Israel is fighting a war on several fronts, and I want to begin with our political-diplomatic battle with our ally, the United States. I mince no words here. We are speaking of our great ally with the forked tongue.
Key members of the Biden administration profess great concern for Israel, and enormous willingness to help support our efforts to take down Hamas. And then they make unreasonable demands that hinder our efforts. They have an agenda, and it is not our agenda. It is prudent to take a careful look at what they are saying.
Secretary of State Blinken came to town on Friday. The announcement that he was coming generated unease in many of us concerned about what he planned to say.
Actually, he generated unease even before arriving. On Tuesday, at a Senate hearing, he had said:
“At some point, what would make the most sense would be for an effective and revitalized Palestinian Authority to have governance and ultimately security responsibility for Gaza.”
What?? What constitutes a “revitalized” PA? Does it mean the US has poured millions more into it?
It is hardly a secret that Biden and Blinken are pushing for that “two-state solution,” which will bring great hope and freedom to the Palestinian people. Or so Blinken tells us, when he insists that this is the only solution that makes sense. Having the PA in control of Gaza is part of that plan.
But let’s take a closer look at the PA, starting with a clarification about terminology: the PLO is a coalition of Palestinian Arab groups, heavily dominated by Fatah, that claims to represent all Palestinian Arabs. The PA is an administrative entity established when the PLO negotiated the Oslo Accords with Israel. Mahmoud Abbas heads both groups. hH
The PLO has a charter, the Palestinian National Charter, which was amended in 1968 and not since, contrary to popular impression (later changes were never ratified). It reads in part:
“Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people (Article 1)
“Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit (Article 2)
“Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine (Article 9)
“The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine (Article 15)”
By 1974, the PLO, perceiving that the policy of “total liberation” was unrealistic, replaced it with the “Strategy of Stages.” This was a plan to appear (the operative term here) moderate and to even sanction negotiations with Israel. This was not true moderation but a step towards taking over, a little at a time.
Very shortly after the Oslo Accords were signed, Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO, gave a speech in S. Africa that was recorded without his knowledge. He said: “This agreement. I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our Prophet Mohammad and Quraish.”
This was his model. He was referring to a dishonest peace agreement Mohammad struck with the Quraish. He deluded them into believing he was peaceful. Then, when their guard was down and he had strengthened his forces, he attacked and demolished the Quraish.
Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, whose days are numbered now, has never been any more genuinely moderate than Arafat – he simply wears a suit instead of a keffiyeh and makes a good show of being peaceful in English for the right audiences. But the model set by Mohammad still applies for the PA headed by Abbas.
Article XV of the Oslo II Accords of 1995 clearly requires the PA to “take all measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism.” Yet the PA has never fought terrorism. It is deeply involved in its “slay for pay” program, according to which terrorists or their survivors receive salaries; as well, Abbas incites terrorism regularly with his charges against Israel and celebrates terrorists with public honor.
The placement of the PA in Gaza as the responsible entity would be a disaster. There is no reason to believe reform on its part would be anything but cosmetic – à la the Strategy of Stages.
It must be remembered that this has been tried already! When Israel formally pulled out of Gaza in accordance with the 2005 “disengagement,” it was handed over to the PA. Israel left greenhouses, which could have been utilized for establishing a flourishing agricultural economy, along with other infrastructure such as houses. It was torn down in a spasm of hatred. Hatred and not peaceful development was the order of the day.
We will return to this many times, as defeat of Hamas comes closer. There are multiple options for what might happen once Hamas is gone.
Once Blinken arrived here on Friday, he had demands to make regarding additional humanitarian supplies to be brought in from Egypt and “pauses” – not a ceasefire, he assures us – that would enable more humanitarian supplies to come though and work to be done on rescuing the hostages.
There were a great many flaws in what he was requesting, however:
First, as to the hostages. Netanyahu and some of our military leaders had made the point last week, after the rescue of Private Uri Megidish, that this happened after the ground war had begun: They were very clear in saying that the best chance for securing release of hostages was via pressure on Hamas. And so, we must ask, what is this business of “pauses”? Understand, every pause allows Hamas time to rest and regroup and potentially lengthens the duration of the war. Does Blinken imagine that Hamas will say, Oh, you are being nice to us now so we will release the hostages?
Then there is the matter of the US perception of how much additional humanitarian aid must be brought in, and how productively it is being utilized. I read one statement coming from the US indicating that there was no evidence that Hamas was usurping the aid – and this is pure poppycock. The more Hamas usurps, the more it is strengthened. At the beginning the US had agreed that aid transfer would be predicated on its not going to Hamas. But there does not seem to be follow-through on this.
Israel has secured evidence that Hamas is in control of fuel supplies in Gaza and has presented it to the Americans. The evidence was in the form of a recording in which a Gazan medical official acknowledges that Hamas’s fuel reserves — over half a million liters — are being stored directly under Gaza City’s Shifa hospital.
