Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for the carnage. The question is how much care Israel has been taking to minimize the collateral horror.
I have read Andrew Sullivan for years. His warnings about woke culture infecting every aspect of American life were profound. "We all Live on Campus Now," was one of the best columns ever written. He is also an antisemite. Not because he dislikes Jews. Bari considers herself his friend. He is an antisemite because he does hold Israel to a higher standard than any other nation, including his nation of birth (UK) and his adopted home (US). At no time does Andrew ever come up with a solution that doesn't include the eventual destruction of Israel and at no time does he ever hold the Palestinians in general responsible for their own situation.
I find it interesting that those who support Hamas (not saying Andrew does) keep telling us that nothing happens in a vacuum. That is true. The war that the Palestinians have waged against the existence of a Jewish state goes back well over 100 years. Back to before the existence of the Palestine mandate and definitely to the Palestinian leader Haj Amin el Husseini and his rabid support of Nazism. Pogroms, slaughter, rape and butchery of the Jewish community in Palestine was his calling card. So there is your history.
I don't know anyone of any worth who isn't upset about the civilian casualties in Gaza, except for Hamas and Iran. They are jumping for joy. Why isn't Andrew holding them to account for these killings? They after all are responsible for this war.
Instead of creating Singapore in Gaza, Hamas created a terrorist nation bent on genocide against its neighbor. Does Andrew think there would not be blowback at some point against the entirety of Gaza if Hamas pulled off what it actually did on Oct7?
Israel asks people to move to safe areas, Hamas prevents this. Israel has a map of safe areas for people to go to. UNRWA and other aid UN agencies, actually send people into the unsafe zones to schools, mosques, and hospitals where they become human shields for the Hamas terror infrastructure. Yes, UNRWA and other aide agencies in Gaza are Hamas.
Israel opens civilian corridors so people can escape the fighting and Hamas shoots at those fleeing and plants IEDs to kill their own people. How is this Israel's fault?
Hamas/PIJ have had 2,000 rockets explode in homes, schools and mosques killing their own people, but somehow this is Israel's fault. How many of those killed in the war are actually victims of these rockets and not Israeli airstrikes? Does he ask? No.
Andrew takes at face value the numbers, list of casualties, and causes of death that Hamas puts out, because we all know that people who burn babies to death in ovens, burn whole families alive, torture children in front of the parents before murdering them, and rape women and girls to death are known for their veracity.
What I find truly interesting is that when Joe Biden questioned the number of those killed in Gaza in the earlier days of this war, Hamas somehow had a list with names and ID numbers all ready to go. We were also told we didn't know the names and the number of people killed because they were all lying under rubble. Which is it?
Andrew never writes what Israel should have done in the aftermath of Oct7. Just give up the ship and leave? Go where? Sue for peace? With who? Those who commit such barbaric acts and vow to commit genocide against every Jew in the world? Maya Angelou once said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." We believe Hamas wholeheartedly.
There is a very ironic cartoon of the 2014 Gaza war with John Kerry asking Bibi could he at least meet Hamas halfway.....Andrew seems to think along those lines.
As Blinken has said, "this would end tomorrow if Hamas returned the hostages and surrendered." No one seems to be saying that, including Andrew.
The only thing that has changed is that the blood of Jewish children is no longer cheap. If Hamas valued the lives of Palestinian children they would never have begun this war. Put the blame where it should be. But Andrew isn't brave enough for that.
These arguments support a speedy surrender from Hamas. In the meantime, Israel’s assault on Gaza remains morally justified.
The problem is that unless Hamas is destroyed, more children will die. It is Hamas who built the underground structure for its fighters, but did not provide the shelters for the children of Gaza. Hamas and Hamas alone bear the ultimate responsibility for inflicting this catastrophe on the people it pledged to serve. If they truly cared about them, then they would give up the hostages and surrender their weapons. But if they had truly cared, they would not have siphoned off millions of aid money to build tunnels for a few, instead they would have concentrated on building a peaceful and prosperous society where the Palestinian people as a whole could thrive. If they truly cared, they would not have launched 7 October attack which has brought greater retribution than they dreamed possible (what did they think would happen? Because whatever it was, they miscalculated on the response -- I doubt they expected boots on the ground and in the tunnels for as long as they have been there and will be there)
All one has to do is to look at the renewed threat of the Houthis -- who were nearly destroyed until the West's instinct for aid and desire to avoid famine kicked in. Now, the US and the UK have had to do air strikes because the Houthi have decided to threaten global shipping, instead of looking after their people.
Hamas brought this on the Palestinian people. Hopefully, once they are defeated militarily, a new movement which prioritises the children of Palestine's future over death and destruction will emerge. It is what I pray for and however slim that hope might be, it needs to be there as the cycle of war must end and the only people can ultimately stop that cycle are the Palestinians.
