June 6, 2024
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Deconstructing Biden’s Speech

There is no guarantee of Israel’s security except Israel.

Imagine it is August 1942, eight months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The rapidly growing isolationist America First Committee has surpassed 800,000 members. They claim that nothing can imperil America’s national security interests. The Nazi sympathizers of the German-American Bund march down major streets of Manhattan. Students at Columbia, Berkeley and Yale hold massive demonstrations against the war. Father Coughlin’s antisemitic radio broadcasts reach tens of millions of listeners. He endlessly asks, “Must the entire world go to war for 600,000 Jews who are neither American, nor French, nor English citizens, but citizens of Germany?”

Today, powerful elements within the Democratic Party, convinced they are immune from the jihadist hatred so ardently displayed toward Israel and all non-jihadists, are behaving precisely like that.

This was reflected in President Joe Biden’s June 1 speech.

Biden opened his remarks by claiming that his negotiators are focused “not just on a ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas conflict “but a durable end to the war.”

The devil, as always, is in the details.

In his speech, Biden proposed a deal in three phases. The first demands “a full and complete ceasefire” with “a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from all areas of Gaza.”

This alone would essentially ensure a victory for Hamas after eight months of fighting. After all, what is to prevent Hamas or a similar group from seizing power after an Israeli withdrawal?

Biden also stated, “Palestinians — civilians — would return to their homes and neighborhoods in all areas of Gaza, including in the north.”

But in an asymmetrical war, in which Hamas terrorists do not wear uniforms and do not carry dog tags or army ID cards (in violation of the Geneva Convention), how can one distinguish between a Palestinian civilian and a Hamas terrorist? The formula for hostage releases in exchange for terrorist prisoners is also totally asymmetrical. Biden spoke of “a release of a number of hostages — including women, the elderly, the wounded — in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.”

Note the phrase “a number of hostages” rather than “all remaining hostages.” What is “a number”? One? Two? A hundred? Why not one Palestinian prisoner for one hostage? Haven’t we learned our lesson from the 2011 deal that released 1,027 prisoners in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, including Hamas mastermind Yahya Sinwar?

Biden continued, “Humanitarian assistance would surge with 600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza every single day.” However, a study by a group of highly esteemed public health officials and academics has found that the amount of calories coming into Gaza from Israel is 40% higher than the humanitarian standard for daily calorie intake. The problem has never been the efforts made by Israel to deliver food. The problem has always been Hamas’ plundering and looting of the food, as has been reported by Reuters.

Magnanimous promises are in store for us in phase two, such as “The cessation of hostilities, permanently.” How long is “permanently?” Until Hamas can regroup and reestablish its control over Gaza? Until the international community runs out of the will to negotiate ad nauseum with Hamas?

And if we are dealing with an entity that is expected to live in peace and security just a few meters away from Israel, why is it necessary to state that there will be “an exchange for the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers.”

Therein lies the rub. The entire civilized world knows exactly what Hamas is. Its terrorists themselves videotaped their sadistic atrocities on Oct. 7. We all witnessed the serial use of sexual violence against women and men; the burning of children in front of their parents; the massive slaughter of parents in front of their children; the holding of sex slaves for eight months. We all heard the bloodcurdling phone call of a child triumphantly bragging to his parents, “Open WhatsApp. I killed 10 Jews with my own hands!” And the mother responds, “Oh my son. May God bless you!”

At first blush, phase three sounds like a wonderful “kumbaya moment,” except for the minor fact that Israel would not be allowed to ensure the integrity of its own borders or the security of its own people. Authority over borders would most likely fall into the hands of Egypt, which allowed the construction of hundreds of miles of terror tunnels from beneath Gaza into Egyptian territory. The tunnels were used to smuggle weapons into Gaza. There would also be a major role for Qatar, which magnanimously hosts the strongmen of Hamas in Doha and poisons the minds of the Arabic-speaking world through pro-Hamas Al Jazeera. All this would take place after the United States pours billions of taxpayer dollars into Gaza to rebuild it.

The U.S. State Department has never been willing to acknowledge that the Oslo Accords were a failed paradigm from the start. There is no reason to think that the department will not attempt to replace the Hamas leadership with a “revitalized Palestinian Authority.” They may well try to pluck the arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti from an Israeli prison, where he has remained since he was convicted of mass murder. As head of the Tanzim terrorist group, Barghouti took part in a terror campaign that killed over a thousand Israeli civilians — the Second Intifada.

Moreover, according to recent polls taken by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, there is minimal support for the PA among Palestinians. Worse still, 71% of Palestinians said Hamas’s decision to commit the Oct. 7 atrocities was correct.

It is noteworthy that Biden declared, “Israel has offered a comprehensive new proposal” in order to justify his plan.

Yet that same day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on X, “Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: the destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages, and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel.”

He added, “Israel will continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent ceasefire is put in place. The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter.”

Biden assured us nonetheless, “The people of Israel should know they can make this offer without any further risk to their own security because they’ve devastated Hamas forces over the past eight months. At this point, Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another Oct. 7, which was one of the Israelis’ main objectives in this war and, quite frankly, a righteous one.”

Hamas is a theocratic, nationalist autocracy. The people of Gaza and much of Yehuda and Shomron have been indoctrinated from age 2 to support it. The only way to defeat it is the way the Allies defeated the Nazis: complete and total victory. Without this, we will see countless Oct. 7s.

In a mad, isolationist world with an impending presidential election in the United States, assurances from the Biden, or any other, administration regarding Israel’s survival must remain meager and paltry.

Israel, the Jew among the nations, has no one to depend on but itself.


Sarah N. Stern is the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), a think tank that specializes in the Middle East. She is the author of “Saudi Arabia and the Global Terrorist Network (2011).”

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