The Recent Gaza War Is a Blunt Reminder of the Dangers of Ceding Territory to Your Enemies

In the West, Palestinian violence is often thought to be the result of Israel’s “occupation” of territory previously held by Jordan and Egypt. But such assessments are diametrically opposed to experience, argues Gershon Hacohen:

[T]he threat Hamas posed through the rocket firepower it directed at Israeli cities should set off warning bells about a possible Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. A Palestinian state based on [Israel’s pre-1967] borders will not be demilitarized and will have the capacity to become a far greater threat than the Gaza Strip. The magnitude of the production of weapons under Hamas and Islamic Jihad reveals the hollowness of the demilitarization delusion. Most of that production was carried out with civilian machinery and raw materials. There is no way to prevent a state from possessing computerized lathe machines, iron pipes, or phosphates.

The fact that, at present, there is no rocket production in the Palestinian cities and refugee camps of the West Bank stems entirely from the monitoring and prevention made possible by the IDF forces and the presence of Israeli civilian communities deep inside the territory.

[The IDF] Central Command’s success during this round in containing popular terror activity and violence in the West Bank areas under its aegis demonstrates that the demand for a continued Israeli presence in those areas is justified, both tactically and generally. When one compares the resources and efforts required to secure Israel’s coastal plain, which are built around IDF activity in the West Bank and the support of the Israeli communities there, to what the defense establishment has to invest in the Gaza Strip, it becomes clear that the existing situation in the West Bank is more effective, economical, and suitable.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Gaza Strip, Guardian of the Walls, Israeli Security, West Bank

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy