OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

A 50th anniversary war?

The United States must stop the Biden State Department madness, back Israel to the hilt and stare down Iran.

Israeli soldiers take position on a main road near the Israeli-Gaza border, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers take position on a main road near the Israeli-Gaza border, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Why did Hamas stage a long-planned, carefully executed and multifaceted attack on Israeli towns, soldiers and civilians—one designed to instill terror by executing noncombatants, taking hostages and desecrating the bodies of the dead?

And how were the killers able to enter Israeli proper in enough numbers to kill hundreds and wound thousands?

a) Ostensibly, radical Palestinians wanted to stop any rumored rapprochement between the Gulf monarchies—the traditional source of much of their cash—and Israel by forcing the issue of Arab solidarity in times of “war,” especially through waging a gruesome attack aimed at civilians and encompassing executions and hostage-taking. Iran likely was the driving force to prompt the war—given that its greatest fear is a Sunni Arab-Israeli rapprochement.

b) Arab forces have had only success against Israel through surprise attacks during Israeli holidays, as in the Yom Kippur War (i.e., was it any accident that the present attack began almost 50 years to the day after the Oct. 6, 1973 beginning of the Yom Kippur War?). And so, they struck again this Saturday during Simchat Torah, coming at the end of a weeklong Jewish celebration of Sukkot—in hopes that others would join in as happened in 1973. (So much for the Arab warnings not for Westerners to conduct war during Ramadan.)

c) Hamas may have reckoned that recent Israeli turmoil and mass leftist street protests over proposed reforms of the Israeli Supreme Court had led to permanent internal divisions and thus a climate of domestic distraction if not an erosion of deterrence.

But, more importantly, in a larger sense the Biden administration has contributed both to the notion that Hamas was a legitimate Middle Eastern player and to the perception that the U.S. was backing away from its traditional support for Israel—to the delight of Hamas—based on the following inexplicable policies:

1) In February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken bragged that not only had the Biden administration resumed massive aid to the P.A. cancelled by Trump, but cumulatively had transferred $1 billion—even as Palestinian authorities bragged that they would continue to pay bounties to the families of “martyrs” (i.e., those killed while conducting terrorist attacks against Israel).

Millions of American dollars also went to Gaza, run by Hamas—despite the Biden administration’s efforts to keep mostly quiet the resumption of such inexplicable support. In this regard, note the current shameful State Department (“U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs”) website news release that was posted after today’s attack. It ended with this quite embarrassing, morally equivalent admonition: “We urged all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.”

“All sides?”

“Refrain from retaliatory attacks?”

So, Israel is the moral equivalent of terrorists executing civilians and brutalizing their corpses? And the IDF is not supposed to retaliate against these killers?

This Biden State Department insanity cannot stand. So, expect some apparatchik to take down this Munich-like posting as soon as possible.

2) The Biden administration had recently released some $6 billion to Iran through a prisoner swap deal that saw South Korea hand over embargoed Iranian money to Qatar—despite Tehran’s increased anti-Israel rhetoric and its loud bragging about the escalation. We should assume money for rockets (Hamas claims they have launched 5,000 and have received 100,000 of them via the Damascus airport) and weapons in general for Hamas were supplied by Iran, which again is likely the chief catalyst for this surprise attack.

3) Almost immediately after his inauguration Biden mobilized to resume the bankrupt Iran deal. And in unhinged fashion, he appointed the anti-Israeli bigot, pro-Iranian journalist Robert Malley as America’s chief negotiator. Note that Malley is now under FBI investigation for security breaches involving the disclosure of classified U.S. documents and also for allegedly helping pro-Iranian activists and propagandists land influential billets inside the U.S. government.

In short, there was a general Hamas and Iranian perception that the Biden administration had resumed the discredited Obama madness of empowering Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. This discredited agenda was to “balance” the power of Israel and the moderate Arab Gulf governments to achieve “creative tension,” exacerbated by Biden’s loathing of the government of Benjamín Netanyahu (who has been snubbed by Biden and never invited for an official visit).

Note as well that the Biden administration has siphoned off key weapons and munitions from stockpiles inside Israel to transfer them to Ukraine. The so-called “War Reserve Ammunition-Israel” is all but depleted of just the sorts of weapons needed in the present crisis.

Is there not a pattern here?

Upon the ascension of Biden and his woke military agenda, we saw the following: The complete humiliation of the U.S. in Kabul in its most shameful flight in 50 years and greatest abandonment of equipment in its history; followed by Vladimir Putin’s opportunistic invasion of Ukraine; followed by China’s new belligerence and escalating threats to Taiwan; followed by Turkey’s new de facto alliance with Russia and recent drone encounter with the U.S. Air Force in Syria; followed by the Hamas/Iranian-inspired attack on Israel—with more to come, unfortunately.

Will Biden finally get the message from the attacks on the Ukrainian and Israeli borders that borders matter and we too are being invaded with the encouragement of the Mexican government and to the advantage of the cartels whose fentanyl exports kill 100,000 Americans a year?

What to expect in Israel: The usual Hamas/terrorist selling and/or execution of Israeli hostages, the use of Israeli hostages as “human shields” in Gaza, the bargaining/sale of the remains of Israeli dead, occasional killings of Jews inside Israel by Arabs who falsely believe there will be a winning Middle East-wide existential war against Israel. And finally, a devastating Israeli counter-response that will eventually earn a U.S. rebuke.

What should the U.S. do instead?

It should quit talking to Iran and restore full sanctions against it. It should cut off all aid immediately to all the Palestinians. It should undertake a 1973-like massive arms lift of key munitions to Israel and warn Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and others in the Middle East not to intervene or else, given that Israel will need several weeks to deal with Hamas and Gaza. And if it shows any hesitation or weakness, other terrorist groups will opportunistically jump in.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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