Hamas’s Zero-Sum Game

Imagine your next-door neighbor – with whom you have had a long and bloody feud – pulling out a gun and shooting into your windows, from his own living room, which is densely packed with women and children. In fact, he’s holding his daughter on his lap as he tries to target your own kids. He claims he will not stop until your family is dead. Police are unavailable. What should you do?

One option is to do nothing, or little. You try this for a while. After all, your neighbor is poor and traumatized, there is a sad and complicated history between you, and you bear some of the blame.

But finally, as one shot hits your child’s bedroom, you decide that enough is enough. You pull out your far superior gun. You attempt a surgical strike: aim at the shooter’s head and try to spare the innocents.

In an abstract sense, this is what Israel is doing right now.