No Haven for Hamas

Column: End the ceasefire talk and let Israel defeat Hamas.

Anthony Blinken talks to reporters (Jack Guez/Pool via Reuters)
June 14, 2024

Secretary of State Antony Blinken's eighth trip to the Middle East since the terrorist atrocities of October 7, 2023, has gone about as well as the previous seven. That is to say: Not well at all.

Blinken went to the region to pressure Israel and Hamas into accepting President Biden's latest ceasefire proposal for the war in Gaza. Biden released the plan on May 31. It would proceed in three stages.

First, there would be a six-week truce during which Hamas would release some hostages in exchange for terrorists held in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would withdraw from Gaza's population centers, and Americans would supply more humanitarian aid for Gaza's Palestinians. The second phase would involve negotiations over full IDF withdrawal from Gaza and the release of the remaining captives. In the third phase, the "international community" would rebuild Gaza, a non-Hamas government would come to power, Saudi Arabia and Israel would make peace, and the oceans would turn into pink lemonade.

I'm kidding about the lemonade.

Still, there is something absurd about the offer in general. It rests on the assumption that Hamas is a legitimate negotiating partner with an interest in ending the war. Such an assumption is worse than false. It is insane. And Blinken knows it.

Hamas isn't a state worthy of recognition. It's a terrorist entity governing a population through fear, terror, and zealotry. Which is why Americans deal not with Hamas but with Hamas's intermediaries in Egypt and Qatar. We still have some scruples, after all. And if a terror organization does not deserve our direct contact, then it does not deserve our rescue.

Nor is Hamas interested in bringing the Gaza war to a close. As the secretary of state was engaged in another round of shuffle diplomacy, desultorily flying from capital to capital with nothing to show for it, the Wall Street Journal published a blockbuster story confirming what some of us already knew: Hamas's psychopathic terror leader, Yahya Sinwar, follows Vladimir Lenin's dictum of "the worse, the better." The greater the number of Palestinian casualties, the greater the devastation to Gaza's infrastructure, the further isolated the Jewish state becomes, and the more anti-Semitism intensifies around the globe.

Most people are horrified at what Hamas unleashed on October 7. Not Sinwar. He thinks he's winning. No surprise, then, that Hamas responded to the Biden ceasefire proposal with what Blinken described as "numerous changes." Revisions, it should be said, that are too much even for Blinken. Thus Hamas gives every indication of rejecting this latest ceasefire plan—just as it rejected the four previous ceasefire plans that have been floated since November 2023.

Yet the Biden administration continues to act as if Hamas's mass murderer in chief has a conscience. In a June 13 interview with Savannah Guthrie of NBC's Today Show, Blinken said that while Sinwar hides underground, "the people that he purports to represent, they're suffering every day. So if he has their interests at heart, he will come to a conclusion to bring this to a conclusion."

Represent? This isn't the Grand Forks City Council we're talking about. It's Hamas. And Yahya Sinwar isn't James Madison. He's a little Hitler. He doesn't give a whit about suffering. Nor does he have anyone's "interests at heart." He has no heart! He's a kidnapper and a torturer and a killer. How on earth can Blinken say these words with a straight face?

Something has gone wrong when a senior U.S. official persists in the delusion that a terrorist shares his sense of morality, sympathy, and personal responsibility. Something has gone wrong when an administration that responded admirably to the worst crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust now tries to tie Israel's hands, slow Israel down, undermine Israel's elected leadership, and freeze the current multifront war against Israel in place in a misguided and counterproductive effort to quiet the gross pro-Hamas anti-Semites within the Democratic Party. And something has gone wrong, terribly wrong, when the administration's response to the heroic and triumphal rescue of four Israeli hostages from Hamas and their civilian accomplices is to double down on a plan that increases Hamas's leverage.

"I don't think the deal is blown up," Secretary Blinken told Guthrie. "I think it's still—it's still possible. But at the end of the day, this has to come to a point where it's either yes or no." That came long ago—on October 7, in fact.

The war in Gaza won't end with another ceasefire or food package or humanitarian pier. The war will end when Israel completes its task of destroying Hamas as a military force and rescues the surviving men, women, and children, including five Americans, who were taken from their homes and spirited away to Palestinian captivity. America's role in this task is to help our ally Israel by supplying military aid and assistance, by providing diplomatic cover in a world where Hamas sympathizers have captured the institutions of global governance, and by enforcing the rule of law against the Hamas supporters on our college campuses, in our city streets, and in our public squares. The closer America is with Israel, the stronger our support, and the better we articulate Israel's right to exist and right to self-defense, the faster Israel will achieve her military aims.

Enough with the ceasefires. Put the plans back in the briefcase, Mr. Secretary. Let Israel win.