What’s the Goal with Hamas?

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The news is covered with calls for a ceasefire. And much to my chagrin and shock, I’m finally there as well.

Let’s get a few things on the table.

Questions About the War


I have my issues with Israel. Lots of them. But I am 100% supportive of Israel’s right to exist, I stand fully and completely behind the Israeli Army, and I would like nothing more than for Hamas to be completely wiped from this planet.

All of that can so easily cloud ones judgment.

And I can’t help wondering: Are we winning this war? Are we accomplishing the goals we’ve set out to achieve? Are we even clear on what those goals are? And are the sacrifices we’re making truly worth it?

The Cost of Victory


Several days ago our tough and rugged soldiers brought home two hostages. It was glorious. The news was filled with the miracle. And what a miracle it was! Two people would come home to see their children and grandchildren again. Two people had escaped fear and terror and could live out the rest of their lives in relative peace and harmony.

It was a legitimately beautiful thing.

But the news buried the fact that two soldiers were killed in action that same day.

No, it wasn’t the same operation. But I couldn’t help feeling like there was a message. Yes, we had what to be joyous about. But at what cost!? How many soldiers will need to die to get our family back? Individual lives cannot be compared. And simply comparing lists of numbers is a very limited way of thinking. However, it still gives pause. Israel is making sacrifices daily. Are they in fact worth it?

October 8 vs Now


On October 8th, I found it very easy to say that we should send the entire Israeli army into Gaza and rain down havoc upon the people who attacked us so viciously. And there are plenty among us who feel that way to this day. And I get it. We weren’t just hurt a little. What happened to Israel that day was an unforgettable and unforgivable travesty.

But it’s not October 8th anymore.

And we’ve learned a lot since that day. About ourselves, about our leaders, about the way the world works.

One of the primary goals of the war was to get back the hostages. This is obviously of strict and immense importance. However, to date we’ve gotten just a handful of hostages back through military means. The vast majority of our family members who were returned to us came not through exciting military exercises but through negotiations. And in the process of trying to get our people back military, we’ve not only lost scores of soldiers, but we’ve inadvertently killed some of our hostages as well.

So are we in Gaza to get all the hostages safely home? Either it’s not the priority, and that’s awful. Or it is the priority, and we just haven’t been successful.

And after all the destruction we’ve brought to Gaza, and all the loss of our soldiers’ precious lives, we’ll likely have to return to the negotiating table once again anyway.

The Destruction of Hamas


Another primary goal is to destroy Hamas.

This goal bothered me from day one. It seemed too complex and impossible of a goal to be taken seriously. I’m not even sure what it means. Anyone can be Hamas! So if we kill all existing Hamas members and then 100 people in North Dakota declare they’re Hamas, did we retroactively not accomplish our goal?

You could say the goal was to weaken Hamas so thoroughly that it’d be years before they’d be able to do something like October 7th again. And that certainly is an important goal!

However, first off, it’s not what we’ve been told. We’re not supposed to be weakening Hamas. We’re supposed to be destroying them!

Second, as implied when I said “it’d be years before they’d be able to…”, if we don’t eradicate Hamas, we’re likely to have something like this happen to us again. And again. And again…

So either our goal is unlikely and unrealistic, or it’s insufficient and unsatisfying.

The Punishment


A final goal might be punishment.

I don’t know what more to say about this one. All the punishment in the world will not bring back the people we lost. It won’t make us safer. It won’t make us better received in the eyes of the world.

The likely case is there’s nothing we can do to Hamas that will make them feel punished. And the remaining people of Gaza, if they are in need of some level of retribution for harboring terrorists or the like, I think we can safely say that we’ve at least reached the point that they are appropriately chastised.

So again, what are we doing here?

There are, of course, other possibilities that are far more cynical. Perhaps there are some in this world evil enough that they are willing to drag this war out and risk the lives of thousands just to hang on a little longer to political power. Deep down I’d love to believe this isn’t the case. But I still fear it might be.

Rage Clouds Judgment


What could we possibly be doing that’s worth losing several soldiers every single day?

Everything I’m writing here comes with a heavy heart. I am, like so many people in my country, angry. Infuriated. And the anger points in many directions. Angry at Hamas. Angry at the way the world has treated Jews since the war began. Angry at those who dropped the ball on October 7th. Just angry at the universe in general, for producing such a maddening world.

And I, like so many others, want victory. Want Israel to stand tall when all the smoke clears, forever safe knowing its enemies are no longer a concern. Are incapable of ever causing us damage.

But that rage clouds judgment. It causes us to not see a bigger picture. To compromise on morals. To say and do things we don’t necessary truly believe.

What I Want

I want this war over.

I want peace.

I want Hamas out of the picture.

I want all of the hostages home, safe with their families.

I want our nation to sleep comfortably tonight, knowing it has everything it could ever need.

But I don’t know how all of that could happen.

Sacrifices will need to be made. New sacrifices. The question is: Which ones will they be?

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