In a strong statement on Tuesday, President Joe Biden declared, "In this moment, we must be crystal clear. We stand with Israel" and referred to Hamas's terrorist assault as "pure, unadulterated evil."
Hamas killed over 100 residents at Kibbutz Be'eri, including the elderly, women, and children. Hamas murdered 40 babies during the massacre. This is the latest outrage of Hamas' terrorist recent terrorist campaign, which included mass murder, abductions of children, women, and the elderly (including at least one Holocaust survivor), and rape. Hamas terrorists acted exactly like members of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen, and October 7 was the bloodiest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust.
Through its latest grotesqueries, Hamas overplayed its hand. Its reveling in the murder and rapine and its proud recording of the atrocities have utterly repulsed all Israelis and the entire civilized world. After a time of political division, Israeli society is united. Hamas has shown that it, and by extension the conflict, cannot be "managed." Hamas cannot be managed, or even deterred, because Hamas is not rational — it is a medievalist death cult. Therefore, destroying Hamas as a political and military entity is the only appropriate response to last weekend's sickening events.
Israel lives in a dangerous region in which many wish it ill. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is in normalization talks with Israel. Israel must assert itself as a powerful force to be reckoned with to earn the fear, and respect, of both parties. Saudi Arabia would not be interested in a relationship with a weak Israel and other malevolent actors in the region, such as Hezbollah, would smell blood.
As President Biden said Tuesday, "In this moment of heartbreak, the American people stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel." He also said that he had told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an earlier conversation that "if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming." The US should allow Israel to do what has to be done to defeat Hamas and act as a blocker for any diplomatic attempts to prevent Israel from doing so.
Hamas has also been awful for Gazans, who deserve a governing authority that will bring peace to their lives, rather than despair, totalitarianism, and war. Peace is only possible if Israel overthrows Hamas and assumes administrative control of Gaza, at least on an interim basis. US policy should support Israel in these efforts. A more secure Gaza, a Gaza that is no longer a gigantic military base and the headquarters of annihilationist terrorists, will ensure a peaceful future for Israelis and Gazans alike.
Hamas' leadership must be killed or captured and brought to justice. Hamas assets must be seized, and all forms of aid must be halted until Israel, and perhaps other state actors, has restored order in Gaza.
State supporters of Hamas, first and foremost Qatar and Iran, must be aggressively sanctioned. Hamas leaders living in splendor in Qatar, including Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh and his predecessor (and now second-in-command) Khaled Meshaal, must be extradited and brought to trial for these barbaric crimes.
Two bills have been prepared in the US House of Representatives, both of which condemn Hamas' attacks, affirm American support for Israel, and call on the US to provide any military, intelligence, and diplomatic support Israel might need. One of the resolutions, sponsored by Zack Nunn (R-IA) and Don Davis (D-NC), calls on foreign governments to expel Hamas members from their territory. The other, sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) and ranking member Greg Meeks (D-NY), specifically calls out Iran and urges enforcement of existing sanctions.
These are welcome developments. But given the unprecedented nature of these events, more is needed. A good place to start is the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad International Terrorism Support Prevention Act, which was initially introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in May 2021 and reintroduced in May 2023. The bill, if enacted, would impose sanctions on foreign individuals, entities, and governments that support Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Iran-backed terrorist group in Gaza.
Congress should go even further than this and pass a resolution calling for the dismantlement of Hamas. At least 14 Americans were killed, and an unknown number abducted, in Hamas' terrorist attacks. Hamas is indistinguishable from ISIS, regardless of what many Western apologists might think, and as such is an enemy of the United States. We must do everything in our power to support Israel in its mission to destroy this barbaric organization.
Gregg Roman is director of the Middle East Forum.