On Tuesday, Israel and Hamas announced that they had reached an agreement in principle on a deal to exchange 53 of the hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 for 150 Palestinian prisoners now being held in Israeli jails, during a 4-day cease-fire in Gaza. As we went to press negotiations were still ongoing and the Israeli cabinet was meeting to discuss the deal and its implications.
The negotiations for the swap were mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States.
The main points of the proposed hostage deal were reported to include:
A minimum of 53 hostages will be released, consisting mostly of children and their mothers
10 hostages will be released every day
All of the released hostages will hold Israeli citizenship
The cease-fire in Gaza will last for 4 days
The 150 Palestinian prisoners to be released will consist mostly of women and minors
30 Palestinian prisoners will be released every day
None of the released Palestinian prisoners will have Jewish blood on their hands
The Israeli army will refrain from flying drones over Gaza for six hours during every day of the cease-fire
Israel has agreed to the entry of 100 to 300 trucks a day bringing food, medical supplies, and fuel into Gaza
The Israeli army will resume its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza as soon as the hostage-prisoner swap is completed.
After relatives of the hostages met with the War Cabinet on Monday night, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was at the meeting, said “Recovering our hostages is a sacred and supreme task and I am committed to it. We will not stop the fighting until we bring our hostages home, destroy Hamas and ensure that there are no more threats from Gaza.”
Meanwhile, as the Israeli military continued its fight to the finish against Hamas in Gaza, President Joe Biden reconfirmed his support for the Israeli government’s determination that “Gaza must never again be used as a platform for terrorism.”
In a Washington Post op-ed, Biden sought to link U.S. support for Israel’s existential war against Hamas with U.S. support for Ukraine’s resistance to its invasion by Russia. He argued that, “both Putin and Hamas are fighting to wipe a neighboring democracy off the map. And both Putin and Hamas hope to collapse broader regional stability and integration and take advantage of the ensuing disorder.
“America cannot, and will not, let that happen,” Biden declared. “For our own national security interests — and for the good of the entire world. . .
“We stand firmly with the Israeli people as they defend themselves against the murderous nihilism of Hamas. On October 7, Hamas slaughtered 1,200 people, including 35 American citizens, in the worst atrocity committed against the Jewish people in a single day since the Holocaust. Infants and toddlers, mothers and fathers, grandparents, people with disabilities, and even Holocaust survivors were maimed and murdered. Entire families were massacred in their homes. Young people were gunned down at a music festival. Bodies riddled with bullets and burned beyond recognition.
“And for over a month, the families of more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas, including babies and Americans, have been living in [gehinnom], anxiously waiting to discover whether their loved ones are alive or dead. At the time of this writing, my team and I are working hour by hour, doing everything we can to get the hostages released.
“And while Israelis are still in shock and suffering the trauma of this attack, Hamas has promised that it will relentlessly try to repeat October 7. It has said very clearly that it will not stop.”
Very much to his credit, President Biden still rejects the growing calls for an open-ended cease-fire in Gaza from progressive left-wing Democrats and the other apologists for Hamas terrorism who have been staging protests on college campuses and in city streets around the world. These “useful idiots,” as Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin used to call them, may be legitimately concerned about the rising toll of casualties among Gaza’s civilians. But most have already forgotten the Hamas outrages committed on October 7, and refuse to recognize that Hamas is deliberately sacrificing the lives of Gaza’s civilians by continuing to use them as human shields, and by interfering with their ability to heed Israeli warnings to flee from the most dangerous areas in Gaza,
A CEASE-FIRE IS NOT PEACE
Biden wrote, “As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a cease-fire is not peace. To Hamas’s members, every cease-fire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters, and restart the killing by attacking innocents again. An outcome that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza would once more perpetuate its hate and deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves.”
At another point in the op-ed, Biden asked, “What will our world look like on the other side of these conflicts?
“Will we deny Hamas the ability to carry out pure, unadulterated evil? Will Israelis and Palestinians one day live side by side in peace, with two states for two peoples?
“. . . And the overarching question: Will we relentlessly pursue our positive vision for the future, or will we allow those who do not share our values to drag the world to a more dangerous and divided place?”
