The times I feel most sympathetic to the Palestinians are when their “allies” in the West try to help them. Whatever the crimes and mistakes of the Palestinians over the years, I can’t think of anything they’ve done to deserve, say, Canada or Tom Friedman.

Several days ago, something unsettling but important happened. Hamas executed the leader of the powerful Doghmush clan of Gaza. The clan’s offense appeared to be its alleged collaboration with the Israeli military to distribute humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

Essentially Hamas’s argument is the same as Vizzini’s in the Princess Bride when he tells the man who has come to rescue the princess from him: “You’re trying to kidnap what I’ve rightfully stolen!”

Now I don’t know if things have gotten a bit wilder in Canada since I was last there a few years ago, but the NDP, a center-left minority party in parliament, saw in that bloody chaos the finished product of state formation. The NDP introduced a measure to recognize the State of Palestine. Eventually the resolution that passed was watered down to merely say Canada is working toward Palestinian statehood.

To declare or recognize an existing Palestinian state right at this moment would be, in a word, insane. It would save Hamas, enable Iranian proxies to take the West Bank too, and destroy the Palestinian national movement root and branch by permanently establishing formerly Palestinian-ruled territories as Iranian colonies.

And these are the Palestinians’ friends.

Considering Hamas that is maintaining its controversial policy of murdering anyone who eats, I have a hard time understanding the broad popularity of the Save Hamas movement in the West.

Yet what happened to the Doghmush clan is just a risk Tom Friedman of the New York Times is willing to take. Friedman, an absurd figure who nonetheless at times acts as a conduit between Democratic White Houses and Times readers, has a plan for peace. Days after Hamas executed the Doghmush clan leader for supposedly working with Israel to get around Hamas and deliver goods and services to the people of Gaza, Friedman proposed that more Palestinians work with Israel to get around Hamas and deliver goods and services to the people of Gaza.

“An expressed willingness by Israel to forge a new relationship between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank with non-Hamas-led Palestinians would at least give some hope to all sides that there would never be a round of bloodletting like this again,” Friedman writes today. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other armed clans willing to step up and guard convoys. The Times of Israel reports that “numerous clans, civil society groups and factionsincluding Hamas’s secular political rival Fatah—have stepped in to help provide security for the aid convoys.”

That’s good, right? Well… not so much. Those armed groups are guarding convoys on behalf of Hamas. “[The source] did not identify the clans and factions but said Hamas’s ability to rally such groups behind it over security showed it retains influence, and that efforts by Israel to build its own administrative system to keep order in Gaza were being resisted.”

Says one Palestinian official, “Israel’s plan to find some clans to collaborate with its pilot projects of finding an alternative to Hamas didn’t succeed but it also showed that Palestinian resistance factions are the only ones who can run the show, in one way or another.”

Fact is, all the calls for peace are getting ahead of themselves so long as Hamas remains in Gaza. The first priority should be the same as Israel’s: end Hamas’s brutal rule. Israel is, of course, in the midst of doing this. All the West has to do is not save Hamas. Can the West do that?

I’m not sure. The Biden administration is opposed to a “major ground operation” in Rafah, where the remaining Hamas battalions are situated. President Biden reportedly repeated that directly to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in their phone call yesterday. It’s possible, I suppose, that everyone’s looking for something they can claim doesn’t qualify as a “major ground operation,” and that this show of opposition to finishing off Hamas is just that, a show.

Here’s the problem with that. Even if it’s theater, this production is getting rather elaborate. The Israelis have reportedly been tasked with coming up with alternative plans for Rafah and then presenting those plans in person to members of the Biden administration in Washington, at which point the two sides will likely discuss the various options on the table.

The IDF has been poised to go into Rafah for a month. The hostage negotiations continue to be dragged out by Hamas, and a major Rafah operation will not commence while the parties are having in-person talks. Biden is clearly playing for time as well, holding out for some deus ex machina to improve his electoral standing and thus take the heat off his Israel policy and the Democratic Party’s discontent with it.

There’s no freezing time, however. The IDF found itself forced to go back into Gaza City’s main hospital to clear out Hamas operatives again. Hamas is, as indicated by the aforementioned story about hiring proxies to guard deliveries, clawing back its clout and influence in the Strip.

This won’t stop until someone stops it. And right now, everyone seems to be focused on stopping Israel, all the while extending Hamas’s murderous rule over the people of Gaza.

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