Ceasefires Cost the Lives of Israelis, and Save Those of Terrorists

In recent negotiations mediated by Qatar, Hamas reportedly requested a three-day ceasefire in exchange for the release of some of its hostages. Meanwhile the word “ceasefire” is on the lips of every protestor, politician, or diplomat who wishes to criticize either Israel’s or America’s handling of the current war. Ron Ben-Yishai lays out six reasons, each convincing in itself, that Jerusalem should not accede to this demand. He also relates a story that, on its own, should settle the question:

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the UN secretary-general called for a ceasefire. An hour after the ceasefire came into effect, terrorists came out of a tunnel shaft near the city of Rafah and killed the Major Benayah Sarel, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, and Staff Sergeant Liel Gideoni. This happened on August 1, 2014. Israel agreed to it the night before and the terrorists realized that this was their opportunity. They hit the fighters from a range of a few meters, grabbed Goldin’s body, lowered it down the shaft into the tunnel and within a few minutes were already in a safe shelter. His body has not been returned to Israel since.

In other words, Ben-Yishai concludes, “a ceasefire is merely a recommendation for Hamas, while the IDF sees itself obligated to uphold it.”

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, Protective Edge

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy