Excellent op-ed in today’s Waterbury Republican by Alan Stein.  

Some of us well remember Alan, a former Waterburian who now divides his time between the US and Israel.



By Alan Stein

February 20, 2024


The Oct. 7 massacre led by Hamas provided a fleeting moment of clarity.

Peace-loving Israelis were disabused of the misconception that it was possible to live next to a de facto terror state ruled by Hamas. They realized providing food, fuel, water and power and transferring massive amounts of goods and providing well-paying jobs for thousands of Gazans would never moderate Hamas.


Israelis realized there is no alternative to rendering Hamas incapable of keeping its leaders’ pledge to repeat the Oct. 7 massacre again and again.

Israelis recognized the need for good to prevail over evil.


Most leaders of democratic nations also understood their need for Israel to prevail.

President Biden quickly became the first president ever to travel to Israel during a war; he asserted Hamas must be eliminated and pledged to stand with Israel forever.

We have since learned the barbarity of the Gaza terrorists was far worse than initially realized. Unfortunately, memories fade, support has waned and Israel is under increasing pressure to stop short of victory and let Hamas survive.


Early on, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby praised Israel for the lengths it was going to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza, doing more than even America would.


This is borne out by the historically low proportion of civilian casualties. The United Nations expects nine non-combatant deaths for every enemy combatant killed in urban warfare. The ratio in Gaza has been less than a quarter of that norm.

Hamas’ network of tunnels is more extensive than the New York City subway system and cost Hamas $1 billion. The underground labyrinth presents a challenge no other military in history has faced. Military academies will study and learn from the innovative methods Israel developed to deal with it.


Thousands of entrance shafts are deliberately located inside homes, schools, mosques and hospitals in order to make it impossible for Israel to defend against Hamas without Gaza’s infrastructure being damaged and civilians getting killed. It’s called Hamas’ “dead baby strategy.”


Here are two examples.


A woman pushing a baby carriage called out to Israeli soldiers for help. As a soldier came to help, she signaled a terrorist, who emerged from a nearby shaft, shot and killed the soldier, and escaped down the shaft.


A boy asked an Israeli soldier for water. As the soldier approached with the water, the boy detonated the suicide belt he was wearing. The soldier was fortunate. Although seriously injured, he survived. The boy who blew himself up is now counted among those children Hamas claims were killed by Israel.


Last month, John Spencer, the chair of Urban Studies Warfare at the Modern War Institute at West Point and one of the world’s leading experts on urban warfare, wrote, “Israel has taken more measures to avoid needless civilian harm than virtually any other nation that’s fought an urban war” and, “Israel has taken precautionary measures even the United States did not do during its recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”


Despite those facts, Hamas’ “dead baby strategy” has been effective in subverting support for Israel. Secretary of State Antony Blinken now keeps repeating the mantra “far too many Palestinians have died and Israel must do a better job.”


During his generally positive speech in Israel on Oct. 18, Biden announced he had prevailed on Israel to agree to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, even though Hamas has traditionally stolen much of the aid delivered to Gaza. Hamas used stolen aid to build its underground network of tunnels. Recognizing this, President Biden said, “Let me be clear: If Hamas diverts or steals the assistance, they will have demonstrated once again that they have no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people and it will end.”


Sixty percent of that aid has been stolen by Hamas. Yet rather than ending the aid, as he said he would if Hamas stole it, President Biden keeps pressuring Israel to allow even more.


The world quickly loses interest in most wars.


Not so when Israel is attacked. The world is losing interest in the 134 innocent Israelis still being held. Many of those not already murdered are being brutalized by Hamas, but many obsesses over the plight of the people in Gaza even though 98% say they’re more proud of being Palestinian after the Oct. 7 massacre!


Kfir Bibas was nine months old when he was kidnapped by Hamas, along with his four year old brother Ariel and their parents, Shiri and Yarden. Shiri’s parents were murdered. Kfir is now thirteen months old and nobody has any idea of whether he and his brother and parents are dead or alive.


How many people who obsess about the suffering of Gazans ever think about the Bibas family?


That Israel is fighting against evil hasn’t changed, even as memories have faded.

For good to prevail over evil, Israel must render render Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza incapable of resurrecting themselves and repeating their barbaric slaughter.


This remains a necessity for America as well.

Alan Stein, Ph.D., was formerly a long time resident of Waterbury. He and his wife Marsha currently split their time between Netanya in Israel and Natick, Mass. He is president emeritus of PRIMER-Connecticut (Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting) and the founder of PRIMER-Massachusetts and PRIMER-Israel.