It was only a matter of time before Israel lashed out at Hamas in Gaza. Even the appeasers in Israel, of whom there are many, could not indefinitely accept thousands of rockets landing in civilian centers, especially after the battle against Hezbollah in 2006, which was widely viewed as a fiasco for the Israeli Army and for the leaders in Jerusalem who are facing an election in two months. Defense Minister Barak says it's "all-out war," which suggests ground operations. The usual rule in these cases is that Israel doesn't have much time to accomplish its objectives; the "international community" rallies to the side of Israel's enemies, and Israel's leaders invariably convince themselves that if they play ball, they'll be rewarded for it. But that never happens. So far the Brits and the Vatican have already demanded an end to operations against Hamas, and by the time I finish typing this there will be more.
Israeli leaders say they want to bring an end to the rocket and missile attacks from Gaza. But, as opposition leader Netanyahu said, that can't be done without regime change.
Our goal should be twofold - stopping the attacks on our cities and eliminating the threat of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip…Stopping the attacks can be done within a short period of time, while eliminating the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza will entail toppling the Hamas rule over the Strip and uprooting the Iranian base there.
The last five words are key, because, as others have said, this is one more battle in the terror war in which we have been engaged since 2001. The Battle of Gaza cannot be understood as a thing in itself, but only as part of a broader whole: the war against the terror masters. And Iran is the most lethal, the most dangerous, and the most aggressive terror master in the world today.
Step back from the Gaza battle for just a second, and look at the war itself: it extends from Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, to Somalia, to Gaza/the Palestinian Authority/Israel, to Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia, with occasional skirmishes in the vast Kurdish domain (which embraces areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran), across Europe, into the United States and Canada and down to South America, including Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, with attendant terror/narcotics mafias that in turn operate in West Africa. Iran is present in all these theaters, primarily via its proxies Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards (Quds Force).
Like the global totalitarian movements and regimes that threatened Western civilization in the last century, the Iranians come with a messianic ideology that admits no compromise with its enemies. This war will only end with a winner and a loser, not with two contented negotiators. We can win this war–we've delivered a stunning defeat to Iran and her proxies in Iraq, for example–and our most powerful weapons are political, not military. Had we taken the war to Tehran, the terror forces in Gaza would, at a minimum, be a lot weaker today, as they would be in Afghanistan and Lebanon. But we continue to dither, and the new American leaders are fooling themselves when they say that vigorous diplomacy can induce the mullahs to retreat. It won't happen, any more than the Israelis got the terrorists to retreat from all-out war against the Jews when the Oslo Agreement was signed, or when Rabin shook hands with Arafat. It only delayed the days of reckoning, at the cost of many lives, mostly of innocents, on both sides.
There is a disgusting conceit that underlies the "realist" position that negotiations will solve these problems: the conceit that tyrants will be easier to deal with than free peoples. Rabin and Peres actually said this, once upon a time, with their smug statements to the effect that Arafat and the others would control the terrorists because they didn't give a damn about the Geneva Conventions or other legal niceties. They, and those who think the same applies to the Iranians, forget that our enemies want us dead or dominated, they don't want a world at peace in which they will have to deal with real problems of governance. They are waging jihad, not diplomacy.
It follows from this that you cannot "solve" Gaza by fighting in Gaza alone, you have to win the terror war. And to do that, you must accomplish regime change, just as Netanyahu said. But the crucial regime change must be accomplished in Iran. Whatever Israel accomplishes in Gaza (and the same holds for our battles in Iraq and Afghanistan), it is only a matter of time before the mullahs reorganize, rearm, and return to battle. And the next battle may involve nuclear weapons.
Paradoxically, those people who fume at the very idea of challenging the Iranian regime are actually making a truly terrible war more likely, not less. Those few of us who believe that support for Iranian democratic dissidents could bring down the mullahs are almost universally scorned, and even accused of seeking war. It is just the opposite. The same accusations were directed against us when we supported Soviet dissidents, and called for regime change in Moscow. And yet the Soviet Empire came down. The Iranian regime is far weaker than the Soviet state. An overwhelming number of Iranians oppose the regime, and are dreaming of the day when we finally embrace their cause. Perhaps there are still some brave men and women in the Democratic Party who understand that America is a revolutionary country, and that we are bound by our honor, our principles, and our national interest to support the democratic forces in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, the three leading terror masters, along with those in Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, now scurrying to jump on the bandwagon of Islamic tyranny.
Finally, if I am right, it is impossible to address the Arab/Israeli conflict by itself, for the context is all wrong. Nobody in Gaza or the West Bank, nor in Amman or Cairo, can guarantee peace for Israel. Today, that decision rests in the hands of Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Until there is a different government in Tehran, there cannot be peace between Arabs and Israelis, any more than there can be peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Lebanon.
It's a big war, but we're a big country with enormous capacities. Time to fight the real war.
UPDATE: David Horovitz in the Jerusalem Post gets it: http://www.jpost.com