In the Middle East, Give War a Chance | Opinion

Only when it involves Jews can a simple real estate dispute precipitate a war and be turned into a symbol of ethnic cleansing. The property in the Jerusalem neighborhood long named after Simeon the Righteous was purchased by Jews in 1870. In 1948, Jordan's military took over that part of eastern Jerusalem, ethnically cleansed the Jews and resettled Arabs in the property.

Those Arabs' descendants refuse to recognize the legitimate Jewish claim to the property—something their forebears not only recognized, but put into formal writing. Today, the underlying Palestinian-Arab residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood refuse to pay rent to the rightful Jewish owners.

In any country where a neutral rule of law prevails, the squatters would be evicted. It would be a simple, straightforward legal action. But in the Middle East, nothing is simple.

So, the mantra of ethnic cleansing filled the streets of Jerusalem as stones rained down from atop the Western Wall on Jewish worshipers. Palestinian rioters once again found an excuse for violence against Israeli Jews.

Not to be outdone by the incited mob, Hamas, whose existence depends on its commitment to the destruction of the Jewish state, launched indiscriminate rockets and missiles into Israel's populated areas. Hamas knew full well that Israel would respond with a devastating aerial bombardment of its political and military infrastructure—and that there would be inevitable civilian casualties in tightly packed Gaza City, where Hamas interweaves itself within the noncombatant population. The internationally recognized terror outfit then showcases these civilian deaths for an anti-Israel media eager for dramatic visuals to exploit.

Thus, the ritual of violence once again takes place. Let us be clear: Hamas knows it cannot defeat Israel. It can, for a limited number of days, inflict pain on Israel's civilian population. It can rejoice in the misery it causes Israelis. And it can ignore the misery of the civilian population of Gaza—Hamas operates as a conqueror in its own putative land, beholden to no one.

IDF tank in Golan Heights in May
IDF tank in Golan Heights in May 2021 JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images

Hamas knows that, inevitably, it can count on the international community to spare it by advocating for a ceasefire. The Europeans will then rush money into Hamas' coffers to rebuild the destruction—and some of it will be diverted for Hamas' continual war efforts.

The scenario has existed before. It will be repeated again. Hamas wages its war of attrition—or, as observers of asymmetrical warfare have called it, the war of the flea. The flea is small and the dog is large, but over time enough attacks by enough fleas will bring down the dog.

Make life unbearable for Israelis and the most skilled, educated and marketable among them will probably leave. This is Hamas' method to assuage the obvious reality that its attacks from the sky will never destroy Israel. Its attacks are instead designed to merely make Israel vulnerable.

The virtue-signaling peace crowd is already demonstrating. But there is no virtue in enabling a devout enemy to regroup for its next inevitable war. Extremism in defense of one's own nation and the lives of one's own children is not a vice, but an act of righteousness.

An intractable enemy must be destroyed. The cost of the war must be so great that Hamas will not be able to repeat its periodic foray of violence, its continual mobilization of wars of attrition. If the dog is to survive, then the fleas must be destroyed in their earliest stages.

There is no giving peace yet another chance. For Israel, only war will solve its problem with an intractable enemy hell-bent on its destruction. It is time for Israel to ignore the international community that will rebuild Hamas' military capacity and to give war a chance.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on Twitter: @salomoncenter.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.