Why, Despite Biden and the Democrats, Israel Is Bent on Defeating Hamas at Rafah

One is either for Israel defeating its terrorist enemies even with risk to innocent persons behind whom Hamas is hiding — or one is for the survival of Hamas even with its mortal threat to every Israeli.

Israel Defense Forces via AP
An Israeli tank enters the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing on May 7, 2024. Israel Defense Forces via AP

The elite press and Democrats need to get something straight. Hamas is a terrorist force dedicated to the proposition that “no Jew will remain” in Israel. After Hamas launched the worst terrorist violence in modern times — and promised to do it again until Israel was destroyed — the Israeli government on a broad war coalition basis decided to launch a campaign to destroy Hamas.

Hamas has always hidden behind civilians and placed its military assets under hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings. It has also routinely stolen humanitarian aid to build and maintain its underground tunnel system, which is the size of the London subway.

Any effort to destroy Hamas would inherently involve threatening civilians and creating scenes which look horrible to people whose lives and families are not threatened with extermination. This is by Hamas’s design.

The choice is simple. 

You are either for Israel defeating its terrorist enemies even with risk to innocent persons behind whom Hamas is hiding — or you are for the survival of Hamas even with its mortal threat to every Israeli and the existence of Israel.

The Biden administration was initially for the defeat of Hamas. President Biden’s first instinct, in the immediate aftermath of the horrors of October 7, were to back Israel.

Gradually, the inevitable human cost of an anti-Hamas campaign began to build. The power of the worldwide pro-terrorist propaganda network swelled. The natural appeasement psychology of American elites wore Mr. Biden down. He moved away from supporting the defeat of Hamas and toward defending Hamas’ survival, even demanding that Rafah should be a sanctuary city for terrorists.

The American — and most Western — elite’s bias toward appeasing terrorism and avoiding harsh realities was captured in a recent column by Thomas Friedman. Mr. Friedman argued that Israel can have an alliance with Saudi Arabia, or it can destroy Hamas — but it can’t have both.

The columnist then asserted that the alliance with Saudi Arabia is more important. In effect Mr. Friedman would have Israel rely on Arab governments to police Gaza and somehow provide security despite the continued existence of four battalions of Hamas terrorists at Rafah.

From an Israeli perspective, this just doesn’t work. The Israelis have learned that, for instance, relying on the United Nations to police Hezbollah in Lebanon is useless. Hezbollah breaks every agreement, and nothing is done. Hezbollah gets stronger, and northern Israel suffers the consequence of the international failure.

Additionally, Israelis see that at least 10 percent of UN Relief personnel at Gaza are active supporters of Hamas. This further discourages the Israeli government from relying on others for Israel’s protection.

The elites don’t understand the most important lesson about Israeli survival. It was at war with all its neighbors as soon as it became a country in 1948. Israelis know Israel must be prepared to defend itself and do what is best for its own safety and security.

The tension between the appeasement wing of the American establishment and the pro-Israel wing of American politics goes back to the beginning. When Israel was established on May 14, 1948, President Truman immediately recognized the country.

Truman acted despite the active opposition of the State Department — the bureaucracy opposed the creation of a new Jewish state for fear it might increase Soviet influence in the Middle East. Senior State Department officials, including Secretary of State Marshall, so opposed Israel that they actively tried to block President Truman’s recognition and undermine his efforts at the United Nations.

It is clear the road to Israeli survival runs through the occupation of Rafah and the destruction of Hamas. A strong Israel is a better ally for Saudi Arabia against Iran than a weak, appeasement-oriented, intimidated Israel that allows Hamas to survive.

Further, giving the political leadership of Hamas a moral victory and breathing space to plot new anti-Israeli attacks and massacres will only lead to more violence. Israel should complete the destruction of Hamas and then seek alliances that are a lot more reliable than the Biden administration. Mr. Friedman has it exactly backwards. The road to Riyadh is through Rafah.

The New York Sun

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