It’s simple: If you know in advance that your actions will cause the death of thousands of civilians; attached to your criminal actions (actus reus) is a guilty mind (mens rea), which means malice aforethought, also known as intent, in Western jurisprudence and judicial philosophy. The razing of Gaza and the ongoing murder of thousands of civilians by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with western imprimatur, is a war crime. Strafing civilian populations and pulverizing entire neighborhoods to ostensibly “soften” the few embedded targets within—this violates natural law, international law, libertarian law and Just War Theory.
It was true when Genghis Bush dropped daisy cutters and cluster bombs on Iraqi civilians, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of them; it was true when allied forces firebombed Dresden and Hamburg, and it was true when Harry Truman dropped atomic bombs on Japanese civilians.
Not that it helped his victims, but Truman icily expressed some “regret” for “the [beastly] necessity of wiping out whole populations”: “I know that Japan is a terribly cruel and uncivilized nation in warfare,” Truman told an ardent supporter, “but I can’t bring myself to believe that because they are beasts, we should ourselves act in that same manner.”
We know ineluctably that Gaza can be “a terribly cruel and uncivilized nation in warfare.” The sympathies expressed by Gazans toward their neighbors, victims of the October 7 slaughter, were often meager and grudging. Leadership in Egypt and Jordan is less than candid as to why they refuse to welcome Gaza’s refugees into their midst as the Polish welcomed the Ukrainians. In fact, the Egyptians have no intention whatsoever of allowing Palestinians, whom they view as a radicalizing element, into their country. Like President Hosni Mubarak before him; President El-Sisi is fearful of swelling the already-swollen ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Mubarak had periodically conducted mini-massacres against the Brotherhood—the organization that sired Hamas—with no particular outcry from the West.
In 1970, King Hussein (ibn Talal) of Jordan massacred thousands of Palestinians for fomenting a coup against the Hashemite monarchy. To avert the anarchy Hussein associated with the Palestinians and their simmering resentments, the King then expelled the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and many thousands of Palestinians to Lebanon.
Contra the West’s angels-and-demons foreign policy narrative, the mirage of Hamas as an oppressor of its people is just that: a mirage. The Palestinian People had voted for the “Islamic Resistance Movement” (Hamas), an organization whose existence revolves around Israel’s destruction. In the last election, Hamas got a majority in all but two of the 16 districts in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
According to Mark Mellman, a pollster, “If new presidential elections were held with two candidates, Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh, Abbas would receive 37 percent of the vote, and Haniyeh would win in a landslide with 58 percent.” Substantial majorities in the West Bank and Gaza favor “armed conflict” over peaceful, political solutions to the conflict.
The Arab Street has always been more militant than its leaders. Said Arab-American scholar Fouad Ajami: “It is a peculiarity of the Arab political order that many of the rulers and the dynasties are more moderate than the populace.” This is why Iraqis turned out en masse for Sharia law. And why, enabled by George W. Bush and Ms. Condoleezza Rice, the people of Egypt sought to replace Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party with the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The people’s proclivities catapulted Hezbollah into government in Lebanon. And they account for the smashing success enjoyed by Islamists in Saudi and Afghani elections.
These uncomfortable facts notwithstanding, murder with majority approval is still murder, whomever the perpetrator. Whether it is committed by actors within or without the State; by the designated “good guys” or the “bad guys”; murder of innocent, non-militant civilians is still murder.
Thus, the razing of Gaza by Benjmain Netanyahu, abetted by Joe Biden and his Uniparty accomplices, in the course of which civilians are dying, is murder with malice aforethought, a concept that includes “deaths resulting from actions that display a depraved indifference to life.” Further depraved indifference to life is Israel’s throttling of supplies of water, food and power to the millions of aid-dependent Gazans, as Israel knows full-well this will imperil civilians indirectly.
Silly soliloquies poured into our ears about “Hamas using civilians as human shields” amount to morally bankrupt non sequiturs. True: Hamas has invited the IDF to “come get us if you can find us among Gaza’s civilians.” The IDF and its handlers, however, have accepted Hamas’ invitation to pulverize civilian communities.
In other words, Hamas’ culpability does not absolve Israel from blame. One agenda of wrongs doesn’t change another.
“To be very good at something inherently stupid,” said a great English novelist, “is not the mark of high intelligence.” In addition to betraying its own citizens by failing to uphold their basic rights; the unthinking IDF has effectively bombed Gaza back to the stone age. This will do nothing to eradicate Hamas! Previous forays into the West Bank and Gaza signally failed to accomplish this necessary mission.
Gazans, in an extremity of suffering, are instructed to “evacuate to the southern part of the strip.” That exhortation reminds me of Ivanka Trump’s ludicrous counsel to men in hard hats, whose occupations had been outsourced forever: “Learn how to code.” “Evacuate to the southern part of the Gaza strip” is but a ludicrous meme given that Gaza has been levelled. There is nowhere left to run.
Tragically, Israel has squandered much of the goodwill generated by the heinous, diabolical, October 7 pogrom. In the end, Bibi has obliterated the memory of the October 7 martyrs by creating new martyrs in Gaza.
IN A NEW HARD TRUTH PODCAST, your columnist argues that needed was a smarter, more effective response that targets only the culprits of the October 7 slaughter, and not innocents. Such a response is outlined in detail. UK’s David Vance and I further discuss the idea that Netanyahu has desecrated the memory of the October 7 martyrs, creating new martyrs in Gaza, via his crude response to the Hamas massacre. The world’s sympathy has been squandered. In all circumstances, David and I both agree that the US/UK interference in the region is not helpful and that REGIONALISM ALWAYS BEATS GLOBALISM.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian think piece since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter,Gab,GettrYouTube& LinkedIn; banned by Facebook, and has a new video-podcast