The Israel War is real … and going to get worse
Here are a few thoughts on the Hamas attack on Israel.
There is no argument that the massive surprise attack on Israel is a failure of intelligence – mostly of the hitherto renowned Israeli Mossad. But failure includes the United States – and other major western nations – that maintain extensive surveillance of the Middle East in cooperation with Israel and independently.
However, the reporting has overly focused on this issue with the implication that the intelligence failure makes Israel somehow culpable in the surprise attack. International intel failure has nothing to do with who is the victim and who is the aggressor. That intel will be under review but has nothing to do with the necessary immediate response by Israel and its allies.
Hamas – and their partners – claim justification based on past actions of Israel. They are joined by American voices on the radical left (think “The Squad” here) who place blame on Israel. They parrot jihadist propaganda in direct opposition to America’s official policy. To put it simply, they are wrong. They literally aid and abet the terrorism of Hamas and Hezbollah. In my judgment, they are no different than Nazi sympathizers during World War II.
Hamas and Hezbollah are recognized by the civilized world as brutal terrorist organizations that commit the most heinous crimes against western democracies and humanity – especially Jews. They are the epitome of antisemitism.
Hamas and Hezbollah both desire nothing less than the end of Israel as a nation and the genocide of the Jewish people as a religious/ethnic group. The War in Israel is a conflict between good and evil — and there is no moral equivalency.
As can be expected, MSNBC has provided the platform of anti-Israel sentiment – making the victims the villains. Several shows have proffered the argument that the attack was justified … that Israel is the war criminal … the terrorist organization. Even as the victim of an unprovoked, illegal terrorist attack, MSNBC guests have called for the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions on Israel.
Two state solution
For decades, the diplomatic community has spoken of the need for a two-state solution that would provide a Palestinian nation and agreements from terrorist nations protecting the right of Israel to exist. The Islamic jihadists have consistently refused to accept those terms. Instead, they have pursued their ambition to destroy Israel and fulfill their genocidal campaign.
Recognizing the hopelessness of dealing with the Palestinian authority, the Trump administration entered diplomatic talks that eliminated the two-state solution and successfully negotiated the Abraham Accords with three Arab nations – one of which had been officiality in a state of war with Israel.
There was no greater barrier to a two-state solution than the hardline antisemitic position of the Palestinian leadership and its allies – especially Iran.
The role of Iran
It would be foolish and dangerous to believe that the recent attack on Israel – and the scope of Middle East terrorism – are not the work of Iran. Most of the other terrorist sponsoring states have failed or been diminished. Iran stands out as the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism.
Without Iran’s financial and military support, Hamas and Hezbollah would be a ragtag bunch of crazies. It has now been confirmed that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard have been training Hamas terrorists for their attack on Israel. The Iranian Supreme Leader has given unconditional praise for the attack on Israel – including the horrendous war crimes.
The current terrorist network that spreads through the world like a nest of vipers is supported by Iran. Without Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah would be attacking with sticks and stones – not missiles and bombs. In a literal sense, it is Iran that has declared war on Israel AND the world democracies – especially the United States. The world’s democracies fail to appreciate that reality at their own peril.
Russia and North Korea
Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un have both cast their lot with Iran – and Iran with them. Both nations support Iran’s attack on Israel – just as Iran and North Korea actively support Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The benefit to Russia is to stretch the resources of America and NATO – building more pressure in opposition to more financial and military support for Ukraine and Israel. To think that Russia and north Korea are not playing a major behind-the-scenes role in the attack on Israel is foolish.
Although China aligns itself with Russia, North Korea and Iran, Xi Jinping has been more reserved in offering support. Xi has not responded favorably to Putin’s pleas for weapons – as has North Korea and Iran. China has focused its interest and influence in sub-Saharan Africa. China’s strongest relationship in the Middle East tends to be with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – two nations less friendly to Iran.
The American role
Ever since President Carter – and America’s allies – allowed Iran to fall into the hands of the Islamic jihadist terrorists, the Middle East has been a vexing problem for the United States – and the civilized world. The situation today is the result of American diplomatic incompetence and weakness – perceived and real.
