Saturday at dawn the Hamas terrorist organization launched a massive surprise attack against Israel, killing hundreds and injuring thousands with rocket attacks as militant fighters from the Gaza Strip invaded and captured southern villages.
As the rockets indiscriminately killed innocents, Hamas fighters intentionally targeted civilians, even kidnapping some into the Palestinian territory. Other civilians were murdered in cold blood, and reports soon surfaced of Israeli women and children being kidnapped. One video surfaced of Hamas terrorists parading dead, naked Israeli women around. The brutal viciousness of the attacks suggest that the invasion is a provocation to lure Israel and its allies into a greater, regional war, potentially with Iran.
The surprise attack came on the 50 year anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, a conflict in which Egypt, Syria and other Arab nations launched a joint invasion on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. While this symbolic anniversary may have played some small role in the precise timing of the attack, the real catalyst of the invasion was most likely the weak foreign policy signals sent by the Biden administration with the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan, and its recent release of $6 billion in frozen funds in exchange for five American hostages. Hamas and Iran may also be trying to disrupt the recent diplomatic strides made between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
To that end, there will almost certainly be significant debate and future congressional inquiries as to what role the recent Iran negotiations may have played in igniting the attacks. But now is not the time for such questions, nor is it the time to attribute blame. Congress, the White House and Pentagon instead need to work together in this time of crisis to implement an effective strategy to help Israel achieve victory.
This must be done for both the sake of our Israeli allies and also our own armed forces, which face the possibility of getting pulled into a greater regional conflict with Iran, which has engaged in “low level war” with the U.S. ever since Islamic militants seized our Tehran embassy and took American hostages in 1979.
Several hours after Hamas attacked, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid put his political differences aside and extended an olive branch to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, offering to consolidate forces to create an “emergency government” to “manage the difficult and complex operation ahead of us.”
“The State of Israel is at war. It won’t be easy and it won’t be short. It has strategic consequences which we haven’t seen for many years. There is a serious risk that it will become a multi-front war,” Mr. Lapid said in an announcement.
The Israeli opposition leader met with Mr. Netanyahu, telling him that it was time to “put aside our differences” noting that no leader can “manage a war” with a “dysfunctional security cabinet,” and that such unity would make clear “to the world … that the people of Israel stand united against this threat.”
“We are all hurting, we are all angry. However, wars and countries aren’t managed with pain and anger but with calm and a strategic understanding of the situation. We need to put politics to one side for the sake of an emergency government that will manage this situation with determination and won’t deal with anything else until we achieve victory over our enemies,” the opposition leader said.
Mr. Netanyahu, an indisputable hero of the Israeli people, who has also proven to be a strong and capable leader, should consider this proposal. Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. should similarly consider, for the moment, putting their many differences aside.
At a time when the U.S. faces stark political polarization, our nation cannot afford to let our differences hamper our willingness to stand by one of our closest allies and achieve a swift victory to minimize civilian casualties and avoid an escalation of military hostilities. Working together will send a much needed signal to our enemies that the U.S. is united and prepared to rally our ally’s cause, and that acts of terror against innocent civilians will not be tolerated.
Fortunately, leaders from both sides of the aisle, and even the United Nations have all echoed one another in solidarity for support of Israel’s right to self-defense, which is guaranteed under Article 51 of the International Charter.
Contrary to our enemies miscalculations, the United States of America remains the most powerful military force in the history of the world. While our nation continues to face deep political divides, we must continue to honor our long, unbroken tradition of standing together when our allies fall under attack. Let’s stand with Israel—together.