But while firmly defending Israel’s right to “defend themselves against the murderous nihilism of Hamas,” Biden added that he was not immune to the plight of Gaza’s civilian population. “I, too, am heartbroken by the images out of Gaza and the deaths of many thousands of civilians, including children.” He also noted that Israel’s effort to reduce the number of non-combatant casualties in Gaza by agreeing to “humanitarian pauses in the conflict to permit civilians to depart areas of active fighting and to help ensure that aid reaches those in need … stands in stark opposition to Hamas’s terrorist strategy: hide among Palestinian civilians. Use children and innocents as human shields. Position terrorist tunnels beneath hospitals, schools, mosques, and residential buildings. Maximize the death and suffering of innocent people — Israeli and Palestinian. If Hamas cared at all for Palestinian lives, it would release all the hostages, give up arms, and surrender the leaders and those responsible for October 7.”
Biden also wrote that “it is imperative that no terrorist threats ever again emanate from Gaza or the West Bank.”
However, at that point, Biden departed from the Israeli government’s vision for the future of Gaza after Hamas is destroyed. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel must retain full security control of Gaza “for an indefinite period of time.” But instead, Biden wrote that “the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own” as well as “a future free from Hamas.”
Biden also repeated his previous demands that, “there must be no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory. And after this war is over, the voices of Palestinian people and their aspirations must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza.”
BIDEN TRYING TO REVIVE THE FAILED OSLO PEACE PROCESS
Biden is using the war against Hamas as another excuse to try to resurrect the moribund Oslo peace process, ignoring the fact that it has repeatedly failed over the past 30 years, due primarily to the stubborn refusal by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leaders to negotiate in good faith to reach a peace agreement with Israel.
More specifically, the American president declared, “As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution.”
However, Biden did not explain how the notoriously corrupt and terrorist-supporting Palestinian Authority could be “revitalized” in such a way that it could trusted by Israel to govern Gaza effectively and prevent a resurgence of violently anti-Israel Islamic extremism. The PA was unable to do so after the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005. Less than two years later, it was driven out of Gaza by Hamas terrorists, who have remained, ever since, determined to use Gaza as a giant military base from which to launch attacks and attempt to destroy Israel. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that the outcome would be any different, were Gaza to be placed in the PA’s hands once again after the Israeli military achieves its goal of destroying Hamas.
In his Washington Post op-ed, Biden called upon the international community to “commit resources to support the people of Gaza in the immediate aftermath of this crisis, including interim security measures, and establish a reconstruction mechanism to sustainably meet Gaza’s long-term needs.”
GAZA HAS BEEN A PROBLEM SINCE 1948
Biden seems to have ignored the fact that the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, as well as other international humanitarian organizations and donor nations, have been trying to make Gaza more livable ever since the end of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, with dismal results. Even after Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and gave it over as a gift to Palestinian self-rule, it has remained a hotbed of terrorism, and a constant threat to Israel’s civilian population, while its Hamas rulers cynically left Gaza’s residents exposed to Israeli attacks and condemned to a life of misery, with little hope for a better future.
Nevertheless, Biden went on to pledge that, “In the meantime, we will continue working to prevent this conflict from spreading and escalating further. I ordered two U.S. carrier groups to the region to enhance deterrence. We are going after Hamas and those who finance and facilitate its terrorism, levying multiple rounds of sanctions to degrade Hamas’s financial structure, cutting it off from outside funding, and blocking access to new funding channels, including via social media.”
One of the lessons yet to be learned by the Biden administration from the repeated failure of the U.S.-sponsored Oslo peace process over the past 30 years is that a lasting peace between two longtime enemies cannot be imposed by an outside third party, such as the United States and its Western allies, no matter how well-intentioned they may be. Biden and his foreign policy advisors need to recognize that achieving a successful outcome for the war in Gaza by destroying Hamas cannot be used as a short cut to Middle East peace.
THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION IS AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM
Given the current conditions and long-standing hostilities, a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an impossible dream, at least for the foreseeable future. It can only be achieved, if ever, after a new set of Israeli and Palestinian leaders has been put in place, and the people on both sides have developed the required amount determination, mutual trust and good will necessary to make it work.
