For better or worse, the Israel-Hamas war has garnered a disproportionate amount of international attention, support, and criticism, with world leaders and keyboard warriors alike weighing on Israel’s diplomatic options as the Jewish state continues to push ahead with its goal of eradicating the threat of Hamas to have any chance at regional peace.It is clear to the world that the United States stands beside Israel as its closest ally. However, despite the momentous bipartisan support that the United States Congress and leadership have demonstrated, and the understanding of Israel’s right to defend its citizens against an unrelenting enemy on its southern border, the images emerging from the war zone in Gaza and the mounting pressure on US lawmakers amid cross-country public demonstrations, will have major ramifications for ultimately establishing stability and security in the Middle East. Israel’s institutionalized experiences over the past two decades have proven that Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah are the biggest impediment to long-term regional stability, not just for the normalization of Israeli relations with countries in the region, but for the millions of Arabs who are partners for a brighter future. As foreign agencies continue to try to dictate Israel’s “best course of action”, Israel must eliminate the root of what caused this war and address the potential outcomes from hostage release negotiations as the Israel-Hamas war approaches the end of its second month.
Learning from Past MistakesFor nearly two decades, Israel’s decisions have been heavily influenced by a loud outcry and external pressures from the international community. However, the “diplomatic hourglass” that has been imposed on Israel in previous years has been the very same impediment that ultimately contributed to the events of October 7th. Thunderous calls to Israel for an immediate ceasefire have overshadowed any proportionate international response towards Hamas to release the 239 hostages, many of them small children, women, and elderly, and of the condemnation of Hamas’ massacre. Hamas leadership has remained staunchly unapologetic for the brutal massacre that took place on October 7th, indicating that their only remorse is that it prompted Israel’s inevitable operation to eradicate the terrorist organization from Gaza at the root. President Biden has proven his administration’s unwavering bipartisan support for Israel’s right to defend itself, especially at the onset of the war, but internal pressures from within the US government, as well as from domestic public protests, have gradually eroded that steadfast support. Israel has been unequivocally clear about its objective- to dismantle and eradicate the threat of the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization at its roots and to end the cycle of terrorism that has actively obstructed any future progress toward long-standing peace and stability in the Middle East. Israel, both its leadership and the public, is deeply grateful for the staunch support it has received from the United States during the peak hours of the war. But as Israel’s offensive heats up and gathers momentum in Gaza, old patterns of foreign pressure and calls for de-escalation are coming to the surface, both in private conversations between world leaders and Israeli officials and on the public stage in media statements. There is a clear need for a paradigm shift in the international players’ approach to Israel’s right to defend its state in a comprehensive military campaign. The world must grant Israel legitimacy to extend its military operation and finish the job, once and for all. The world must move beyond the revolving pattern that has become apparent over the past two decades: support for Israel to defend itself at the onset of a conflict; mounting international and domestic pressure on leaders for a ceasefire and diplomatic solutions; and Israel’s withdrawal before the completion of its objectives. The Second Lebanese War in 2006 ended due to mounting international pressures, especially from Israel’s closest allies and the United Nations with the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, calling for the disarmament of Hezbollah’s military arsenal and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon. The Lebanese government and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon failed to disarm the terrorist regime. During the 17 years of relative quiet on the northern border, Hezbollah, with Iranian backing, has significantly increased its military capabilities posing an even greater threat to Israel than ever before, outwardly calling for the destruction of the Jewish State. Hezbollah’s army said to be stronger than the Lebanese army, has been well trained by the Iranian Quds force, demonstrating their military efficiency against Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s forces. Supported directly by Iran, Hezbollah’s arsenal has expanded to more accurate guided missiles that can target Israel’s largest urban centers and the looming threat of more destructive weapons supplied by Iran is a direct threat to Israel’s domestic security. The clear evidence of terror tunnels along Israel’s northern border and the outpour of praise for Hamas’ brutality from Hezbollah signals a dangerous warning of their intentions to follow the same strategies deployed by Hamas in Be’eri and Kfar Aza (southern Israeli communities) to Israeli villages along the Israel-Lebanon border. The same pattern of international intervention aimed at prematurely hauling Israel’s military action can be seen throughout the nearly two decades of wars and operations against Hamas. Following the Israeli military operations Cast Lead (2008), Pillar of Defense (2012), Protective Edge (2014), and Guardians of the Wall (2021), in which this pattern persisted, there has been no evidence on the side of Hamas to cease hostile attacks towards Israel. Israel has continued to appease the international community’s calls for retaliation and diplomatic solutions, but these periods of ceasefire have only provided the terrorists with the opportunity for more advanced attack strategies, expanded indoctrination of extremist ideals, and escalation of drone and incendiary aerial attacks. There is a huge escalation of the level of violence and strategic competence with each progressive war, culminating in the atrocities that manifested on October 7th. The escalation of violence has only proven that this cycle will continue unless decisive actions are taken to eliminate the governing terrorist regimes that have not indicated that they are willing to accept Israel’s right to exist and have publicly legitimized these unimaginable acts of terrorism.
