Israel-Hamas War
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Pure, unadulterated evil

Hamas’ merciless attack was intended to demonstrate that Israel is not invincible and even to cast the shadow of the Holocaust over the minds of today’s Israelis

A group of Palestinians survey the destruction of Gaza City by Israeli bombings.Ahmad Hasaballah (Getty Images)
Lluís Bassets

Nothing will stop the destruction of Gaza. Nothing will be able to mitigate the objective of Israel, its government, and its society, shared by the U.S. and the European Union. Not even the ashes of Hamas should remain. The price to be paid will be very high, accepted by the Israelis, in lives — their own, those of their soldiers, and those of the unfortunate hostages, and others, those of many Gazans — in international prestige, in their advanced economy, and in relations with their neighbors, perhaps even leading to disastrous geopolitical consequences such as a regional escalation or even to war without intermediaries against Iran. Its allies will also pay the price, the closer they are to it, and this is especially true of Ukraine, in terms of reduced military aid, political neglect, and disregard for the international legislation and institutions that are so convenient for Putin.

Hamas’ merciless attack was intended to demonstrate that Israel is not invincible, to shatter its invulnerability, and even to cast the shadow of the Holocaust over the minds of today’s Israelis, defenseless in the face of extermination, just as their ancestors, the six million Jews murdered en masse by Hitler’s executioners and their accomplices, were. It was a military operation designed to detonate a total war, that is to say, a spiral of unlimited violence with enormous expansive capacity, reaching entire societies.

This is how the offensive on Gaza began, with a complete siege, an aerial bombardment of the cities, an irrational order to displace the population, and now the announced land invasion. It is the kind of war that characterized the conflicts of the 20th century, in which international legality, the Geneva Conventions and humanitarian law are systematically violated, despite the usual pious declarations, false guarantees, and official tears from institutions and governments.

The civilian population is just another piece — a shield for some and a target to be punished for others — in order to demoralize the enemy. In the last elections, when Hamas seized power in the Strip 17 years ago, more than half of the population were young children or as yet unborn. Recent polls reveal the unpopularity of the terrorist militia and the Gazans’ rejection of their breaking of the ceasefire. They are now being collectively punished as if they were guilty of the hostage-taking and the Hamas attack, as Isaac Herzog, Israel’s president, believes.

From the hand of Putin and in the heart of Europe, the historical homeland of total war, a sinister resurgence has occurred after a long absence. In Gaza, we will witness more clearly the merciless cruelty and the divisive hatred it spreads. Joe Biden was right when he called Hamas an expression of “pure, unadulterated evil,” as pure and unadulterated as the ease with which it infiltrates the hearts of its enemies.

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