Gaza is only the tip of the monster.
Here in Israel, we all know that. In a moment, Hezbollah could launch a barrage of 100,000 rockets too large to be stopped by any residential bomb shelter. Quite probably, Iran could trial a nuke at the same time. They already have the material for it.
So, the war in Gaza is part of a much larger and more complex theater of war. I live, like 8 million other Jews, in the middle of it.
What does Israel do? If we pursue Gaza too aggressively, perhaps Hezbollah and Iran will see it as an excuse to step in, right? And even if they don’t, and we overwhelm Gaza, how do we actually achieve peace?
To begin with, there should be no communications out of Gaza. We should inform the press and everybody else that a radio signal is a death sentence. The German girl who was slaughtered and trucked back – as a seat for a terrorist – had her credit card used in Gaza. My firs thought was – they still have Visa? There should be no communications. Nobody should be seeing, with the exception of the IDF, what is happening.
Israel should try to help civilians. Let’s establish a corridor and welcome people into temporary holding facilities for the duration of hostilities. We will need to confirm they are unarmed and they will be watched over diligently. Any men will need to be cleared from a security standpoint. They will have food and water, we were already providing that for them. We will then clear out the infrastructure and the fighters remaining in Gaza before allowing the population to return. If civilians can’t go, or if they don’t want to, then our obligation to eliminate these fighters remains.
As far as hostages are concerned, I say the following only with a very heavy heart. Hamas should not be empowered to use the hostages against us. We have trained them, through deals like the one for Gilad Shalit, to take our people. Many more died because of that exchange and others like it. A short-term life was saved at the cost of long-term death. This time, the price should be so high that they never consider taking hostages again. We should have made that clear years ago. We could have swapped for Gilad Shalit, and then killed every terrorist we handed over – right then and there. We would have been condemned, but hostages would have become worthless. If we can save hostages, that is wonderful. But we can’t spare Hamas or their people in exchange for them. It will just encourage even worse in the future. We can’t allow them to slaughter our soldiers in the effort to rescue the innocent. We try, but there will be limits even in the protection of our people.
What follows the war? The reality outlines in my Constitution at IsraelConstitution.org.il. We can welcome any groups of people who declare and act on their peaceful intentions. They can be a part of Israel or they can stand alone. But they must declare their peace. If they do not, then we will remain at war with them. They must learn that war is not really an option.
Iran is the snake at the head of all of this. The people of Iran allowed their terrorist government to take power. Now, they have to be removed from power. The nukes are already there. They aren’t really the problem. The trigger fingers are the problem.
Iran has a sophisticated political system. It has semi-sham elections where a real government is elected. There are real choices, within the acceptable bounds of the Supreme Leader. The Supreme Leader has power over everything, but rarely has to execute it directly. When there are flare ups of democratic resistance, the IRGC and Basij militias can be relied on to suppress the unarmed population. Machine gunning unarmed crowds is a very effective tool.
This sophisticated system can short circuited with one action: Arming Iranian civilians.
There are over 300 million guns in the US. Imagine a program where Americans can register their firearms – ‘guns for freedom’ – and have them airdropped over major democratic-leaning cities in Iran. With this, the crowds would no longer be unarmed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Khomeini hanging from a crane within a few weeks.
The second path complements the first. With a few cruise missiles, Basij and IRGC armories in major cities can be destroyed. The goal isn’t to kill the troops, it is to remove their stocks of weapons. To tilt the scales, if you will.
Give the civilians a chance to choose a better path. If they fail, or if they lack the conviction to overthrow their leaders, then they will bear the moral weight of their own leadership’s actions. And they will bear the morally imperative destruction that will follow those actions.
Finally, we come to Lebanon. Lebanon is the hardest problem of all. The threat is in some ways the most immediate. But it may not be triggered. With Iran facing real hardship, and the Israelis playing no active part, the Iranian government may choose to bring Hezbollah troops back to Iran. They did during the last round of protests. Without Iranian money and support, Hezbollah might wither on the vine. It is hard to maintain and army of tens of thousands without cash in an economy that has suffered one of the worst financial collapses in modern history. Remember, Hezbollah is an army made up of people – just like any other. With the the example we create in Gaza, those individual people may think twice about the elimination of everything they love. If Hezbollah does fight, it will only be because is unavoidable and they see no other path. But we should not make this a reality. We should not start any conflict in the North. If they do fight, I know my home is not safe, and I know my family is not safe.
But I also know we will be no safer in another 5 years.
Those are my strategies: crush Gaza, arm an Iranian revolution, bomb IRGC and Basij armories and keep a wary eye on Hezbollah.
This complex reality is going to unfold very soon. I hope our leadership is up to the challenge.
For more on the Gaza conflict in particular, read The War to Come.
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