Civic Scholar

The Israel-Hamas conflict persists in Gaza since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel when Hamas invaded Israeli territory. The attack killed an estimated 1,200 people, many of which were civilians, and the assailants took over 200 people as hostages, according to an article from BBC News.

Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, claims that Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people justified the attack, according to BBC News. An article from Reuters writes that Hamas acts in resistance to Israeli occupation.

BBC News also reports that Hamas has rejected Israel’s “right to exist” and “is committed to its destruction.” Furthermore, Israel has pledged to wipe out all Hamas leaders and is intent on its elimination.

“Israel has responded in a way that is responsible, but also determined — … iron determination to wipe the terrorist group Hamas off the face of the Earth, and that is something we will do,” Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu said, according to an article from The Times of Israel.

As of March 24, Israel and Hamas have engaged in combat — with the exception of a brief cease-fire in November — for 169 days. According to CNN, the war has racked up more than 30,000 casualties as of the end of February, most of them being Palestinian and many being women and children. A vast majority of the Palestinian population has been displaced.

Government professor Tony Cothron described his insight into Israel’s intense military action against Hamas and the Palestinian state.

“The thing about warfare is … you have to do enough to get your enemy to change their behavior,” Cothron said. “When their behavior is so much their ideology (that is) about (how) Israel shouldn’t exist, then just capturing one or two isn’t going to change their behavior. … If you are not forceful enough in combat, you are just prolonging the war and prolonging the suffering on both sides.”

Cothron believes that a lot of news and the media have not fairly portrayed Israeli treatment of civilians, particularly given that Hamas leaders will intentionally operate in the midst of civilian-occupied areas like hospitals.

He also noted that Hamas dedicated wealth to building tunnel infrastructure, data centers, rockets and missiles to aid in their attacks against Israel. Cothron believes that those resources could have contributed to a healthier and more stable economic environment to benefit the Palestinian people.

Given the United States’ allyship with Israel, the U.S. is put in a position where it must choose to act in one way or another in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“(Israel is) a critical ally in a region of turmoil,” Cothron said. “They’re a bulwark against evils throughout the region. We need allies to provide for our national security; we particularly need allies as capable as (Israel).”

Cothron encouraged students to educate themselves on the facts and the history of the state of Israel. He explained how Christians should remember Christian principles and God’s word when learning about and discussing the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“We should read the Bible and realize the lessons there are the principles for today,” Cothron said. “Sin is not gone from this world. It’s not going to be gone in the future. There’s going to be war. There’s going to be fights and struggles. … Freedom isn’t free.”

Bear is the editor-in-chief for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X

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