Thursday, June 20, 2024

Time to End the War?

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari (Matzav)
Unlike many of his detractors. I am not quick to blame all that’s wrong in the world on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His detractors increasingly consider him a self serving megalomaniac whose sole interest is preserving power and staying out of prison. That he could not care less about the welfare of his people, the hostages or his country. They believe in earnest that with Netanyahu, it’s all smoke and mirrors. He is the consummate politician that says one thing and then does another. He is corrupt, a liar and a cheat. Always and forever!

Even if there is an element of truth to those accusations, I do not for a moment believe that the  longest serving democratically elected prime minister of Israel is solely out for himself. I sincerely believe he is a patriot who believes he is doing what is best for his country. But I also believe that his decisions might be colored to some degree by the abovementioned self interests

It is with these mixed feelings in mind that I am reluctant to criticize him while at the same time I feel it might be warranted at this time. 

I am not in his shoes. I am not privy to the necessary military/intelligence that would give my views any legitimacy. That said, I have to take into consideration a number of troubling things that are not based on the animosity directed toward him by any of his avowed political enemies or the media.

His recent public criticism in English of the Biden Administration for slowing down weapons shipments was ill advised. The Biden administration has  responded angrily saying that they don’t know what he is talking about. Only one shipment of 2000 pound bombs has been delayed. Everything else has been sent on schedule. 

And then there is what seems to be a growing consensus of his own military people who say the following as reported by Matzav: 

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari acknowledged on Wednesday that eradicating Hamas entirely is unfeasible. “Hamas is an idea,” he elaborated in an interview with Channel 13, adding, “Whoever thinks that it’s possible to make it disappear is mistaken. 

And this from the Jerusalem Post:

"The operation in Rafah is progressing above and below ground. The forces are fighting with great determination and destroying the lifeline connecting the Gaza Strip to Egypt," he declared. 

The IDF confirmed that at the end of three weeks of operations by the 162nd Division, about 20 tunnels were discovered adjacent to the Philadelphi corridor. IDF officials have estimated that most of the tunnels cross into Egyptian territory and were used to smuggle ammunition and materials for the production of weapons. 

About 82 shafts were located near them, and it is estimated that they were connected to smuggling tunnels that could be controlled from afar.

"These two actions – on the one hand, a military operation, and on the other, the ability to change governance – will achieve two of the goals of this war: The collapse of Hamas' rule and military power, and the return of the hostages," Gallant resolutely concluded. 

Maybe it is time to consider ending this war. Maybe Israel has gone as far as it can to diminish the Hamas capacity to commit terrorist attacks like the one that started this war. They are now a guerilla terrorist group which is almost impossible to completely destroy. Maybe now Israel will be better able to secure themselves against this much smaller and much weaker group. Maybe now is the time to focus entirely on getting the hostages back. The US could surely prove to be an invaluable resource for that.. 

Maybe Netanyahu should stop worrying about a revolt in his governing coalition since the Charedi parties and the extremist right wing parties know they will never achieve this kind of power in the next government. It is highly unlikely they will  give up whatever power they currently have as members of the current coalition.

I think the time is right. Netanyahu cannot afford to gamble on a Republican victory in November that would be more sympathetic to him.

Netanyahu will be addressing both Houses of Congress in a few weeks. What a wonderful thing it would be if he were to announce an end to the war, a deal to get the hostages out, and his support for a terrorist free governing body in Gaza after the war.

Is that last point even possible? I don't know. It never has been. But it would be the right thing for the prime minister to support in principle even if it isn’t possible. And insist  that it be implemented as advertised with ironclad international guarantees. How those guarantees would work is the devil in the detail. Will it cost him the prime ministership? Maybe. Maybe not. But it would still be the right thing to do.