Hamas understands the West better than the West understands Hamas

Hamas understands the West better than the West understands Hamas

Hamas is on the same Mediterranean Sea as Tel Aviv.  If it cared for the well-being of its citizens, it would have taken the vast resources that it took to build 300 miles of tunnels and used them to build infrastructure and houses to improve their lives instead. But it is a theocratic entity, solely focused on the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews, and that has led to the current tragedy.

If Israel is pressured into allowing Hamas to retain its viability, it ultimately will result in more deaths than if it is able to finish Hamas off in Rafah. A ceasefire that leaves Hamas intact would be a disaster.

Hamas has made its intentions clear. It openly states that October 7 was only a beginning, and it will be repeated again and again until Hamas achieves its ultimate goal — eliminating Israel.

Yahyah Sinwar, who leads Hamas, understands Israel well, having been a prisoner there for many years. He knows that Israel values every life and will make extraordinary and imbalanced decisions to preserve life. He was among the 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for a single Israeli. He therefore made hostage-taking, which is a war crime, to be the core of his strategy, because he knew what Israel would do to obtain the hostages’ release.

In contrast, death (and a pathway to heaven) was a strategy motivating Islamists who used children and women as human shields and suicide bombers, another war crime. The ends justified the means. With its leaders safely ensconced in hotels in Qatar or secure underground in the tunnels, Hamas cares little about the Palestinians above ground.

World opinion understandably is horrified by the human suffering in Gaza, but it falsely believes that the suffering will be ended by reaching a ceasefire now. But if a ceasefire were to be instituted, it would only defer and increase the loss of life, rather than end it. The existing Hamas leadership views Israel’s destruction as mandated by radical Islam and will resume pursuing that goal as soon as it can.

The absurd conditions Hamas demands in return for a ceasefire are tantamount to Israel’s granting it a victory. It would require that Hamas remain in power, that all Palestinian prisoners in Israel be released (including murderers like Sinwar), and that Israel would withdraw fully from Gaza.

Understandably, this is totally nonviable. If Hamas had any intention of peace, it would have negotiated the release of the hostages long ago. Now, it won’t even let the Red Cross see them.

The pressures for a ceasefire are enormous, but they must be resisted. October 7 was horrendous, and Hamas brutality was inhumane, but it occurred on a single day. Now, four months later, the world’s media has displayed Palestinian suffering every day and sympathy is only natural.

The world must come to recognize that a ceasefire, with Hamas remaining in power, is a flawed strategy. Faced with this intransigence, Israel must seek the destruction of Hamas, while seeking, as best as it can, to minimize further loss of civilian life and suffering.

David Rocker, formerly of Short Hills, is the founder of the hedge fund Rocker Partners. He and his wife, Marian, are philanthropists active in the Jewish community.

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