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Israel is winning the war but losing the battle for public opinion

A general view over the Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli side of the border on Jan. 8, 2024, in Southern Israel. Israel extended its ground offensive into densely populated neighborhoods in the central part of the territory, forcing a fresh wave of displacement to south. Photo by Amir Levy | Getty Images

The October 7 attack by Hamas terrorists on Israel was a savage act of brutality, a harrowing echo of the Holocaust and the countless, murderous pogroms that have stalked the Jewish people for millennia.

Absolute evil was on grim display that day.

But just five months after the attack, the world has begun to lose sight of Hamas’ epic act of brutality as we bear witness to the punishing war being waged by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The manner in which Netanyahu has prosecuted his nation’s retaliation against Palestine — backed by U.S.-made weaponry and intelligence — has morphed from a righteous pursuit for justice into a reckless crusade for revenge.

As a result, October 7 is fast becoming a historical footnote that’s led many around the world to forget, or at least minimize, the racist massacre that day of 1,200 innocent Israeli men, women and children.

That attack was sickening. And even more revolting was the calculated decision by Hamas to celebrate its vicious assault by recording and live-streaming the chaotic murder spree as it unfolded.

Hamas and its abettors deserve to be punished, and, yes, vanquished from the world’s stage. They are no more freedom fighters than the terrorists who slaughtered nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11.

But Netanyahu’s scorched-earth approach to the war is grossly misdirected. 

The killing so far of more than 30,000 Palestinians in response for the rape, murder and in some cases dismemberment of 1,200 Israelis is not justice but sheer cruelty.

Tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians, more than a third of them children, have been killed or wounded by Israeli forces since the war began. Entire neighborhoods have been flattened. 

The enclave’s hospital system has been all but destroyed. Millions have been driven from their homes, unable to escape the endless bombardment by Israel because of its sealed borders. People are starving and dying of preventable disease, and human rights groups say widespread famine is virtually inevitable.

All of this after decades of a military occupation and what former President Jimmy Carter called a policy of de-facto apartheid by successive Israeli governments that have ruled Palestine as an open-air prison.

Yes, there is a measure of wisdom and justice in the Biblical call for “an eye for an eye,” but the war by Israel has gone far beyond a quest for justice. The killing so far of more than 30,000 Palestinians in response for the rape, murder and in some cases dismemberment of 1,200 Israelis, nearly all of them Jewish, is not justice but sheer cruelty.

Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7 demanded that Israel strike back hard, but the Palestinian people do not deserve to be collectively punished for the crimes of Hamas.

It’s time to end the war.

It’s time to end the slaughter.

Netanyahu’s war has become an immoral, politically self-serving, deliberate crime against humanity.

By pressing a policy of unchecked revenge, Israel is winning the war but losing the battle for public opinion and earning the moral condemnation of history.

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