A topic ignored: Why isn't the International Red Cross AND the UN demanding the release of the Israeli hostages? I thought holding civilian hostages was a war crime. Mr. Sullivan?
How many Americans remain hostages? How would the MSM react if Trump allowed American citizens to be captured by terrorists for this long? Why did the MSM ignore the story about White House staffers being evacuated because Palestine rioters were tearing down a fence, yet not a single one was arrested?!
Based on this essay Andrew seems to mean well. I would hope he agrees that defeating the enemy of civilization like Hamas is the most important thing, and worse than what is occurring in Gaza would be victory for Hamas. I have not heard any of Israel's well meaning friends who do not have the stomach for the war in Gaza propose a single alternative for how Hamas and Gaza ought to be dealt with, except to imagine the situation to be other than it is.
There was a simple, obvious alternative that could have occurred that I pushed for from the very beginning: evacuate Gazan non-combatants to Sinai while Israel dismantles' Hamas and its terror infrastructure in Gaza. It's completely plausible that the Western countries could have leaned on Egypt to do this. They could have guaranteed that the non combatants would be returned to Gaza after the war, that Israel would face severe consequences for not allowing them back in.
But over the course of this war, for all the ink spilled by the alleged friends of Gaza, I have not heard anyone suggest that Gazans be permitted to leave the war zone. They have asked Israel to do the impossible: do not kill civilians but do not move them either while fighting an enemy embedded amongst civilians and civilian infrastructure.
All these compassionate voices, and not one condemnation for Egypt not opening Sinai. Not one condemnation of no country being willing to take in any Gazans. You can say the Gazans aren't other countries responsibility or they'd be a problem for your own country, but then don't pretend you actually care about them except to the extent they can be weaponized against Israel, either as active fighters or symbols to slander it.
It seems like Mr. Sullivan has not been paying attention to the simplest of truths expressed clearly and succinctly by Secretary of State Blinken:
“What is striking to me is that even as, again, we hear many countries urging the end to this conflict, which we would all like to see, I hear virtually no one saying – demanding of Hamas that it stop hiding behind civilians, that it lay down its arms, that it surrender. This is over tomorrow if Hamas does that. This would have been over a month ago, six weeks ago, if Hamas had done that,”
“Understandably, everyone would like to see this conflict end as quickly as possible,” but, he observed, “if it ends with Hamas remaining in place and having the capacity and the stated intent to repeat October 7th again and again and again, that’s not in the interests of Israel, it’s not in the interests of the region, it’s not in the interests of the world.”
"Coulda, shoulda, woulda"! Sullivan sits on Mount Olympus to criticize those mired in destruction! Who has really said that they glory in the deaths of women and children? Israel? Absolutely NOT! It is Hamas, clearly and simply! And who says that "war" has to conform to some agreed upon metrics? Civilized nations? Yes, but Hamas is NOT part of that group. And they DO, by the way, glory in the deaths of bystanders, women, and children.
Andrew sounds like Democrats in Congress with their moral outrage for Israel, couched in recognition that Hamas must be destroyed, but offering no practical alternative than Israel’s painstaking approach.
If Israel wasn’t a moral country, Hamas could have been destroyed in hours with hundreds of thousands of civilians killed. But instead they put their young soldiers at great risk trying to root out the terrorists from among the civilians.
So, Andrew, what would you have done or be doing now if you were Israel’s Prime Minister?
Mr. Sullivan: Thank you for this piece. I never thought I’d say this about your writing though but it is simple-minded and emotional. I agree with the deep moral concern, but it is simple-minded because you conclude with the straw-man alternative world that if the Israelis “had taken a breath, thought deeply and strategically” and acted “in consort with their recently acquired Arab interlocutors.” Seriously? Qatar teaming up strategically? The UAE? You cannot get off so easily. Drop the platitudes. What was that missed path? Even President Obama, days after 10.7, likely reeling and seeing the shocking consequences of his entreaty of the Iranians, tweeted about Israel’s entitlement to “dismantle” Hamas. Please explain your alternative world where that path ever existed. I don’t see it, but if you can, many would be with you in criticizing the current path.
I'm an Israeli, and I found this to be one of the most thoughtful articles about the war from the other side's perspective, but it was very clearly written by a Westerner on a Middle Eastern conflict.
Let me be very clear about something: I don't want Palestinians to be killed. No Israeli I know wants Palestinians to be killed. Even friends of mine who are very right-wing don't want to kill children. I'm not saying there aren't radical Israelis - there are extremists everywhere in the world - and I'm not defending the words of idiot politicians because I'm part of the half of the country that has spent months protesting them.
