8 Jan 2024

The Rubber Is Meeting the Road

A couple very interesting columns appeared this week in the Jerusalem Post. One claims that Israel might be drawing-down its forces in Gaza, at least a substantial number that can go back to their homes and jobs, which will boost the economy. There is worry that the IDF and the cabinet intend to leave the job before Hamas is totally destroyed.

The other was written by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is an extraordinary step in wartime, as the commander in chief pens an op-ed.

Netanyahu didn’t sound like Israel would stop short of its goal:

“Hamas, a key Iranian proxy, must be destroyed. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and many other countries support Israel’s intention to demolish the terror group. To achieve that goal, Hamas’s military capabilities must be dismantled, its political rule over Gaza must end, and the hostages must be released.

“Hamas’s leaders have vowed to repeat the October 7 massacre ‘again and again.’ That is why their destruction is the only proportional response to prevent the repeat of such horrific atrocities. Anything less guarantees more war and more bloodshed and contradicts the clear directive set by Israel’s war cabinet.”

It sounds like Netanyahu is sending someone a message, and it isn’t Hamas.

Reports are that the destruction to communities in southern Israel, the kibbutz system, was so complete that it will take years to rebuild and reinhabit them. That alone is stunning. It will take some time to learn just why Israel was so unprepared. This is one component of the most complex war Israel has ever fought.

Netanyahu then addressed whether the Palestinian Authority (PLO) can keep the calm post-Hamas:

“The expectation that the Palestinian Authority will demilitarize Gaza is a pipe dream.

“The PA currently funds and glorifies terrorism in Judea and Samaria and educates Palestinian children to seek the destruction of Israel. Not surprisingly, it has shown neither the capability nor the will to demilitarize Gaza. It failed to do so before Hamas booted it out of the territory in 2007, and it has failed to do so in the territories under its control today. For the foreseeable future, Israel will have to retain overriding security responsibility over Gaza.

“Third, Gaza will have to be deradicalized. Schools must teach children to cherish life rather than death, and imams must cease to preach the murder of Jews.

“Palestinian civil society needs to be transformed so that its people support fighting terrorism rather than funding it.”

I watched a documentary this week about the fall of Japan in 1945. The U.S. had to occupy the country for six years to demilitarize it. It is stunning how callous the military was in that country, even after the second atom bomb was dropped. What happened was, the population finally grew weary enough of the war that they had enough. The emperor called an end to hostilities and agreed to unconditional surrender.

I don’t think that situation exists in Arab society.

Here is the harsh truth: Of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, there can’t be more than a handful that are not homicidal maniacs, mentally destroyed from years of Jew-hatred. Images of small children dressed in Hamas “costumes,” complete with toy guns, is unnerving.

We have entered a new period of uncertainty. I don’t think anyone can predict the outcome of this war, though I personally do not believe the Israeli society will accept Hamas as a continued threat. The world is quickly forgetting the horror of October 7—because it wants to—but Israel will not.

This presents a unique test of wills. Israel’s existential focus up against an entire people driven mad by their hatred.

What we do know, from the Bible, is that Israel is here to stay.