Leonard Grunstein
Leonard GrunsteinINN:BG

As the IDF is prosecuting the defensive war against Hamas in Gaza, the Biden Administration is already publicly lobbying Israel about what comes after it destroys Hamas.

Secretary of State Blinken reportedly took up the topic with Palestinian Authority (PA) president Abbas, who expressed his desire to take over Gaza. This notwithstanding that Gazans had rejected PA rule in 2007 and polls showing Hamas candidates would likely also beat Abbas and his Fatah party if an election were held on Abbas’ home turf in the PA controlled areas.

It would appear that Blinken recognized the issue. As he previously stated an "effective and revitalized Palestinian Authority" is needed to govern Gaza and he just as well could have added for the PA controlled areas too. The real issue though is when and whether that can ever be achieved. Delusions are what enabled the Gazan terrorist state to be created in the first place, and after its catastrophic failure why risk repeating the same fatal mistake.

In reality there is no substantive difference between Hamas and the PA led by Abbas. Neither has accepted the existence of Israel and the PA hasn’t tangibly demonstrated its abhorrence of Hamas’ atrocities. Indeed, Abbas is actually paying the Hamas terrorists, who perpetrated the atrocities, ‘Pay to Slay’ rewards of $2.7 million. It’s also reported that Abbas’ party Fatah bragged about its own participation in the atrocities. Murderous terrorists who attacked Israel on October 7th had PA pay-slips in their pockets. The streets of PA controlled areas witnessed rallies in support of Hamas, glorifying their despicable misdeeds.

In Gaza, Hamas terrorists felt comfortable publicly parading their hostages and showing videos of their atrocities. The sadistic murderers were treated as heroes. Celebrations over the massacre also broke out in the PA controlled areas. The PA has not reined in terrorists operating from the PA controlled areas against Israel. In addition, Fatah calls for everyone with a weapon to join in committing terrorist attacks.

Both Israel and Egypt have made clear that neither wants to run Gaza. Indeed, Israeli Defense Minister Gallant said Israel would not retain governance of Gaza after Hamas was eliminated. He offered, “The third step will be the creation of a new security regime in the Gaza Strip, the removal of Israel’s responsibility for day-to-day life in the Gaza Strip…”

The only way to have an alternative to the repugnant Hamas and PA terror regimes is to organize one. Responsible parties must be identified and supported to create a way out of this moral morass. They cannot resemble in any way the tyrannical, kleptocratic, antisemitic, anti-Christian and anti-American Hamas regime, which on October 7th not only murdered and committed atrocities against Israelis, Americans and other people from a total of 40 countries, but also murders and oppresses its own people.

It begins with the Biden Administration stopping to circumvent the Taylor Force Act. By failing to cut off any support for Pay to Slay, the Administration is, in effect, financially rewarding the murder of over 30 Americans and kidnapping of others held hostage, including an Israeli-American policewoman in Jerusalem, who was murdered on November 6th by a terrorist.

The Biden Administration must also desist from interfering with Israel’s sacred mission of eradicating the evil that is Hamas and its cohorts, in Gaza and elsewhere. Israel is conducting a just war and doing so in compliance with the laws of war.

October 7th demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the status quo, delusions about a peace process and two-state solution and the Biden Administration’s appeasement policies are an abject failure. There’s a reality that’s inescapable. Israel, America’s loyal and invaluable ally and friend, exists in a hostile environment made all the more dangerous by the current Administration’s pandering to the terrorist regime in Iran and its proxies, as well as the PA.

Virtue signaling for domestic consumption and mixed messaging only serves to embolden the terrorists. In this regard, it’s note-worthy that instead of having an experienced JAG military lawyer as an Administration spokesperson dealing with the press, who could authoritatively speak to the applicable laws of war in this kind of a conflict, it is relying on political appointees and diplomats. It’s time to be clear and unequivocal not only in general support of Israel and its mission to eradicate evil Hamas, but also in detail so as to avoid any ambiguity or misunderstanding.

Hamas’ goal was not to massacre 1,400 Israelis but to destroy Israel and massacre all of its approximately 7,000,000 Jews. As noted above, this is also the goal of Abbas’ Fatah and the PA. It’s also the stated goal of the axis of evil, led by terrorist Iranian regime, backing Hamas, as well as its other proxies, as demonstrated by the Houthis firing ballistic missiles against Israel and the rockets fired by Hezbollah. They also threaten America, which they derogatorily refer to as the ‘Big Satan’ (Israel’s referred to as the ‘Little Satan’), Christians and other non-Muslims.

Peace is possible with a former enemy that wants peace; it’s not possible with a current enemy that doesn’t desire it. So long as the PA doesn’t recognize Israel and supports Israel’s destruction, it cannot be a true peace partner. The Biden Administration must recognize what Blinken appears to have realized that there’s no chance for peace with the current PA regime or Hamas. It must accept that the PA is not the answer and move on and seek other alternatives.

Until then there must not be any equivocation or ambiguity about the US’s support for Israel and its prosecution of the war to eradicate Hamas. May Israel succeed in its sacred mission and may the valiant solders of the IDF and the hostages be returned home safely.

Leonard Grunstein, retired attorney and banker, founded and served as Chairman of Metropolitan National Bank and then Israel Discount Bank of NY. He founded Project Ezrah and serves on the Board of Bernard Revel at Yeshiva Univ. and the AIPAC National Council. He has published articles in the Banking Law Journal, Real Estate Finance Journal and more.