But if this is a real question - if he's genuinely asking how many children Israelis are willing to kill, how much can we stomach? - I think the answer most Israelis would give is however much we need to to survive. I'm not saying this easily or flippantly, I feel that this article is right on point: I do feel that I and my friends are losing our souls to war and I don't feel happy or relieved that we're at war, I can't sleep and it pains me to the core of my being.
But we don't have anywhere to go. There isn't a Plan B. The vast majority of Israeli Jews - some 6.5 million out of 7 million - don't have citizenship anywhere else. Losing this war means we die, barbarically if October 7 is any indication. And knowing that you, your family, your friends, everyone that you love could be dragged out of their homes, raped, set on fire and dismembered is a powerful motivator. I don't want to fight a war, I really, really don't, but then I look at my family and I don't see any other way for them to survive, so I force myself to stomach this war. It isn't an easy situation, and I find it appalling that this writer seems to think Israelis are choosing this and that we don't care.
Also, I don't think the writer has a fundamental grasp of what it means to live in the Middle East for a few reasons:
Firstly, America isn't Israel and 9/11 and 10/7 cannot be compared. The US would have survived even if they hadn't responded to 9/11 - al-Qaeda was never an existential threat. Israel is existentially threated by Hamas. And no, it's not nation-state vs. nation-state like WWII, but only a person who has not lived their lives under the threat of a terrorist organization can possibly downplay that threat. There is a psychological difference in seeing a terrorist attack, even on a large scale, and October 7, watching thousands of people with guns and machetes roll across your land and barrel towards you. I am not in any way downplaying the horror of 9/11, I am just pointing out that they are different and incomparable horrors.
Secondly, the writer claims that if Israel had "taken a breath" on Oct 8, there could have been some sort of diplomatic solution to the crisis. I've grown up in the Middle East, and if there's one thing I know with absolute certainty, it's that if Israel didn't respond itself, if Israel sat back and asked for help from others, it would have been seen as weakness. And weakness in my neck of the woods means annihilation - if Iran and Hezbollah had viewed Israel as weak on Oct 8, my country would be gone. Responding forcefully, lethally was a message to enemies that if Israel is attacked, it will hit back harder. That deterrence is the only thing between me and millions of people who want me dead. I can't deny that Israel fighting back is partly motivated by our fury but it's also strategic.
Lastly, this article brought up America's response to ISIS and 9/11 and compared it to Israel's response to Hamas. But there's one really basic fact missing here: America lost that war. America spent 20 years in the Middle East and left it no less radicalized than it was before. And then Americans seemed to just walk away and never speak of it again. The difference, of course, is that Afghanistan doesn't border the US and Americans don't have to continue living their lives 8 minutes away from the Taliban. I do.
Anyway, it was a genuinely thoughtful article, thank you for sharing.
Sullivan lost me when he quoted death statistics from terrorists. He also lost me blaming Israel for the hunger and thirst of Gazans. Hamas is responsible for this and Egypt is a neighbor, too. What about Qatar, Hamas' buddies?? Can't they open their doors to Gazans? No one will because Palestinians are historically terrorists. The bring terror wherever they go.
Sorry, Andrew, I didn't even finish your propaganda. As a Catholic sitting in the US, we don't have the right to pass moral judgement on Israel, who are defending themselves from 14th century barbarians.
What was the response of the world on Oct 8, before any Israeli response?
Mass cheering in the streets.
Jews are hated no matter what - communist or capitalist, assimilated or isolationist, weak or strong, helpless or fighting back - the oldest of hatreds that this morally condescending article conveniently ignores.
I have yet to see any practical recommendations in any media on ways to reduce civilian deaths by someone who has sufficient expertise in methods of warfare. Surely there are relevant experts who could be consulted for background research before publishing ?
The assumption that Israel could have leveraged 10/7 among nations to achieve broader strategic goals makes sense only in theory. Unfortunately, time and again, nations don’t show up for her. More likely, had there been no meaningful military response, there would have been another attack but in the North or somewhere else. A return of the hostages would likely result in an immediate ceasefire and would have for the last 70 days. Israel, as always, is the most unpopular and difficult position that no nation should ever find herself in. Rather than the onus being squarely on her - where are nations pressuring Iran, Hamas, Qatar, Egypt? Nowhere to be found because to highlight their complicity in enabling the humanitarian crisis doesn’t fit the script.
I refuse to see a group of people (Palestinians in this) rejoice as another was being murdered and raped. Not a single Israeli was dancing in the streets of Tel-Aviv when those bombs were dropped on houses in Gaza killing hundreds. You said "they're human too" and I believe this is inaccurate. Biologically yes, they're human, but not morally, ethically or socially. The indoctrination for hatred of everything Jewish, the deification of death and deceit, started long before Hamas and will endure long after it. Just like the US dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan, killing 150000 civilians, to bring it down to its knees and essentially re-educate a nation, that's what needs to happen in Gaza as well.