Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Answers, Not Bromides, Wanted: How to Stop Hamas?

Perhaps you saw Megan K. Stack’s guest opinion piece in Sunday’s New York Times headlined, “The Case Against Israel Is Strong.” Under a different headline (“Don’t Turn Away from the Charges of Genocide Against Israel”) her thoughts appeared in The Times online edition a few days earlier (

I have no guarantee The Times will publish my reaction to Stack in print or online (interestingly, there is no online mechanism to comment on her piece as there is for Times staff-written articles), so here’s what I sent as a Letter to the Editor: 

Ms. Stack writes passionately about Gaza. Anyone with any degree of humanity and compassion must share her depression about the death of thousands of innocents.

But I wonder what her answer would be to the question of Hamas? Since 2007 Hamas has ruled Gaza. Despite blockades from Israel and Egypt, billions upon billions of dollars in aid and material have poured into Gaza, enough to have turned it into a “Dubai on the Mediterranean,” enough to feed and clothe and employ Gaza’s two million residents.

Instead, Hamas turned Gaza into a launching pad for violence and terror, both above ground and in tunnels underneath schools, homes and hospitals. Hamas could have built a democratic entity. Instead it ruled by terror directed against Palestinians in Gaza and Israelis.

Cease fires after past battles between Hamas and Israel simply allowed Hamas to regroup and rearm and build more tunnels. And then fire more rockets into Israel. A cease fire existed on October 6. Hamas broke it October 7.

Israel suffered the equivalent loss of some 40,000 American lives on its 9/11 tragedy October 7.

How would she defang Hamas? Would she believe Hamas would abide by a cease fire, much less peace, when its charter advocates Israel’s destruction and the killing of Jews?  

Her arguments for excessive force by Israel are compelling but do not address the root cause of the conflict, the rejection by Hamas of Israel’s and Jews’ right to exist. Over and over Palestinian leadership rejected proposals for a separate Palestinian state.

If the neighbor next to your home repeatedly fired bullets and tossed grenades into your home, if your family members were injured or if one or more were killed, what would you do if the police wouldn’t or couldn’t stop them? And you wouldn’t or couldn’t move. What would you do?

Answers, not bromides, please.