Polling shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans support Israel in this war and want it to destroy Hamas; the overwhelming majority of lawmakers from both parties share that view.
Caroline B. Glick (November 27, 2023 / JNS)
The time has come to discuss the Biden administration’s relationship with Israel. With each passing day, two things become obvious. First, Israel cannot fight the war without U.S. resupply of the Israel Defense Forces. As a consequence, Israel is beholden to the administration’s directives. And second, if Israel follows the Biden administration’s directives, it will lose the war.
Israel’s dependence on the United States was stated bluntly by retired IDF Maj. General Yitzhak Brick in an interview earlier this week.
“All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs, it’s all from the U.S. The minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability. … Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.”
Brick went on to explain that President Joe Biden’s demand that Israel permit “humanitarian aid” to enter Gaza means that he is demanding that Israel keep Hamas fully supplied with food, water and fuel.
His demand that Israel minimize Palestinian civilian casualties endangers IDF soldiers and renders the expansion of the ground offensive into central and southern Gaza, where the bulk of Hamas’s force is now located, almost impossible to carry out. Brick suggested various forms of long-term tunnel warfare and other suggestions for how the IDF may be able to defeat Hamas over time while operating within the constraints that Biden and his top advisors are dictating.
It is hard to judge whether Brick’s suggestions are workable without access to situational intelligence about conditions on the ground in southern Gaza. At a minimum, it is clear that Biden’s preference for the lives of civilians in Gaza over the lives of IDF soldiers on the ground ensures that far more soldiers will be killed in the fighting than would otherwise. Three weeks ago, the administration began demanding that Israel limit (or cancel entirely) its pre-ground battle aerial bombings. Consequently, in the week that preceded this week’s “humanitarian pause,” the IDF’s battle losses were overwhelmingly the consequence of sniper fire from Hamas terrorists hiding in buildings that the air force did not destroy before the battles, due to U.S. pressure.
Then there is the issue of the hostages. Israel is duty-bound to the hostages, their families and Israeli society as a whole to rescue them. There are two ways to do this. Israel can bow to Hamas’s demands, as it is presently doing by suspending its offensive, and endangering Israel’s soldiers and civilians by permitting Hamas to rebuild and reorganize its forces, and by releasing terrorists from its prisons and retuning them to Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Or it can renew its military operation, locate the hostages and rescue them itself. Clearly, the second option is preferable.
Securing aid from America
Until Monday, it appeared the reason that Israel had accepted the deal it is currently operating under owed to its inability to locate the hostages. The London-based Daily Express reported on Monday that the real reason Israel is not rescuing the hostages—and instead agreed to the current deal with all of its tactical and strategic costs—is related to the Biden administration’s directive not to harm Palestinian civilians.
Based on Israeli sources, the British Daily Express reported that Israel knows where many of the hostages are located. It has opted not to rescue them because Hamas is holding the hostages among civilians. Rescuing them would involve collateral damage to those Palestinians and risk U.S. resupply, which Israel cannot fight without.
Here it is important to note that the number of actual civilians that have died as a result of Israel’s bombings remains unknown. On Oct. 25, Biden acknowledged that the Gaza Health Ministry’s data on civilian casualties lacks credibility in light of the fact that the Health Ministry is simply an organ of Hamas and reports the numbers it is told to report by Hamas’s terror masters. That data counts every dead terrorist as a dead civilian.
Israelis were thrilled with Biden’s statement. But the next day, he apologized for it. According to Fox News, in a meeting with Muslim American leaders on Oct. 26, Biden apologized for telling the truth.
“I’m sorry. I’m disappointed with myself,” he said.
Since Oct. 26, the administration has embraced as fact Hamas’s casualty counts and uses them as the basis for its demand that Israel minimize Palestinian casualties. The administration’s willingness to ignore the fallacies at the heart of those data indicates that its policy is based on something other than concern for Palestinian civilians, and therefore is not a tactical challenge that Israel may be capable of contending with and still win.
To be sure, Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have all expressed their solidarity with Israel, as well as their revulsion at Hamas’s actions and desire to see the genocidal jihadist terror group defeated. And to be sure, Biden has taken steps to resupply Israel—requesting $14.3 billion in military supplies to Israel (although the assistance has yet to be approved by Congress or signed into law by Biden). These positions and at least partial actions lend credence to Brick’s assessment, shared by the IDF and the government, that the challenge the Biden administration’s position on civilian casualties in Gaza is an operational or tactical challenge and not a strategic conundrum.