Swords of Iron

All Israelis are hostages

 Negotiating with terrorists breeds terrorism, but a tough, focused, sustained war against Hamas, backed by America and the West, can free the rest of the world from the terrorist organization

It’s been goosebump-central in Israel, with every innocent Israeli freed, every joyful leap into loved ones’ arms, each homecoming-and-healing process launched. We pray for all stolen Israelis to have the happy reunion they deserve.

But beware. It’s moral-equivalence-central worldwide. Baby-stealing has been normalized. The world treats Hamas terrorists as rational actors trading goods, not monstrous human traffickers treating people like poker chips.

Even when The Washington Post doesn’t call lawfully imprisoned Palestinians “captives,” the rhetoric of “exchange” equates pure souls named Ella or Avigail whose only crime is being Israeli, with twisted terrorists who happen to be young or female – one planned to be a suicide bomber, another stabbed her neighbor for being Jewish.

Breeding terrorism

Every capitulation to Hamas blackmail – that’s what it is!!! – should remind everyone: Negotiating with terrorists breeds terrorism. Everyone, especially US President Joe Biden, must remember that beyond 161 innocents still caged, Hamas’s mass manipulation holds 9.3 million Israelis hostage, too.

When so many accuse Israel of discounting Palestinian lives because this enlightened, life-affirming democracy will trade multiple Palestinian terrorists for one civilian, some blur the moral clarity in Israel’s position – validating Hamas’s lies.

Remember that on October 7 the “terrorist group Hamas unleashed pure unadulterated evil in the world.” Its “stated purpose for existing is the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.” We cannot retreat, because “history has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction…. And the cost and the threats to America and the world keep rising.”

What’s changed since October 19, when President Biden said those words?

Actually, the moral, diplomatic, and existential stakes have only escalated. Hamas confirmed every Israeli fear the West dismissed, and then some. Having made Gaza one big fortress of evil, Hamas leverages Palestinian and Israeli suffering into a worldwide anti-Zionist propaganda barrage. Yet despite being absolutely responsible for the death of thousands and the misery of many more, every Hamas lie becomes a truth believed among too many Westerners.

Hamas claims Israel still “occupies” Gaza, after Israel withdrew from every inch of Gaza in 2005. Even The New York Times, describing “the subterranean maze” stolen international humanitarian aid built, reports that Hamas’s tunnels “extend across most if not all of Gaza, the territory they control.” If Hamas “controls” the “territory,” how can Israel occupy Gaza?

Hamas complained about Israel’s evil “blockade,” overlooking Gaza’s Egyptian border. Somehow, all this cash, weaponry, and material to build its citadel of sadism arrived, suggesting it wasn’t much of a “blockade” either.

Hamas accuses Israel of violating international law by bombing hospitals, mosques, and kindergartens. But when you use your hospitals and mosques and kindergartens to store weapons, let alone develop command-and-control centers there, or hold kidnapped innocents or slaughter Israelis there, you lose the international legal protection genuine sanctuaries deserve.

We need a language shift. Shifa and Rantisi are Hamospitals, not hospitals. Call mosques with rocket-making factories Hamosques. Schools filled with weapons caches, and propagating hate, are killergartens, not kindergartens. The organization often facilitating this is UNRuin not UNRWA. And hostages are pawns.

Confront cynical supporters of these homophobic, theocratic, autocratic, rapists and murderers. Only sloberals – not liberals – rationalize stealing babies or beheading them. And only feminasties – not feminists – stop believing abused women’s testimonies while losing their voice against gendered violence and rape culture when Israelis are victimized.

MOST DANGEROUS are the self-defeating “ceasefire” demands, without acknowledging that Hamas started the war, and must be degraded militarily. A clear victory is the best way to free the remaining hostages, along with millions of others threatened by Hamas, including 9.3 million Israelis, and hundreds of millions more who will suffer if Hamas isn’t punished severely for behaving brutally.

This is personal

Yes, it’s personal. When Biden or anyone else says “ceasefire,” I hear them say: “I’m willing to kill your kids in Israel so we can feel good about ourselves in America.” When J Street, while condemning Hamas “unequivocally,” supports “consideration of alternative strategies and tactics for removing Hamas from operational control of Gaza that minimize harm to Palestinian civilians,” you wonder how any serious person could write such claptrap. Who doesn’t wish that “alternative strategies” worked?

Yet these supposedly savvy Washington insiders learned nothing from 18 years of “containing” Hamas, which essentially meant appeasing the ogre.

Whenever Israel defended itself against Hamas militarily, J Street led the charge demanding an immediate ceasefire. Everyone errs politically, sometimes. That’s excusable. But it’s unconscionable to fail to adjust, to ignore new information, say, after the savagery of October 7.

This morning, I saw three young Israeli students standing behind a wall of photos at a bus stop. Each snatched innocent sears my soul. But we need a reality check. Most of the first few dozen released seemed physically healthy.

Many of the remainder, if alive, have probably been wounded badly or abused horrifically. Israel – backed by America – must end the salami tactics, even though it saved 40 lives.

If Hamas doesn’t account for every last hostage – and offer some deal to free them all – Israel’s campaign to liberate Gazans, Israelis, and the world from this menace and neutralize Hamas militarily must continue. A tough, focused, sustained war against Hamas, backed by America and the West, is the only way to free those pawns not pictured on those heartrending posters – everyone else in the free world.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, an American presidential historian, and, most recently, the editor of a three-volume set, Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings, the inaugural publication of The Library of the Jewish People.

Published by Jpost