BY MOSHE HILL ISRAEL OCTOBER 11 2023
It was nearly 24 years ago to the day when the third episode of the hit television show The West Wing aired, entitled “A Proportional Response.” In the episode, the President is conferring with the Joint Chiefs on how to retaliate against a terrorist action in the Middle East. Bartlett asks the question: “What’s the virtue of the proportional response?” His military commanders have no answer except, “It’s what we do.”
This was before 9/11, before the Second Intifada, before ISIS, and before a quarter century of terrorist actions and “proportional responses.” The “proportional response” remark became a trope, an idiom with no true weight or meaning behind it. In Israel, it became rote to respond to a lone terrorist attack with knocking down their house, or to drone-strike missile launchpads after Iron Dome prevented major catastrophe. These preventive measures were seen as just strong enough to keep the terror at bay, but not endanger civilian lives.
Little did anyone know that these measures did not deter the rabid and mad dog known as Hamas; it emboldened them. They, like the Japanese in 1941 and Al-Qaeda in 2001, viewed their enemy as a paper tiger that would fold when hit with a strong enough attack. Hamas, like their predecessors, will learn that their enemy was a sleeping giant.
There is no virtue in a proportional response. Proportion is immoral. It emboldens terrorists to kill more civilians, kidnap more women and children and grandmothers, and do horrific and unspeakable things, but only at a later date. Israel is giving every indication that they are no longer in the business of proportion, that the status quo in Gaza will be forever changed. We are about to see the largest land shift in Israel since 2005, when the disastrous disengagement occurred.
So, what does a disproportionate response look like in the face of this devastation? Josh Hammer, senior editor-at-large at Newsweek, laid out a pretty good case in a now viral post on X (formerly Twitter). “Flatten and raze to the ground anything remotely smacking of jihadist infrastructure in Gaza,” Hammer wrote, after saying that civilians should be evacuated into the Sinai Desert. “Large swaths of Gaza should resemble a parking lot. The extent to which the entirety of Gaza and Hamas terror infrastructure (tunnels, rocket launchers, etc.) are synonymous cannot be overstated – they are largely one and the same, with the terror infrastructure embedded within ‘civilian’ buildings.”
The complicating factor of this is the hostages, something that Hamas obviously knew would happen. That’s why they took hostages in the first place. They have no care for the human lives of their neighbors, family members, and children; they certainly do not care about the lives of their hostages. So, this response cannot be done by carpet bombing the entire region. There will need to be ground assaults. This will not be easy. But it must be done.
But taking over Gaza is not enough. There is no value in trying to appease the international community. Regardless of how moral Israel has been in dealing with the people who want to see them dead, they are still accused of occupation and apartheid. There is, at this point, no further threat that can be lobbied against them. Gaza must be re-annexed and turned into a coastal beach town that would be the envy of Fiji, the Maldives, and Eilat. It should become a tourist destination so the world can see what the Palestinian people squandered in their endless quest for Jewish blood.
The response cannot stop there. Hamas leadership are cowards who live like kings in Beirut and Iran. They must be assassinated. They should be hunted down like Bin Laden and his ilk. The name “Hamas” should become a distant memory, a footnote in Israeli history, a warning to all others that if they come after Israel they will end up like Hamas. Anyone in the world who praises Hamas should be treated like we treat neo-Nazis. They should be spit upon and degraded, put on FBI watchlists and no-fly lists. Hamas will be tossed in the ashbin of history along with all of the other enemies of the Jewish people.
Every elected official in the United States must know that this is the only response that is just and moral. The media loves dead Jews, but hate retaliatory ones. Those who cheer Israel on now will turn against the IDF when they become squeamish. American Jews cannot allow the media and those who want to see more dead Jews dictate the American response or pressure. Members of Congress must be told that they need to give Israel the widest possible berth regarding their response.
In the end, it’s the only moral thing to do.