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Israel Faces Difficult ‘Moral Complexities’ as it Battles Hamas, Mohler Says

Michael Foust | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Updated: Oct 18, 2023
Israel Faces Difficult ‘Moral Complexities’ as it Battles Hamas, Mohler Says

Israel Faces Difficult ‘Moral Complexities’ as it Battles Hamas, Mohler Says

Israel has a right and responsibility to destroy Hamas but also faces difficult “moral complexities” during the ongoing war to limit civilian casualties within Gaza, says theologian and author Albert Mohler.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders within the country have said a ground invasion of Gaza is imminent as they seek to destroy the organization, Hamas, that killed more than 1,000 Israelis and took 100-plus hostage. Hamas rules Gaza. 

Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on his podcast The Briefing Monday that Israel’s objectives may be clear, but they won’t be easy to accomplish.   

“Israel can't stop short at this point of destroying Hamas,” Mohler said. “... This is going to be something that will require an extraordinary military effort, it is likely to take time, and it's going to be a real test of Western resolve.”

Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, he added, have said that “their aim is to destroy Israel and to erase it from the face of the earth.”

The problem, Mohler noted, is that Hamas uses its citizens as human shields, making it difficult, if not impossible, to hunt down the terrorists and destroy the organization without resulting in civilian casualties. 

“There are complications in this we simply need to acknowledge, and frankly, we're going to find ourselves as Christians trying to reason through some issues that are newly complex but absolutely unavoidable in moral terms,” he said. 

Israel is “in a situation in which there is no clear path without moral complications to doing what it must do.”

“Israel's not unique in this in terms of world history, but this is a unique situation,” Mohler said. 

According to the Christian Just War Theory, Mohler said war must have a just cause and also must attempt to prevent civilian casualties. 

Hamas, he noted, is “intentionally using civilians as shields in order to make it impossible for Israel to destroy Hamas without massive civilian casualties on the part of the Palestinians in Gaza,” Mohler said. 

“That's diabolical. Understand the predicament of Israel right now,” he said. “It either allows this force that will annihilate Israel and genocidally attack the Jews to survive, or it is going to have to risk civilian casualties that are, by any estimation, just horrifying. And you're talking about people there who are being used as pawns by Hamas.”

Hamas, Mohler said, is “ultimately responsible for every death that comes in the course of this conflict because you take out that attack from Hamas, [and] these deaths just don't happen.”

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Tomas Ragina

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Israel Faces Difficult ‘Moral Complexities’ as it Battles Hamas, Mohler Says