The Goal for U.S. Diplomacy With Israel: First Calm, Then Peace: Richard Haass, WSJ, Oct. 20, 2023
“… The initial U.S. response to the Hamas attack was full-throated support for Israel, both rhetorically and in the provision of military aid. In just a matter of days, however, that support became somewhat more conditional, with President Biden making clear his opposition to a full-scale invasion and occupation of Gaza. During his brief visit to Israel this week, Biden called for Israeli restraint both in allowing humanitarian aid to enter Gaza and in avoiding military operations that would hurt civilians, themes reiterated in his Oct. 19 Oval Office address. The administration is clearly worried that Israel’s plans could otherwise lead to a wider war, one that at a minimum would draw down already-stretched U.S. munitions stockpiles, increase the price of oil, cause the U.S. reputational problems with much of the so-called Global South, and possibly lead to direct U.S. military involvement.
“the U.S. needs to press Israel to set achievable goals that will allow for a cease-fire in the near term, almost certainly before Hamas is eliminated. The proper role for the U.S. is not to try to prevent a significant Israeli military action, which is all but inevitable, but to shape its scale and duration.
“… In the wake of the president’s visit, the U.S. should adopt a two-phase strategy. The initial phase, effectively under way, is to try to prevent a bad situation from deteriorating further. One rule of much Middle East history is that things get worse before they get even worse. The goal now is to see this rule broken and stabilize the situation, to provide time and space for attempting more ambitious diplomacy.
“For the time being, calls for a cease-fire could be managed in two ways. One is for Israel to minimize civilian casualties by coming to limit military actions to precision strikes, when there is actionable intelligence, and small ground raids. Second, Israel can agree to pauses in the air war to allow for food and other humanitarian supplies to reach Gaza’s civilian residents and to facilitate hostage exchanges. Such pauses could be conditioned on Hamas and other groups agreeing to pauses in their rocket attacks on Israel. Israel should be pressed to accept a cease-fire when it becomes apparent the costs of continued conflict outweigh any benefits.
“… Once the situation is stabilized, when something close to the status quo before Oct. 7 is achieved, U.S. diplomacy should move to a second phase, which would involve a renewed effort to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia and between Israel and those Palestinians willing to eschew terrorism….” [This piece articulates a combination of appeasement and subordination of Israel’s needs to Dem.-defined US “interest.” This is the blueprint for “Biden’s (i.e., Obama, Susan Rice, and the other puppet-masters’) Middle East, pro-Iranian diplomacy. Haass is a creature of the State Dept., “advisor” to Obama, Biden. The op-ed sells out Israel, and expresses no feeling for Jews’ post-worst murder since the end of the Holocaust — Ed.]
Why a Gaza Invasion and ‘Once and for All’ Thinking Are Wrong for Israel: Thomas Friedman, NY Times, Oct. 16, 2023
“… let me say loudly and clearly what I have been saying quietly in my past few columns: I am with President Biden when he told “60 Minutes” that it would be a “big mistake” for Israel “to occupy Gaza again. …
“I believe that such a move could turn Israel’s humiliating tactical defeat at the hands of Hamas, which included unimaginable barbarism, into a long-term moral and military strategic crisis. It’s one that could entrap Israel in Gaza, draw the U.S. into another Middle East war and undermine three of America’s most important foreign policy interests right now: helping Ukraine wrestle free of Russia to join the West, containing China and shaping a pro-American bloc that includes Egypt, Israel, moderate Arab countries and Saudi Arabia, which could counterbalance Iran and fight the global threat of radical Islam. … Altogether, it will play directly into Iran’s strategy of sucking Israel into imperial overstretch and in that way weakening the Jewish democracy from within. …
“What should Israel do to ensure that an attack like the one launched by Hamas never happens again? I don’t know right now. I just know that whatever the answer is, it’s not mobilizing 360,000 traumatized Israeli reservists to launch into an urban war in one of the most densely populated places in the world. This will crush the Israeli economy and its international standing.All these dilemmas must push Biden to sharpen his stance on the crisis.
Biden must realize that Benjamin Netanyahu is unfit to manage this war as a rational player. After such a colossal defeat, the most powerful and unifying thing Netanyahu could have done was call new Israeli elections in six or nine months — and announce that he would not be running; he is ending his career in politics, and therefore Israelis can trust that whatever decisions he makes about Gaza and Hamas now will have only the Israeli national interest in mind; he will not have in mind his own interest in staying out of jail on corruption charges, which requires his holding on to the right-wing crazies in his government (who actually fantasize about Israel reoccupying Gaza and rebuilding the Israeli settlements there) by chasing some big, short-term military victory that he can take to the Israeli electorate as a compensation for the debacle that just happened.” “… if Israel still decides it must enter Gaza to capture and kill Hamas’s leadership, it must only do so if it has in place a legitimate Palestinian leadership to replace Hamas — so Israel is not left governing there forever.” – [Friedman’s rant against Netanyahu and suggestions act to effectively tie Israel’s hands by denying them the right to defend themselves militarily against a virulently antisemitic terrorist group whose stated aim is to kill as many Jews as possible. – Ed.]
The Strategic Imperative of U.S. Military Assistance to Israel: Rep. August Pfluger and Michael Makovsky, Washington Times, Oct. 19, 2023
No Cease-fire in Gaza, Hamas Must Surrender: Gerard Laval, Washington Times, Oct. 18, 2023
Hamas Mortally Threatens Israel’s Existence: Michael Oren, WSJ, Oct. 22, 2023
Dostoevsky Knew: It Can Happen Here: Gary Saul Morson, WSJ, Oct. 18, 2023
FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:
Hamas’s Gaza Chief, Once a High-Profile Prisoner in Israel, Is Now a ‘Dead Man Walking’: Rory Jones and Summer Said, WSJ, Oct. 21, 2023 — During two decades in Israeli prison, Yahya Sinwar learned Hebrew fluently and devoured local newspapers and television. Now, the most senior Hamas leader in Gaza is using that knowledge to fight a war against Israel.
How to Save Gazan Lives: Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom, Oct. 17, 2023 — Much of the media is now moving briskly on from the atrocities committed by Hamas with Tehran’s assistance – the deadliest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust – to the plight of Gazans.
Iran’s Terrorist War: Hamas and Hezbollah are Wholly Controlled Proxies of the Tehran Regime: Jed Babbin, Washington Times, Oct. 12, 2023 — On Oct. 7, the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the terrorist group Hamas made an unprovoked attack on Israel by land, sea and air.
Israel’s Dilemma: How Hostage Talks Could Bog Down Military Plans: David S. Cloud, WSJ, Oct. 22, 2023 — Israel faces a dilemma as it weighs the next phase of its war in Gaza: If it lets talks on the fate of at least 200 hostages held by Hamas play out, it risks getting bogged down in indirect negotiations with a group it has vowed to crush.