You’d have to be less than human not to be horribly pained by the vast destruction, devastation and death taking place in Gaza following Hamas’ ceasefire-shattering massacre of Israelis on October 7.
Anyone who doesn’t believe Palestinian children are just as valuable as every other child has no place in my circle of friends.
While we don’t know the true numbers of Palestinians killed in the war, since Hamas is the one reporting them, we’ve seen the pictures of entire communities wiped out by Israel’s counterattack. Whether the death total is 10,000 or 8,000 or 4,000, it’s still awful.
It’s a lot of death no matter who you think should be blamed. Including so many children who had nothing to do with Hamas’ terror attacks. I know several Arabs who lost dozens of extended family members there.
The Israeli response to Hamas’ brutal and savage massacres, rape, kidnapping and butchery has been overwhelmingly swift and powerful.
Israel told Palestinians to leave northern Gaza and then ultimately responded with tanks, fighter jets, helicopters and its navy.
All with the objective of dismantling Hamas as Presidents Biden, Obama and Clinton agreed had to be done.
Nearly the entire Jewish world is in rare unanimity on the goal of destroying Hamas.
We Jews have witnessed too many times in our 4,000-year history when we didn’t have the means and power to defend and protect ourselves against butchers. From Spain to Portugal to Germany to Russia to Libya and scores of other places.
Hamas, to Jews, is no different. Only people who accept Hamas’ stated goal of killing Jews everywhere, eradicating Israel and its Jewish citizens, and creating an Iran-like theocracy in Palestine could doubt Hamas is a maniacal terrorist organization.
The horrors of concertgoers being gunned down. The pictures of kidnapped toddlers. The live streaming of Hamas terrorists killing parents in front of their kids. The rapes in front of corpses. And now we learned that Hamas even put babies in ovens. For Americans, its reminiscent of ISIS on so many levels.
We also know that Hamas, who by no measure love Palestinian children, use humans as shields for their terror bases. Their headquarters is located under the largest hospital in Gaza. Their vast underground network of tunnels goes under schools and mosques.
They fire their rockets from, and keep their commanders in, densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods. They even demanded Palestinians remain in northern Gaza before Israel attacked to provide them more human shields. This weekend we learned Hamas even shot down Palestinians seeking to move from danger’s way.
And herein lies the dilemma. How can Israel possibly dismantle Hamas without causing untold death and destruction to innocent Palestinian children?
Thoughtful people know two things.
One, Israel cannot and should not continue to accept Hamas living on its doorsteps. The heartbeat of Jews worldwide, Israel, can’t let any group massacre and rape and gun down its people. We’ve been through it before and Jews vow Never Again.
Secondly, most of us at the same time can’t stomach the massive killing of innocent children in Gaza. It’s hard without crying to even watch CNN’s footage of Palestinian parents carrying their wounded or dead toddlers among a sea of rubble.
We can toss around blame all we want, but thousands of precious kids have been killed. And it continues.
This is the untenable place in which we find ourselves.
The late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who served when Israel was attacked by numerous Arab armies on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, 50 years to the date of the Hamas massacre, summed up how most Jews are feeling right now.
We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children, but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.
I am sick with sorrow.
I know in the depths of my heart these innocent Palestinians don’t deserve to die. And I know in those same depths my people can’t let Hamas ever rape our women and kill our kindergarteners again.
I usually write with solutions. But right now, I feel helplessly stuck. I imagine many others do, too.