Resilient Defense of Hamas: A Memorino from a Soldier Who Wrecked on a Palestinian Mantle
I left his funeral last week crushed, knowing we had lost such a righteous soul. It is clear to me. My friend fought against both Hamas and the occupation, despite his final moments, in order to protect his friends and family.
That’s the lie they told us, and the lie that’s being repeated today: that we can decisively eliminate the threat of Hamas through a military operation. Despite the sacrifice of us, and the death and destruction that we had wreaked on Gaza, Hamas has grown stronger.
For many years, the left in Israel has warned that if we do not find a political agreement with the Palestinians, we will never have peace and security. It isn’t just human rights activists taking this position: Even Ami Ayalon, the former head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet, has argued for years that Palestinian terror can be defeated only by creating Palestinian hope.
At one point, I scribbled some thoughts on a piece of paper. I wrote that some members of my team had been tallying the number of soldiers killed and discussing whether this operation was worth the losses. I believe it could be worth it if we eliminate the threat.
As we withdrew from Beit Hanoun, we heard the roar of Air Force fighter jets overhead, followed by deafening explosions and towering plumes of debris and smoke rising from Al-Burrah. The airstrikes killed a lot of people, most of whom were women and children, whose home soldiers from my unit had been in the area for a few days.
Like the invasion that the Israeli military has said is imminent, that campaign was precipitated by atrocities carried out by Hamas terrorists. The deaths of three Israeli teenagers and a Palestinian teenager took place on June 12 of that year. 70 Israelis and 2,250 Palestinians were killed in a seven-week conflict after the gruesome exchange. They were told that we were going in to deal a blow to Hamas.
During the course of two weeks I was in northern Gaza Strip, we had to clear and secure a perimeter in the city so combat engineers could identify and destroy tunnels that lead into Israel. We would take up positions in a new house, as we didn’t want to be stationary and easy targets. In one house, I found a Kalashnikov rifle with a vest and an explosion device. At one point, I listened in terror to graphic reports from our radioman of soldiers from my unit searching for body parts after a missile struck a nearby house they had taken over, injuring and killing some of my comrades.
I remember very clearly how the ground shook as we moved into Gaza at dusk on July 17 after the ground invasion began. The sound of thunder and lightning came from the bombardment of the fields near us, we jokingly called it the sound-and-light show.
As I stood over the corpse of the elderly Palestinian woman who had died from being hit by a bomb, I realized that this wasn’t true. She had been lying on the sand floor of a shack, in a pool of blood.
In examining Mr. Biden’s relationship with Israel, there isn’t a Jewish best friend who could have made him aware of the issues of the Jewish state. But Mr. Biden traces his interest to childhood conversations with his father, who described the horrors of the Holocaust over dinner.
Waleed Shahid, a former leader of Justice Democrats, predicted that the current environment, in which leaders of both parties, including President Biden, are aligned with Israeli leadership and the Palestinian cause is represented by protesters in the streets and on college campuses, would yield a trove of fund-raising for pro-Israel groups ahead of 2024. He suggested that there may be an “asymmetrical” fight during the primaries.
Mr. Biden and Mr. Netanyahu were able to communicate their differences behind the scenes. He believes that the president has a lot of credibility with the Jewish community and therefore he can have very direct and sometimes hard conversations.
Advisers said that Mr. Biden asks pointed questions in private sessions. Why do you plan to do it this way? Do you know what comes next? What has you done to stop the humanitarian crisis in Gaza?
“He genuinely feels that it’s not his place to tell another leader how to handle his own politics,” said Jonah Blank, who advised Mr. Biden on the Middle East during his Senate days. He will offer advice, but he won’t do it like Tony Soprano.
The Squirrel Hill Abruptness: Why Israel is Wrong? When Israel Was Right, Why We Shouldn’t
“The world was wrong — failing to respond to Hitler’s atrocities against the Jews — and we should be ashamed,” he quoted his father saying in one of his memoirs.
In a phone interview with us, Mr. Blinken said that this was something he had experienced and seen, and that it went from his gut to his head. Other presidents may consider the situation through a policy lens. “But there’s something, as I’ve been able to witness it, that seems more visceral for him.”
Ms. Lee is a progressive Democrat and progressive Jews remain by her side. The Squirrel hill attack, in which a white supremacist slaughtered eleven people, led to the conclusion that Jewish safety depended on securing the safety of all vulnerable communities. That propelled her to work toward Ms. Lee’s election, she said, and her support for the congresswoman “was reinforced, not shaken” by the events in Israel, which she said underscored the need for an Arab-Jewish-Muslim alliance.
In the northern suburbs of New York, George Latimer, the Westchester County executive, is contemplating a challenge to Representative Jamaal Bowman, who defeated the staunchly pro-Israel chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, in 2020.
And progressive organizations are girding for possible challenges to Representatives Cori Bush of Missouri, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and others, funded from the deep pockets of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups.
The Justice Democrats helped the progressives win the majority in the US Senate in 2006 and are currently trying to help them win the Presidency in 2022, according to Usamah Andrabi. no one in the Democratic leadership is going to stop them, so we will see a doubling and tripling down.
“There will be a time for political action, but right now our priority is building and sustaining congressional support for Israel’s fight to permanently dismantle Hamas,” said the group’s spokesman, Marshall Wittmann.
The jabs have begun. The lobbying group said that the resolution was a transparent ploy to paint Israel as the main cause of the fighting in Gaza. Hitting Ms. Lee, AIPAC wrote on X, “Emboldening a group that massacres Israelis and uses Palestinians as human shields will never achieve peace.”
“I think we’re in a post-9/11 environment where there’s a lot of fear to speak out against war, and there could be political electoral consequences for not lining up for the cause of war, the way there was in 2002,” he said.