As the fourth day of a big and very bloody war with Hamas draws to a close, it is clear that it has no precedent in the history of the state. The estimated number of dead in the Hamas onslaught has risen to 1,200, with more than 200 taken hostage. For a country with a total population of 9.7 million, and a Jewish population of slightly more than 7 million, these are incredible, unimaginable numbers. America’s population is 336 million, almost 35 times greater than Israel’s. Adjusting for population size, Israel’s losses so far, when the war has just begun, are equivalent to 41,520 American deaths. In four days.
This isn’t remotely comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, or the terrorist attacks in September 2001. Out of the military events of American history, it is comparable only to the country’s bloodiest day, the Battle of Antietam on 17 September 1862 during the Civil War, in which 3,654 men were killed out of a pre-war total population of 31.5 million, of which four million were slaves. For Israel, the shock is in fact greater, because most of those killed were civilians, not soldiers. Even worse, they were not simply killed, but murdered in the most hideous manner imaginable, as the account of Adi Efrat, a woman who was lucky to be among those rescued from the slaughter in Kibbutz Be’eri, makes awfully clear.
After this, the only outcome compatible with the continued existence of the State of Israel is the total, complete and permanent annihilation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israel’s war policy must follow the line laid out by the Military liaison to the Palestinians, Major General Ghassan Alian, “you wanted hell, you will get hell”. Already, President Biden is unambiguously putting pressure on Israel to restrict its operations, with the following statement:
“Israel and the United States are stronger and more secure when we act according to the rule of law. Terrorists purposely target civilians, kill them. We uphold the law of war. It matters there’s a difference.”
President Biden should be very forcefully reminded that America’s response to Pearl Harbor culminated in the incineration of sixteen square miles of Japan’s capital, Tokyo, with napalm. That one bombing raid, on the night of 10 March 1945, killed approximately 110,000 people. Five months later, America followed up with the only two atomic bombings of world history to date, to finish off Japanese resistance. There were and are no complaints from American officials that this violated the laws of war. Even President Obama refused to apologise for the nuclear strike on Hiroshima, let alone declare it unlawful. Tokyo’s funeral pyre was not even a subject of discussion during Obama’s visit in 2016.
Israel should not and will not burn Gaza to ash with either napalm or nuclear weapons, nor will it purposely target civilians, but Israel cannot and will not continue what it has done for decades under thoroughly morally bankrupt American pressure, that is engage in extraordinary, and extraordinarily expensive, efforts to save civilian lives in terrorist-controlled Gaza. “Roof knocking” with non-lethal bombs, pinpoint targeting with incredibly sophisticated precision munitions, and the other techniques which minimised Palestinian casualties far more effectively than American procedures in Afghanistan or Iraq, have lost all relevance.
President Biden, who unlike his multiple more illustrious predecessors never experienced a single day of any kind of combat, needs to learn to stay silent on subjects which he has no capacity to understand. The war, which Israel shall carry back into Hamas-controlled Gaza, will be a total war. Gaza shall suffer the same fate as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, countries which fell under the rule of governments led by murderous animals. There will be a great many civilians dead in Gaza, and the terrorists are solely responsible for them all, like Hitler and Hirohito were solely responsible for the deaths of their citizens in Allied bombing raids. President Biden’s whingeing must end, and he should simply support Israel, and be the recipient of Israel’s gratitude.