War in Israel

War erupted in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. This war is an attempt by the proxy armies of Iran–Hamas (in Gaza) fighting now, and Hezbollah (in Lebanon) promising to enter the fight if Israel attacks Gaza–to destroy Israel and engulf the region, and possibly the world, in conflict. Israel has been fighting Hamas for over a week. Many Israelis experienced disbelief and shock from the brutal, barbaric, and ruthless attacks by Hamas terrorists during the first week of the war. This shock has transformed into a resolute determination for revenge. Israel has suffered the loss of nearly 1,500 souls, with thousands more injured. Innocents–children, women, and grandparents–were butchered by Hamas terrorists without remorse or pity. At least 29 Americans who were in Israel during the attacks are dead, and other American citizens may be hostages in Gaza. The US is moving forces into the region. America is involved, and people wonder how Hamas could do this. The answer to this question is that Hamas and Hezbollah follow Iranian directives. Whether the orders from Iran were explicit or implicit ignores the core issue. As Kim Ghattas reported in an Oct. 8, 2023, article in The Atlantic: “The Hamas attack against Israel is not only a massive Israeli intelligence and military (as well as a U.S. intelligence) failure, but also a dramatic success for Iran’s axis of resistance from Yemen to Gaza.” Iran seems to have no fear of the US and hopes to destroy Israel. Americans need to know what is happening in Gaza because our military may soon be engaged in combat with Iran and its proxies.

In house-to-house combat in the past week inside Israeli kibbutzim and military outposts, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has killed 1,500 Hamas terrorists on Israeli territory, reclaimed Israeli settlements near Gaza, and mobilized 360,000 troops.[1] Attacking into the 25-mile stretch of land known as the Gaza Strip is the IDF’s next move. This city is one of the most densely populated cities on earth and about the size of Philadelphia in the USA. To shape the battlespace, Israel has launched over 6,000 missile and bomb strikes against Hamas positions in Gaza since the Oct. 7 attack. The IDF has warned noncombatants to evacuate Gaza and flee to Egypt to avoid being used as human shields by Hamas terrorists. Hamas, however, is blocking their departure, making the situation even more complicated. Israel knows that a block-by-block battle for Gaza will be dangerous, desperate, and deadly. Hamas has bragged that it is prepared for the coming battle and is determined to fight to the end. The terrorists have announced that they have a vast arsenal of small arms, mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), antitank weapons, and drones to inflict tremendous casualties on the IDF. The IDF response to Hamas’ boasts is simply this: every Hamas terrorist is a dead man walking. Hamas is the target, not the Palestinian people. Soon, the IDF will begin the ground assault into Gaza. By the time you read this, it may already have begun.

Simultaneously, on the Lebanese border, Hezbollah is engaging the IDF in minor skirmishes and vows to attack with 130,000 rockets and missiles if the IDF assaults Gaza. Such a missile barrage might overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome defenses and cause untold death and destruction. A US aircraft carrier strike group has moved into range in the Mediterranean to hit Hezbollah in Lebanon if Hezbollah opens a second front against Israel. Other US and UK forces are on the way. On Friday, Oct. 13, Hezbollah’s deputy chief, Naim Qassem, said that Hezbollah was ready to fight and that: “The behind-the-scenes calls with us by great powers, Arab countries, envoys of the United Nations, directly and indirectly telling us not to interfere will have no effect.”[2] On Saturday, Iran sent a message to Israel saying that if Israel invades Gaza, then Iran will intervene.[3] As the war in Gaza progresses into its ninth day, the specter of a more intense conflict, a coming storm of greater devastation, is on the horizon.

American leaders must quickly learn from the fighting in Israel and Gaza and articulate to the American people why we must stand by Israel and prepare for the possibilities that lie ahead. We need leaders with foresight–the ability to solve problems in the short term and create solutions for the long run. Foresight in military affairs is rare, but we must strive for it. Ultimately, those leaders with imagination and foresight are the ones who succeed. To cultivate this foresight, the following insights encourage leaders to think, discuss, and dialogue with the American people and to act before the storm engulfs us.