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    Friday, May 24, 2024

    Hamas would kill protesting U.S. students

    At Yale University in New Haven, the University of Connecticut in Storrs and a score of other institutions of higher education, students are protesting the support being given by the United States to Israel in its war with the Hamas regime in Gaza.

    The students want their colleges to dissociate themselves from Israel and from military contractors whose munitions Israel uses. The students call for a ceasefire in the war and chant, "Palestine will be free."

    But there were no protests at the colleges when Gaza attacked Israel on Oct. 7 last year, launching hundreds of rockets and murdering, raping, kidnapping and mutilating civilians. The protests began only when Israel naturally retaliated and undertook to destroy Hamas. As Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir remarked a half century ago, the world loves Jews as victims but hates them when they fight back.

    And what exactly do the students mean by "Palestine will be free"?

    Do they mean freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly? Due process of law? Sexual freedom?

    If so, the students' sympathies are laughably misplaced, for there have been no such freedoms in Gaza under Hamas rule, and few such freedoms elsewhere in the Arab world. Gaza's sympathizers on U.S. college campuses would be murdered within a week if they lived among the people they are defending.

    So maybe the calls of the students for a ceasefire in Gaza and freedom for Palestine really mean they want the area to be free of Jews. That always has been the objective of the people who have been running Gaza since Israel ended its occupation there in 2005. Back then Palestinians at last had their own state.

    But two years later they elected Hamas, a movement sworn to Israel's destruction. Soon missiles were flying from Gaza into Israel. For years Israel tried to handle the problem merely defensively. Then came last October's barbaric attack.

    Many people are appalled by the destruction and famine in Gaza. By some estimates more than half the structures in the territory have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and people are starving. Yet that is common in war.

    Gaza today still looks better than Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and dozens of other cities in Germany and Japan did in 1945. Those cities and many others had to be leveled by Allied bombing to compel the enemy's surrender.

    Gaza's sympathizers complain that Israel's blockading Gaza has made starvation a weapon of war. But starvation always has been a weapon of war. With its submarines Germany tried to starve Britain out of both world wars, just as Britain and the United States, with naval blockades, tried to do the same to Germany. In 1945 the United States mined most Japanese harbors in what was frankly called Operation Starvation. It was highly effective and if undertaken earlier might have prevented the atomic bombings.

    For starvation is a far more merciful weapon than bullets and bombs, as it gives an adversary more of a choice for survival.

    Some of Israel's tactics are fairly criticized. But Israel is fighting for survival against an enemy that, at least until recent days, has refused even to contemplate the "two-state solution" the world presses on Israel. Indeed, the integrity of the Palestinian hate for Jews is amazingly pure, since most Palestinians still prefer their own destruction to co-existence. Their longstanding fanaticism now is generating similar fanaticism among Israelis, who years ago moved far closer to peace than the Palestinian factions ever went.

    The protesting students don't help with their calls for a ceasefire. Since Israel was re-established by the United Nations in 1948 there have been dozens of ceasefires with the irreconcilables who surround the country. What is needed is not another ceasefire but peace — that is, a permanent settlement.

    Israel doesn't want to rule Gaza. But Gaza wants war, having broken a ceasefire last October. So Gaza will have to be the one to ask for peace, and Gaza, not Israel, is where pressure for peace first must be applied.

    Chris Powell has written about Connecticut government and politics for many years. He can be reached at CPowell@cox.net.

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