Israel's Time For Choosing

Iran has used ballistic missiles capable of delivering atomic warheads. Is Biden aware? The war with Hamas is not a war of choice.

Iranian ballistic missile

On April 24, hikers around the southern Israeli city of Arad discovered the remains of an Iranian ballistic missile from the April 13 overnight assault. Israel’s Channel 11 identified it as a Khader-1 missile. The Khader-1, like the Imad missiles, which Iran also used in its strike, are nuclear capable.

The fact that Iran used two ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads should sound every alarm bell. In an interview with Deutsche Welle on Tuesday, International Atomic Energy Agency chairman Rafael Grossi said that Iran is “weeks rather than months” away from having enough enriched uranium to develop a nuclear bomb.

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Israel’s war is not a war of choice. It isn’t a conflict that Israel can shrug its shoulders and walk away from, or opt for a limited goal of blocking incoming strikes. This is a war for national survival. Hamas made clear the genocide it aims to achieve on Oct. 7. Its appalling cruelty to the hostages it has held captive for more than six months demonstrates still further that there is no way to fight to a draw with this jihadist terror regime. There is no “deal” to be had with Hamas leaders. The same is true of Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. And, of course, the same is true of Iran.

Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and their terror partners have used all the resources at their disposal to expand their capacity to annihilate Israel. They have not done this to jockey for stronger negotiating positions. They are putting everything they have into building these capacities because they really want to destroy Israel and kill the Jews. The calls for Israel’s destruction are not mere slogans. They are solid commitments.

The good news is that Israel has the military and economic power to defeat its enemies completely. The bad news is that in their efforts, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and their other partners are not fighting alone. While the United States and other Western nations are willing to speak out against Hamas and Iran from time to time, they completely oppose Israel’s effort to defeat its enemies. Israel is permitted to defend against incoming attacks. But it is prohibited from taking decisive offensive action.

To block Israel from winning, the United States and its partners in Europe and the United Nations are waging an unprecedented, comprehensive and ever-escalating political war against Israel. Its clear goal is to criminalize Israel’s war effort and to effectively deny the Jewish state the right to self-defense.

Consider the news from the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Israel is not a member of the ICC. But to seize jurisdiction over Israel, the ICC took the legally dubious step of accepting “Palestine” as a member state. Since Oct. 7, the Palestinian Authority has deluged the ICC with war crimes complaints against Israel, even though they lack evidentiary basis. But they are supported politically by a slew of anti-Israel NGOs, and the U.N.’s institutionally anti-Semitic governing apparatus and agencies.

Early this week, rumors began to swirl that ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan is poised to act on these groundless complaints and issue international arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. If Khan proceeds as reported, Israel’s top leaders will be unable to visit any of the ICC’s 120 member nations without first securing bilateral agreements with authorities in each country not to arrest them during their stay.

This is terrible in and of itself, of course. But the wider implication is even more dire. If Khan goes through with his plan, he will essentially declare Israel a criminal state with no right to self-defense.

Given that Israel is in the midst of a terrible war for its national survival, by denying Israel the right to self-defense, the ICC will deny Israel the right to continue to exist. Moreover, the ICC will have made it the position of the international community that the Jewish state must be destroyed.

The United States is not a member of the ICC. All the same, Khan owes his election to the support he received from Washington. To repay the favor, Khan closed two ICC investigations into alleged U.S. war crimes related to the American war in Afghanistan shortly after he assumed office.

On April 23, Israel’s top political reporter, Amit Segal, revealed that “very senior officials” at the ICC told him that Khan’s initiative was given a “green light” by the Biden administration.

“There is no way the chief prosecutor would decide on such a dramatic step, in a war still ongoing—with very little evidence—without first getting at least a ‘green light’ from the Americans,” Segal cited his sources as saying.

If their allegation is true, Segal noted, then “this is yet another unprecedented low in relations between Israel and the United States at a very sensitive time on the eve of the ground operation in Rafah.”

Listing Israel as a major human-rights abuser

Rafah is the heart of the story. For months, it has been clear that the key to Israel’s victory in its war against Hamas is the seizure of Rafah, Hamas’s final outpost, strategically located along the border with Egypt.

For months, U.S. President Joe Biden and his top officials have done everything to block Israel from seizing the city. They insisted that Israel was responsible for the welfare of the 1.4 million Gazans in the city and that Israel had to evacuate them. They also prohibited Israel from opening the border with Egypt to permit Palestinians to leave Gaza and seek safety in third countries.

