Hamas Apologists Borrow a Page from the Nazis

Rashid Khalidi is a former PLO spokesman, Colombia University’s Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies, and a preeminent anti-Israel academic who, in Martin Kramer’s words, has “spent much of his career trying to anesthetize America to terrorism, divert attention from it, or minimize it.” In the past weeks, Khalidi has repeatedly articulated the argument that what Hamas has done is no worse than what Israel is doing in response, variations of which have been heard in many quarters. To Kramer, the argument is almost identical to one made at the Nuremburg trials by Otto Ohlendorf, a high-ranking SS official who led his troops in the murder of some 90,000 Jews in late 1941 and early 1942:

“It was submitted,” the judges wrote, “that the defendants must be exonerated from the charge of killing civilian populations since every Allied nation brought about the death of noncombatants through the instrumentality of bombing.” The judges would have none of it.

Nuremberg enforced a fundamental distinction. All civilian lives are equal, but not so all ways of taking them. The deliberate and purposeful killing of civilians is a crime; not so the taking of civilian lives that is undesired, unintended, but unavoidable. The errors made by a bomber squadron cannot be deducted from the murders committed by a death squad. It’s a difference compounded many times over when those civilian men, women, and children are subjected to torture, rape, and mutilation before their murder.

Otto Ohlendorf and the regime he served did all they could to conceal their deeds from Western eyes. Nazi Germany still operated in a West founded on Enlightenment values. So massive a violation of a shared patrimony needed to be hidden from view.

In contrast, Hamas initially sought to publicize its deeds, assuming they would win applause, admiration, or at least tacit acceptance in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Here they succeeded beyond their expectations.

Read more at Sandbox

More about: Hamas, Military ethics, Nuremberg Trials, Rashid Khalidi

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy