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(February 27, 2024 / Jerusalem Post)

‘October 7 is what happens when you don’t finish the job.” – IDF combat soldier

I recently had the privilege of participating in a high-level fact-finding mission to Israel, the beleaguered and embattled homeland of the Jewish people. Embattled because we flew into a country at war – a war started by an enemy whose raison d’être is to massacre every Jewish person in Israel. Beleaguered because, despite the horrific atrocities committed against its citizens, the international community continues to stymie Israel’s battle plans while condemning its efforts to defend its borders and citizens.

In response to the attempted genocide of the Jewish people on October 7, Israelis awoke from their naïveté and apathy with a will, determination, and strength not seen since 1973. The result of Israel’s decisive win in the Yom Kippur War was eventual peace with Egypt and, years later, Jordan. Peace through strength was, and remains, the only way for Israel to survive in the jungle in which it finds itself. As one Member of Knesset with whom we met stated, “In the jungle, the strongest survive; the weak are prey.”

The Israel Victory Project

That is the idea behind the Israel Victory Project – a critically important project of the Philadelphia-based think tank, the Middle East Forum (MEF), which brought a group of pro-Israel leaders together to learn about what led to the October 7 atrocities, what transpired on that historic day, what Israel was doing in response, and how we in the US can help her defeat her enemies.

Israel is engaged in an existential war for its survival. But as is its wont, it is also fighting a cognitive war that elevates the terrorists and their Palestinian supporters to the status of victims while Israel and its citizens are deemed aggressors committing acts of genocide. That the barbaric massacre of 1,200 Israelis and kidnapping of 250 citizens did not alter this Orwellian narrative says more about the international community than the heroic citizens of the Jewish homeland who risk their lives daily on the frontlines of the fight for Western civilization.

The failure of imagination on the part of Western leaders, who ignorantly believe that Israel is fighting only its own enemies whose ambitions begin and end with the Jewish state, has empowered not just Hamas but Iran and all of its terrorist proxies who are watching Israel’s Operation Swords of Iron and evaluating the strength not just of the IDF and the Israeli public, but the West and its mettle in standing steadfast with good against evil. The West seems unwilling or unable to grasp that Israel is the canary in the coal mine; Jews are only the frontline in the broader war.

We see this ignorance playing out daily with calls for a two-state solution from those running US foreign policy. Israelis, who just experienced the trauma of the largest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust – on their own soil – are understandably and uniformly dismissive of such lunacy. But they also recognize that, despite how outrageous the push to reward the barbarians at their gates with statehood might be, they still must deal with the US, on whom they are reliant both militarily and diplomatically. It is this dependence on the US that not only presents a conundrum with no easy solution but also provides a wake-up call that things must eventually change.

That is why Israel must destroy Hamas to ensure that, despite the terrorist group’s promises to repeat those atrocities over and over, they will never happen again. Israel must execute this war and save the hostages on its own terms and timetable, as well as implement strategies, protocols, and tactics that will truly prevent 10/7 from ever occurring again.

Everyone with whom we met – ministers and MKs from the Left, Center, and Right; government officials; reservists and active-duty soldiers; retired military personnel, police, and commanders of regional security; intelligence experts; parents of the fallen and a father of a hostage; and members of the Druze community – passionately asserted that Israel must win. In fact, one MK went so far as to suggest that had Israel adopted the MEF Victory Project ideals, October 7 may not have happened. Nonetheless, there is now a nationwide consensus that winning is not an option; it is an imperative.

ISRAEL AND THE WEST share enemies who are watching. That’s why any discussion of rewarding the Palestinians with a state of their own sends the message that terrorism works. The mere mention of two states sends the absolutely wrong message at this dangerous time. Radical Islam understands this. Biden and the West? Apparently not.

Israel’s regional friends are watching as well. Hamas’s intention was to disrupt normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. It succeeded – temporarily. The Gulf nations are also observing, and they seek to ally with a strong horse. Without victory, the future of the Abraham Accords is at risk.

While the West seems to have forgotten what it means to win (think Afghanistan and Iraq), Israel can no longer afford to spend its days fighting the next war between wars. Israelis understand that this must be the last.

Too many policymakers in Israel and the West ignorantly mistook Palestinians as a people in search of peace, prosperity, and opportunity. Palestinian aspirations do not align with those of the West. Everyone from Jake “the Mideast has never been quieter” Sullivan to the hopeful Jews living on the kibbutzim in the South failed to recognize this reality. And while 10/7 apparently was not a wake-up call for Western policymakers, Israelis learned the hard way that victory must be achieved in order to end the barbarians’ ambitions of destroying Israel.

The response to the October 7 massacre is an inflection point for Israel’s – and the West’s – survival. If peace is the goal, decisive victory is the only means to its achievement.

The writer is vice chair and New York chapter president of The Endowment for Middle East Truth and vice president, treasurer, and board member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. She recently participated in a Middle East Forum fact-finding mission.

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About the Author

Lauri Regan
Lauri B. Regan is the vice chair of the executive board of the Endowment for Middle East Truth and the vice president and treasurer of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. She is a board member of Polaris National Security and the former chair of the American Zionist Movement’s Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism and Holocaust Denial Project.

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