In Israel: Why Did This Happen Now?
The newspapers and the electronic media are filled with opinions about Saturday’s events in Israel.
Things had seemed under control, especially to Israelis, when it came to the Palestinian Arabs. Yet, the West Bank was slowly being overrun by Israeli settlements. Settler on Arab violence had escalated and vice versa. A two-state solution seemed to be further away than ever. And, my experiences in Israel led me to conclude that the average Israeli was fine with that and never gave the Palestinians a second thought. The right-wing Israeli government was focused on trying to rid itself of any checks and balances on its power by emasculating the Supreme Court. The prime minister was mostly focused on staying in power and staying out of jail. It seems impossible to imagine, but no one in Israel (or Washington, DC) seemed to be focused on the primary job of any government, the security of its people.
In the above opinion piece in The New York Times on October 9, Shimrit Meir calls for a unity government in Israel to address the crisis emanating from Gaza into Israel proper. Meir was a senior advisor to prime minister Naftali Bennett in the days before the return of Bibi. A unity government would include Netanyahu’s current opposition.
But let’s agree that the events of Saturday did not take place in a vacuum. There was plenty of warning signs if you knew where to look.
First, there is absolutely no chance that the invasion of Israel by Hamas happened without the active participation of the Iranian mullahs who have sworn to end Israel and now have $6 billion more to do it with. Secretary Blinken can say that none of the money was released yet, but Kristen Welker had it right on Meet the Press. Money is fungible. Iran could arm Hamas from their own current resources knowing more was coming. So, let’s not take our eyes off the ball again and let’s not fund them either. If the money truly has not been released yet, reverse the decision. The enemy here is Iran. Hamas was only the Iranian puppet regime used to exact this toll on the Jewish state.
Second, Iran pulled the trigger at this time to disrupt any chance that Israel and Saudi Arabia could come to some sort of American-brokered accord that would normalize the relationship between the Sunni states and the Jewish state. Iran could not tolerate that.
Third, this is the greatest intelligence failure in the history of Israel and ranks right up there with 9/11. Furthermore, the proportional death toll on the Israeli population was greater on a percentage basis than was the toll of American dead on 9/11. In other words, this is the worst thing that ever happened to Israel in 75 years and it happened under Netanyahu’s watch—or the lack thereof.
Fourth, what can Israel do about it given that about 150 hostages were taken in the raid? Will Hamas begin to kill hostages with each bomb dropped on a neighborhood on Gaza? It’s certainly possible. This is not a military problem that can be fixed from the air. It will undoubtedly be necessary for the Israeli Defense Force to enter Gaza on the ground, find the leadership of Hamas, imprison them all, and take down Hamas as the rulers of Gaza. Then Israel will have to occupy Gaza, care for its many innocent people (but the very people who voted in Hamas), and eventually try to have new elections. Could the Sunni neighbors in the area help? Of course. Will they? To be determined.
Finally, at some point in the future, all of those Israelis who put their own partisan nonsense ahead of national security must be brought to account. That starts with Netanyahu, but will include the leadership of Mossad for sure. And by the way, Mr. Biden may need a house cleaning at the CIA as well. Even if Israel was too busy to pay attention, the United States should have known.
The last word I have for today is that the United States has the opportunity to take a lesson from the Israeli failings that led to this conflagration. Our government too is in disarray. The Republicans are eating their young in a circular firing squad and the Democrats are promoting their elderly.
Everyone, wake up. This CAN happen here. Our enemies and those of Israel perceived the weakness in the Israeli domestic disputes. They will strike when they can. We here cannot fall victim to what Israel suffered last Saturday. We are still the essential nation. The world cannot survive free without us.
There simply has to be an adult on Capitol Hill. I don’t think it is either Steve Scalise or Jim Jordan. Both Israel and the United States are suffering from a dearth of leadership. That can be fatal as we found out Saturday.