“The call confirms that Hamas controls the energy and fuel resources in the Gaza Strip and chooses to direct them for terrorism,” the IDF says in a statement. “Moreover, if [additional] fuel is allowed to enter the Gaza Strip, Hamas plans to seize those resources.” (Emphasis added)
Blinken says more has to be done to protect the civilians in Gaza. I would suggest that the more quickly we take down Hamas, the better it will be for the civilians.
Consider: Salah al-Din Road in the Gaza Strip was opened by IDF troops for a period of time each day to allow a humanitarian crossing for the residents of northern Gaza who haven’t yet evacuated to the south. Hamas fired mortar shells and anti-tank missiles at the Israeli troops.
There is evidence that Hamas shot directly at some civilians, as well.
Israel is re-opening this corridor today in spite of Hamas hostilities.
According to an IDF spokesman: “During fighting in the Gaza Strip, IDF soldiers are exposing how the Hamas terror organization systematically uses civilian facilities for its terror activity. IDF soldiers located rocket launchers near a children’s swimming pool, as well as launch pits and rocket launchers in an old children’s playground in the Gaza Strip. This is further proof of Hamas’ deliberate use of civilian infrastructure and civilians – including children – as human shields for its military operations,” the IDF Spokesperson stated.
“The IDF revealed on Saturday that 200 Hamas terrorists who participated in the October 7 massacre in Israel escaped into Gaza and are hiding in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Hamas has built a command center underneath Shifa Hospital”.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is to be celebrated for his strength in responding to the demands of Blinken. This is from the message he put out before Shabbat, after having met with Blinken:
“I made it clear that we are going with full steam ahead, and that Israel refuses any temporary ceasefire that does not involve the release of the kidnapped Israelis. Israel is not allowing fuel into Gaza and objects to funds being transferred into the Strip.”
On our primary front, our military battle with Hamas, we are doing exceedingly well.
On Saturday, Israeli forces deepened their ground offensive, and were “taking apart Hamas battalion after battalion,” according to Defense Minister Gallant. The IDF has entered urban areas; infantry and tanks encountered numerous attempts by Hamas operatives to come out of tunnels to attack troops. (I believe forces are soon to take on the tunnels.)
“We will get to [Hamas Gaza chief] Yahya Sinwar and eliminate him,” declared Gallant.
[When the war ends,] “there will be no more Hamas in Gaza. There will be no more security threat from Gaza on Israel, and Israel will have absolute freedom to take whatever security action it seeks against anyone who raises their head in Gaza.”
The will of this nation is strong and fiercely determined. And our well-trained forces are executing their maneuvers superbly.
Since the beginning of the war, 12,000 terrorist positions have been struck and the military is now utilizing advanced artificial intelligence systems to generate targets for airstrikes, artillery fire, and IDF ground forces.
Gallant also made reference to Hezbollah in remarks on Friday:
“Sinwar made a mistaken and sealed Hamas’ fate in Gaza. If [head of Hezbollah] Nasrallah makes a mistake, he will determine Lebanon’s fate.”
At present the northern border with Lebanon is not quiet. There are skirmishes. On Friday, Hezbollah hit Israeli army bases in the north with two rockets and Israel conducted airstrikes in return. This followed a speech by Nasrallah which threatened escalation of hostilities.
But the fact remains that the major attack from Hezbollah that had been anticipated has not materialized and intelligence reports indicate that it is not likely to (although extreme diligence remains critical).
I believe the number of soldiers who have been lost is close to 30 now. Every single one hurts.
The highest-ranking officer to fall to date is Lt. Col. Salman Habaka, a Druze who is being celebrated as a man of extraordinary devotion to protecting Israel. Commander of the 188th Armored Brigade’s 53rd Battalion, he was eulogized as “sharp as a razor and brave as a lion.”
The Druze are loyal Israelis and serve in the IDF.
Habaka saved lives in Kibbutz Be’eri during the October 7 Hamas massacre, and then subsequently fell during fierce fighting in northern Gaza last week.
His widow, Arin, had a very moving request before his funeral. She wanted to be certain that the funeral was held before Shabbat so that as many Jews as possible could come. She implored Jews to come, because he had always fought closely with Jews.
Please consider a donation to the Israel Independence Fund (IFF), which is providing life-saving materials to immediate response teams throughout Israel. The organization is especially concerned with the vulnerability of small communities in Judea & Samaria in which many of their men have gone to fight in Gaza. Providing long range walkie-talkies, movement-sensitive security cameras that send an immediate warning message to phones, thermal drones, etc.
All funds donated go to designated projects.
I really don’t want to hear another word about the poor suffering civilians of Gaza. My heart is with the Israeli hostages, most especially the young.
Today the Israeli Opera put out the video below. (Click on the picture to see it.) Please share it absolutely as broadly as possible.
Please pray to Heaven, my friends. Pray for the safety of our boys and the rescue of our hostages, and the strength and wisdom of our leaders. Pray with a heart filled with hope, not fear.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.