Israeli Historian Benny Morris: "Hamas Must Be Destroyed"

(Wall Street Journal) Elliot Kaufman - Israeli historian Benny Morris, 75, was foremost among the "New Historians" who shook Israel with their revisionist accounts of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Yet in the year 2000, when Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton offered a two-state solution and Yasser Arafat rejected it, Morris said in an interview, "I thought this was a terrible decision by the Palestinians, and I wrote that." When the Palestinians, in response to the offer of peace and statehood, then launched a wave of terrorism and suicide bombings unlike any before, Morris disapproved of that, too. "People always forgive the Palestinians, who don't take responsibility," he says. "It's accepted that they are the victim and therefore can do whatever they like." "As we [Israelis] see it, we are surrounded by the Muslim world, organized in some way by Iran, and the West is turning its back on us. So we see ourselves as the underdog. Now, the Palestinians are the underdog, and the underdog is always right, even if it does the wrong things, like Oct. 7. They were joyous in the West Bank and Gaza when 1,200 Jews were killed and 250 were taken hostage....It was a sick ideology and sick people carrying out murder and rape in the name of that ideology." Morris stresses the costs of that Palestinian decision. "There was never destruction like what has happened in Gaza over the past five months in any of Israel's wars. Israel conquered the West Bank [in 1967] with almost no houses being destroyed, and the same applies in '56 in Gaza, and the same applies in '48." Probably, Palestinian nationalists "will look back to Oct. 7 as a sort of minor victory over Zionism and disregard the casualties which they paid as a result." "Not only has each of their big decisions made life worse for their people, but they ensure that each time the idea of a two-state solution is proposed, less of Palestine is offered to them....Each time they're given less of Palestine as a result of being defeated in their efforts to get all of Palestine." "Israelis today don't want to look at the two-state solution. Most Israelis fear Hamas would take over the West Bank" - a fear amply justified by Hamas' popularity - "and that it would be a springboard for attacks on Israel, as Gaza was." "The Israeli public, myself included, thinks that we've begun the job and we must finish the job. We must destroy Hamas, and that will include taking Rafah....Hamas must be destroyed after what it did. We can't allow that on our border, in addition to having Hizbullah on our northern border and Iran."

2024-03-31 00:00:00

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