Larry Elder: Israel-Hamas War: Has Hamas Bet Correctly?

The perspectives and thoughts expressed in this op-ed are the exclusive purview of the author.

What to say about the widespread pro-Hamas protests? Protesters block the highway leading to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Protesters stop traffic on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. A mob of protesters chanting “Senate can’t eat until Gaza eats” march in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and cause the cafeteria to shut down. Something like that used to be called “insurrection.” Pro-Hamas protesters in Dearborn, Michigan, chant not only “Death to Israel” but “Death to America.”

On Oct. 7 last year, Hamas, the anti-Israeli, anti-Jew terror group, committed an unprovoked mass murder of nearly 1,200 Israelis, including men, women and children. Hamas terrorists raped women, beheaded victims and took hundreds hostage, including some Americans.

In the days that followed, at least in America, condemnation of Hamas’ slaughter, the most horrific assault on Jews since the Holocaust, seemed universal. Most Americans applauded when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “crush” Hamas. But in very little time, as the Israeli military proceeded to carry out that objective, the chorus of those accusing Israel of “overreacting” turned into an even louder chorus accusing Israel of committing “genocide.”

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Genocide? The accusation requires a willful dismissal that Hamas by design imbeds itself among Palestinian civilians and builds military installations beneath schools, mosques and hospitals to invoke the cry of “genocide” by Israel’s enemies and by those who should know better.

Many college students either do not know or do not care that Israel has traded land for peace and has proposed many other “peace plans” only to suffer continued homicide bombings and rockets launched into Israel from Lebanon by Hezbollah, another Iran-backed terror group like Hamas, and rockets launched into Israel by Hamas from Gaza.

Those chanting “From the river to the sea” either do not know or do not care that there was NEVER a country called Palestine. The chant refers to the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and completely omits one nagging thing — the country of Israel.

Urban warfare, by definition, results in civilian casualties. So, is the U.S. guilty of genocide? About the United States’ campaign to crush ISIS, RAND wrote:

“The United States had promised the most precise air war in history to destroy the Islamic State across its strongholds in Iraq and Syria. Yet by the end of the U.S.-led battle for Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital, as many as 80 percent of the buildings were deemed uninhabitable. Several thousand civilians who had survived months of shelling and street fighting had nowhere to go for safe drinking water within the wreckage.

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“Researchers from RAND spent months analyzing the battle and asking what the United States could have done better to protect those civilians from the harms of war. They found that military leaders too often lacked a complete picture of conditions on the ground; too often waved off reports of civilian casualties; and too rarely learned any lessons from strikes gone wrong. Raqqa may have been a victory, but it was also a smoldering monument to how much more the military could do to protect civilians.”

How many ISIS fighters were killed compared to the number of civilians killed? Estimates differ widely depending upon whether the numbers come from our military, terror groups, human rights organizations or others.

About the U.S.-led campaign to eliminate the ISIS caliphate, The Washington Post in November 2020 wrote:

“Frequently, multiple airstrikes occurred close to the same area on a single day. For the more than 1,400 civilian deaths it has acknowledged to date, the U.S. military previously provided only general information about the incidents and their locations, compounding the challenge of determining who died, when and where.”

Hamas expected a forceful Israeli response to cause widespread Palestinian casualties, a number the terrorist will dutifully inflate. The plan is as simple as it is evil. Hamas sees the massacre of Israelis followed massive and unavoidable Palestinian deaths as the price of the ticket. Hamas counts on anti-Israel sentiment and Jew hatred in Western countries to tie Israel’s hands and eventually to force the United States to turn its back on its onetime vital ally. It increasingly looks like Hamas bet correctly.

Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



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