A lack of American leadership and a belief in appeasement and acquiescence are key reasons for strength of the terrorist attack on Israel. President Obama shipped billions of dollars to Iran. Conversely President Trump ended the Iranian nuclear deal, imposed significant sanctions on Iran and killed Qasem Soleimani the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s terrorist militia. President Biden returned to the get-along-at-any-cost policy by opening negotiators to re-start the Nuclear Deal and he, too, provided billions of dollars to the Iranian regime.
There can be no refutation that the billions of dollars America and western nations provided to Iran paid for a lot of those missiles that struck Israel. The recent billions of dollars in ransom may not have been yet spent on this attack, but it is not the first time America has provided economic benefits to Iran – enabling the terrorist atrocities. The recent money, which is only to be used for humanitarian purposes, allows Iran to shift other resources to sponsoring terrorism.
(America’s culpability in empowering Iranian terrorism is a larger subject and will be dealt with in more detail in a future commentary).
World War III
Many fear that escalation could lead to a World War III. We are already in it – it is a PROXY World War III. On one side Is Russia and Iran – with Russia, itself, in direct aggression against western democracies. Ukraine is merely the current active battlefield. Iran is waging active war on the west through an assemblage of terrorist groups – with Israel as the current major battlefield. China and North Korea are mostly cheerleaders at the moment.
The United States, NATO, Japan, South Korea are all playing defense from the sidelines in the proxy battles in Ukraine, Israel and elsewhere. The question is whether the western alliance can maintain its unengaged policy at the risk of incurring continuing losses. The attack on Israel – and Ukraine – is a direct belief in the weakness of the United States. It may well be necessary for the United States, NATO and others to unsheathe the swords of war and confront the enemy in the field of battle? There is no victory in sports and war based only on defense.
The threat to Israel
Israel has a formidable military. For decades, it has engaged in a tit-for-tat war of attrition against acts of terrorism. The scope of the attack by Hamas requires a larger response. We know that will take place because Israel has officially declared war on Hamas in Gaza.
That is not Israel’s only threat, however. Hezbollah in Lebanon on Israel’s northern border could enter the war. They have an enormous arsenal provided by Iran – and have already fired missiles into Israel. Iran and Hamas are calling on Palestinians living in the West Bank to rise up. So far, those calls have gone largely unheeded.
The hostage problem
Tragically, the 150 or so hostages taken by Hamas are in grave peril. Israel will make attempts to find and rescue them, but at high risk – and is unlikely to result in the safe release of all or any of the hostages. Unfortunately, Israel cannot allow the hostages to be used to completely restrain Israel’s counteroffensive. If is a balancing act with tragic consequences.
The presence of American hostages presents a different problem. They are not as likely to be killed. They will be used as bargaining chips to get more concessions from the United States. In a very real sense, they are the victims of the past policy of paying ransom.
The attack on Gaza
There will be a major military attack on Gaza – including ground forces. So far, we have seen only the opening round. In order to destroy Hamas, it will be a terrible bloody. Thousands of people will be killed – including women and children.
The high death toll will be high due to three factors; (1) the fact that terrorists embed themselves and their military equipment among the population, (2) with two million people living in 141 square miles (the most crowded geography on earth), the war zone is literally packed with people. and (3) the difficulty in telling the difference between innocent civilians and terrorist combatants – including woman and children.
On this latter point, the adult population is not entirely innocent of holding genocidal antisemitic feelings against the existence of Israel. They largely support terrorism against Israel – and have chosen Hamas as their leadership. Some commentators say that the people of Gaza do not support Hamas. All evidence is to the contrary. There has been no internal uprising against Hamas in Gaza – and that is significant.
Given the nature of the attack, the size and capabilities of the Israeli military and the Israeli cultural resolve, we can expect that this war will be fierce, but will not end soon – and it will be tragic in many ways. But there is a time that the slow rolling tragedy of jihadist terrors must be convincing defeated. The terrorists and rogue states are like a cancer in the human body. You get it all out despite the unfortunate side effects — or the cancer eventually wins.
So, there ‘tis.