Israel has warmly welcomed President Biden’s promised assistance in achieving its goal of eliminating the threat from Hamas in Gaza once and for all. But Israel does not have the luxury of ignoring the lessons to be learned from the failure of all previous attempts by the U.S. and the international community to resolve Gaza’s many problems and force Israel to make dangerous concessions to the Palestinians in the forlorn hope of reviving the failed peace process.
Once Hamas is destroyed, the next question which must be answered will be how to prevent another terrorist organization like it from arising in Gaza again.
The source of Gaza’s current problems goes all the way back to 1948, when about 200,000 Arabs who had fled to Gaza to escape the fighting during Israel’s War of Independence found themselves unable to return to their prior homes in the newborn State of Israel. But instead of encouraging the voluntary resettlement of the displaced refugees in neighboring Arab states, the United Nations and the Arab states decided to make their refugee status permanent. Most Arab countries force Palestinians to live in U.N.-run refugee camps, while insisting that Israel must accept the “right of return” of the millions of descendants of those refugees, who have been raised in a climate of antisemitic hatred, 75 years after their parents and grandparents left their homes in what is today Israel.
Since 1948, Israel’s enemies have been promoting the myth that it is solely responsible for the plight of the Palestinians, when it is, in fact, their fellow Arabs who refused to allow them to be resettled and assimilated into the Arab countries across the Middle East. Similarly, ever since Israel, as a defensive measure, imposed a blockade on Gaza after its violent takeover by Hamas in 2007, the enemies of Israel have claimed that it is solely responsible for the confinement of Gaza’s residents and their lack of economic opportunity.
ISRAEL HAS BEEN GAZA’S BIGGEST SUPPLIER
But in fact, just the opposite is true. The Egyptian border crossing at Rafah has been mostly closed to Gaza residents, whereas, until the October 7 attack, Israel had continued to provide Gaza with much of its food, water, electricity, and fuel. The Israeli government had also distributed thousands of work permits to Gaza residents, enabling them to cross the border into Israel and find work at much higher wages than are paid by the few jobs available to them in Gaza.
Another important aspect of Gaza’s economic problems is its tremendous overcrowding. During the 1948 War of Independence, the 25% of the total Arab population of Palestine who fled their homes to avoid the fighting, was funneled into the Gaza Strip with an area of only 141 square miles, about the same size as the city of Philadelphia. Today, 75 year later, Gaza’s original population of 200,000 refugees has grown tenfold to more than 2 million, without anywhere near enough local industry or natural resources to provide its residents with economic support, nor do Gaza’s residents have the option to leave to live in Israel, or in another, less crowded and more self-sufficient Arab country. As a result, Gaza is the ultimate welfare state, with much of its population dependent for the necessities of life upon a continuous flow of humanitarian aid from the United Nations, charitable organizations, and donor countries.
Based upon the many difficulties that Israel security forces encountered when policing Gaza between 1967 and 2005, it is hardly surprising that Israel’s leaders are not eager to re-occupy Gaza after they succeed in destroying Hamas, but they do not really have much of a choice. They dare not turn the area over to the Palestinian Authority again, because it is even weaker, more corrupt and less popular with Gaza’s population today than it was back in 2006, when PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party lost the only democratic Palestinian legislative election ever held to Hamas by a margin of 44% to 41%. The PA government was then forcefully ousted from control of Gaza in 2007 by a Hamas military coup.
Egypt and other Arab states have also made it clear that they do not want to take the responsibility of ruling over Gaza, even in a caretaker capacity, first because of the difficulty in policing its terrorism-indoctrinated population, second because of the tremendous task of rebuilding its war-devastated infrastructure and residential neighborhoods, and third because the stigma that would be attached in the eyes of the Arab world to the rulers of those countries because of their cooperation with Israel and the United States in taking over Gaza.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GAZA SINCE 1948
Historically, Egypt has never been interested in taking over Gaza. After the 1948 war, Palestinian refugees living in Egypt or in Gaza were denied Egyptian citizenship, and instead, were issued passports by the so-called All-Palestinian Government, which was actually little more than an Egyptian-controlled paper organization. After the All-Palestinian Government was dissolved in 1959, the Egyptian government controlled Gaza as if it were a colony, administering it through a military governor, but Egypt did not try to annex the territory.
