Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

Hamas Started It, but Israel Must Finish It

Source Photo: Hananya Naftali via Telegram:

Like a tormented replay of the Yom Kippur War by Egypt and Syria against Israel, today we suffered another surprise attack, this time by Hamas in the Sukkot War. With over 300 Israelis dead and almost 1,600 wounded thus far, Israel and Jews worldwide are reeling from this brutal, multi-pronged attack.

A Shocking Lapse by the Military and Intelligence

Even before the Yom Kippur War, Israel had some intelligence and warnings of the buildup and impending attack by the Arabs. Then Israel, still euphoric and overconfident from the success of the Six-Day War in 1967 and restrained by the U.S. from conducting another preemptive attack, suffered a horrible initial defeat on the battlefield.

Can anyone fathom that Israel is again under surprise attack on another Jewish holiday and the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War? Moreover, rather than nation-state armies attacking Israel in the Yom Kippur War, this time by a ragtag army of terrorists from Gaza sending a barrage of up to 5,000 rockets into Israeli civilian centers, blowing up the border wall and infiltrating through tunnels, AK-47 gunmen flying overhead on hang gliders and coming by stealth from the sea is completely beyond comprehension.

Just as in 1973, Egypt feigned military training maneuvers along the Suez Canal before actually attacking Israel, Gaza terrorists diverted Israel’s attention with violent rioting along the border for days and weeks leading up to the meticulously planned invasion of Israel.

Political Infighting Left Israel Handicapped

We should pay careful attention to the fact that while Israel has been muddled by endless weeks of political infighting and protests over judicial reform, Iran-backed Hamas has been busy preparing for this sophisticated attack, which does not differentiate Labor from Likud or secular from religious. So while reservists refused to serve and threats of leaving the country abounded, Hamas terrorists prepared their entry into the vacuum of what had once been Jewish unity, community, and the sacred homeland.

Insider Threat Cannot Be Ruled Out

In short, this surprise attack should arouse incredible suspicion given Israel’s advanced technology, military, and intelligence capabilities, on top of their numerous prior military engagements with Hamas (2008, 2012, 2014, and 2021). Further, with a tremendous border wall including surveillance and sensors surrounding Gaza, one has to ask: where were the cameras and microphones, the drones, the satellites, the IDF watchtowers and guards, the sharpshooters and tanks, the undercover Secret Service agents, and even their Arab collaborators? How could all of these fail together? How were entire Israeli settlements and army bases overrun by some crazed terrorists? How could the terrorists not only cross the border but return over the border to Gaza with hostages in tow, and there was not a soldier, border guard, or police officer anywhere to stop them?

Surely if Russia can hold a 620-mile frontline with Ukraine for the last 18 months and is under constant bombardment by modern Western weapons, then Israel should be able to secure a 32-mile border with Gaza!

Unfortunately, it feels like the great hero of Israel, Samson, has once again been fooled, set upon, and helplessly bound, his eyes gouged out, and taken to the Philistine’s great temple to mock not only him but the whole of the Israel nation, and even at G-d Almighty Himself.

The Realization of Israel’s Great Fear

Today was the realization of one of Israel’s greatest fears, which was the infiltration by terrorists en masse to kill indiscriminately and take many Israelis hostages in chaotic street fighting in villages and settlements along Israel’s border. The scenes of an Israeli tank destroyed with selfie photos of the terrorists, armored vehicles looted and driven through Gaza streets, militants streaming through the border fence on motorbikes and pickup trucks, Israeli women, elderly, and soldiers taken captive, spat on, raped, tortured, and bodies mutilated are images that are now etched in our minds.

We are left wishing that we could somehow unsee the horror that we are witnessing, that it was all just a nightmare that we will magically awaken from, and that it will be as if it never was.

Retaliation—An Absolute Necessity

While retaliation is not the answer, it is necessary, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We are at war” and vowed that Hamas will pay an “unprecedented price.”

Whether for safeguarding Israel, for the dispensation of justice, or to reestablish some measure of deterrence, there must be a swift and devastating blow to Hamas and the entire Gaza strip that has never occurred before.

In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in the hope of a measure of peace. However, the opportunity for a brighter future was abruptly cut short when Hamas terrorists took over the enclave in 2007. The result has been an endless series of acts of terrorism and war against Israel.

We can no longer go back to business as usual! The usual must be upended, and Gaza must be militarily conquered, period. All the Israeli hostages need to be found and brought home, even if it means excruciating house-to-house searches and street-by-street battles; it is better to fight it out once and for all in Gaza than endlessly in the cities of Israel. Finally, Gaza’s military and terrorist apparatus must be completely eradicated. The strip must be divided, secured, and demilitarized permanently.

No nation on earth would suffer endlessly from missile barrages, terror tunnels, and murderous militant infiltrations into its sovereign territory, and today it is time to say enough! We will do what needs to be done to safeguard our nation and people, and we will ask for understanding and, if necessary, forgiveness later.

Dealing with Radicalized Iran and its Terrorist Proxies

As we all know, Hamas is not magically getting missiles, arms, support, and training out of thin air. Today, Iran’s parliament chanted “Death to Israel” after the Hamas terrorist blitzkrieg into southern Israel. It is well known that Iran, with its arc of Islamic fanaticism, infidel hatred, and global-sponsored terrorism, regularly funds and arms Hamas and Hezbollah. Further, Iran has been playing nuclear poker, and the world has been cowering in fear of putting a definitive stop to it. This attack by Hamas is just a small prelude to what is to come with Iran and its terrorist proxies. If we don’t want to see mushroom clouds rising over the Middle East and Europe, Israel and the United States must once and for all deal definitively with Iran’s nuclear and terrorist capability—no more ifs, ands, or buts.

None of us wants to see any more bloodshed pouring forth on Israeli streets and fields, children abducted, women brutally raped, men held captive and tortured, and the Holy Land scorched by missiles and flames. There should never any more be the illusion of “land for peace” or of a two-state solution when what they want is to drive the Jews into the sea! Astute political engagement has its place in dealmaking and genuine peace-making, but now is the time for skilled military strategy, engagement, and the resounding defeat of our enemies.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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