The need for nuance

UNITY, N.H.-I want to commend Tim Wessel for his sincere attempt to address Hamas's terrorist attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2024. Israel should not be left off the hook for its brutal occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Wessel tried to make that clear. He also tried to make clear that Hamas shouldn't be left off the hook, either. But, sadly, trying to inject nuance into the complex discussion of the Mideast crisis is drowned out by overzealous voices on both sides.

Make no mistake: Hamas knew exactly what it was doing. Its attacks were meticulously organized. One of Hamas's longterm goals in this attack was to remain relevant.

Hussein Ibish of the Arab Gulf States Institute wrote in The Atlantic on Oct. 13, 2023, that in carrying out the attack,Hamas [...] "hopes to seize control of the Palestinian national movement from its secular Fatah rivals," as well as block the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

"Such a deal poses a danger to Hamas," Ibish wrote, "because the benefits of its 'significant Palestinian component' would have accrued to Fatah in the West Bank, at Hamas's expense."

Hamas knew Israel would respond with disproportionate aggression. It also knew tens of thousands of Gazans would die and 2 million more would suffer. Did Hamas really have Gazans' interests at heart? No.

Hamas's actions were a cynical means of self-preservation, goading Israel into a trap that it should not have responded to. As Ibish wrote, "outrageous overreach by terrorists typically aims to provoke overreach."

There's integrity in signs that say things like, "Pro-Palestine, Anti-Hamas," "Pro-Peace, Anti-Hamas," or "Anti-Netanyahu, Anti-Hamas, Pro-Mideast Peace."

You can be against the Israeli occupation and its indiscriminate overpowering response and you can still criticize Hamas and be pro-Palestine. Wessel tried to point that out. I wish his words had been taken to heart and nuance had won out.

Christian Avard

Unity, N.H.

This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

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