The actual larger meaning of the horrendous murder of Mohammed Khdeir will have to await revelations about the thought processes and life choices of the six monsters who committed the crime. They did so out of “revenge” for the kidnapping and killing of the three Jewish boys, that much is clear. But unless we learn they are part of a larger organization that decided to take this action and assigned them the task (which is certainly not impossible though seems unlikely), the only true common factor between what happened to the three Jewish teens and the Palestinian teen is that they were teens killed for “nationalistic” reasons.

What the Israeli barbarians allegedly did was slaughter an innocent, an act that seems to have united the country in revulsion just as the kidnappings united the country in grief and fear.

But what the Hamas operatives did when they kidnapped and killed the Israeli boys was an act of asymmetrical warfare in which they treated innocents as combatants—which is what asymmetrical warriors always do. The idea that all Israelis are to be considered enemy combatants has been the defining characteristic of Palestinian nationalism over the course of five decades now.

It is a harsh reality that the strategic problem posed by the murder of the three Israelis wasn’t their murder itself, tragic and evil though that was. It is that it might signal the reopening of the terrorist battlefield on the ground after a decade of relative peace since the end of the second intifada with an emboldened Hamas now enmeshed in a unity government with the Palestinian Authority. If that is the case, those three dead boys constituted the Fort Sumter of a new war.

In which case, the murderers of Mohammed Khdeir have committed an act of treason against their country—because they have made its prosecution of the war more difficult and handed their own enemy a timely tactical advantage.

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