Israel’s unilateral ceasefire in the war against Palestinian terrorists marks one of the most successful campaigns against terror in the recent history of the country.
Israel destroyed much of Hamas’ tunnel network and killed many Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders, and did so without a major civilian casualty event. Israel also demonstrated the effectiveness — and the need for — its Iron Dome missile defense system. Crucially, not one Arab nation that recently made peace with Israel withdrew its support.
Hamas will live to fight another day. It also galvanized public opinion among Palestinians and in the Muslim world. Its most important success was inspiring Arab Israelis to riot in several Israeli cities, threatening Israel’s basic model of coexistence.
But Hamas’s capabilities have been severely damaged, and it ends the war even more of a pariah than it began. Its only friends are Iran and Turkey; not one Arab nation came to the Palestinians’ aid. And even Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, was quiet.
President Joe Biden will, no doubt, proclaim that the ceasefire is a great success for his administration. For the past week, Biden and his diplomats told the world that they were working tirelessly for a ceasefire.
The truth is that the administration was largely struggling to stay relevant after it bungled its response to the first several days of the war. It bought into Palestinian lies about Sheikh Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and preached “de-escalation” as Hamas launched unprecedented numbers of rockets.
Biden’s response shifted over time, especially after Israel told Biden’s staff that that it had no idea what they were talking about.
In the end, Biden can be said to have done three things wrong, and one thing right.
The first mistake was giving the Palestinians hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, without any conditions, in apparent violation of the Taylor Force Act, which bars funding to the Palestinian Authority while it supports terror. That told Palestinians there would be no consequences for violence. Biden also ignored Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for four weeks, and has failed to name an ambassador to Israel, suggesting a lack of support.
The second mistake has been to continue to pursue a return to the nuclear deal with Iran. The only reason Hamas and Islamic Jihad had such large rocket arsenals is that they are supported by Iran — thanks in part to the money and assets that the Obama-Biden administration gave the regime when the deal was done in 2015. That invited Hamas to try its luck, after years of quiet.
The third mistake has been to disparage the Trump administration’s accomplishments, including the Abraham Accords. Since taking office, Biden has punished countries that decided to make peace with Israel, and has downgraded relations with Saudi Arabia, which tacitly allowed peace in the region to proceed. Press Secretary Jen Psaki even made the petty and false claim that Trump had done nothing to advance peace. That posture signaled weakness to Iran and its proxies.
The one thing that Biden did right was to give Israel time to fight.
The Biden administration successfully postponed a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire, and also pushed back against growing anti-Israel sentiment in the Democratic Party. Biden offered lip service to the left, even praising the anti-Israel (and antisemitic) Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) after she confronted him on the tarmac during a visit to Michigan. But he approved military aid to Israel and let the fight go on.
Though they are too spiteful to admit it, the Biden team has seen the truth of what President Donald Trump demonstrated during four years of Middle East calm: that when the U.S. stands strongly with Israel, terrorists lose and peace has a chance. When the U.S. starts to equivocate, or treats Israel as the obstacle to peace, or tries to appease radicalism, it invites America’s enemies to attack.
From now on, Biden should get tough on Iran and the Palestinians, and return to Trump’s path of peace through strength.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it). His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.