There are many reasons for any sane person to regret the existence of Hamas, the savage Sunni Muslim militia that controls the Gaza Strip in Southern Israel. Founded in 1987, the group has specialized in terror attacks against Israelis while maintaining vigorous side-concessions fomenting anti-Western sentiment and keeping their own populace in a state of wretched poverty.
Such are the convoluted workings of providence, however, that the world may eventually find itself grimly grateful for what one percipient observer called “the Sabbath Massacres”: the barbaric slaughter perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, 2023, which left some 1,400 dead, thousands wounded, and more than 200 kidnapped and held hostage in Gaza.
The main reason to be grateful for this horrific carnage follows from the revelation it afforded. In the first place, by acting with such savage and sanguinary abandon—deliberately targeting the young and helpless, the old and infirm, raping, mutilating, beheading—Hamas in effect signed its own death warrant.
We’ve seen all the usual suspects fulminating against Israel, “the Zionists,” “the Jews.” A prominent Hamas spokesman called Ghazi Hamad said in an interview that the Sabbath Massacre of October 7 was only the start, that there would be many more and similar attacks “until Israel is annihilated.”
But that is idle, impotent imprecation, of a piece with King Lear’s aposiopetic rant against his daughters [I somehow wrote “sisters”: thanks to an alert reader for that correction]:
– No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall – I will do such things, –
What they are, yet I know not; but they shall be
The terrors of the earth.
One of the most brilliant spokesman for the the Israeli Defense Force, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, was right when he described Hamad as a “rotten, vile, and cowardly terrorist.” Doubtless Hamad would slit the throat of any Israeli he chanced across. But he is likely to chance across very few, if any. As Conricus has explained in patient if steely detail, the IDF is going to dismantle Hamas piece by piece, tunnel by tunnel, terrorist by terrorist.
The Israelis will, as they have always done—and in sharp contrast with the procedure of Hamas—proceed deliberately and methodically, taking care to minimize civilian casualties wherever they can, but without bowing to the illegal emotional blackmail of using civilians a human shields, a regular practice of Hamas, which, in blatant contravention of the Geneva Conventions, builds command centers and rocket launchers under or adjacent to hospitals, schools, mosques, etc., and which employs ambulances as taxis across war zones, another violation of the rules of war.
But the main point is that, in sharp contradistinction to the many other times that Israel has responded militarily to Arab or Palestinian aggression, this time all signs are that they will finish the job. In the past, Israel has been cowed by “world opinion,” that marshy will-o’-the-wisp that emanates from such sinkholes as the United Nations and the news rooms of such discredited entities as The New York Times and CNN. But this time I predict, the extreme savagery of the October 7 attack—an attack that killed more Jews than any episode since the Holocaust—has put steel in the Israeli response. Hamas’s days are numbered, and the number is not large.
That is one real if paradoxical reason to be grateful for the attack by Hamas. They did not heed Gertrude Stein’s sage admonition to know how far to go in going too far. They went all the way, and they will pay the ultimate price for their horrible bloodletting.
The other chief reason that this grisly event may inspire gratitude alongside revulsion is that it seems to have shaken the world awake, disrupting the pathetic radical-chic infatuation with this species of violent, anti-Western guilt mongering. Yes, Western colleges and universities, especially the richest and most pampered of them, are full of anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian animus. From Harvard to Stanford, from Columbia and Cornell to Georgetown and the University of Pennsylvania, students and faculty are making fools of themselves by mouthing such goads to genocide as “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free.”
But these little eructations, along with the carefully coordinated mass rallies in major cities throughout the Western world, conceal an inexorable process of disenchantment. Much publicized has been the withdrawal of financial support by scores of major donors to the university industrial complex. The loss of money may sting at some few campuses. For most, it will be but a rounding error. What will matter much more is the loss of that much more precious form of spiritual currency, legitimacy.
Whatever else it accomplished, the murderous attacks perpetrated by Hamas tore the mask off the “poor, suffering Palestinians” and revealed the entire operation as the bloodthirsty, anti-civilizational impulse we have long known it to be. For that, at least, we must be grateful for this excruciating moment of clarity.