Only a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column for Broad + Liberty explaining why there can never be peace in the Middle East. How prescient that column turned out to be.
Israel has had to fight for its existence since it became a state in 1948. The next day, after declaring her independence, five Arab neighbors attacked Israel.
Israel gains more territory as a result of every attack by her neighbors. Most notably, during the 1967 “Six Day War,” Israel gained possession of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and most of the Golan Heights.
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Israel has consistently been willing to trade land for peace. In 1979, the historic Camp David Accord saw Egypt formally recognize Israel, and Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula. In 1994, Jordan recognized Israel, and the border between the two countries was formalized.
The opportunity to create the “two-state solution” came in 2000, as I wrote in my prior column. Yassir Arafat walked away from that opportunity. During my Middle East trip in 2003, I learned the issue that prevents a peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel is “the right of return.”
In essence, as long as Jewish people are in the area, there will never be peace. For Arafat then and Hamas (and Hezbollah) now, it is more important to eliminate the state of Israel and all the Jews living there than to have a Palestinian state. On this matter, they will not compromise. Those who don’t see Hamas’ attack as proof of this point are beyond redemption.
The terrorist organization Hamas launched an unprovoked surprise attack on Israel. Simultaneously, 2,500 rockets rained down on southern Israel while hundreds of Palestinian terrorists breached barriers, while others came across via paragliders and motorboats.
The timing of the attack is not a coincidence. Israel and Saudi Arabia had been negotiating and were reportedly close to normalizing relations. Saudi Arabia and Iran have been vying for regional dominance for decades. Iran is primarily Shia Muslim, while Saudi Arabia is mainly Sunni Muslim. Iran has been the primary sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah. While Hamas controls Gaza, Hezbollah controls the West Bank. Iran could not bear to see the Saudis reach a peace agreement with Israel.
During the initial attack, Hamas terrorists brutally slaughtered over 600 Israelis and at least 30 Americans on the streets, in their homes, and 260 young people at the Supernova music festival in the Negev desert. There is no military or strategic reason for killing young people at a concert.
Ultimately, either Hamas or Israel will no longer exist.
The world is witnessing some of the worst atrocities imaginable. Because of cellphone technology and the internet, the world is seeing these actions in more graphic detail than ever before. Images of murdered Israeli babies and beheaded innocents are on the internet. They are sickening to view. However, they must be visible in order for everyone to realize that Hamas’ atrocities are worse than those that ISIS and al-Quedia previously committed.
This is Hamas. NBC News obtained documents showing “that Hamas created detailed plans to target elementary schools and a youth center in the Israeli kibbutz of Kfar Sa’ad to ‘kill as many people as possible,’ seize hostages, and quickly move them into the Gaza Strip.” According to the report, Israeli first responders discovered attack plans labeled “top secret” in Arabic on the bodies of terrorists. They include detailed maps and “show that Hamas intended to kill or take hostage civilians and schoolchildren.”
As Israel begins to mount its responses to Hamas’ atrocities, there have been protests supporting Palestinians and statements criticizing Israel, including by Members of Congress such as Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, and “the Squad” as well as by trolls on social media.
On social media, some post that Hamas does not use human shields. Others post that Israel is responsible for Hamas’ attacks or that the reports of the killing of women and children are fake.
These statements make me both sick and angry.
Whenever I hear about Israel occupying Gaza and the West Bank, I wonder if the people making those statements know that Israel only gained control of those areas after defeating Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the Six-Day War. I wonder if they know that in 2000, Yasser Arafat walked away from the opportunity to create a Palestinian homeland that would have included all of the Gaza Strip and 90 percent of the West Bank.
While Israel holds back its offensive to allow Gaza residents to leave, Hamas tells them not to move and reportedly stops them from moving. Other Arab countries are not opening their arms to accept Gaza refugees either.
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Hamas is holding hostages, including American citizens, in populated areas of Gaza. They also store their weapons in mosques, hospitals, and homes. If residents of Gaza tell the IDF where the terrorists are hiding, holding hostages, and keeping weapons, it would reduce civilian deaths.
While I don’t advocate killing citizens, especially women, children, and seniors, Hamas has set the terms of this war.
It’s also worth remembering that in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks, there was dancing in the streets and celebrating throughout the Gaza Strip. While not every resident is complicit, neither are they all innocent.
The Israeli response is coming. The IDF will not bring a knife to a gunfight; bet on it. The indignant responses that have already begun need to hold their hypocritical tongues. Omar, Tlaib, and “the Squad” still haven’t criticized Hamas’ atrocities.
President Biden and I don’t agree on much, but I was pleased to hear him say that Hamas must be eliminated on “60 Minutes.”
Israel is dealing with barbaric terrorists who do not follow the rules of civilized warfare. Israel cannot defeat Hamas by fighting with conventional methods. They must use tactics that Hamas understands, and the price must be so great that the Palestinian people will no longer tolerate Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran.
Israel will continue to make it clear that it wants to live in peace, as it has with most of their other Arab neighbors. For years, Israel has accepted a two-state solution. However, the terrorists’ continued commitment to destroying the state of Israel, especially the brutal killing of innocent civilians, will no longer be tolerated.
Israel has no choice. It’s a fight for its existence. Israel must not make the same mistake the U.S. made in its 20-year battle with the Taliban in Afghanistan. After all the blood and treasure the United States sacrificed, the Taliban is back in control, and Afghanistan is in the same position it was pre-9/11. For Israel to survive, it must destroy terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, whose stated goal is to eliminate Israel and the Jewish people living there.
Andy Bloom is President of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT, WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles, and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President of Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc., and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.