And the winner is — Hamas!

Unless the Biden administration changes course and encourages Israel to achieve its goal of defeating Hamas, terrorism will win and civilization will lose.

By Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute

What will happen if Hamas is allowed to win this war? If Hamas is permitted to accomplish what it intended by its mass murders, kidnappings and rapes? If the victims of these atrocities — the people of Israel and all countries fighting terrorism — lose? If the prospects for peace in the region and the Free World are seriously damaged? If the relationship between the US and Israel, and the loss of faith in the US as the guarantor of freedom, continues to be fractured?

Instead, the Biden administration may be rewarding Palestinian terrorists by unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state, which will, of course, soon become militarized. The failures of UNIFIL to keep peace in South Lebanon and UNRWA to counter terrorism in Gaza should suggest caution.

If these are the outcomes of the current war, Hamas will be encouraged to repeat — as it promised it would “time and again”— its barbarisms of October 7, not only in Israel but in other Western nations, including our own. Why not? If a crime pays, it will be repeated. That is one reason why we punish crimes. President Joe Biden has said as much with regard to the Russian crimes against Ukraine. He has correctly warned that if Putin is allowed to benefit from his attack on Ukraine, he will be encouraged to attack other nations. Biden is right about that. Why hasn’t he said the same thing about Hamas? Why is he trying to prevent Israel from defeating Hamas? Is it his fear of losing votes from hard-left anti-Israel Democrats?

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Biden is ignoring — and properly so — pro-Putin voters but listening to anti-Israel voters. Why is he capitulating to the threats from hard-left elements within the Democratic Party? Doing so is not only wrong morally and diplomatically; it is foolish politically. These extremist anti-Israel zealots are not going to determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential election. Centrist voters, such as the ones who recently elected Thomas Souzzi to Congress, will. And centrist voters support Israel over Hamas.

The anti-Israel left-wingers are not going to vote for Trump, who is more pro-Israel than Biden. Nor are they likely to stay home on Election Day and help Trump. Centrist voters, on the other hand, are likely to vote against Biden if they think he is beholden to the Squad or other anti-American woke extremists.

As important as are the domestic electoral implications of Biden’s weakening support for Israel, the international implications are far more consequential. The world will be a far less safe place if Israel is prevented from defeating Hamas and dismantling its military capabilities. The double standard Biden seems to be applying to a Russian victory, which he correctly says is unacceptable, and to a Hamas victory, which he seems to be willing to tolerate, is inexplicable as a matter of rational US policy and basic decency.

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Biden must be as dedicated to preventing a Hamas victory as he is to preventing a Russian victory. That, however, is not his current approach. Instead, he is focusing on the death rate among Gazan civilians. We also have no idea how many innocent civilians, as compared with terrorists and those who assist them, are among the dead. We also have no idea how many of the dead were used as human shields by Hamas or were killed by misfired rockets from Gaza. We cannot simply accept the biased figures released by the propaganda agents of Hamas, who already discredited themselves by issuing false information, and were found shooting at their own citizens to prevent them from seeking safety in southern Gaza as the Israelis had urged them to do.

Israel is doing everything reasonable to decrease civilian casualties, while Hamas tries to increase them on both sides. American policy should be to help Israel defeat Hamas and prevent the recurrence and spread of its terrorism against civilians, rather than to help Hamas secure a victory by tying Israel’s hands.

The tragic reality is that Hamas is winning the war – at least by its own definition of winning. It has turned world opinion against Israel, especially among the young. It has caused a rupture in Israel’s relations with America. It has gotten the International Court of Justice and the United Nations involved. It has damaged the prospects of peace with Saudi Arabia. It has hurt relationships between Israel and its neighbors. And it has strengthened support for Hamas among Palestinians on the West Bank.

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The costs have been high, but most have been borne by Palestinian civilians and by Israelis. Hamas could not care less about Palestinian deaths, as evidenced by the fact that it has never provided shelter for civilians, while building vast tunnels to protect its own fighters. The world may see the harm inflicted on Gazans as a cost of Hamas’s victory, but Hamas does not see it that way.

So, unless the Biden administration changes course and encourages Israel to achieve its legitimate military goal of defeating Hamas, terrorism will win and civilization will lose.