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  • Writer's pictureCole Feix

The Weekly Speak: Understanding the Attacks on Israel

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

View of Gaza from Israel | Photo: David Berkowitz, Flickr

On Saturday, the terrorist group Hamas launched an attack on Israel from Gaza, killing more than 1,000 Israelis, injuring thousands, and kidnapping hundreds more. The government of Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas and ordering all civilians out of Gaza.

To understand the background of what’s going on, who the major players are, and what may happen in the future, listen to our podcast episode, out this morning, “What’s Going on in Israel?

Here are some of the articles we mention in the episode and others that provide commentary and context for the ongoing conflict.

Hamas’s Global Test for Biden” - Walter Russell Mead, The Wall Street Journal

A major part of the problem in Gaza is that the leaders of the Palestinian people seem more intent on exploiting the Palestinians and provoking Israel than they are in ruling, creating better living conditions, or working toward any kind of solution. The victim storyline around the Palestinian people is fatally flawed. They are not victims of Israel but of their own leaders, especially the terrorist group called Hamas.

Gaza is burning as Israeli forces methodically proceed to dismantle its structures of terror. The coming retribution will be terrible, but it is necessary and just. Hamas has lost the right to rule Gaza. It must be dismantled and disarmed, and neither Israel nor its neighbors can permit the group to return to power. Despite the best efforts of the Israel Defense Forces, innocent civilians will suffer, and too many will die. Urban warfare against a brutal enemy that doesn’t scruple to use civilians as shields can have no other result, but what is coming to Gaza is not the fault of the IDF.”

The implications of this attack and the links with Iran are devastating. Following the Obama administration, they have made Iran a centerpiece of their Middle East foreign policy. “Believing détente with the mullahs to be America’s best hope of avoiding yet another conflict in the Middle East, Mr. Biden has extended olive branch after olive branch to Tehran, which has slapped them away. Iran turned down the Biden administration’s offer to re-enter the nuclear deal.” So what will the Biden administration do? How will they adjust to these new developments?

Reflections on Israel’s New Existential War” - Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness

“The invasion was not so much a surprise attack, in the conventional Pearl Harbor sense, as a carefully calibrated land, sea, and ground effort at mass killing and hostage-taking. It was designed to execute noncombatants, grab Jews for bargaining leverage, and to shock Israelis through their pre-civilizational desecration of the bodies of the dead.”

Hanson’s central argument is that the previous order can no longer work. There is no live and let live with Hamas or the Palestinians. The videos show they are not victims and would not waste any opportunity to shed (even innocent) Israeli blood. The State Department’s call not to “retaliate” is revealing. Has anyone issued such a statement for Ukraine? Compare the response between these two situations.

Hanson inserts another interesting wrinkle into the Biden administration’s actions concerning Iran. Biden appointed Robert Malley as the chief negotiator with Iran, who is now under FBI investigation for being involved in an Iranian spy ring.

The Hamas Horror Is also a Lesson on the Price of Populism” - Yuval Noah Harari, The Washington Post

Harari is a Jew, but also an atheist. He has been very vocal about his displeasure with Netanyahu’s government and track record. Like so many Jews, he has rallied despite these differences in the face of the terror attacks. However, he has some criticism of the government and some warnings against the effects of populism. He outlines three

  • Hubris - thinking Israel was so strong it was immune to the attacks of the Palestinians.

  • Poor government - doing political favors rather than appointing the best people.

  • Distraction - arguments over the Supreme Court and Bibi’s domestic policies have distracted Israel from external threats.

‘Everything You Can Imagine and Worse’ Awaits Israeli Army in Gaza” - Mehul Srivastava and John Paul Rathbone, The Financial Times

Although Gaza is a very small area, it is one of the most densely populated areas on earth. The IDF will have a very difficult time removing Hamas and minimizing civilian casualties. Israeli troops have not entered Gaza since 2014, but now they are planning to go in and root out Hamas.

Depending on how they approach the invasion of Gaza, the IDF will have some difficult decisions to make. “Former Israeli prime minister Olmert warned that Netanyahu and the IDF faced a moral quandary — using air power to attack Hamas increases the risk of civilian casualties, while using ground troops is more precise but increases the risk to Israeli soldiers.”

Quick Links:

Hamas Operatives Are Not ‘Militants.’ They Are Jihadists” - Andrew McCarthy, National Review

Israel Tells 1.1mn People to Leave Northern Gaza” - John Reed and Mehul Srivastava, The Financial Times

The Massacre in Israel and the Need for a Decent Left” - Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times

The 10/7 Attacks” - Peter Berkowitz, RealClearPolitics

Dr. Cole Feix is the founder and president of So We Speak and the Senior Pastor of Carlton Landing Community Church in Oklahoma.


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