David Harsanyi of the Federalist offers a “life hack” to those who consider taking hostages.

The reaction to the rescue of four Israeli hostages from Gaza is a microcosm of the past 70 years of this conflict. Every time Palestinians pay the price for acting out in some horrific, irrational, self-destructive, violent way, their defenders want to rewind history to a more convenient moment — this time to Oct. 6, 2023.

Sorry, that’s not how life works. Hamas, the chosen political entity of Gaza — the overwhelming choice of Palestinian civilians, in fact — launched this round of the conflict by massacring, sexually torturing, and kidnapping Israelis whose only sin was attending a music festival. Palestinians took hundreds of these hostages back to the Gaza Strip — a place Arabs have political autonomy over for nearly 20 years — and held them in the middle of densely populated areas hoping to dissuade Israel from liberating them, or, if it did, to create as many martyrs as possible.

Critics of Israel now ask the usual dishonest question: Are four lives worth the alleged 200-plus Arabs that were lost rescuing them?

Israel is the only nation on earth that is tasked with protecting its own people and its enemies. Every innocent lost life is, of course, a tragedy. But if you don’t want to be placed in harm’s way, don’t hold hostages in your homes and neighborhoods, and don’t cheer and support a government that puts your life in constant danger for a lost cause. This is the reality of the world.

Now, if reports are correct, Hamas — and perhaps “civilians” (it’s difficult to tell because terrorists are often dressed as noncombatants) — opened fire on the rescuers. The Israelis, who do not indiscriminately target civilians, fired back, as they should. Whatever the specifics, every lost life is Hamas’ fault.