October 10, 2023

Hamas Attacks Israel

“Hamas stunned the world when it launched a surprise air, land and sea attack against cities across Israel in the most serious incursion against the country in decades. The Israeli military retaliated with heavy bombardment against the besieged Gaza Strip… At least 900 Israelis and 687 Palestinians have died and tens of thousands of others have been displaced in [the] fighting.” Axios

Israel increased airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and sealed it off from food, fuel and other supplies Monday… The Israeli military said it had largely gained control in the south after the attack caught its vaunted military and intelligence apparatus completely off guard and led to fierce battles in its streets for the first time in decades. Hamas and other militants in Gaza say they are holding more than 130 soldiers and civilians snatched from inside Israel.” AP News

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From the Left

The left urges Israel to minimize civilian casualties.

“The Israel of 2023 — in the months that preceded the Gaza disaster — has been a domestic political nightmare… The security establishment — meaning Mossad, military intelligence and the domestic security service known as Shin Bet — was bitterly opposed to the fragile government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…

Did that political chaos contribute to the Gaza attacks? I don’t know. But, surely, the domestic feuds of the past few months might have led Hamas and its backers in Tehran to believe that Israel was internally weak and, perhaps, vulnerable.”

David Ignatius, Washington Post

“The [Israeli] government has promised a severe and protracted response against Hamas… Already the Israeli government is cutting off power and water to Gaza, and it ordered a siege to starve Hamas of resources. This tactic, if it continues, will be an act of collective punishment. All sides involved in the conflict are bound by international law, and it is important to note that violations by one side do not permit violations by another…

“The United States has an important role to play here as well. It can and should offer diplomatic support and emergency military assistance and work with the Israeli government, Palestinian leaders and humanitarian organizations to help ensure that civilian casualties and suffering in Israel and Gaza do not spin out of control.”

Editorial Board, New York Times

“In the wake of the Yom Kippur War [in 1973], the new awareness of Israeli vulnerability led to a major strategic recalibration, a shattering of the old paradigm of unavoidable hostility. Israel came to believe that achieving peace with its major enemy, Egypt, was a viable and necessary path forward… By 1978, the two countries entered into negotiations that yielded a peace treaty…

“One way forward [now] is the path of vengeance declared by Benjamin Netanyahu. It will lead to further devastation and the rising up of a new generation of Palestinians intent on retribution, which will only retrigger the cycle of violence that has engulfed this region for a century…

“Another path forward, which requires bold and courageous leadership, is again breaking with the old paradigm of eternal enmity. It would entail recognition by Israel that it cannot batter Palestinians into submission, who deserve and must receive full rights as individuals and as a national collective… As far-fetched as it may seem, it was precisely this kind of rethinking that was perhaps the most important legacy of the Yom Kippur War.”

David N. Myers, Los Angeles Times

From the Right

The right urges a strong military response to destroy Hamas.

The right urges a strong military response to destroy Hamas.

“The traditional rhythm of conflict between Israel and its enemies has been that Israel gets attacked and is given a small window to respond, and then world public opinion gathers against Israel, while Western leaders urge ‘calm’ and an end to the ‘cycle of violence.’ From Israel’s perspective, conflicts with Hamas over the past several decades have followed a similar pattern. Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel responds with air strikes, and after a certain amount of time there is a cease-fire…

“While the terrorist organization has been committed to the destruction of Israel since its 1988 founding as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, to this point, Israel has made the strategic calculation to tolerate Hamas. The operating theory has been that dealing with a weakened Hamas that can be degraded periodically is better than pulverizing the terrorist group and depriving Gaza of any governing authority, leaving only chaos…

“But after what has just happened, that calculation has changed. Israeli leaders have now recognized that Hamas can no longer be tolerated — it must be destroyed… Biden insists, ‘the United States stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have their back.’ If he truly means it, he must give Israel free rein for as long as it takes to do whatever is necessary to vanquish its savage foes.”

The Editors, National Review

“Israel has a right to self-defense, and that means eradicating the threat from Hamas, and from Hezbollah in Lebanon if it comes to that. The failure to do so will mean more violence in the future as the Islamists who are backed by Iran conclude the Jewish state has lost its willingness to fight. Israel also has a right to rescue its citizens who have been taken as hostages to Gaza, even at the risk of more casualties… The time for a ceasefire is when Israel has defeated its enemies.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Hamas is an ally and instrument of Iran. An operation of such scale and complexity is unlike anything Hamas has previously attempted and strongly suggests significant Iranian involvement. Hamas has publicly thanked Iran for its support, and Iran’s supreme leader applauded the invasion…

Any serious response must go through Tehran. If the U.S. and the international community are truly outraged by the scenes of senior citizens gunned down on the street and women and children abducted, they must not only not refrain from limiting Israel’s operation in Gaza but resolve to oust the genocidal regime in Tehran.”

Eugene Kontorovich, Wall Street Journal

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