• A Guide For The Politically Perplexed: Hamas And Israel

    March 12, 2024
    Netanyahu and Biden; Public Domain.

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    Hamas is one of three terrorist entities supported financially and ideologically by Iran, one of three permanent enemies of the United States. The other two are Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China.

    Not only is Hamas a terrorist fox in the bosom of Israel, it is the once and once-only elected government of Gaza-Palestine, supposedly one of the “two states” often mentioned by American politicians when they begin prating about a “two state solution” to problems in the Middle East.

    It has become clear in recent days that the Biden administration favors the much sought after, politically mystical “two state solution.” That is, the Biden administration looks kindly on the treacherous fox in the bosom of Israel that threatens to destroy it and had on October 7, 2023, through its aggressive military actions, very publicly declared open war on Israel.

    Following the brutal surprise attack on Israel by Hamas, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu -- loathed by both the Biden administration and that of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama -- -- rightly declared war on Hamas, vowing to destroy it root and branch.

    There has been evolution in the Biden administration’s solid support of Israel.

    Biden early announced his support of Israel but lately has hedged his bets by also supporting a pause in the war or a temporary cessation of hostilities. Strategists who know something about war have denounced them both as strategic measures that will allow the enemies of Israel – Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis, an Islamist political and military organization that emerged from Yemen in the 1990s -- to regroup in order to continue their unremitting destruction of the Israeli state.

    Those who fear the widening of the war have managed agilely to leap over the whole history of Iranian supported aggression. The war already had been widened by Iran ever since Israel withdrew troops and Israelis from Gaza way back in 2005, when Hamas replaced The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO or Fatah) as Gaza’s governing institution. Israel’s current response to Hamas and Hezbollah and Houthi aggression is an honest and forthright answer to a widened war.

    Hamas, an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, established itself in 1987, but it had been active in the Gaza strip as early as the 1950s. Following the defeat of Fatah in a series of violent clashes in June 2007, Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian territories. Its first attack against Israel, the abduction and killing of two Israeli soldiers, occurred in 1989.

    Of Iran's 89 million inhabitants, 99 percent are Muslim, according to a 2023 census. A sizable majority, 88 percent, embrace Shia Islam, and 12 percent are Sunni, according to a 2016 census.

    Biden is waging a reelection campaign; Netanyahu is waging a war against the real, persistent and ideologically committed enemies of Israel, many of them trained and armed by Shia Iran. The two ambitions clash at important points.

    Wars are either won or lost. Campaigns are either won or lost.  And the loss of a war or political campaign removes the loser from making important decisions that undoubtedly affect the fate of nations. Peace negotiations are either successful or unsuccessful. And the most successful peace negotiations are undertaken by those who have successfully won wars.

    The map of Europe, the peace of Europe, following World War II, was decided by those who won the war. The unity of the United States was decided by Abraham Lincoln, who successfully prosecuted a bloody insurrection by slave holding states. The peace that followed was decided at Antietam and Gettysburg, two of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

    Wars and the victors of wars matter. Successful negotiations – more properly, the choices of those who will shape the peace – are, more often than not, decided on battlefields. All history cries out to us -- to lose the war is to lose the peace that follows war.

    Successful foreign policies are shaped by politicians who are wise enough to discern enemies from friends. American voters in November 2024 will have an opportunity to decide who will shape the peace in the Middle East -- the friends or enemies of Israel. And the same calculus applies to Eastern Europe, now holding its own in a defensive war with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Who wins the war wins the peace. We can only hope they will choose wisely.

    Victor Davis Hanson’s written commentary is widely available through distribution agencies, but he cannot be found in most Connecticut newspapers. The author of A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War and The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won is particularly luminous on the matter of war and its consequences.

    Hanson is not certain the American Republic will survive recent assaults upon it by neo-Marxist pedagogues or, for that matter, the a-historical architects of American foreign policy. And patriots who have survived Ivy League universities in recent days tend to agree with him. Yet the man makes too much sense to be included among the commentariat in our state’s newspapers.

    Go figure.

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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