Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Israel’s War on Hamas: The Next Stage

Arnold Steinberg On August 6, 2014

Bill Buckley regretted his column indicting Israel’s invasion of Jenin, because that Israeli “massacre” of Palestinians  in 2002 never occurred.  Indeed, to limit Palestinian casualties, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) had lost many soldiers going door to door.  Even Bill was seduced by the mainstream media, which relied on graphic footage, some doctored, and on bogus numbers.
Absent Iron Dome (which, incidentally, like many Israeli military achievements will tutor our Pentagon with real-time validation), we would see horrible images of mass Israeli casualties.  Do we need to quantify the deaths and injuries that would have occurred in Israel without the intercepts? Even such horror would not satiate the European street thugs, not all Muslims, who yearn for another Kristallnacht.  That’s because, contrary to leftist mythology, the dispute involving tiny Israel is not a real estate squabble to be resolved by Donald Trump, so “land for peace” doesn’t work.
In 1999, I sat down with Ariel Sharon to discuss running a campaign in Israel the following year against a national referendum to give the Golan Heights back to Syria. It was an ill-advised Bill Clinton plan, endorsed by then-Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak, that had to be scuttled.  Clearly, it was painful for Sharon, who became prime minister in 2001, to uproot nearly ten thousand Israeli settlers and leave Gaza.  But he did, against his political base and against  Bibi Netanyahu.  In return, Gaza, which could have become a model for the “two-state solution,” became a terrorist base for launching thousands of rockets.

In Gaza, the deaths and injuries are  substantial, though numbers are not independently verified. Also, many “civilian casualties” were Hamas.  And some casualties resulted, as in the past, from Hamas rockets falling short and landing in Gaza, or from hundreds of Hamas improvised explosive devices (IEDs).   The U.S. should blame Hamas entirely, not mainly or partially.
We know the IDF alerted the innocent to leave, and Hamas urged them to stay. Why then would the U.N. and the world not condemn Hamas, thus rendering its barbarianism obsolete, and saving lives now, and later?
History.  The U.N. withdrew its Sinai buffer peace force in 1967, a withdrawal helping precipitate the Six-Day War.  For decades, UN facilities and refugee centers have stored weapons for staging attacks on Israel.  With its 50+ nations with a Muslim majority, the U.N. is obsessed with Israel as the world’s villain. Remember, Arabs routinely kill fellow Arabs, including Palestinians (Syria, right now), and the world is silent. The U.N. didn’t care when Jordan killed thousands of Palestinians.  Indeed, no demonstrations occurred in Paris or London over Jordan’s “occupation” of “Palestine.”
We were told each Gaza “truce” must be acceptable both to the Hamas “political wing” and the Hamas “military wing.”  The former luxuriates in 5-star hotels in Qatar and denies responsibility for the  latter, ensconced in fortified bunkers under a hospital while urging children to congregate near rocket launchers.  We should insist Qatar delegitimize these corrupt Hamas politicians and kill these evil, but cowardly, Hamas “generals.”
The U.S. seeking a cease-fire was a lose-lose situation.  If it didn’t get it, the U.S. would look impotent (which American impotence is the case, now, in most of the world).  If a ceasefire succeeded but undercut Israel’s strategy  — either by giving Hamas an opportunity to regroup, or laying the basis for concessions to Hamas, the interest of both Israel and the U.S. was ill-served.  Now, Israel destroyed the tunnels, so it left Gaza — on its terms.
The Obama policy destabilizes the region.  Just as the clueless, Jew-hating Jimmy Carter replaced the imperfect, but-reform-minded Iranian Shah with the Ayatollah, ushering in the Islamist revolution, Barack Obama undercut another imperfect ally, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, in effect replacing him with the “elected” Mohamed Morsi.  Fortunately, the Egyptian military trumped the Arab Spring and, with popular support, and despite Obama, overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi, whose regime was inexplicably being rearmed by Obama — though  Morsi had repudiated Egypt’s peaceful relationship with Israel and allowed more rocket smuggling into Gaza.
Imagine – the current Egyptian government  today opposes Hamas and secures the Gaza-Sinai border against Hamas rearming.  Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia tacitly approves the destruction of Hamas. Jordan and other Arab nations have remained on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Kerry continued to undercut the moderate Arab world, which finally realizes Hamas is its enemy.
Despite – or maybe, because of – the Obama/Kerry machinations, Israel realized it had to act…now.
Israel could not wait for Syria to stabilize and Hezbollah to threaten from the north, for ISIS to triumph through enough of Iraq to threaten Israel via Jordan, for Iran to complete its nuclear armament and delivery system, certainly not for all this simultaneously with what Israel uncovered: a plan for Hamas terrorists to emerge from an intricate tunnel system to kill, maim and kidnap.
In other words, Israel cannot risk fighting multiple wars on all fronts. That’s why, regardless of what happens now, Israel will persist in various ways to take down Hamas.
Arnold Steinberg served as chief political aide to Sen. James L. Buckley (New York) where he worked on transforming the U.S. military into an all-volunteer force. He also dealt with foreign policy issues, particularly Soviet Jewry.  Over many years, he was involved with the U.S. Information Agency (U.S.I.A.) and has been on U.S. delegations to various nations. He has also served on the board of the National Defense University (NDU).

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