"International terrorism” is defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2331 as, inter alia, “violent acts . . . intended . . . to intimidate or coerce a civilian population . . . [or] to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion . . . .” Hamas has very little international recognition as anything other than a local political party, and thus one might question whether its recent horrific attacks against Israel really qualify as “international.” But they are certainly vicious “terrorist” attacks, and their objectives included not only affecting Israeli behavior, but in the long run driving a wedge between Israel and its allies because of the anticipated Israeli military response.

If we are to have any chance of dissuading such behavior in the years ahead, it is imperative that the United States stand firmly with Israel,  unite internally as a nation, and demonstrate that the attacks have made us stronger and more determined to help our friends and allies resist such behavior. Israel has some of the finest international lawyers in the world (including my old friend Professor Yoram Dinstein), and thus I am confident they will work hard to ensure that their forces comply fully with the Law of Armed Conflict—but I will be shocked if their enemies don't work hard to make it appear otherwise, even if they have to slaughter their own civilians in the process.

As I write these words, the situation in the Middle East is highly unstable. Iran, through its paramilitary proxies like Hezbollah and the Houthis, seems poised to attack Israel and U.S. forces in the region. And while the world is focused on this situation, the risks increase that Russia, China, North Korea, or other problem children will take advantage and engage in further aggression. So if we want to maintain world peace, we must stand firm and united and send a clear signal in advance that such behavior will not be tolerated.


I have recently addressed these issues in short commentaries, including this one that appeared on the American Thinker website Friday.

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