The ongoing pause in fighting in Gaza in order to get some of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas out of the war zone — most especially the children — has resulted in a lot of hand-wringing about whether Israel will allow this pause to short-circuit is effort to destroy Hamas.
It will not, though the post-war situation will remain complex and difficult, as is always the case in the Middle East.
First, we must recognize that Israel is not leaving Gaza at any time in the near or even distant future, no matter what Joe Biden and the United Nations demands. Its army has now captured and controls the northern half of the strip, and it fully intends to take full control of the southern half as well, once this hostage exchange agreement concludes. It made this intention very clear just before the hostage pause was announced, when it dropped leaflets in south Gaza, warning citizens to leave. That southern campaign has not yet happened, but only because of the ongoing hostage release operation.
Nor will it matter if that exchange agreement gets extended for weeks, day by day as Hamas releases ten hostages at a time. At some point Hamas will either run out of hostages, or decide it needs to keep the hostages it has left as later bargaining chips. At that moment Israel will resume its offensive with full force. And it will do so with even more force, as there will no longer be child hostages held in Hamas control.
The political situation in Israel demands this. The Israeli public wants nothing less. Politicians and pundits in the west might whine and demand appeasement from Israel, but Israel is no longer interested in appeasing Hamas. It will no longer tolerate a terrorist base on its southeastern border, and it fully intends to re-occupy all of Gaza and make sure its leadership there is completely cleansed of the Hamas gang.
The eventual result will be a Gaza strip controlled entirely by Israeli security forces. At that point Israel will proceed to treat Gaza like it had prior to 2005, when it controlled the region. Any Hamas sympathizers left within Gaza at that point will find their lives at risk should they take any violent action. Over time an effort will be made to clean up the emotional, educational, and financial mess created by those terrorists since Israel unilaterially left in 2005. The strip will be rebuilt, but the reconstruction will be focused on improving the lives of its Arab citizens, not on teaching them to hate and kill Jews.
Note too that at this point we will likely discover that the high number of civilian deaths that Hamas’s leadership claims Israel has caused in Gaza will turn out to be vastly inflated. Expect the truth to be one tenth those numbers, if that.
Will the situation then be rainbows and unicorns? Hardly. At present Hamas’s leaders live in luxury in Qatar, and it appears at present that Israel plans no military actions against them. Even if Israel retakes and controls all of Gaza, we must recognize the continuing existence of that leadership. If given freedom to act, these terrorist leaders could function much like the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini did when in exile prior to 1979. Remotely he laid the foundations for the Iranian revolution that led to the death of the shah and Khomenini’s return, as leader of Iran.
The Hamas leadership in Qatar will not have the ability to return to Gaza in the same manner — Israel will not allow it — but if given the ability to function freely in Qatar they could easily foment unrest and violence within Gaza from a distance. For almost two decades the population there has been taught to hate Jews. It will therefore not initially take kindly to a new Israeli occupation, and will thus be receptive to calls for violence from these Hamas Nazis.
We must therefore ask whether Qatar and the other Arab nations will allow them to function freely. The evolving circumstances suggest it will not. While Qatar has let them live and operate within its country for years, once these thugs no longer control Gaza itself their value decreases significantly. First, any aid flowing into Gaza will no longer go through their hands. They will no longer have the same financial power. Second, continuing to support them will overall be a big negative for Qatar, especially if it results in more unrest in Gaza. It is very clear that, except for Iran and its allies, the Arab Middle East no longer as any taste for the Palestinian cause. During the recent conflict these nations have made it clear they are either neutral, or actually hostile to Hamas and its brutal savagery.
For Qatar to harbor these terrorists and allow them to cause unrest in Gaza will not do Qatar much good. It will therefore not be surprising if it eventually drops all support for them.
This last conclusion of course assumes that Israel firmly continues its offensive in Gaza and will continue to have the support of the U.S. and Europe in that effort. While the former is certain, the latter is not. Under Joe Biden the U.S. diplomatic effort in the Middle East has been nothing short of incompetent, disruptive, foolish, and a disaster. His eager willingness to hand Hamas $100 million in aid no questions asked — immediately after it committed the wholesale rape, torture, and murder of 1,400 Israeli civilians, including many women and children — illustrates best that incompetence. Israel cannot depend on strong American support while Biden is in power.
Even the Arabs recognize these facts.
Courtesy of Doug Ross.
Nonetheless, all signs point to an Israel unwilling to bow to American pressure. It recognizes the anti-Semitic elements within the Democratic Party, and will not submit to it for this reason alone. Westerners must believe Israel and Jews worldwide when they say “Never again!” They mean it. They know better than anyone what happens to them when you appease evil. They saw it happen again on October 7th. They are implacably determined to not let it happen again.
Moreover, Israel likely believes the control of the White House by Biden and the Democratic Party is short term, and will go away at some point. Its survival therefore cannot hinge on bowing to Democratic Party foolishness or bigotry. It must take a longer view.
Thus, this is the likely future, at least in the short run: Gaza will be controlled and rebuilt by Israel. The citizens on Gaza will slowly be reinstated to their homes, with hope instead of hate. Slowly they will also learn that the Israelis are not the devil. The Hamas leadership will, at least for a while, remain in Qatar attempting to make trouble, though their long term power will steadily diminish.
And the U.S. will continue to stumble along like a fool, led at least until ’24 by a senile man who has trouble finding his way to his own desk.
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