Rather than argue, Israel purchased tens of thousands of tents and has set them up for the Gazans leaving Rafah in a safe area.

As the clock ticks down to the operation, the United States has ratcheted up its slanderous claims against Israel. USAID administrator Samantha Power accused Israel of deliberately inducing a “famine in northern Gaza.” The United States made resupplying Gaza its primary war effort. Never mind that Gaza may be the best-stocked enclave on earth with aid packages selling for pennies in open markets. On April 22, Biden announced that America is providing $1 billion to Gaza and pointed an accusatory finger at Israel.

“We’re going to immediately secure that aid, and surge it, surge it, including food, medical supplies, clean water. And Israel must make sure this aid reaches the Palestinians in Gaza without delay,” Biden barked.

The massive quantities of supplies entering Gaza daily have enabled Hamas to ready itself for the coming battle and to restore its control over all aspects of civilian life in the area. It has also enabled Hamas cells to quickly reinstate themselves in areas that IDF forces vacate, forcing soldiers to retake areas time after time.

Ahead of the news of the ICC initiative, the U.S. State Department informed the media of its intention to sanction an entire IDF unit, manned by soldiers on the ultra-Orthodox spectrum. The State Department also expanded U.S. sanctions against Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria to include organizations and individuals fingered by anti-Israel NGOs in the United States and the Palestinian Authority that seek to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist.

This week, the State Department issued its annual Human Rights Report for 2023. The report places Israel together with Russia, China and the Taliban as major human-rights abusers. The State Department’s assault on Israel flies in the face of in-depth reports from U.S. and British military experts that have detailed how Israel has gone to lengths to prevent civilian deaths that are unprecedented in the history of warfare. The ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in Gaza is at most 1.3:1, the lowest in history, they have shown.

Like the threat of ICC arrest warrants, all of these shockingly hostile U.S. actions are directed towards the goal of criminalizing Israel’s war effort and intimidating Israel’s leaders into canceling the operation in Rafah, suing for a hostage deal that will lead to Israel’s strategic defeat and securing Hamas’s survival and Iran’s strategic victory and emergence as the uncontested regional hegemon—on the cusp of a nuclear arsenal.

‘More has to be done’ to fight antisemitism

The administration-directed onslaught is buffeted by the anti-Jewish, pro-Hamas pogroms at campuses from coast to coast. The symbiotic relationship between the vilification of Israel by the U.S.-led international community in support of Hamas’s survival and Israel’s defeat, coupled with the assault on Jews at universities, is forcing a choice on us all. A video address on April 24 drew the link explicitly.

Noting that many leading universities have enabled the antisemitic violence on their campuses, Netanyahu said “more has to be done,” to fight antisemitism.

“It has to be done not only because they attack Israel. That’s bad enough. Not only because they want to kill Jews wherever they are. That’s bad enough. It’s also … because they say not only ‘Death to the Jews,’ but ‘Death to America.’ And this tells us that there is an anti-Semitic surge here that has terrible consequences.

Explaining the connection between events in the war on the ground and assaults on Jewish students and faculty, Netanyahu said: “We see this exponential rise of antisemitism throughout America and throughout Western societies as Israel tries to defend itself against genocidal terrorists. Genocidal terrorists who hide behind civilians. Yet it is Israel that is falsely accused of genocide. Israel that is falsely accused of starvation and sundry war crimes. It’s all one big libel. But that’s not new.

“We’ve seen in history that antisemitic attacks were always preceded by vilification and slander; lies that were cast against the Jewish people that were unbelievable. Yet people believed them.

“And what is important now is for all of us, all of us who … cherish our values and our civilization to stand up together and to say: Enough is enough.

“We have to stop antisemitism because antisemitism is the canary in the coal mine. It always precedes larger conflagrations that engulf the entire world. So I ask all of you, Jews and non-Jews alike who are concerned with our common values and our common future to do one thing: Stand up. Speak up. Be counted.”

Israel’s choice is between defeating its enemies on the battlefield even at the cost of terrible condemnation and isolation or collapsing under pressure and losing. Israel is called to make this choice in the immediate term, and its fate stands or falls with its decision about Rafah.

But while the focus is on Israel, the choice belongs to all who seek to preserve their freedom and safety. Will you stand with Israel, and by doing so, protect your own freedom and rights, or will you sacrifice both by staying silent?

Caroline B. Glick is senior contributing editor of Jewish News Syndicate.

Topic tags:
Israel Swords of Iron Iran Iran Nuclear Deal Benjamin Netanyahu Joe Biden