In 1965, the Arab states formally recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the political representative of the Palestinian people, with a Palestinian Covenant that defined the PLO’s purpose as the destruction of Israel.
As Chaim Herzog, who would later become the President of Israel, wrote in his 1982 book on the Arab-Israeli wars, “At the time  Jordan was in control of the West Bank and Egypt was in control of Gaza: had they so desired, they could have set up a Palestinian state in those areas. However, this was not to their purpose, nor was it to the purpose of the PLO, which was unwilling to accept any compromise then or later in regard to those sections of the Palestinian Covenant calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.”
From 1949 to the present day, the primary source for refugee health, welfare, and educational services in Gaza has been the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which was established for that purpose by U.N. General Assembly resolution 302, passed on December 8, 1949.
LEFTIST LIES ABOUT ISRAEL
Meanwhile, progressive leftists have ignored the fact that Israel was established in the wake of the Holocaust in Europe to serve as a refuge and homeland for persecuted Jews around the world, beginning with the survivors of the Nazi death camps and, a few years later, for Jews living throughout the Middle East who were driven from their homes by the Arabs riots protesting Israel’s creation.
The progressive leftists have also falsely labeled Israel as a “[European] settler colonial state,” ignoring the fact that the majority of Israel’s population to this day is made up of the descendants of Sephardic Jewish refugees who were native to the Middle East.
In the United States and Europe, progressive liberals have unfairly condemned Israel and called it an “apartheid state,” for its allegedly discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian residents of the West Bank. However, they again ignore the fact that Israel’s Arab Israeli citizens, who make up about 20% of its population, are fully represented in Israel’s Knesset, and enjoy almost all of the legal and democratic rights, protections, and privileges of Israel’s Jewish citizens, as well as one of the highest standards of living in the Middle East.
These same progressive liberal critics of Israel have somehow justified and actually celebrated Hamas’ outrageous October 7 attack in which 1200 Jews were brutally massacred, and more than 240 Israeli men, women, and small children were kidnapped and are now being held hostage in Gaza, while at the same time complaining about the lack of “proportionality” in Israel’s military response to Hamas.
Would those liberal critics be happier, perhaps, if the Israeli soldiers who are now in Gaza fighting Hamas treated the Palestinian civilians there in the same way that the Hamas terrorists treated the Jewish civilians they tortured, murdered, and kidnapped in southern Israel on October 7?
WHAT HAPPENED TO “NEVER AGAIN?”
Don’t those critics realize that the October 7 attack is vivid proof that almost 80 years after the end of World War II, the Jewish people are once again (instead of “Never Again”) facing a real threat of genocide, justifying the need for Israel’s continued existence as a safe haven?
In fact, Hamas’ barbarous October 7 attack on the residents of southern Israel, its use of Gaza’s civilian population as human shields, and its militarization of protected facilities such as schools, houses of worship, and hospitals, violate nearly all of the internationally accepted rules of “just warfare,” as prescribed by the Geneva Conventions, as well some of the most basic concepts of human decency.
Probably the greatest “just war” that any nation can engage in is a fight for its very existence. Israel is now in such a war, and in that case, a proportionate response is one that equals the severity of the threat, and is not determined by simply comparing the body counts on both sides.
Again in this case, while the Israeli army always goes out of its way to obey the laws of war, Hamas goes out of its way to defy them.
For example, one of those laws requires that armies must discriminate between civilians and legitimate military targets. For more than a decade, Hamas has deliberately fired deadly rockets at Israeli civilian population centers, while by contrast, Israel has tried to avoid civilian casualties, e.g., by warning residents by phone and air-dropped flyers to evacuate before Israel attacks and destroys their home.
Hamas has made large numbers of civilian casualties inevitable in Gaza by building military tunnels directly underneath hospitals and by placing rocket and missile launchers in or near mosques, schools, and United Nations buildings, demonstrating a complete disregard for the lives of its own people, In fact, Hamas wants to create large numbers of civilian casualties in order to win its global public relations battle when Israel is forced to strike back at Gaza to protect its own people against further Hamas attacks.
