President Joe Biden’s administration is making a foolish and dangerous push for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas terrorists who started the latest conflict.
The Times of Israel reported Friday morning (Israel time) that the Biden administration “recognizes” a ceasefire is unlikely within the next “couple” of days, but wants to reach one after that.
Doing so would be a major strategic blunder for the United States, and would hand the terrorists, and their Iranian sponsors, a victory.
Israel has not yet begun to fight. It has launched hundreds of airstrikes on Hamas targets, and has apparently used ground troops in attacks within the Gaza Strip, but has not yet moved significant forces into the area — forces that will be necessary to remove the rockets, the tunnels, and the terrorists that put them there.
Israel cannot function with its population centers under threat of rocket attacks on the scale Hamas has unleashed, even with the Iron Dome missile defense system. This is an existential war.
Yes, there is a humanitarian cost to Palestinians. That is entirely Hamas’s fault.
Hamas hides its weapons in densely populated areas; it also fires rockets from those areas, including from school grounds. It puts its operational centers and offices inside high-rise buildings, using the surrounding residents as human shields.
All of these are war crimes — and that’s before the rockets are taken into account, some 20% of which actually fall within Gaza itself. Many of those errant rockets kill Palestinian civilians.
In previous conflicts, Israel has invaded Gaza, only to withdraw when ceasefires were declared. The international community, which has seemingly infinite patience when Israeli children are killed, complained about the loss of innocent Palestinian lives. Israeli strategists, concerned at the time about the regional spread of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), did not want to take the risk that what replaced Hamas could be even worse.
So Israel held back — and Hamas dug in, preparing for the next conflict.
Though many of its weapons are homemade, Hamas derives much of its military support from Iran. While Qatar provides Gaza with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid — often with Israel’s blessing — Hamas owes its sizable rocket arsenal to Iran, which smuggles weapons into Gaza and provides technological advice.
“If it wasn’t for Iran’s support, we would not have had these capabilities,” the leader of Hamas in Gaza has said.
Hamas has become an Iranian proxy; neither side is shy about the alliance.
If the Biden administration and the United Nations were to impose a ceasefire now, Hamas and Iran would win a major victory. They would be able to claim, with good reason, that they had forced millions of Israelis into bomb shelters — and they could do so again, at will, without serious consequences. They would be able to point to the growing unrest between Jews and Arabs in Israel as a sign that they had begun to shake the foundations of Israeli society. And they would simply re-arm for another war.
A ceasefire would not save lives; on the contrary, it would cost more lives in the long run, because it will ensure that Hamas attacks again, putting Israeli civilians — and Palestinian civilians — in danger. A ceasefire would also embolden Iran to continue supporting terrorist proxies throughout the region — especially with Biden eager to relieve sanctions on the regime to entice it to the negotiating table over the defunct nuclear deal. And a ceasefire would also show that the U.S. does not stand with its allies.
There is only one reasonable way forward. Israel must be allowed to remove Hamas from the Gaza Strip — and must be armed to fight Hezbollah, if Iran decides to open a northern front.
If Biden wants to play peacemaker, he can negotiate an deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to restore PA authority in Gaza when Hamas is gone.
A ceasefire is a terrible idea, and even discussing one is a bad idea. Israel has the legal and moral authority to fight to victory. There may not be another chance.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it). His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.