Dan Hannan writes for the Washington Examiner about a critical question tied to the current Middle East turmoil.

A thought has been worming its way uncomfortably through my mind since Oct. 7. What if peace is impossible? What if there is literally no way to reach a lasting accord? What if one side will settle for nothing less than the destruction of the other?

My doubts began in the immediate aftermath of the atrocity as I watched the reaction of some Palestinians and some of their sympathizers, not least in the West. On that dreadful Saturday evening, there had as yet been no Israeli response. Protesters did not have the (perfectly reasonable) argument that the participants in later demonstrations had, namely that they were defending human rights in Gaza. No, this was exultation in the murder of Israelis, pure and simple.

C.S. Lewis remarked that when the lights are flicked on suddenly, we see where the rats are hiding, and we saw them on Oct. 7. The Hamas volunteers boasting about rape and murder. The leftist academics queuing up to tell us that decolonization was not a metaphor. The delirious crowds celebrating the “resistance.”

These people were not demanding a two-state solution or calling for a different line on the map (the kibbutzim where the horrors took place were not settlements). They must have known, on some level, that the attacks would ensure a terrible retaliation. Yet they did not care as long as a blow had been struck against Israel. As one British-Arab TV reporter put it: “Nothing will ever be able to take back this moment, this moment of triumph, this moment of resistance, this moment of surprise, this moment of humiliation on behalf of the Zionist entity — nothing ever.”

Israelis have heard such talk before. Indeed, in one sense, the history of their country has been a series of struggles against neighbors who would rather fight than share.