ISRAEL FACING A NEW TERRORIST REALITY
Israel’s leaders now know that they can no longer manage Hamas’ terrorist threat through low-risk periodic exchanges of missile fire. On October 7, Israel’s policy since 2009 of trying to contain Hamas rather than destroying it failed catastrophically. An open-ended cease-fire now that restored the pre–October 7 status quo would leave Israel vulnerable to more Hamas mass attacks. As a result, Israel’s leaders realize that they are currently engaged in a fight to the death.
The very nature of the terrorist threat that Israel has long faced is now fundamentally changed. October 7 showed us that the terrorists can no longer be dismissed as small bands of poorly trained and inadequately armed gunmen. The Iranian-backed Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists, the Islamic militias in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen have now acquired many of the arms and capabilities of modern armies including cyber-capabilities, long-range rockets, drones, and technical support.
The Israel-Hamas war is much more significant than a local or regional conflict. It marks a turning point in the ongoing kulturkampf between the classic democratic ideals of Western civilization and the death cult of radical Islamic terrorism.
If the Palestinian people really wish to gain broad recognition and acceptance as a law-abiding member in good standing of the community of nations, then they must learn how to act like one. That means rejecting the barbaric creed of radical Islamic jihad preached by Hamas and Iran, with its utter disregard for the value of human life, and obeying the accepted laws of Western civilization, which are based upon the Judeo-Christian tradition, and which Hamas explicitly rejects.
Hamas is not interested in a cease-fire with Israel except as a “hudnah,” which is defined by the Quran as a temporary truce to enable Islamic fighters to recover, rebuild, and attack again. Neither would Hamas be satisfied with a total Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank as well as Gaza, as envisioned by the liberal advocates of the so-called two-state solution.
HAMAS’ GOAL IS GENOCIDE
Statements by Hamas leaders since the October 7 attack have again made it clear that their goal is not the creation of a Palestinian state living in permanent peace alongside Israel. As Yasser Arafat used to tell his supporters when he was speaking in Arabic, he would only view such a state as a useful step towards the ultimate goal, which is the destruction of Israel, and the total annihilation of the Jewish people everywhere, chas v’sholom.
That is also the clear intent of the current pro-Hamas slogan, “From the River to the Sea. Palestine must be free,” being chanted by violently antisemitic leftist protesters on college campuses and in street demonstrations across the United States and around the world.
Historically, Hamas commanders have never distinguished between Israeli soldiers or policemen and innocent civilians, including women and children, in planning their attacks on Israeli targets. That first became clear when Hamas conducted its campaign of deadly suicide bomb attacks directed at civilians riding the public buses in Yerushalayim and other Israeli cities in an attempt to disrupt the American-sponsored Israeli-PLO peace negotiations following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.
With the onset of the Second Intifada, a few weeks after Yasser Arafat walked away from the generous peace offer made by U.S. President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the Camp David summit in the summer of 2000, Hamas expanded the targets of its attacks to include all kinds of public places across Israel. That included the notorious suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizza shop in downtown Yerushalayim, which took place on August 9, 2001. The blast killed 15 civilians outright, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, and wounded an additional 130 people, including Chana Nachenberg, who remained in a coma for 22 years until she died in May of this year, never having regained consciousness.
Hamas was also responsible for the Pesach Seder Night bombing of the Park Hotel in Netanya, on March 27, 2002. That blast killed thirty civilians and wounded 140, and prompted the Israeli government to launch the large-scale military operation known as Operation Defensive Shield, which broke the back of the Second Intifada terrorist campaign over the next 40 days.
HAMAS’ PLANNED BRUTALITY
On October 7, Hamas terrorists again clearly targeted Jewish civilians, including grandmothers, teenagers, small children, and babies. A well-researched article on the planning of the October 7 attack, published by the Washington Post on November 12, revealed that Hamas planners deliberately encouraged its fighters to use the most brutal tactics in killing as many Israeli civilians and kidnapping as many hostages as possible. Their goal was “to strike a blow of historic proportions, in the expectation that the group’s actions would compel an overwhelming Israeli response,” that would inflame the anger of the Arab street and trigger a region-wide war of annihilation against Israel.