The Responsibility of the US as Israel’s AllyAs Israel’s closest ally, who has repeatedly proven its commitment to Israel’s security since its establishment, US leadership must continue to extend a metaphorical Iron Dome over Israel to ensure that it fulfills its military objectives to break the cycle of bloodshed and usher in a new era of stability and peace in the Middle East.However, mounting social and political pressure is eroding the ironclad support demonstrated in the immediate aftermath of October 7th, and the world is quickly forgetting the true evil of the barbaric acts carried out by Hamas. Therefore, the United States must privately reaffirm to Israel that it has its full backing, and publicly reassure the world that Israel has both the legitimacy and a green light from the world’s strongest superpower to finish this war. It is important to understand that while the Western world may believe in the ability for resolution solely through diplomatic channels, the United States should understand, especially through its history of involvement in the Middle East, that diplomacy alone cannot achieve peace. Military action and deterrence are needed to reign in social order and move forward to a new era in the region. It is naïve to believe that diplomatic fixes will lead to an end of the war, and it has been proven time after time that this view will ultimately unleash a new wave of terrorism, providing an opportunity for Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran to exploit Israel’s pattern of succumbing to international pressures. There is a high price to pay, but if Israel does not see this through, the response from both Hamas and Hezbollah, if left to bolster their forces, will only worsen. Following the worst slaughter of the Jewish people since the Holocaust, the United States and the Western world need to understand that the influence of terrorism has only grown. Just this week, young Americans are identifying with Osama Bin Laden’s Letter to America, re-evaluating their beliefs in American values, and questioning its support of its strongest and most important ally in the Middle East. Americans are tearing down posters of babies as young as nine months, now ten, trapped for almost two months in Hamas’s terror tunnels while siding with an openly anti-American terror axis that publicly desecrates the American flag. It is incumbent upon American lawmakers to take a stronger stance in reminding the world of the extent of Hamas’s evil and reexamine the public decry of American values. These values have made the United States into the global superpower it is, not just because of its military strength, but because it stands for good and morality. While vocal young progressives and European leadership may challenge the position of Israel and its US ally, their support of a terrorist regime undercuts their claim that they are on the side of morality. The United States must remain steadfast in its position of Israel’s legitimacy to defend itself and ensure its self-preservation, at any cost.
Good vs. EvilThe scope of the Israel-Hamas war extends past Israel’s military operation, it poses a crossroads for the future of the Middle East. The movement towards normalization, towards peace and prosperity in the region, begins and ends with those who are fighting on the side of peace. The milestone plan announced at the G20 summit, led by President Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to establish a “peace corridor” from India, through the Gulf, Jordan, and Israel to Europe, has larger implications than improved trade capabilities and economic growth.The proponents of this massive and ambitious initiative have demonstrated their support for normalization, mutual prosperity, and diplomatic cooperation. While the partners of peace- Morocco, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and even Egypt and Jordan- have shown their motives to move towards a more prosperous future, opposition from the axis of evil, which includes Iran, has revealed their desire to limit upward economic mobility and consolidate control. This is most evident by their support of its terrorist proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, who offer access to key trade routes, aiding the imperialism of terrorism at the cost of their humility. This analysis supports the claim that two global axes have emerged on the playing field, even more pronounced in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war those on the side of good, who support peace, prosperity, and morality, and those who relish in the subjugation of their citizens, promote the heinous actions of terrorism and work to exacerbate the status quo of global inequality. Israel has found itself at the epicenter of a global conflict that has been embodied by the two sides of its war with Hamas, and it has no choice but to fulfill its goal. The United States and global partners for the axis of morality need to understand the inevitability of this war to break free from the paradigm that has divided the world. For only a few days following the October 7th massacre, the world rallied around Israel, condemning the evil of Hamas, but have now quickly vilified Israel’s response, even legitimizing the atrocities committed by Hamas. If the United States chooses to pressure Israel to abandon its clearly stated goal of the eradication of Hamas at its roots, the fallout will be detrimental. Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza was also the result of significant domestic and international pressure but demonstrated Israel’s determination to move forward with a plan to establish a concrete foundation for a new era of Palestinian relations. The result was anything but this, as the situation continued to deteriorate as Gaza continued to bombard Israel with unrelenting rocket fire, which only grew worse over the years, culminating in the worst terror attack in Israeli history on October 7th. Despite opposition from within Israel and Jewish communities around the world, Israel evacuated 21 Jewish communities, entire families were uprooted from their homes in the pursuit of peace and stability. I remember the massive project initiated by Shimon Peres and James Wolfensohn, then-president of the World Bank Group, to invest millions of dollars and build strawberry greenhouses for the Palestinians and trade networks with Europe as a basis for economic development. Not even two days after Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in Gaza burned down the entire project and began firing rockets into Israel. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. Hamas’ agenda leaves no doubt that there is no future of prosperity for the Palestinian people without the elimination of the terrorist regime. The world needs to understand that progress can only begin by eliminating the enemy of peace. The Iranian axis, and its regional proxies, do not have any intention of offering a brighter future for their people. They are not partners in the global movement toward economic progression, normalization, and morality. They stand as the greatest obstacle in breaking the cycle of violence that has not only reigned terror on Israeli and Jewish populations but continues to subjugate their people and promote terrorism as a legitimate means of diplomacy, sowing divide among the global public through propaganda. Israel has clearly stated its refusal to surrender to the demands of terrorism, and it is now up to the rest of the world to stand up for the side of humanity and ensure that the global shift toward peace and prosperity is not reversed. The writer is the CEO of Frish Strategic Consulting and a leading international strategic adviser.