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Israel Must Remain Focused on Defeating Hamas Above All Else


An Israeli soldier stands during a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day, at an installation at the site of the Nova festival where party goers were killed and kidnapped during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, in Reim, southern Israel, May 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JNS.orgImagine an alternate reality in which Hamas took no hostages. One in which the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks still occurred but without the savage barbarity of mass rape, depraved torture and mutilation, and the kidnapping of hundreds as bargaining chips. Tranquil villages and military bases are still overrun. More than 1,000 Israelis—mostly civilians — are still viciously slaughtered. But the attack is ultimately repelled without a single hostage taken.

Would Israel’s response have been different? Would the strategic necessity of annihilating Hamas be absent?

The answer is no. Not even slightly. Even without hostages in enemy hands, no country that wants to survive could countenance the existence of a genocidal terror organization on its borders after such an attack. Any country would consider neutralizing such an adversary a strategic imperative.

This imperative is independent of the crucial task of rescuing and returning the hostages. Supporters of Israel must understand this and say so unequivocally.

This is why linking the release of the hostages to ending the war is at best misguided. In the long run, it serves Hamas’s interests. Yet public officials, pundits and politicians continue to call for “a return of the hostages and an end to the fighting.” This absurd platitude suggests that the hostages are the only reason for the war. Such sentiment is not just prevalent among ignorant millennial TikTok stars and Hollywood celebrities. It is ubiquitous in the highest ranks of international, American and Israeli policymakers.

Foremost among them is the Biden administration. Its rhetoric began with “Hamas must be eliminated” but slowly collapsed into self-serving diplomatic gobbledygook about the need “to secure the release of hostages together with an immediate and sustained ceasefire.”

Intentionally or not, this plays directly into the hands of Hamas. Not only because it raises the premium for a hostage release, but because it obscures the fact that Israel must defeat and annihilate Hamas no matter what. Hamas is a highly competent and motivated Islamist terror group that succeeded in inflicting a devastating blow and would do so again if given the chance. To have such an organization a mere hour’s drive from Tel Aviv is unacceptable, to say the least.

The temptation to focus exclusively on the hostages and their return is understandable. Many well-meaning supporters of Israel have earnestly submitted to it. Sadly, in the struggle for international legitimacy and persuasion, such a focus does have benefits. Past atrocities quickly fade from the collective global memory. But the hostages are still held in unspeakable conditions. As a result, their plight is pressing and visceral.

Nonetheless, the necessity of destroying Hamas would have been the same if not a single hostage had been taken. Thus, the leading pro-Israel hashtag shouldn’t be #bringthemhomenow but #crush_hamas. The military dog tags worn by many Israel supporters should signify support for IDF soldiers at least as much as advocacy for the hostages’ return.

The hostages force Hamas to pay a heavy price for international legitimacy. It does make them look bad. Nonetheless, they thought it was a chance worth taking. The essential question is: Will their gamble pay off? A hostage deal that stops the war indefinitely would vindicate Hamas’s strategy. If they succeed in playing the hostage card to secure their survival, it will mean that they were right all along. Whatever price they paid in public relations was worth it because taking the hostages saved their skins. This would only incentivize future mass kidnappings.

Many people have already pointed this out. But so far, they have not pointed out that the exclusive focus on the hostages unwittingly lays the groundwork for the disastrous concessions they oppose. In the end, it will force Israel to abandon its only real strategic imperative: the destruction of Hamas.

The current frenzy surrounding Rafah demonstrates this point quite well. Despite the protestations of many, if every single hostage were miraculously teleported out of Gaza, the elimination of the Hamas stronghold in Rafah would remain as crucial and urgent as it is now.

The suffering of the hostages, as well as their friends and families, is heartbreaking. But we must never lose sight of the fact that this war was always about one thing: crushing Hamas.

Yonatan Green is an Israeli-American attorney who is currently a fellow at the Georgetown University Center for the Constitution.

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Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction

Toronto Police have arrested and charged a man for assault over an incident May 9 near the protest encampment at the University of Toronto’s King’s College Circle on its downtown campus.  Toronto Police Services (TPS) say they responded at 3:45 p.m. that day to a call for assault in the area of the road around […]

The post Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law?

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”?

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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