Let Israel Win

For the past few days—as the IDF closes in on Gaza City—the word ceasefire has everywhere been on the lips, placards, and tweets of the more moderate defenders of Hamas in West. It is generally assumed that it is something that can be imposed on Israel from Washington, and it’s not clear if its advocates also expect Hamas to cease firing rockets. Matthew Continetti comments:

A ceasefire would be worse than useless. If Israel were to end combat operations now, with Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and captives hidden in the maze of tunnels known as the Gaza Metro, then the terrorists will score a remarkable victory. Harassment and attacks on Jews worldwide will surge.

Hamas will regroup. Its strategy of using civilians as pawns in a chess match for global opinion will have proven effective once again. Its ranks will swell. It will plot its next move. “Al-Aqsa Deluge”—Hamas’s name for its October 7 crime against humanity—“is just the first time,” Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas factotum, said on Lebanese television the other day. “And there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

At an event in Minnesota on Wednesday, a deranged heckler screamed at President Biden to impose a ceasefire. Biden could have stayed silent. He could have told off the heckler by detailing Hamas’s evil—yes, evil—acts and by saying America will stand with Israel in this existential struggle. Instead he told the crowd that “I think we need a pause. A pause means give time to get the prisoners out.” That is the message Secretary of State Antony Blinken will convey to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A “pause” is nothing less than a short-lived ceasefire. And for Biden, a mini-ceasefire is an excuse. It is his way of playing for time, of getting the left off his back. It won’t work.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship

Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship