A simple “thank you” would suffice.

When the world demanded a ceasefire from Israel in November, it got one. Hamas ended the ceasefire (just as they had ended the previous ceasefire on Oct. 7), and the world demanded not that Hamas release its hostages but that Israel, in pursuing the return of those hostages, be more “precise” in its strikes. That meant asking more of its soldiers to die so that more Gazans around Hamas would live. And indeed, since the ceasefire, the casualty rate for the IDF has unsurprisingly increased.

Meanwhile, onlookers criticize Israel for precisely the targeted strikes they have previously demanded. The killing last week of Saleh al-Arouri, senior Hamas leader and one of the group’s liaisons to Hezbollah, was an ideal target in virtually every way. Arouri was involved in the planning of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. His killing was thus eminently legitimate and a way to hamper Hamas’s ability to pull Hezbollah deeper into the war and ignite a wider conflict.

Israel this week took out a high-level Hezbollah commander from a unit responsible for escalating the conflict on the northern border, thus further reducing the terror group’s ability to expand the war into a fully regional affair with Iran.

These strikes check every box of what is being asked of Israel. Yet you wouldn’t know it from the public discussion of events.

“Hezbollah and Iran have signaled clearly, repeatedly, they want to avoid a wider war,” posted Kim Ghattas of Columbia’s Institute of Global Politics. “Israel keeps testing that position… At some point, it will miscalculate…”

That is partially true: Hezbollah has signaled its reluctance to widen the war—but, crucially, it has not actually stopped attacking Israel. Which means it wants to continue its torment of Israeli civilians but without getting its clock properly cleaned for doing so. In addition, the most recent Hezbollah casualty was reportedly responsible for the missile attack that damaged Israel’s air traffic control base in Meron over the weekend. It was a retaliatory strike, it was “surgical,” it was successful. Yet it still gets a thumbs-down from the cheap seats.

It’s almost as if much of the criticism of Israel’s self-defense is pretextual.

Nobody argues that Hamas commanders involved in Oct. 7 are inappropriate targets. A surgical strike taking out such figures without causing “disproportionate” civilian harm (I put the word in quotes because the people using it generally don’t know what it means in relation to armed conflict) is basically Israel waiting tables for the spectators of the world, taking orders and fulfilling them. And the most common response is akin to “the food here is terrible and the portions are too small.”

There is also no ambiguity regarding Hezbollah’s culpability. Like Hamas, Hezbollah is extremely proud of every act of violence it can muster.

“Hezbollah stated on Tuesday that they sent an attack drone to target the IDF’s Northern Command base near Safed,” the Jerusalem Post reports. The piece goes on: “Sirens alerting residents to a possible unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intrusion sounded in the northern city of Safed and across northern Israel on Tuesday morning. UAV warnings were sounded in Dishon; Yiftah; Malkia; Mevuot Hermon Regional Council; Ramot Naftali; Avivim; Bar’am and Yir’on. Rocket sirens also sounded in northern Israel shortly afterward, including in Malkia and Ramot Naftali, communities that had just received aircraft intrusion alerts.”

If Iran and Hezbollah are trying to avoid a wider war, they have a funny way of showing it. What’s actually being tested here is not Iran’s restraint but Israel’s. And yet we never hear demands that Israel’s displaced northern residents be able to go back to their homes and live in peace. That would require pacifying the north, deterring drone incursions that seek to bomb Israeli territory, and scrambling Hamas’s ability to pull its Lebanese brothers-in-arms into a land war.

What the world wants from Israel is what it always wants from Israel: for the Jewish state to take risks nobody else will but from which everyone will benefit, and to do it all with the beneficiaries taunting the IDF from behind their MacBooks.

“You’re welcome” is all Israel should say to the hypocrites and ingrates that hold Jewish life to be so cheap. And even that is more polite than Israel’s critics deserve.

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