The October 7 jihad against Israel woke the West from its evasive slumber.

Or did it?

On that day, Hamas (aka Islamic Resistance Movement) massacred more than twelve hundred Israelis—raping women and girls; burning babies, children, and families alive; beheading and mutilating people; taking more than two hundred hostages; and gleefully sharing videos of the atrocities on social media for the world to see.

The questions I want to address are: (1) Why did Hamas do this—what is its motive? (2) What, most fundamentally, underlies and gives rise to this motive? (3) Who is willing to fight Hamas and its supporters at the most fundamental level and who is not?

What Motivates Hamas to Wage Jihad against Israel?

The answer to this question is relatively straightforward, as Hamas explicitly and repeatedly has explained why it exists and wages jihad (holy war). Hamas’s founding covenant is as clear as day: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” Jihad is necessary because “peaceful solutions” to Israel’s existence “are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement”:

[Hamas] aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”1

Hamas’s goal and reason for being is to kill Jews and destroy Israel. As a cleric on Hamas TV in Gaza explains, “Our doctrine in fighting you [Jews] is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive.”2

Importantly, however, the jihad is not only against Israel and Jews; it is against the non-Muslim world as such. . . .

Everyone in the civilized world has a choice: Either acknowledge and give voice to the fact that reason is our only means of knowledge, or remain silent about the pretense that faith is a means of knowledge and thus spiritually support the jihadists.
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1. “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” August 18, 1988, Article 8, Yale Law School, Avalon Project, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.

2. “Hamas Sermon from the Gaza Strip: Our Doctrine Entails Exterminating the Jews,” Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), July 25, 2014, https://www.memri.org/tv/hamas-sermon-gaza-strip-our-doctrine-entails-exterminating-jews.

3. “Senior Hamas Official Mahmoud Al-Zahar: The ‘Army of Jerusalem’ Will Not Liberate Palestinian Land Only; The 512 Million Square Kilometers of Planet Earth Will Come under a System with No Zionism, No Treacherous Christianity,” MEMRI, December 12, 2022, https://www.memri.org/tv/senior-hamas-official-zahar-zionism-treacherous-christianity.

4. “Hamas MP Fathi Hammad: We Used Women and Children as Human Shields,” MEMRI, February 29, 2008, https://www.memri.org/tv/hamas-mp-fathi-hammad-we-used-women-and-children-human-shields.

5. “Belief” is acceptance of an idea as true, so claims to the effect that faith is about belief, not about truth (or knowledge), fall flat.

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