Elizabeth Warren gets the Middle East backwards

Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren tweeted:

This ceasefire is good news, but it won’t bring back the hundreds of innocent civilians killed or prevent future violence. The Biden administration must press for a just, lasting two-state agreement, and that starts with taking all appropriate steps to end the occupation.

Warren has it backwards. It was Israel’s decision to stop occupying Gaza that led to the deaths of “innocent civilians” there.

If Israel still occupied Gaza, Hamas would find it difficult, if not impossible, to launch large-scale rocket attacks at Israel. And Israel would find it much easier to respond to such attacks without itself launching rockets that, thanks in part to Hamas’ strategy of hiding behind women and children, sometimes kill innocent people.

Israel’s decision to leave Gaza was a mistake in my view, and we said so at the time. The mistake is irreversible, as a practical matter. Israelis aren’t going to reestablish a presence in Gaza, and who can blame them?

But Israel shouldn’t repeat its mistake by ending the “occupation” of the West Bank. The Gaza experience confirms that, were Israel to pull out of the West Bank, it would face the likelihood of rocket attacks and other incursions from that front, on top of the threat from Gaza and from the North.

The Biden administration should ignore Sen. Warren’s advice and indulge its alleged desire to “pivot” away from the Middle East. It can do less harm elsewhere.

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