Gaza: Truths Behind All the Lies

“Occupied Gaza.” Prior to October 7, there were roughly two million Arab citizens of Israel but no Jewish citizens in Gaza. Gazans in 2006 voted in Hamas to rule them. It summarily executed its Palestinian Authority rivals. Hamas cancelled all future scheduled elections. It established a dictatorship and diverted billions of dollars in international aid to build a vast underground labyrinth of military installations.

So Gaza has been occupied by Hamas, not Israel, for two decades.

“Collateral Damage.” Hamas began the war by deliberately targeting civilians. It massacred them on October 7 when it invaded Israel during a time of peace and holidays. It sent more than 7,000 rockets into Israeli cities for the sole purpose of killing noncombatants. It has no vocabulary for the collateral damage of Israeli civilians, since it believes any Jewish death under any circumstances is cause for celebration.

Hamas places its terrorist centers beneath and inside hospitals, schools, and mosques. Why? Israel is assumed to have more reservations about collaterally hitting Gaza civilians than Hamas does exposing them as human shields.

“Disproportionate.” We are told Israel wrongly uses disproportionate force to retaliate in Gaza. But it does so because no nation can win a war without disproportionate violence that hurts the enemy more than it is hurt by the enemy.

The U.S. incinerated German and Japanese cities with disproportionate force to end a war both Axis powers started. The American military in Iraq nearly leveled Fallujah and Mosul by disproportional force to root out Islamic gunmen hiding among innocents. Hamas has objections to disproportionate violence—but only when it is achieved by Israel and not Hamas.

“Two-state solution.” Prior to October 7, there was a de facto three-state solution, given that Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza were all separate states ruled by their own governments, two of which were illegitimate without scheduled elections.

It was not Israel, but the people of Gaza and the West Bank who institutionalized the “from river to the sea” agenda of destroying its neighbor.

Israel would have been content to live next to an autonomous Arab Gaza and West Bank that did not seek to destroy Israel in their multigenerational efforts to form their own “one-state solution.”

“Ceasefire.” The so-called international community is demanding Israel agree to a “ceasefire.” But there was already a ceasefire prior to October 7. Hamas broke it by massacring 1,200 Jews and taking over 250 hostages.

Hamas violated that peace because it thought it could gain leverage over Israel by murdering Jews.

Hamas now demands another ceasefire because it thinks it is no longer able to murder more unarmed Jews. Instead, it now fears that Israel will destroy Hamas in the way Hamas sought but failed to destroy Israel.

Did Hamas call for a cease-fire after the first 500 Jews it massacred on October 7?

“Ramadan.” Joe Biden believes that the Muslim religious holiday of Ramadan requires Israel to agree to a ceasefire.

But did either Hamas or any other Arab military ever respect Jewish—or even its own—religious holidays?

The October 7 massacre was timed to catch Israelis unaware while celebrating the Jewish religious holidays of Simchat Torah, Shemini Torah, and Shemini Atzeret on Shabbat.

Moreover, Hamas’s surprise attack was deliberately timed to commemorate the earlier sneak Arab attack on Israel some 50 years earlier.

On October 6, 1973, the Israelis were the target of a surprise attack when celebrating the religious holiday of Yom Kippur. Arab armies also assumed they would achieve greater surprise when attacking during their own religious holiday of Ramadan.

So, Arab militaries fight opportunistically both during Jewish and their own Islamic holidays. Egyptians and Syrians still boast of their 1973 surprise attack on Israel as the “Ramadan War.”

Only Westerners, not Arabs, believe there should be no war during Ramadan.

“Civilian Casualties.” Israel risks the lives of its soldiers to prevent civilian deaths. Hamas risks the lives of its civilians to prevent terrorists’ deaths. Israel considers it a failure, and Hamas considers it globally advantageous when more civilians die than its soldiers.

“Foreign Aid.” The Biden administration threatens to cut off or slow-walk aid to Israel if it continues to retaliate against Hamas even though they started the war. So the administration promises to give more aid to Gaza after the October 7 Hamas massacres than it gave to Gaza before them.

“Prisoners.” The international community that favors Hamas, nevertheless, knows it would be safer to be a prisoner of Israel than of Hamas. It knows women are not going to be raped in custody by Israelis but are by Hamas. And the unarmed are more likely to be mutilated and decapitated by Hamas than Israelis.

Is the international community more likely to charge Israel than Hamas for war crimes because the Jewish state seeks to avoid civilian deaths that Hamas finds useful?

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004, and is the 2023 Giles O'Malley Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson is also a farmer (growing almonds on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author of the just released New York Times best seller, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation, published by Basic Books on May 7, 2024, as well as the recent  The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump, and The Dying Citizen.

Photo: SDEROT, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 13: An Israeli flag flies on top of destroyed building next to a mosque in northern Gaza on November 13, 2023 viewed from Sderot, Israel. More than month after Hamas's Oct. 7 attacks, the country's military has continued its sustained bombardment of the Gaza Strip and launched a ground invasion to vanquish the militant group that governs the Palestinian territory. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Notable Replies

  1. Democrat policies are designed to destroy the United States.

    It is greatly concerning that our top flight intellectuals continue their campaign of systematic failure by simply reciting the never ending list of American Marxist legal, political and social atrocities, day after day, year after year, decade after decade.

    This constant intellectually dead reaction to the mortal threat posed by the American left is unconscionable.

    The Marxist left owns the United States because it always takes the initiative. Conservatives, whether politicians, commentariat, academics, or corporate movers and shakers, NEVER take the initiative.

    They are always on the defensive, which is the sure road to the unmitigated defeat America is now experiencing.

  2. One correction and addendum:

    Democrat policies are designed to destroy western culture and all of its attendant institutions. Democrat policies are designed to promote chaos and hedonism.

    Republican policies are designed to watch Democrat policies wreck havoc.

  3. Personally, I think Israel should have rejected its Blanche DuBois approach to national security and started a completely independent arms industry back in 1973. They were on the ropes and if it hadn’t been for a last minute airlift by the Nixon Administration, the Egyptians and Syrians might have won.
    Had they done so then, they wouldn’t have to give the UN or anyone else the time of day today.

  4. I’m on The Right. I try to avoid VDH’s Israel themed articles (sans bullet points) on Israel because my jaw drops at the outright propaganda he spews. I don’t always succeed in that avoidance however. His argument above absolutely refuses to take into account all of Israel’s actions towards Gaza and the West Bank before October 7th. History started on October 7th, and don’t you dare claim otherwise…sincerely, your favorite history prof. Israel just claimed another 2000 acres of land for its own this past week. The flattening of Gaza, the lack of nutrition for Gaza Children, the sheer number of bodies- if even one of that list, not even all of it together does’t make you blink, you might be a boomer. Those of us younger than you can’t figure it out. What is this absolute need to turn a blind eye to Israel’s actions, nothing else- her actions? Did you watch The Ten Commandments one too many times growing up?

  5. Sanders, your personal opinion of the situation gets refuted by the following axiom:

    If Hamas laid down its arms, there would be peace. If Israel laid down its arms there would be another genocide of the Jews.

    We understand the world around us better and more thoroughly when we view it through lenses composed of axioms, or first principles.

Continue the discussion at community.amgreatness.com

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