Victor Davis Hanson on X: A 50th Anniversary War?


Why did Hamas stage a long-planned, carefully executed and multifaceted attack on Israeli towns, soldiers, and civilians—one designed to instill terror by executing noncombatants, taking hostages, and desecrating the bodies of the dead?

And how were the killers able to enter Israeli proper in enough numbers to kill what could be hundreds and perhaps eventually wound what could be thousands?

a) Ostensibly, radical Palestinians wanted to stop any rumored rapprochement between the Gulf monarchies—the traditional source of much of their cash—and Israel, by forcing the issue of Arab solidarity in times of “war”, especially through waging a gruesome attack aimed at civilians and encompassing executions and hostage taking. Iran likely was the driving force to prompt the war—given its greatest fear is a Sunni Arab-Israeli rapprochement.

b)  Arab forces have had only success against Israel through surprise attacks during Israeli holidays, as in the Yom Kippur War (i.e., was it any accident that the present attack began 50-years almost to the day after the October 6, 1973 beginning of the Yom Kippur War?). And so they struck again this Saturday during Simchat Torah, coming at the end of a weeklong Jewish celebration of Sukkot—in hopes that others will join in as happened in 1973. (So much for the Arab warnings not for Westerners to conduct war during Ramadan).

c) Hamas may have reckoned that recent Israeli turmoil and mass leftist street protests over proposed reforms of the Israeli Supreme Court had led to permanent internal divisions and thus a climate of domestic distraction if not an erosion of deterrence.

But, more importantly, in a larger sense the Biden administration has contributed both to the notion that Hamas was a legitimate Middle East player, and to the perception that the U.S. was backing away from its traditional support for Israel—to the delight of Hamas—based on the following inexplicable policies:

1) In February Secretary of State Blinken had bragged that not only had the Biden administration resumed massive aid to the PLA cancelled by Trump, but cumulatively had transferred $1 billion—even as Palestinian authorities bragged that they would continue to pay bounties to the families of “martyrs” (i.e., those killed while conducting terrorists attacks against Israel).

And millions of American dollars also went into Gaza, run by Hamas—despite the Biden administration’s efforts to keep mostly quiet the resumption of such inexplicable support. In this regard, note the current shameful State-Department (“U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs”) website news release that was posted after today’s attack. It ended with this quite embarrassing, morally equivalent admonition:

“We urged all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.”

“All sides?” “Refrain from retaliatory attacks?”

So Israel is the moral equivalent of terrorists executing civilians and brutalizing their corpses? And the IDF then is not supposed to retaliate against these killers?

This Biden State Department insanity cannot stand. So expect some apparatchik to take down this Munich-like posting as soon as possible.

2) The Biden administration had recently released some $6 billion to Iran through a prison swap deal that saw South Korea hand over embargoed Iranian money to Qatar—despite Tehran’s  increased anti-Israeli rhetoric and its loud brag about the escalation. We should assume money for rockets (Hamas claims they have launched 5,000, and have received 100,000 of them via the Damascus airport) and weapons in general for Hamas were supplied by Iran, which again is likely the chief catalyst for this surprise attack.

3) Almost immediately, after his inauguration Biden mobilized to resume the bankrupt Iran deal. And in unhinged fashion he appointed the anti-Israeli bigot, pro-Iranian journalist Robert Malley as America’s chief negotiator. Note that Malley is now under FBI investigation for security breaches, involving disclosing classified U.S. documents and also for allegedly helping pro-Iranian activists and propagandists land influential billets inside the U.S. government.

In short, there was a general Hamas and Iranian perception that the Biden administration had resumed the discredited Obama madness of empowering Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. This discredited agenda was to “balance” the power of Israel and the moderate Arab Gulf governments to achieve “creative tension”, exacerbated by Biden’s loathing of the government of Benjamín Netanyahu (who has been snubbed by Biden and never invited for an official visit).

Note as well that the Biden administration has siphoned off key weapons and munitions from stockpiles inside Israel to transfer them to Ukraine. The so-called “War Reserve Ammunition—Israel” is all but depleted of just the sorts of weapons needed in the present crisis.

In this regard is there not a pattern here?

Upon the ascension of Biden and his woke military agendas, we saw the following: the complete humiliation of the U.S. in Kabul in its most shameful flight in 50 years and greatest abandonment of equipment in its history; followed by Vladimir Putin’s opportunistic invasion of Ukraine; followed by China’s new belligerence and escalating threats to Taiwan; followed by Turkey’s new de facto alliance with Russia and recent drone encounter with the U.S. air force in Syria; followed by the Hamas/Iranian inspired attack on Israel—with more to come unfortunately.

And will Biden finally get the message from the attacks on the Ukraine and Israeli borders, that borders matter and we too are being invaded, with the encouragement of the Mexican government and to the advantage of the cartels whose fentanyl exports kills 100,000 Americans a year?

What to expect in Israel?

Expect the following: the usual Hamas/terrorist selling and/or execution of Israeli hostages, the use of Israeli hostages as “human shields” in Gaza,  the bargaining/sale of the remains of Israeli dead, occasional killings of Jews inside Israel by Arabs who falsely believe there will be a winning Middle East-wide existential war against Israel. And finally, a devastating Israeli counter-response that will eventually earn a U.S. rebuke.

What should the U.S. instead do?

It should quit talking to Iran and restore full sanctions against it. It should cut off all aid immediately to all the Palestinians. It should undertake a 1973-like massive arms lift of key munitions to Israel and warn Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and others in the Middle East not to intervene or else, given that Israel will need several weeks to deal with Hamas and Gaza. And if it shows any hesitation or weakness, other terrorist groups will opportunistically jump in.