The same article also noted that “Hamas leaders have publicly expressed a willingness to accept heavy losses — potentially including the deaths of many Gazan civilians living under Hamas rule” in the expectation that the rest of the world would blame Israel for the large number of civilian casualties that would be the unavoidable consequence of any serious military attempt by Israel to defend its citizens by destroying the threat from Hamas in Gaza.
The Washington Post story quoted Ghazi Hamad, a member of the Hamas politburo who said during an interview on Lebanese television that Hamas, “as a nation of martyrs [was] proud to sacrifice martyrs.” They were more than willing to “pay that price” in civilian deaths in order to achieve two main goals. The first was to kick-start a new wave of violent Palestinian attacks on Israel throughout the region, and the second was to scuttle the nearly complete Israeli and American diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which could potentially alter the strategic balance in the Middle East.
According to an un-named senior Israeli military official, the leaders of Hamas “were very clear-eyed as to what would happen to Gaza on the day after [October 7] … They wanted to buy their place in the history of jihad — at the expense of the lives of many people in Gaza.”
IRAN AND ITS TERRORIST PROXIES ARE HOLDING BACK
One of the more pleasant surprises for Israel and the United States is that Hezbollah and other Iranian proxy terrorists in the region have not made a concerted effort to open a major second front against Israel to take some of the pressure off of the Hamas forces which have been under intense attack from the large Israeli ground force that has invaded Gaza.
Hezbollah has been launching anti-tank missile attacks on a nearly daily basis at targets along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, and the Israeli military has responded in kind, resulting in the heaviest clashes between them since the Second Lebanese War in 2006. Ten Israelis and more than 70 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in those clashes so far, but both sides seem to be reluctant to allow the intensity of the fighting to escalate much further.
Iran has also permitted its proxy forces in Iraq and Syria to launch attacks on U.S. troops stationed in those countries at least 55 times since October 17, leaving some 59 U.S. personnel injured, but the U.S. military has been reluctant to respond with more than token retaliatory strikes.
In addition, Yemen’s Houthis have launched a number of Iranian-supplied long-range missiles and drones at Israel, some of which have been shot down by Israel’s newly operational Arrow anti-ballistic missile system. But again, these incidents have been sporadic and present much less of a challenge to Israel’s defenses than had been feared when the war first broke out.
IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH WERE CAUGHT BY SURPRISE
One possible explanation for the refusal by Iran and its proxies to get more deeply involved in support of Hamas can be found in the Reuters report on a meeting in Tehran in early November in which Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Ismail Haniyeh, one of the leaders of Hamas, not to expect Iran and its proxies to intervene more directly against Israel than they already have, because Hamas had failed to give them advance notice of their plans to attack Israel on October 7, although they will continue to provide Hamas with political and moral support.
The report also suggested that Hezbollah wants to avoid a full-scale military conflict with Israel because Lebanon has been suffering from an extended financial crisis, and cannot afford to get dragged by Hezbollah into another war with Israel now.
The Reuters report also cites multiple sources close to Hezbollah who say that the Lebanese terrorist organization was also surprised by the early morning attack on October 7, and had to scramble to mobilize its forces along its border with Israel. “We woke up to a war,” one Hezbollah was quoted as complaining.
Upon launching the attack, Hamas had clearly been expecting much more help from Iran than it has received so far. On October 7, Hamas’ military commander Mohammed Deif issued a public call to Iran and its allies to join in the attack, saying, “Our brothers in the Islamic resistance in Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, this is the day when your resistance unites with your people in Palestine.” But very little help for Hamas was forthcoming in response.
Nine days later, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in a television interview publicly thanked Hezbollah for launching missile attacks along Israel’s northern border, but then revealed his frustration by adding, “The battle requires more.”
Clearly, Hamas is disappointed that Iran’s so-called Axis of Resistance, consisting of the anti-American proxy forces that it has developed across the region over the past four decades, has not provided it with more help.
