Photo Credit: Eytan Schweber / TPS
More than a month after the murderous Oct. 7 attack by Hamas terrorists on the southern Israel communities, IDF soldiers continue searching for human remains in Kibbutz Be'eri. Nov 19, 2023.

The West’s reaction to the wars imposed on Israel is sometimes bewildering. They seem to not understand that Israel is doing its best under extremely difficult circumstances.

One is tempted to attribute this ignorance to antisemitism, and that is likely large part of it. After all, we know the long antisemitic history of Europe and North America, and we know that they all still have a big problem with antisemitism as they readily admit themselves.


But there is more to it than that. Take as an example the reaction of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Hamas’ latest response in the ongoing negotiations. He said, “At some point in a negotiation — and this has gone back and forth for a long time — you get to a point where if one side continues to change its demands — including making demands and insisting on changes on things that they had already accepted — you have to question whether they’re proceeding in good faith or not”.

Just a day earlier, Blinken was “hopeful”. He seems like a little kid who is genuinely baffled by a situation that is beyond his comprehension.

Could it be that Blinken and many in the West simply do not recognize evil even when it’s staring them in the face? Hamas has made its intentions clear over and over again. Their single-minded goal is the destruction of Israel. They value nothing above it. Not Palestinian statehood, not the welfare of Palestinians, not the lives of Palestinians, and not even their own lives. Knowing that, how does one expect that Hamas would ever negotiate in good faith?

Is good faith even a question worth asking about an entity that holds innocent people captive for the sole purpose of using them as negotiating chips?

Blinken, who is Jewish, obviously understands the horrors of the Holocaust during which millions of innocent men, women, and children were murdered in cold blood, but does he understand that Hamas is just as evil? If he did not understand it before October 7, didn’t the horrific murders, rapes, and kidnappings of innocent men, women, and children on October 7 teach him anything?

The West seems unable to understand what happened on October 7 or to understand what Hamas is. Most in the West, without even waiting for the hostages to be released or freed, are talking of rewarding the Palestinians with a state. Some Western countries have even recognized “Palestine” while the hostages are still being held and abused in Gaza.

Anti-Israel protests are everywhere in Western cities, and the hatred against Israel and Jews is coming not only from many Arab immigrants who now live in the West but even from many who have never set foot in the Middle East. They think that they understand the conflict because they saw some memes about it on social media or because Arab friends told them that the Jews (who have over three millennia of history on the land of Israel) are colonizers while the Palestinians (a term that is only a few decades old) are the indigenous people of “Palestine” (a country that has never existed).

For those who were born in the West after World War II, evil takes the form of pedophiles and mass murderers, people that most of them thankfully never encounter. They never encounter the type of evil that Nazis represented, and they do not understand it. If they learn the history of the Holocaust, they only understand it at an intellectual level. They do not understand the single-minded and obsessive nature of evil.

They do not understand that you cannot appease Hamas leaders like Yahya Sinwar. They think that if Hamas attacked Israel, they must have a legitimate grievance because in the West, they almost never come across a situation where someone is so purely evil that they cannot be reformed in some way. Instead, they have been raised on the belief that those who commit crimes do so because they grew up socially disadvantaged and if only better social programs were implemented, crime would disappear.

While that belief is naïve, the West has indeed managed to reach a certain level of social peace thanks to better education, health care, and social programs, but the Arab world is not the West. Most people in the West seem to not understand that. They see the whole world through the lenses of their own liberal environment, ignoring the fact that most of the world is far from that.

It is this inability to see the world for that it is that creates absurd situations such as LGBT activists demonizing Israel, the only country in the Middle East where LGBT people have rights, while they excuse terrorists who torture gay people simply for being gay.

Once in a while, there is a glimmer of hope that some people in the US administration are starting to understand what Israel is up against. The Jerusalem Post reported that, “American intelligence sources believe that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar thinks that the organization can survive Israel’s attempt to destroy it and feels confident he can approach negotiations from a place where he has the upper hand. According to the sources, Hamas’s goal is to survive – that would be a victory for the terrorist organization. Sinwar apparently believes that Hamas can hold out while Israel’s international standing deteriorates as the war in Gaza continues.”

This should have been obvious long ago, but better late than never. And yet if anyone feels that this would change the US administration’s handling of the negotiations, they would be quickly disappointed. Instead, the US administration continues to believe that Hamas, which still holds innocent civilians captive, can be cajoled into a deal.

Negotiating with terrorists is a bad idea under the best circumstances because it encourages more terrorism, and negotiating with an entity as evil as Hamas is even worse. Instead of playing along with Hamas’ games, the US administration should be encouraging Israel to complete the destruction of Hamas as quickly as possible. That’s what the US administration would do if they understood the evil nature of Hamas.

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Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected.