Hostage Rescue Sparks Debate Over Gaza Conflict and Civilian Casualties


The reaction to the rescue of four Israeli hostages from Gaza encapsulates the past 70 years of this conflict. Every time Palestinians face consequences for engaging in violent and irrational actions, their supporters attempt to rewind history to a more convenient moment — this time to Oct. 6, 2023.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Hamas, the dominant political entity in Gaza — overwhelmingly supported by Palestinian civilians — initiated this round of the conflict by committing atrocities against Israelis attending a music festival. Palestinians took hundreds of these hostages back to Gaza, an area over which Arabs have held political autonomy for nearly 20 years, hoping to deter Israel from liberating them or to create as many martyrs as possible if they did.

Critics of Israel now pose the usual disingenuous question: Are four lives worth the alleged 200-plus Arabs lost in the rescue operation?

Israel is unique in that it must protect both its citizens and its enemies. Every innocent life lost is a tragedy. However, if you don’t want to be in harm’s way, don’t harbor hostages in your homes and neighborhoods, and don’t support a government that endangers your life for a futile cause. This is the harsh reality.

If reports are accurate, Hamas — and perhaps “civilians” (since terrorists often disguise themselves as noncombatants) — opened fire on the rescuers. The Israelis, who do not indiscriminately target civilians, fired back as they should. Regardless of the specifics, every lost life is Hamas’ responsibility.

Moreover, it’s important to note that the casualty numbers repeatedly cited by mainstream media are often fictional — a fact well-known in those newsrooms. Therefore, we must assume outlets like The Washington Post and CNN — which also falsely claimed the hostages were “released” — are complicit in spreading misinformation. One BBC interviewer even asked an IDF spokesman if Israel had warned Palestinians about the rescue mission.

Even if there were over 200 casualties, many of those were likely Hamas members, people willingly holding hostages, or those assisting them. If you value your life, avoid such activities.

The “Health Ministry” doesn’t differentiate between terrorists and civilians, and in some cases, there might be little difference. For example, among those holding the Israelis hostage in Nuseirat were a “journalist” (who worked for Al Jazeera and the U.S.-based Palestine Chronicle, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit) and a “doctor.” The entire neighborhood was supposedly under UN control. It’s already known that some UN workers likely participated in the Oct. 7 kidnappings and that UNRWA schools are used by Hamas for their operations.

Even now, a ceasefire deal is on the table, pushed by Joe Biden, but Hamas continues to reject it. Would the United States not act similarly if a homicidal group held its citizens hostage?

Ultimately, this situation could end today if the hostages were returned and Hamas unconditionally surrendered. However, critics will continue to blame everyone except the Islamists who are the true cause of this conflict.

This entire situation could also end if Palestinians stopped supporting nihilistic theocrats and accepted Israel’s existence.

David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi is an American conservative journalist, columnist, author, and editor.

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