Israel and Hamas: What Our Treatment of Our Enemies Says about Us

Karl H Christ
4 min readJun 10, 2024


Something that is not commonly discussed is the relative humanity of Hamas. Of course it isn’t, because saying anything not unequivocally vitriolic about Hamas is verboten. Unless you decry them all as inhuman monsters, you’re liable to be branded as such yourself. It should be noted, however, how many hostages, who were taken eight months ago now, have been recovered alive. Through more than half a year of wanton violence and destruction being rained upon Gaza and its people, tens of thousands of whom have been killed, those tasked with holding the hostages and keeping them alive have evidently done miraculous work.

No, it is not a good or moral thing to abduct people and hold them hostage in the first place, and once having taken them they are only valuable as bargaining chips. Keeping the hostages alive and healthy cannot be assumed as altruism. Yet, they seem to have shown more concern for the safety of the hostages than the Israeli government and military have done, which have refused to negotiate to secure their safety and inadvertently killed many of them while intentionally killing Palestinians. And given that Netanyahu and his dysfunctional cabinet of colonizing war criminals have rebuffed and ignored offers of negotiation for the hostages’ release, choosing instead to level the entirety of Gaza and exterminate the whole of its people without care, conscience, or discrimination, the hostages don’t serve much use as bargaining chips. If your enemy is willing to kill both you and your hostage, you have zero leverage over them.

Netanyahu and the government of Israel do not care about the hostages. At most, they serve as an inconvenience, when Israeli citizens demand that they be returned safely and their government act sensibly, and as a justification for continuing their genocidal campaign. Netanyahu and the other government leaders responsible for this latest chapter in the Palestinian genocide do not care about anything other than completing that mission, finishing their rightwing colonial ethno-nationialist state. Well, that and holding on to power and privilege. As sick and cynical as it sounds, Hamas’s attacks last October were a boon for them. They were probably privately celebrating, having been given such justification for launching an all-out assault and finally finishing cleansing the land they covet of its native people.

Anyone who claims that wasn’t their intention from the start is either lying through their teeth or pathologically naive. Every prevarication and outright lie that Israeli government officials and their western apologists have made about the Israeli military being a moral army, let alone the “most moral army in history,” about how every action they take is calculated to minimize civilian deaths, that they care at all about the people they routinely slaughter, has been exposed to the world.

Israel has always made the claim that Hamas, or whichever militant Palestinian group that serves as their existential threat of the moment, uses the civilian population as “human shields.” They use this as justification for slaughtering said civilian population. It’s not that militants are literally holding civilians for use as shields, just that they are in the same general area. So the Israeli military kills everyone in that area with the ostensible objective of killing one or a few militants. In what other situation would that be acceptable? If terrorists were suspected of hiding in a school or a hospital, here in the US, would we allow the buildings to be invaded and shot up by armed soldiers, or bombed? If an armed gunman was reported to be in your child’s school, or the hospital where your parent was undergoing treatment, would you condone the army bombing the building to the ground? Also, in the case of Gaza, where are Hamas fighters supposed to go, exactly? Having forced people into increasingly smaller spaces, there were 14,000 people per square mile, about the same as London, but with fewer high rises and open spaces. There is no place where there are no civilians. Or should they all just stand out in the middle of a street and wait to be shot down or bombed?

From early on in the current extermination campaign, Israel claimed that they were protecting the people of Gaza by having them move from one place to another. The problem was that they regularly told people to go to the “wrong” place or gave confusing instructions, or attacked the exact places they ordered them to go and told them were safe. It was also a clear strategy from the start, to force everyone from their homes, pack them into tighter spaces, and then when their numbers were fewer and more contained, eliminate them. Herd and slaughter. It’s ethnic cleansing 101. Genocide hardly comes more thinly veiled.

Yet, they still pretend. As more and more countries, a majority of the world, sees what is happening and names it for what it is, Israel and its allies continue to lie and protest. The US continues not just to defend Israel, but to arm them, to give them the tools of genocide. As stupid as our political leaders are, they are not so stupid that they couldn’t have seen this for what it was from the start. It was a sham for them to act as though they didn’t at the beginning, and has only gotten more insulting.