general, and Israelis in particular, is past incursions against them. It is maintained that the present war of the Israeli Defense Forces against Hamas will sow the seeds for future episodes of the sort that took place on October 7, 2023. This will be because hatred will be engendered in Palestinian youths, which will erupt in the not-too-distant future. In other words, Israel’s present defensive war policy will boomerang against it, such commentators argue.

For example, Kristof of the New York Times writes, “An important reason I doubt that invading Rafah is in Israel’s security interest is a lesson the U.S. forces learned in Iraq: Pay attention not only to the number of fighters you kill, but also to the number you create. ‘It is likely that the Gaza conflict will have a generational impact on terrorism,’ Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, warned in March.”

Kristof continues, “’War made us feel we will die anyway, so why not die with dignity,’” Ahmed told me. He added: “’Maybe we can kill all of them, and then it will get better.’”

“I have no idea what became of Ahmed, but I wonder if angry kids like him grew up to be those who brutalized Israeli civilians on Oct. 7. I likewise fear that children who are bombed and starved by Israel today may be among those who attack Israel a decade from now.”

What can be gleaned from all of this is the suggestion that Israel should pause its conflict with Hamas. Even more preferable would be declaring a ceasefire, with some arguing that the “Zionist entity” should essentially meet all of Gaza’s demands: proposing a two-state solution, or even a one-state solution, ceasing retaliatory bombings for Palestinian attacks, release all Arab prisoners from Israeli jails, and halt demands for the release of hostages taken on October 7—promising their release only when deemed appropriate. Others suggest turning the other cheek or completely vacating the region.

However, this is not the philosophy that underlies the penal codes in all civilized countries.

There, we do not fear the future enmity against the system when we punish murderers, rapists, kidnappers, thieves, etc. We do not hug such criminals since their younger siblings will one day commit crimes out of revenge for the punishment of their older family members. Instead, we throw the book at these malefactors. We try to determine the punishment that fits the crime. A slap on the wrist for going through a red light, a more significant penalty for a rapist, and the most severe repercussions for murderers.

We do not fear senseless and never-ending hostilities between the Hatfields and the McCoys. In that case, there is no apparent perpetrator and no clear victim. As regards the cops and the robbers, the former are supposedly the good guys and the latter the malefactors—of course, in the absence of jailing people for victimless crimes.

And so it is with Israel vis a vis Hamas.

Fighting Hamas is the best way to deter future terrorist attacks. According to the economics of crime, if a given penalty does not bring down the crime rate to tolerable levels, you increase its severity; the last thing you do is reduce it. Why economic law should work in any different manner in the Middle East is never explained by that nattering nabobs of negativism who occupy the faculty lounges of our institutions of higher learning, our pulpits, our newspaper editorial boards—with some exceptions. These are the people telling Israel to tread softly in the face of some of the most despicable crimes ever undertaken in the history of the world.