Several weeks ago, anti-Semitic demonstrations broke out around the world, calling for the destruction of Israel and for a cease fire between Israel and Gaza–i.e., an end to Israel’s counter-offensive. The demonstrators got their wish, and so far, the cease fire is playing out as I had feared. Israel’s military momentum is gone, and Israel has lost control over the situation. All focus now is on the hostage/prisoner exchanges. That puts Hamas in the driver’s seat, and the terrorist regime likely can drag out the cease fire almost indefinitely by dribbling out hostages a few at a time. Having gone down this path, it is hard to see a basis on which Israel’s government can withdraw from the process. So, despite brave assurances from some Israeli officials that the offensive will resume as soon as a brief truce is over, that eventuality is starting to look remote.
Meanwhile, U.S. support for Israel is draining away. Joe Biden is leaning on Israel’s government not to resume its offensive and to be more sensitive to civilian casualties–a suggestion that ought better be addressed to Hamas. Congressional Democrats are talking about conditioning ongoing aid to Israel on that country’s obeying international law. Which, of course, it does, but the intent is clear.
A few weeks ago it seemed incredible that Hamas might remain in power in Gaza, given Israel’s fury over the satanic events of October 7. Now that appears like a real possibility.
If Israel’s offensive is suspended indefinitely, if events dwindle into a prolonged hostage for prisoner exchange in which potentially thousands of Palestinian criminals and terrorists are let go, and if Hamas (or essentially the same elements under a different name) remains in control of Gaza, it will be a searing defeat for Israel and a diabolical triumph for Hamas. The sneak attack of October 7 will have proved a rousing success, and more attacks and more taking of hostages will be virtually guaranteed. Worse, if Israel fails to stand up for its absolute right to defend itself, it may compromise its ultimate ability to fight for its own survival as attacks by its Islamic enemies and the Left intensify.
Perhaps this reading of the situation is too pessimistic. Maybe the current truce will be short-lived, and Israel will get back to the business of defeating–no, destroying–its mortal enemy. I sincerely hope so. But at the moment, I do not like the direction in which events are moving.