Lou Sandler

Israel Risks Winning the Battle but Losing the War

That Qatar has become a primary ‘negotiator’ between Israel, the West and Hamas is, at the least, rather irritating. Qatar has long been a primary paymaster to Hamas providing them with large amounts of money and resources. Hamas’ political leadership, to include Ismail Haniyeh, continues to make pronouncements from afar while hiding in their condos supported by Qatar. Haniyeh and his cohort in Qatar, most likely have enough money in their own bank accounts to provide funds and support to Gazan citizens in place of the corrupt, collaborators in #UNRWA. I’d bet nobody’s asked.

But Qatar and the rest won’t sacrifice Hamas. They must be convinced to discontinue sponsorship and pressure Hamas to end all fighting, release every hostage and leave Gaza for the sake of Gaza’s citizens and Palestinian autonomy leading, in the future, towards a state. The US is less likely to press Qatar for the fact that that America bases regional elements of the US Navy and Air Force (and UK forces) there as part of the US Central Command for use in the region.

Hezbollah represents a very significant problem in the north but Israel certainly cannot open a full second front despite its claims to the contrary. And that is not only for military, but also, political reasons. And the politics matters. Hezbollah is far better organized and much stronger than Hamas. Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government while Hamas is a large Iranian proxy terrorist organization who forcibly occupied Gaza in 2007. It is not Israel who occupies Gaza.

That Netanyahu continues in office remains a problem. So long as he is wholly beholden to Ben Gvir and Smotrich and their extremist coalition, he and they will continue to interfere with the IDF and the goals of the war on Hamas.

Until the loon settlers on the West Bank are reigned in, Israel’s ‘bargaining’ power is lessened. So long as the IDF continues to destroy Gaza, Israel’s bargaining power is lessened still more. But Netanyahu is led by his extremists. Unless he breaks completely with his extremist coalition, Israel may win the battle but continue to lose the war in Gaza. There may also be less chance still of recovering any of the hostages.

President Biden and US Secretary of State Blinken are working very hard to create a framework which would include Saudi ‘recognition’ for an end to the Gaza war. And no matter individual position on Saudi Arabia or MBS, Saudi needs to be involved. An agreement that shuts out Hamas along with return of all hostages; those still alive and those not, would have to be part. But an authentic intent towards some form of Palestinian state, starting with increased autonomy, must also occur.

The only way for Netanyahu to stay in office and salvage any of his reputation might be, as was also shared in a column today by David Ignatius, is to ‘become a peacemaker’ through the Saudis and end the relationship with his current coalition partners. I think that would draw sincere interest by more moderate Israeli politicians.

MBS needs more than golf and soccer to ‘whitewash’ his bloody and cruel reputation. At the same time, Netanyahu needs a ‘Nixon goes to China’ moment to help ‘whitewash’ his own.

About the Author
I was born in Baltimore, MD and have since had a wide range of experiences including a year plus in Israel. I've been a progressive organizer, writer/media spokesperson, coordinator and freelance. I am a PhD level Clinical Behavioral Analyst specializing in severe behavioral need in children (and adults) and their families. I write through no ‘agenda or special interest’ other than being a passionate supporter of Israel and Israel's future.