According to the three Iranian and Hamas officials who were the sources for the Reuters report, Iran and its proxies have been reluctant to provide Hamas with any more support by opening up a full-scale second front for fear of “becoming engaged in a direct confrontation with Israel that could draw in the United States.”
BIDEN GIVING ANOTHER $10 BILLION TO IRAN
Meanwhile, Morton Klein, the national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), blasted the Biden administration for granting Iraq a waiver of U.S. financial sanctions against Iran last week which will give Iran access to nearly $10 billion in frozen funds being held in Iraq in return for Iran supplying Iraq with electricity.
While U.S. officials insist that Iran will only be able to use the funds to buy humanitarian supplies for the Iranian people, Klein notes that since money is fungible, the waiver will free up an additional $10 billion that Iran will then be able to spend in support of terrorism.
Klein’s statement said, “It is beyond recklessly irresponsible, sickening and frightening that the Biden administration authorized releasing money to the Islamic Republic of Iran, while Iran is funding Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s and Iran’s other proxies’ murderous attacks against Israel and America. ZOA strongly condemns President Biden for approving these extraordinarily dangerous sanctions waivers for Iran, in disregard for the following pertinent facts and U.S. obligations.”
The ZOA statement also warned, “We will see even more death and destruction due to the release of these funds. Releasing these fungible funds to Iran thus thoroughly violates Biden’s vow of ‘rock solid and unwavering’ support for Israel as Israel defends her people from Hamas.
Releasing money to Iran also escalates the conflict and further inflames the entire region. . .
“Iran is ‘actively facilitating’ (the administration’s own words) rocket and drone attacks by Iranian proxies on U.S. military bases in Iraq and Syria. Again, enriching Iran violates the president’s sacred duty to protect Americans. . .
“After years of counterproductive appeasement and fruitless negotiations, it is clear that Iran will not change or moderate. Thus, the administration’s decision intentionally and knowingly strengthens the Iran terror regime at the worst possible time. We are horrified,” Klein’s statement concludes.
Herzog: ‘Very Strong Force’ Needed In Gaza After Hamas Defeated
Israel will need to maintain a significant presence in Gaza to prevent the Hamas terrorist group from regaining control of the enclave, President Isaac Herzog said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“If we pull back, then who will take over? We can’t leave a vacuum. We have to think about what the mechanism will be; there are many ideas that are thrown in the air,” Herzog said. “But no one will want to turn this place, Gaza, into a terror base again.”
Herzog told the British daily business newspaper that the Israeli government has been discussing ideas about how Gaza will be managed after Hamas is defeated, indicating that the United States and “our neighbors in the region” would have some involvement.
The United States has been pushing for the Palestinian Authority to play a role in governing Gaza after Hamas, but Israeli officials have rejected the proposal due to the P.A.’s support for terrorism.
“In order to prevent terror from coming up again, we have to have a very strong force to make sure that it’s committed enough and it [the attack] doesn’t happen [again],” said Herzog.
Herzog’s remarks echo those of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has stated multiple times in recent weeks that Israel will maintain security control over Gaza after defeating Hamas.
“The IDF will continue to have security control over the Gaza Strip for as long as necessary to prevent terrorism from it. The massacre on Oct. 7 proved once and for all wherever there is no Israeli security control, terrorism will return and establish itself; therefore, I will not agree to concede security control under any circumstances,” Netanyahu said at a joint press conference on Nov. 11.
Netanyahu also said during the press conference that Gaza cannot be ruled by “a civil authority that educates its children to hate Israel, to kill Israelis, to eliminate the State of Israel… an authority that pays the families of murderers [amounts] based on the number they murdered… an authority whose leader still has not condemned the terrible [Oct. 7] massacre 30 days later,” referring to P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas.
During the interview with the Financial Times, Herzog also discussed the hostage situation, among other topics, blaming Hamas for the lack of an agreement on their release.
“We haven’t even received one piece of information about our hostages,” he said. “So we have to fight and get them.”
Herzog also touched upon efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the Strip, saying that Israel is discussing a “major effort” with Cyprus to deliver aid via the Mediterranean Sea.
“It’s under serious negotiations with the Cypriot government,” Herzog said.