Fear Israel perpetuates terror in Gaza war yet another double standard

A now common argument as to why Israel should not continue to engage in military action against Hamas is that IDF operations only perpetuate conflict.

Repeated ad nauseam on social media, it is contended that as a consequence of a heavy Israeli response to the October 7 massacre, Gazan civilians will enlist into the ranks of terrorist organizations to avenge the loss of loved ones. On November 29, US President Joe Biden expressed a similar sentiment in a post on X.

“Hamas unleashed a terrorist attack because they fear nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace,” said Biden. “To continue down the path of terror, violence, killing, and war is to give Hamas what they seek. We can’t do that.”

This belief that even a just war shouldn’t be fought, and that Israel should turn the other cheek or else sow the seeds for future conflict, is yet another wartime double standard designed to handicap the IDF. 

The double standard of this belief, and how it doesn’t apply to when other western nations must engage in warfare, is made evident by both historical and modern conflicts.

It was no great concern by the allies when fighting Nazi Germany that bombing raids would lead to the radicalization of Germans so they would enlist into the SS, nor did the US and its public deliberate creating more Jihadis when conducting air strikes against ISIS. While there have been calls to come to the negotiation table, the Ukrainian government has never been told that its war to stop the Kremlin invasion was only further radicalizing youth in Russia.

There was no question for any of these actors that negotiation and diplomacy was impossible until a certain degree of military success was obtained. The Nazis and ISIS also sought to prevent people “living side by side in peace,” but it was understood that warfare was the only means to stop them — It wasn’t giving them what they want. What Hamas, Nazis, and ISIS wanted is complete victory and genocide of their enemies, and Chamberlainite diplomatic placation or turning the other cheek is not what stops enemies such as these.


Hamas and its ilk do not speak the language of diplomacy, but of force. If the goal is peace through diplomacy and negotiation, then such an objective cannot be met while such forces of evil exist. Some wars must be fought, and moreover not just fought, but won.

The idea that one creates more terrorists when it fights is clearly a double standard not only when contrasted with the past and other contemporary wars, but also when one scrutinizes the discourse surrounding other actors within the same conflict. Hamas and Palestinian factions are never cautioned that their terrorism and pogroms radicalize more Israelis, or strengthens their resolve to fight.

Palestinians are apparently believed to act with a mindless violence, a stimulus response like a prodded animal, in an apparent mindset of bigotry of low expectations, but Israelis are expected to be introspective and mindful of the issues. It is just as likely that Israeli force would result in a Gazan hating Hamas for inviting a conflagration, to seek a new path beyond political violence, or at least to be sufficiently deterred from retreading old ground.

Yet in a bigoted worldview, as Palestinians do not think or have other considerations besides a violent stimulus response, it isn’t considered that Gazans may have other motivations to enlist with Hamas, regardless of the degree of Israeli military action.

Some Palestinians, like Hamas, are beholden to a jihadist worldview preached by religious leaders, which casts eyes beyond the borders of Israel. Some are motivated by political ideology like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which seeks socialist revolution. Many may also be nationalists, motivated by irredentist designs, still unaccepting of the existence of Israel. There are many other factors devoid of any military action that would drive men to become a terrorist. In Israel and the West Bank, affluent Palestinians and Arabs have turned to terrorism for no reason other than religious or political zealotry. Attributing potential Palestinian actions as responses to Israeli operations fails to understand the underlying issues of conflict, leaving them unaddressed in favor of a cycle of violence narrative. 

The idea that Israel’s military operations create more terrorism ignores that Hamas has been brainwashing and radicalizing children for almost 20 years. Civilian rapid reaction security teams in the Gaza periphery kibbutzim described how terrorists wore wide gleeful grins while firing at them — not expressions of anger. Gazans have gone through kindergarten ceremonies in which they execute Israelis, Hamas training summer camps, and watched television programming demonizing Jews. The seeds of violence have been sowed by Hamas far more than any Israeli action. Leaving Hamas in power is far more likely to create terrorism than a supposed consequence of collateral damage. Hamas is a known quantity that will certainly raise generations for war; radicalization by airstrike is only a possibility.

What Biden and others call for is for half measures — to leave Hamas in power and with substantially changing the conflict equation. This has been tried before. There were ceasefires and half measures after Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, Protective Edge, and Guardians of the Wall. Each operation has brought with it more death and suffering without solving the problem, allowing Hamas time to rearm, reorganize, and of course, recruit.  Leaving Hamas in power is what leads to the creation of more terrorists, and as with the Nazis and ISIS before them, only with destruction can this be stopped.

The writer is an IDF infantry reservist serving on the Gaza border.