As the images change from Israeli to Palestinian casualties, the voices of moral equivalence and disproportionality will rise. Please be ready with answers to counter the false narrative. I have taught in universities about Hamas’ use of human shields and firing from civilian areas, which rises to the level of war crimes. A non-politicized view of international law makes clear that terrorists cannot be immune even if they surround themselves with civilians if the military value of the target is significant. Alan Baker, the international lawyer who led the Oslo negotiations, has written about these issues. I was meeting with his think tank today in Jerusalem.
After witnessing the carnage on Day One in Sderot, the damage in Ashkelon, and the empty streets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, I have concluded that this is not 1973, the Yom Kippur War, but 1948, Israel fighting for her existence.
The Abraham Accords, Saudi normalization, and Iranian ascendency will directly relate to whether Israel can completely disarm, capture, or kill every Hamas terrorist. Israel will be judged in the Middle East by its strength, which it needs for deterrence and survival.
Bogie Ya’alon, Israel’s former defense minister, told me that Iran is likely waiting to see how bogged down it gets in Gaza before deciding when to attack from the north. Last week, before the conflict, I spent two days with Sarit Zehavi, founder and President of Alma, the premier think tank on Israel’s Iranian northern border, evaluating the situation with her team. We went to the closed military zone in Sheba Farms, which was attacked three days later. A Hezbollah tent was just below us. Why Israel allowed it to exist on Israeli territory is an insight into a failed strategy of not responding to every incident with a consequence. This is the Middle East, and it is interpreted as weakness.
Finally, please make the case that Iran has its fingerprints all over this operation, and even if it didn’t, it armed, trained, and advised Hamas for years, with a short break during the Syrian civil war. American policy needs to change concerning Iran.
Please read my article in The Hill, Will the Iranian-orchestrated attack against Israel change Biden’s Iran Policy?, as well as the one I wrote in August, Biden’s release of frozen funds undermines US sanctions worldwide.