OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Israel’s leaders must act with absolute and unshakeable resolve

We have a limited window of opportunity to change our reality for generations.

An Israeli security forces guard outside the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Oct. 11, 2023. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
An Israeli security forces guard outside the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Oct. 11, 2023. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
Benjamin Kerstein
Benjamin Kerstein is a writer and editor living in Tel Aviv. Read more of his work on Substack at No Delusions, No Despair. Purchase his books here.

By nightfall on Oct. 7, several publications had reached out to me, asking me to write something about the horrendous events of that day. I was forced to tell them that I could not do so because I simply had nothing to say. What was there to say?

There are still a great many things about which I feel there is nothing to say. No words can convey the immensity of the event. Of the slaughter, the atrocities, the war crimes, the hideous manifestation of 2,000 years of hatred—the rest is silence.

But there are at least a few conclusions that can be reached.

First and foremost, as the old Roman would say, Hamas delenda est—Hamas must be destroyed. This monstrous edifice must be annihilated, razed to the ground, its earth salted so nothing can ever grow again in its rancid soil. Its leaders must be terminated with extreme prejudice.

Whatever the cost, Israel must topple this cancerous regime. As for what comes after, I do not know, but anything is better than having an ISIS on your southern border.

Second, and related to the first, it is now clear—as others have written—that the two-state solution is dead. Its obituary is yet to be published but the implications are clear: Israel will never again allow a terrorist or proto-terrorist entity to establish itself on its borders.

Accordingly, appropriate policies must be adopted: Israel should establish absolute security control over Gaza. It should annex Area C of Judea/Samaria. If the Palestinian Authority collapses, Israel should take security control of Areas A and B as well.

If Hezbollah does not join in the current fighting, once Hamas is hopefully destroyed, Israel must reassess the threat to its north. It should begin the process of building up the capacity for an eventual preemptive strike against Hezbollah, destroying its infrastructure and killing its leadership before they can undertake a similar surprise attack.

Finally, Iran must pay a heavy price. Puppets cannot move without their masters manipulating the strings. I do not know what form this price will take. A strike on Iran’s nuclear program, the assassination of its leaders, cruise missiles on Tehran, funneling money and guns to Iran’s domestic opposition—there are numerous options. But indirectly, Iran has declared war on Israel, and Israel must unleash its iron fist against the monstrous Islamic “republic.”

Above all, however, Israel must realize that it now has a limited window of opportunity. We should not rush into an ill-conceived kneejerk reaction, but at the moment we have the unequivocal support of the U.S. and of much of a usually hostile world. Israel must move with deliberate haste in order to change the current reality in its favor. It is to be hoped that the political and security establishments, which must now redeem their terrible failure, understand this and act accordingly.

Lastly, and in no way less important, Israel must recognize the threat taking shape in the Diaspora. Pro-terrorist activists are already organizing to support Hamas’s terror assault, and they will not shrink from committing violence against Jews around the world.

Accordingly, the Israeli government and especially the intelligence services must begin funding, training and arming self-defense groups in all major Jewish communities, including in the United States. Pro-terrorist antisemitic forces in the West have enjoyed impunity in the streets and on campus for far too long. They are, in their own way, terrorists themselves, and must be dealt with accordingly.

Now, as we mourn the hundreds who have sanctified the name and gird ourselves for the ordeal to come, we must demand as one that our leaders undertake these tasks to the utmost. If these Hamans are laid low, then we may yet emerge into what Churchill called “broad sunlit uplands” of peace. To do this, our leaders must act with absolute and unshakeable resolve to change our reality and bring about a safer and more secure Israel, one in which the Jewish people can live without fear for generations.

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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