An Israeli soldier weeps at the marker for a loved one kidnapped on Oct. 7 in a cross-border attack by Hamas at the Nova music festival, after a press conference at the site in Re'im, southern Israel, Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern United States, says there are only two sides to the Israel-Hamas war – the side of terror and the side that is fighting terror and evil, for humanity, life and freedom.
For so many around the world, the beginning of the new year normally is a time to reflect on a festive holiday season and to get back into the daily routine. In Israel however, it is far from a normal time. Three months have passed since the unprecedented terror attack on our country and people on October 7th by Hamas terrorists.
Since that day, Israel is at war with the Hamas terror organization in Gaza. Hamas leaders have declared that they will commit October 7th again and again and again. Given the heinous attack that they carried out, the ongoing barrage of rockets that they are firing at Israel, the Hamas Charter and their proudly declared goal – the destruction of the state of Israel, we must eliminate their capabilities to carry out any more attacks.
We did not choose this war. Our choice, as a people and as a nation, has always been the choice of peace. But when faced with an enemy that seeks to destroy us, Israel, like any sovereign nation, has the right and responsibility to defend itself. Israel will continue to fight until the goals of this war have been achieved – the dismantling of Hamas and the destruction of its military capabilities, the elimination of the terror threat from the Gaza Strip, and the return of all of the 129 remaining hostages who were brutally dragged from Israel into captivity in Gaza on October 7th, among them women, men, children and the elderly, including a now 11 month old baby.
Following Israel’s full withdrawal in 2005, Hamas took over as ruler of the Gaza strip in 2007, with an agenda which is not a political one, but a genocidal one, devoted to the destruction of the State of Israel. The billions of dollars of aid that have flown into the Gaza strip over the years, Hamas has dedicated not to the Palestinian people, not to investing in education, healthcare, welfare, business and technology. Rather, these billions have been invested in building terror tunnels, in stockpiling rockets and weapons, as well as in lining the pockets of Hamas leadership.
Today, it is not only Israelis who are paying the price for Hamas’ genocidal hate-filled agenda, it is the people of Gaza. They are ruled by an oppressive terror regime that is not only dedicated to Israel’s destruction, it also has no regard for the lives of their own people, using them as human shields and intentionally placing them in harm’s way, cynically seeking as many Palestinian casualties as possible, for the purpose of their thwarted PR campaign.
Israel is fighting in full accordance with international law, while making every effort to minimize harm to civilians. The enemy that we face, has no regard for international law or for humanity. Hamas has committed unimaginable atrocities and crimes against humanity, and must be held accountable. Gaza must be freed from Hamas, for Israel’s sake, for the Palestinian people’s sake and for the sake of the entire free world.
Astonishingly, not all in the international community are demonstrating moral clarity at this moment of truth. There are already those who seek to deny the atrocities that were committed by the Hamas terrorists on October 7th, despite the fact that the perpetrators themselves documented their crimes and proudly shared the horrors for the world to see.
The lack of moral clarity can also be seen in the calls for an immediate ceasefire. The calls for an immediate ceasefire, translate into ensuring that Hamas stays in power, able to continue to carry out its genocidal goal, while continuing to oppress its own people. A ceasefire imposed prematurely would cost many more lives down the road on both sides, it would imperil Israeli lives on a daily basis, doom Gazans to continue being ruled by an oppressive regime, weaken region stability, and endanger individual security globally by inspiring other Islamist terrorists.
These calls for a ceasefire have been publicly praised and commended by Hamas. Anyone who is joining these calls must recognize, that they are aligning themselves with a terror organization, and are standing on the wrong side of history.
Those who genuinely care for the residents of Gaza should be supporting Israel’s efforts to uproot Hamas and remove the threat that it poses for Israeli citizens as well as for Gaza’s residents. The calls for a ceasefire should be directed at Hamas, demanding that it immediately cease the firing of rockets at Israel, lay down its weapons, release all of the hostages and surrender.
The truth regarding “Pro-Palestinian” demonstrations must be acknowledged as well. The chants of “from the river to the sea” must be called out for what they are – genocidal chants which endanger Israel and the Jewish people, while placing the Palestinians on a road that will not lead them to self- determination and peace. It is time for all those who claim to care about the Palestinians, to acknowledge that the Palestinians deserve better, from their own leadership and from the international community. Anyone who is truly Pro-Palestinian should be standing with Israel in calling to free Gaza from Hamas. The Palestinians deserve a leadership that prioritizes their children’s future, not Israeli children’s death.
The time has also come for Palestinian leadership to tell their people the truth there will never be self-determination for the Palestinian people, at the cost of the existence of the state of Israel. It is also time for the recognition of another truth – the Jewish people in the State of Israel are not colonizers, but indigenous to the land. This holiday season, Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, born Jewish over 2000 years ago, in Judea, in the Jewish ancestral homeland.
The history of the modern state of Israel, the nation state of the Jewish people, goes back 75 years, but our history, as a people, goes back over three thousand years. We have experienced persecution and attempts to destroy us. But throughout history, we have prevailed. We have survived and thrived, while all of our past enemies are now confined to the pages of history. We will win this war and we will defeat this evil. There are only two sides to this war – the side of terror and the side that is fighting terror and evil, for humanity, life and freedom. Standing with Israel now is standing against evil, for humanity.
As 2024 approaches, it is an opportunity to reexamine where you stand, and to align yourself on the right side of history. Choose truth as your New Years’ resolution.