The Israel Defense Forces is now planning an attack after the Hamas slaughter of its country's civilians on Oct. 7. One thing that should not be part of the plan is to stand down.
What began as calls for Israel to show restraint in its response has grown – in some circles – to calls for a ceasefire. That would be a terrible approach, Newsweek senior editor-at-large Josh Hammer said on American Family Radio Tuesday.
"You're already starting to see calls for a ceasefire from the far left of the Democratic Party [in the U. S. House of Representatives] – the Hamas Caucus, the Jihad Squad, … the Cori Bush, AOC, Rashida Tlaib, that merry band of leftist, pro-Hamas idiots," Hammer told show host Jenna Ellis.
Hamas 'pales in comparison' to Hezbollah
Chad Groening (AFN)
A terrorism expert is warning that the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah is a far more organized enemy – and a greater threat to Israel and the U.S. – than Hamas.
Israel expects it to be a long, tough battle to eliminate Hamas from a very heavily defended Gaza City. But now the Jewish nation faces the prospect of a two-front war as its bitter enemy to the north, Hezbollah, is threatening to enter the fray. In fact, Hezbollah snipers have started destroying surveillance cameras on several Israeli army posts along the border.
National security analyst Brigitte Gabriel is chair of ACT for America. The native of Lebanon says the Iran-backed Shiite terrorist group has some 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.
"What makes Hezbollah very different than Hamas is Hezbollah is actually a very structured army, a very organized army, a very well-trained Army with chapters worldwide, not just in southern Lebanon," she tells AFN. "Hezbollah has committed terror attacks on four continents across the world."
Gabriel warns the terrorist group can threaten U.S. assets in the area.
"Hezbollah also has drones that can carry weapons into Israel which makes it very different than Hamas. Hezbollah also has anti-war missiles that they can use through the sea and the Mediterranean, which is not only a threat to Israel, but a threat to the US aircraft carriers that are now sitting in the Mediterranean."
The threat posed by Hezbollah, she adds, makes Hamas "pale in comparison."
Hamas terrorists have killed more than 1,400 and injured more than 3,400 in unprovoked coordinated attacks from air, land and sea. There have been unconfirmed reports of babies slaughtered and beheaded; although Israeli media countered that following some discoveries in an Israeli community. Hamas has taken grandmothers among the almost 200 confirmed hostages it's holding inside Gaza.
A Reuter's report said a top Hamas leader said the group "has what it needs" to free all Palestinians from Israel's jails, indicating the group may be ready to use its kidnapped civilians as bargaining chips.
Those calling for a ceasefire believe such use of hostages is acceptable behavior, Hammer said.
"What a call for a ceasefire and end to hostilities right now means is that you are okay with letting a medieval, Islamist, genocidal death cult like Hamas, which is indistinguishable from ISIS or Al Qaeda," he offered. "[You're saying it's okay] to let folks who committed the bloodiest pogrom, the bloodiest mass slaughter against the Jews since Hitler and the Nazis were alive 80 years ago, to let them off with utter impunity and then to just let them kind of just gear up and rearm and to do it all over again."
So far, the Biden administration has not called for restraint from Israel in a counterattack against Hamas. Instead, the American president has been vocal about Israel's right to defend itself. The Los Angeles Times reports that in his private conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Joe Biden has said that an attack of similar scale in the United States would be met with a "swift, decisive and overwhelming" response.
World's eyes taking a look at U.S. response to the response
Talking points aside, as Israel prepares for a possible ground operation into Gaza, the world's eyes are on the U.S. for its response to the response.
"All America has to do, it's very simple honestly, is just don't do anything. That is literally all the Israelis are asking from the United States right now, is just to stand on the sidelines and don't mess this up," Hammer said. "Israel has a very capable military. There's going to be a complicated mission in Gaza. It's going to get even more precarious if Hezbollah gets in from Lebanon, but the Israeli military is very good."
That doesn't mean there's no role for the U.S. to play. The USS Gerald R. Ford, a carrier that holds eight squads of attack and support aircraft, and five other ships have moved into the Eastern Mediterranean "to deter any actor seeking to escalate the situation or widen this war," The U.S. Navy says.
There is no immediate plan for U.S. soldiers on the ground in Israel, the U.S. military says, but sometimes plans change.
"Those aircraft carrier groups in the Eastern Mediterranean there are a strong form of deterrence," Hammer said. "No one is calling for American boots on the ground or anything like that – and by the way, I think those calls are actually not only misguided, but I think the Israelis would just straight up reject it. Israel has actually been adamant ever since the country was founded that no one other than Israel itself fights its own wars."
According to reports, there are some U.S. specialists, such as hostage release experts, on the ground working with IDF counterparts. The Wall Street Journal has reported that as many as 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been selected to prepare for deployment to Israel in a non-combatant role.
Since the Oct. 7 attack, Hamas has continued firing rockets at Israel throughout each day, freelance journalist Chuck Holton said on Washington Watch Monday.
Hammer said Congress should stand ready to support its ally with munitions, arms, helmets and other basic supplies or perhaps a financial aid package.
There are political realities – namely U.S. support for Ukraine in its ongoing war against Russia and the U.S. House without a Speaker – that could complicate any U.S. assistance. The House conducted its first speaker vote at noon ET on Tuesday. (Editor's note: Republican Jim Jordan came up short on the first ballot in his bid for Speaker. It is unclear when another vote will occur.)
"I'm not anti-Ukraine. I'm not pro-Russia – but the basic reality of economics is that resources are scarce; and that when you start kind of pumping out munitions and arms and everything to one conflict, by definition, you're going to drain them down for another conflict," Hammer said, adding that that's a major worry for him.
"I do worry that we [in the U.S.] have gone so all in on Ukraine that we're not necessarily going to be fully there for Israel at a time when they really need us more than they have needed us, frankly, in 50 years. We'll see what happens."
In August before the start of budget talks, Biden sent a letter to the House asking for an additional $24 billion for aid to Ukraine.
Not hard to define U.S. interests here
If U.S. interests in Ukraine are hard to define, that's not the case in the Israel-Hamas conflict, Hammer wrote for Newsweek.
"From a strictly 'America first' perspective, there were 25 Americans at least slaughtered [by Hamas]. There are probably over a dozen Americans currently held hostage in the terror tunnels of Gaza controlled by this death cult. So, taken on its own terms this is the worst American hostage crisis since the Tehran hostage crisis of 1979. This is an absolute catastrophe for America right now," Hammer said.
Iran's next move could also call for American involvement.
"Iran? Yes, of course they want to annihilate Israel, but they want to annihilate America, too. They literally chant in the parliament there in Tehran; they chant, 'Death to America, death to Israel.' They refer to America as the big Satan, Israel as the little Satan. So this is a clearly compelling case for the United States to pick a side in a demonstrable, meaningful way, as opposed to the Ukraine-Russia conflict."
U.S. officials have said all the right things in the still-young conflict. According to Hammer, the hope of Israel is that the U.S. will remain resolute.
"All Israel really needs is for the United States not to pressure for a premature ceasefire and to stay out of the way," Hammer said. "That really is what I'm starting to see right now, that the tide could potentially be turning. God willing, Israeli leadership will stay strong, and President Biden doesn't just decide to put on pressure to stop prematurely."