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David K. Rees

The reality: Israel has boots on the ground which protect the whole Western world

IDF soldiers with boots on the ground. (Flash90)
IDF soldiers with boots on the ground. (Flash90)

Ever since its disastrous decision to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States’ very simple policy on going to war has been a permutation of words John Kennedy spoke in his inaugural address: we shall bear any economic burden, fund any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, but in return, the our allies have  to put their “boots on the ground” and do the dying.

Israel’s present war in Gaza is a good example, as an examination of the realities reflects.

Up to now, both the United States and Israel have been holding up their end of the bargain. The United States has paid millions of dollars to Israel with which to purchase weapons (almost all from American defense contractors), while Israelis have been doing the dying.

The prime reality is that in 1979, when the Ayatollahs took over Iran and created a Muslim theocracy, an entirely new form of terrorism came to the Middle East. Before then, the many terrorist attacks had been committed by the secular Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which sought to replace Israel with an ARAB (not a Muslim) state.

While it was NOT Al Qaeda’s first attack on the United States, the realities of ultrareligious Muslim terrorism began to appear in the United States on 911, the day that Al Qaeda flew two jet airplanes into the World Trade Center. Al Quada, like Iran, justified its terrorist attacks upon its distorted version of Islam. The United States very soon retaliated and began attacking Al Quada in Afghanistan. George Bush 43 was President then. Since then, three US Presidents have come and two are gone. Al Qaeda still exists.  Moreover, hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, In Afghanistan, the United States has gone home, and the Taliban has established a Muslim theocracy to rule it.

The reality today is that the ultrareligious Muslim terrorists are not only Israel’s worst enemy, they are the West’s worst enemy, too. Only this week, ISIS (the organization that Trump promised to eliminate, but did not) called for Muslims to kill Christians and Jews all over the world, especially in the United States and Europe. ISIS is but one of many ultrareligious Muslim terrorist entities which are driven by their interpretation of Islam. Others include Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Houthis, and numerous smaller ultrareligious, terrorist organizations.

Iran, is the head of the octopus of terrorists that threaten the world and is the scariest of the bunch, Not only does it supply and fund its proxies, it pays Hamas millions of dollars a year and gives it sophisticated missile technology which is used to fire missiles into Israel. Iran is a very large country (1.6 million km2) with enormous oil deposits and a well-educated population. It is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power.

Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, also deserves special mention. As long ago as 1992, it bombed Israel’s embassy in Buenos Areas. It has carried out acts of terrorism  in Germany, France, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Panama, and Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah operatives have also been caught preparing attacks in  Bolivia, Cyprus, Egypt, Peru, and Thailand.

At present, the world is focused on the horrible destruction which is taking place in Gaza, where now it is claimed that millions of Gazans are facing starvation. Here are a few realities that put this destruction in perspective.

Although Gaza is tiny (45 km2), after four months of fighting, Israel still has NOT managed to get control of the whole Gaza Strip. This stands in marked contrast to Israel’s performance in 1967, when it was able to drive Jordan’s army back across the Jordan River and Egypt’s army back across the Suez, Canal, an area of 65,860 km2, in only six days. The American experience in World War II illustrates the same point. There were roughly four months between D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. While allied forces were criticized for unnecessarily killing civilians when they bombed Dresden and Munich, the reality is that these events only took a few days. When the allied forces crossed Europe, no excessive civilian casualties resulted. Nobody starved.

The reason that it has taken Israeli soldiers so long to get control in Gaza is that they have had to contend with a very expensive, extensive system of tunnels as well as Hamas headquarters and caches of weapons which were stored under or inside hospitals, schools, and Mosques. Hamas also attacked Israel soldiers from civilian structures. The Israeli soldiers have also been forced to move more slowly because Hamas, unlike the Germans in World War II,  took over 250 hostages. Hamas still holds approximately 100 of them alive and has retained numerous dead bodies.

The economics of the situation are also among the realities which are being ignored. Last week, when Israeli troops once again took control of Shiva Hospital, they found that in addition to weapons, Hamas had stored one million American dollars there. How did Hamas get so much money– money which could have been used to better the lives of Gazans, but instead was used to prepare for the war? The largest portion if that money was paid to Hamas by Iran. How much of the money which Qatar paid went to Hamas or by other means, including taxes is still to be determined, if possible.

The people in the diaspora who are criticizing Israel are missing the bigger picture. All of the terrorist organizations are watching what is going on and looking at Hamas’ actions with admiration. Hezbollah has been firing missiles into northern Israel since October. Hamas and Hezbollah have already declared that the war in Gaza has been a huge victory for Hamas and that the decision to commit the October 7th massacre was a good one — one that should be repeated  three or four times. It is precisely because Israel cannot allow the terrorists to claim victory, that it must win this war convincingly.

Israel is fighting for its very existence in  Gaza, which makes the war there more acute for those of us in Israel than it is for people in the diaspora. That fact helps to explain why Israeli soldiers, including those Israeli soldiers in Gaza who have lost their  lives in order to defeat Hamas, have had their boots on the ground and are doing the dying. But don’t be mistaken. Israelis, including those Israeli soldiers who have been killed in this war, have been doing the dying, but Israeli boots on the ground are serving to protect people all over the world.

About the Author
Before making Aliyah from the United States, I spent over three decades as a lawyer in the United States. My practice involved handling many civil rights cases, including women's- rights cases, in State and Federal courts. I handled numerous constitutional cases for the ACLU and argued one civil rights case in the United States Supreme Court. I chaired the Colorado Supreme Court's Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure and served on the Colorado Supreme Court's Civil Rules and Rules of Evidence Committees. Since much of my practice involved the public interest, I became interested in environmental law and worked closely with environmental organizations, including the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). I was on the Rocky Mountain Board of EDF. I received an award from the Nebraska Sierra Club as a result of winning a huge environmental case that was referred to me by EDF. I also developed significant knowledge of hazardous and radioactive waste disposal. I was involved in a number of law suits concerning waste disposal, including a highly-political one in the United States Supreme Court which involved the disposal of nuclear waste. As I child I was told by my mother, a German, Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany, that Israel was a place for her and her child. When I first visited Israel many years later, I understood what she meant. My feeling of belonging in Israel caused me to make Aliyah and Israel my home. Though I am retired now, I have continued my interest in activism and the world in which I find myself.
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