We Mustn’t Forget What Triggered the War on Terrorists in Gaza

Calling for a ceasefire in Gaza has merit but we must also recognise there would be no war in the first place if Hamas were not there

This piece first appeared in The Epoch Times Canada on November 15, 2023.

Short-term memory loss is a condition under which people either cannot retain information or quickly forget what they have recently learned. Now we all go through this from time to time as no one can remember everything. Sometimes we are not really listening or paying attention or–squirrel!–are simply distracted. It happens.

To what, then do we owe the collective amnesia of hundreds of millions around the world, including here in Canada, to what happened a little over a month ago? In case you do suffer from the aforementioned affliction, on Oct. 7 hundreds of Hamas terrorists crossed the Israeli border from Gaza and proceeded to slaughter (and no, there is no other term for it) hundreds of Israeli citizens, among whom were women and children at a music festival. The latest death toll is 1,200, down from an initial estimate of 1,400, and several hundred were taken hostage and brought back to Gaza by Hamas jihadis. 

Rather than condemn this act, when you see the mass protests globally calling for an end to Israeli attacks in Gaza on Hamas you are led to believe that the move is part of a carefully planned Jewish conspiracy to commit “genocide” against the Palestinians. By the way, the “G” word is rapidly being used more and more inaccurately and appears to apply to any act of violence. Crowds demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza due to mounting civilian casualties, in itself a noble goal and one which any moral person would support (who is OK with the killing of babies—aside from Hamas and other Islamist terrorists, that is?).

And yet no one seems to remember that this current conflict is raging for one, and only one reason: the Hamas attack of five weeks ago. Had the terrorists not gone into Israel to satisfy their bloodlust, Israeli forces would not be in Gaza now. Israel occupied Gaza for years and left two decades ago, realizing the futility of remaining where it wasn’t wanted and where its actions led to very little progress. I doubt very much it wants to place itself in a similar, endless situation. But what other response was Israel supposed to make in the wake of its “9/11”?

Instead, the Hamas attack is described as a legitimate move of “resistance.” I wonder if those who think and say so would use analogous language to refer to 9/11, or 7/7, or any other jihadi attack over the past two decades? Is the recent massacre of 70 people carried out most likely by Islamist terrorists in Burkina Faso an act of “resistance”?

The other worrisome part of this outpouring of support for Palestine is the notion that a Palestinian state should stretch from the “river to the sea.” The river in question is the Jordan and the sea is the Mediterranean. If such a polity were to be created, where would that put Israel? Where? Nowhere, of course. Many would not lose sleep over such a fate as they see Israel as a “colonialist power” anyway. 

Do you want to know the saddest part of all this? There are legitimate Palestinian demands for statehood and legitimate criticisms over Israel’s policies thereon (especially under the Netanyahu government; I have been very vocal in my criticism of Bibi’s moves). But the way this is being sold—Israeli aggression, heroic Hamas “resistance,” etc.—is completely counterproductive and will fail. A movement seeking to raise the profile for Palestine and Palestinians is achieving the opposite for its embrace of Hamas terrorists. Who is advising these people??

Alas, we will find ourselves in a similar quagmire again and again in this part of the world. A future Palestine is most probably further away than ever and the mass demonstrations are only making matters worse. Why would Israel make concessions in the face of overwhelming backing for jihadi terrorists? 

That Israel and Palestine have made mistakes is not in doubt. But if Palestine well-wishers continue to pretend that Hamas is NOT a terrorist group, one that sets up cells in hospitals, mosques, playgrounds, and schools and which carries out heinous acts of barbarism, their voices will be marginalized and their desires punted even further down the field.

There comes a time to call a spade a spade, or a terrorist group a terrorist group. That time is now. Is anyone listening?

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.