Paul Berman on the complexities of managing Hamas:

There is an obligation to live, which means that Israel has not just the right but the obligation to defend herself. Judging the proportionality of the Israeli actions runs into a complication, though - something of a logical bind.

It is now and then noted in the press that Hamas, in its charter, calls for the elimination of Israel - though, actually, the charter goes further yet, which is almost never noted. Article Seven of the charter, citing one of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, makes clear that Hamas acknowledges a religious duty to kill the Jews. It's all pretty explicit. Which Jews in particular must be killed, in order to bring about, as the charter puts it, the "Last Hour?" Article Seven merely stipulates "the Jews" - which leaves open the possibility, I would think, of killing all of the Jews, or at least (judging from other sections of the charter) the Jews who inhabit any place that is now or used to be Islamic. In any case, the Jews of Israel.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.