Friday, October 27, 2023

GAZA: THE HARSH REALITY OF EXISTENTIAL POLITICS

 The invasion and brutal terrorist attack by Hamas, the de facto government in Gaza, is now just three weeks old and already the heinous brutality of the terrorist group has been replaced on international media including in the U.S., by the plight of the inhabitants of Gaza who are caught in the middle of the ongoing Israeli air assaults in preparation for a full cross border ground attack by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).  This was all but inevitable as the media in the Western world follows controversy, exaggeration and speculation especially as regards victimization which is a long term socio-political theme in the equally long term Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

President Biden, to his credit, made the case that the inhuman depravity of the Hamas invaders cannot be accepted or rationalized and he made it clear that the U.S. will support Israel as it exercises its right of self defense including a combined forces, air and ground, military response.

The Gaza population is indeed suffering as the debate and air assault approach new levels .The debate is led internationally by protests and local media in Islamist nations across the Middle East and Islamic immigrants in Western nations; all dutifully reported  by national media in the U. S.  Domestically, the usual Left wing groups and individuals have proclaimed their opposition to Israel ranging from outright condemnation and "solidarity" with Hamas terrorists,  to calls for a "cease fire" and "diplomacy" to stop any Israeli invasion of Gaza.  College students, always anxious to support the alleged victims in any dispute and engage in  role playing as Ghandi like pacifists or brave "freedom fighters" from the safety and comfort of their college campuses, display their profound naivet√© and ignorance of the complexities and realities of this horrendous crime by Hamas.  Of course the national media gives them the attention they seek.  And of course, they are joined by the voices of the usual grievous groups and religious spokesmen who demand a cessation of hostilities, a diplomatic vs. a military response and the usual platitudes about "embracing the humanity of all people" to achieve lasting peace without violence.

One can only wonder how these groups and individuals can be so divorced from reality.  How is it possible to "embrace the humanity" of a terrorist group that engages in the slaughter of infants, young children and the aged as part of a campaign of atrocities carried out against civilians who were not policy makers and was based simply on their ethnicity, religion and/or nationality.  Diplomacy means negotiations. It involves " give and take" with the goal being eventual compromise.

 Negotiations to do what?  The founding document of Hamas calls for the elimination of the state of Israel. Should Israel negotiate its own existence?  A "cease fire"? As long as Hamas exists it will constitute a terrorist threat to Israel.  What would a cease fire accomplish? The roughly two million civilians in Gaza cannot be evacuated. Surrounding Arab/Islamic states won't take even a portion of them. A cease fire simply allows Hamas to rearm and reenforce its fortifications which will lead to a longer, bloodier war. Hamas is not a legitimate government; Gaza is not a nation state; Hamas and its junior partner fellow terrorist organization Islamic Jihad, have demonstrated no concern for the safety or welfare of the residents of Gaza, instead using them as a tool to stimulate hate for Israel in other Islamic nations. 

 The current claims that anti-Israeli protests "world wide" could stimulate a wider regional conflict need closer examination.  With respect to these protests in Islamic Middle Eastern and African nations, public opinion was never in play and thus entirely predictable.  Islamic nation's populations have been deeply antagonistic to Israel since Israel's founding in 1948.  Israel  has fought four wars of survival  against neighboring Arab states in  1948,1956,1967,1973, as well as a 1980 conflict with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, a terrorist group which had taken refuge in Lebanon, and "intifadas"  i.e. general violent uprisings by Palestinian populations and continuous domestic terrorist attacks.

The potential "wider war" has a low probability of involving direct aggression by Iran whose Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, throughout the long history of Iran's hostility to Israel has sought to protect the Iranian nation even in the face of Israeli sabotage attempts on Iran's nuclear project.  Iran prefers to use and support client terrorist groups as it's agents; Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Houthis in Yemen.  The "wider war" essentially means the possibility of a Hezbollah attack on Israel's northern border with Lebanon and a possible uprising by civilians and small terrorist groups in the West Bank.  A Hezbollah ground attack from Lebanon would lead to a large response by Israel into southern Lebanon and serious destruction of Lebanese infrastructure by IDF air power.  It would  more likely be predominately a massive missile attack but with the same Israeli response.  It would probably prolong the war in Gaza as Israel shifted military assets to that front but Hezbollah and Hamas combined lack the numbers, armor, artillery, and air power to defeat the IDF.  Hezbollah is currently shooting some missiles into northern Israel as a diversionary tactic with respect to the impending ground invasion of Gaza and Israel is responding with air attacks. 

The previous Arab/Israeli "wide wars" have involved Egypt, Syria and Jordan.  Now Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel and receives @1.4 billion dollars annually  in aid from the U.S. and  has refused entry of Palestinians as migrants trying to leave Gaza.  Jordan also has a peace treaty with Israel and has been a more moderate political player in Middle East politics.  Jordan's King Abdullah and his wife have both condemned Israel's air campaign in Gaza but Jordan is home to a large number of Palestinians who the King must placate to avoid domestic chaos.  The King's father fought a war in 1971 with a large Palestinian terrorist group  who tried to take control of Jordan. Syria has been tied down with its own civil war since 2014 and is in no position to threaten Israel.  

Israel will eventually invade Gaza.  There is no possibility of a negotiated settlement.  A commitment not to invade and destroy Hamas would be the equivalent of a surrender in the face of an act of war by Hamas on October 7th and perpetuate the hostilities and civilian casualties on both sides.

 In spite of the usual "peace" voices i.e. the UN, the Pope, the New York Times, and various activist groups in the U.S. and Western Europe who choose to ignore the vicious intransigence of Hamas and its' supporters and their quest to destroy the state of Israel, the Israeli "war cabinet" and IDF will not be deterred. This issue of the hostages held by Hamas complicates the situation.  But the hostage's fate is entirely in the hands of Hamas which will do what they feel is best in support of their interests. Basic "humanity" is not on the table when dealing with Hamas. They might believe that a general release before the Israeli ground invasion would somehow put them in a better position internationally, but they have already threatened to kill the hostages and are now claiming that the Israeli bombing campaign has killed fifty hostages. But  time is running out for successful negotiations primarily involving the government of Qatar. Tragically, these innocent people might eventually be one more group of victims of the utter depravity of this terrorist group. The people of Israel are mostly united in the goal of eliminating this constant threat which defied the basic norms of humanity in their attack on Israel's civilian population. There is no other realistic choice.





No comments: