Editor’s Note: Frank Demith is a renowned author and West Point graduate.  This exclusive work is made available to us today through the kind donation of his time and talents and through coordination with Ballast Books. — GDM

The Price of Victory

When I was a kid growing up on the southside of Chicago, there always seemed to be that one kid on the playground who wanted to pick a fight with somebody. Most of the time, it was over nothing, but on occasion there was a good reason behind it. Usually, the kid looking for a fight would only try to provoke someone they thought they could beat. Sometimes they would end up picking the wrong kid and have to take their black eye and go back to class. The problem with Israel and Hamas is even if they accomplish their stated objective of ridding Gaza of Hamas, they really won’t be able to do that in the long run.

This war started centuries ago, and as long as there is a goal of a two-state solution it will not end. Killing all the current members of Hamas will only embolden others to step up to take their place. The hatred between the two will still exist, even though Israel may agree to accept the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza. The young in Gaza will continue to grow up learning of the terrible things done to their people by Israel and will remember the heroes of Hamas who stood against the Israelis and died as martyrs. With the help of outside influencers like Iran the attacks into Israel will not end.

It seems like Israel has gone out of its way to show the world what they already have known about Hamas, but it takes a sender and a receiver to have open communications, and the people of Gaza probably are not interested in anything Israel has to say. The other Arabic countries in the Middle East may be seeing the evidence and hearing it, but it’s not plausible to think they will take any action to intervene. There might even be some countries who would agree that Hamas must go, but they will not choose to side with Israel or take any outright position in derailing the hold Hamas has in Gaza.

The best Israel can hope for is to not have this war expand into other areas. To date, they have done a good job at trying to keep a lid on operations to the north involving Hezbollah, but there needs to be more caution taken in actions within Gaza. Every time there is a “misfire” by the IDF that kills civilian noncombatants, it erodes outside support for achieving their objective and reinforces support for Hamas within Gaza. Hamas is also quick to record the results of the attack and release it on social media.

House-to-House Fighting in Gaza

In today’s world people quickly forget the atrocities that occurred in Israel as Hamas attacked, killed a large number of civilians and a lesser number of soldiers. People also forget how Hamas paraded a half-naked female hostage through the streets in Gaza allowing people to hit her and spit on her. At that point Israel had not conducted any strikes inside Gaza. The young lady eventually died and when her body was found she had a crushed skull. I would imagine that many more will be found as Israel continues their operations in Gaza.

Israel has attempted to do all the right things as they prepped the battlefield for a ground assault. They advised the civilian population in Gaza to relocate to the south, they focused strikes on suspected Hamas strongholds, they conducted raids to try to verify the situation on the ground and they provided information to the world to support their claims of Hamas presence in public buildings such as hospitals, schools and mosques. With all Israel has done victory in Gaza, which equates to ridding the area of Hamas could have disastrous results.