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CNN — “We live in the first period in history in which there is such full awareness of cruelty and killing as they happen,” wrote British philosopher Jonathan Glover in 1999, at the end of a decade that saw genocidal killing in Rwanda and Bosnia and of a century that saw at least 187 million people die in war.

How we respond to barbarity is crucial, he wrote in his book, “Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century.”

“We can start to establish a tradition that, with our knowledge of the atrocities, we find them intolerable and will do what we can to eradicate them. Or we can help to continue a tradition which accepts them fatalistically.”

Such questions came into sharp relief again after the brutality of the Hamas attack on Israel last weekend was revealed. The war plays out on everyone’s screens, forcing people to confront cruelty and killing and to fear what comes next.

As Frida Ghitis wrote, Hamas “launched thousands of rockets as its operatives infiltrated Israeli territory using motorcycles, trucks, paragliders, and speedboats.”

“Inside Israel, they went after soldiers and civilians, even posting videos on social media, as the world saw evidence of how they targeted, hunted down, and brutalized Israelis of all ages. Many were kidnapped and taken to Gaza and dragged through the streets.”

Ghitis added, “There’s much that Israel has done wrong. But nothing justifies what Hamas has just perpetrated. As many knowledgeable people have pointed out, what Hamas has done is clearly an act of terrorism, no matter what your definition.”

Amy Klein, a writer based in New York whose husband has family in Israel and served in its army, began receiving messages asking, “Is your family okay?”

“They were safe, but they were not all right…”

“With over 1,000 Israelis dead and counting, thousands injured and as many as 150 Israelis feared kidnapped – graphic videos showing scores of twentysomethings being shot point blank at a desert rave, women stripped and bloodied, the elderly, children and babies snatched and tormented, people screaming for their lives on terrorists’ motorcycles, piles of bodies found at kibbutzim – no one in Israel is all right.”

“And most Jews in America are not all right either.”