Tuesday 13 February 2024

Israel must decisively defeat Hamas

At the beginning of the First World War Britain unquestionably had the finest Navy by the end we had the finest army too. The British Army performed worse in the Second World War, not least because it was decisively defeated in 1940, but it made up for it to an extent later. The RAF defeated the Luftwaffe and performed to a similar level as the USAAF. The Royal Navy rescued the army from Dunkirk and its command of the sea meant that Britain was never seriously threatened with invasion. Our armed forces were second only to those of the Soviet Union and the USA.

Just look what they have become. We have aircraft carriers without enough planes that keep breaking down. Our army could not even fight a small war on its own and nor could our air force. We can contribute when the American want to fight a war, but that is about all.

Prior to the Second World War there was no Israeli military tradition not least because there was no Israel, yet from a standing start Israel since 1948 has produced an army, air force and navy that would defeat anything Britain might put up against it. While the British army could defeat Germany in the field in 1918, we couldn’t invade Israel even if we wanted to not least because we lack the ships to get there.

Our military history has become one of decline with an MOD more interested in woke and diversity than actually fighting and winning battles. The soldiers, sailors and airmen we have are still first rate, but we lack the numbers, we lack the equipment and quite frankly we lack the morale to take on a serious opponent.

The difference between Israel and both the US and British armed forces is that Israel is threatened in a way that neither the UK nor USA are any more. Unless it is World War Three no one is going to invade us. Israel has faced invasion, defeat and annihilation on any number of occasions since 1948.  It means that Israel cannot afford to fight like the British or the Americans, because it would lose and it dare not lose.

We could have won in Iraq and Afghanistan if we had been willing to fight like we did in World War Two, but we are no longer willing to take sizable casualties nor inflict them. So, we were defeated on both occasions.  We lack the stomach to fight insurgency. We are unwilling to do what is necessary to defeat it.

Now apparently Israel should take advice from Britain about whether to continue its operation in Gaza.

Well, I wonder if Israelis are considering how a top class British Army and intelligence service was able to fight the IRA to a standstill, infiltrate it and make being an IRA terrorist a seriously dangerous occupation, only for our politicians to give away that victory to the extent that the daughter of an IRA terrorist is now First Minister of Northern Ireland. If we were going to give it away in the end why fight at all? It would have been better then to say to Dublin in 1968 it’s your problem and saved everyone the trouble. No wonder the IDF won’t listen to Britain.

The IDF has come very close to defeating Hamas in the field. It’s rather as if the IDF has encircled Berlin. So, what should it do? Stop, make peace and go home. Always do what your opponent least wants. Do you think Hamas wants Israel to keep fighting or to stop.

It has taken months to get to this stage and the opportunity may never come again. So yes, finish the war. Defeat your opponent completely.

We know that Israel is already doing its best to avoid civilian casualties, but that in any form of urban warfare these are unavoidable. But sometimes it is necessary to fight a war anyway. We understood this in World War Two, which is why we bombed both Germany and Japan.

General Sherman did more to win the Civil War than anyone else because he showed the South the consequences of its rebellion by destroying everything in his path from Atlanta to the sea. The South wanted no part of this sort of warfare and hasn’t been tempted since.

So too Germany which had invaded France three times in 70 years is now the most pacifist country in Europe with an army that would struggle to invade Luxembourg. What changed Germany was that its cities were bombed flat, and its citizens suffered the full horror that goes with invasion and the humiliation of being partitioned and occupied. Finally, after three chances Germany learned its lesson only when it was completely destroyed.

At some point the Palestinians have to learn their lesson. They invaded Israel and raped, mutilated and murdered Israelis in such a barbaric fashion that they justly faced the full wrath of Israel.

The result has been terrible. Not terrible by World War Two standards. The Royal Air Force deliberately burned alive more of the citizens of Hamburg in one night than Israel has done accidentally since October.

Israel is not trying to kill civilians. It could kill vastly more if it wished by carpet bombing Gaza. It is trying to defeat only Hamas, but unfortunately in order to defeat the Nazis it was necessary to kill ordinary Germans some of whom did no wrong or even opposed Hitler, some of whom were children. The same logic obviously applies. We are childish when we suppose that it does not.

You can continue with this interminable conflict which has been going on for around the same amount of time as German militarism from 1870 to 1945, or you can end it.

In 1918 despite defeating the German Army decisively the allied armies did not continue their advance into Germany. They made peace with Germany in such a way that Germany was left intact and still with the desire to have another go. The result was another war in 1939.

Peace only comes when you so decisively defeat your enemy that he regrets fighting and decides never to do so again.

It is not up to me to advise the IDF. They know more than I ever will. But I do not believe the Palestinians will ever cease to embrace terrorism until they are fully shown the consequences of doing so and accept that the land that their grandparents lost will never be theirs again. After all the German population today does not commit acts of terrorism to get back parts of Poland that it lost in 1945.

In previous generations in Britain, we understood the full horror of war and how it was necessary to do dreadful things to win. It was this that meant we kept fighting after the great losses on the Somme and accepted that we were justified in bombing German cities at night because at that time we had no other means of fighting back.

Our armed forces have become a pale imitation of what they once were partly because we have felt safe since 1945 and no longer feel the need to pay what is necessary to have first rate armed forces. But then don’t criticise Israel for doing what is necessary to defeat a relentless opponent who will never make peace until it is decisively defeated and destroyed.

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