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OPINION

US Cannot Dictate Gaza Outcome

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Israel Defense Forces via AP

Critics of Israel’s actions in pursuing the real culprits behind the current conflict in the Middle East - Hamas and their terrorist enablers - never have an answer to one fundamental question: what steps do they believe Israel is entitled to take to defend themselves and their citizens? I don’t see how affirming that Israel has a right to defend its citizens from violent terrorist attacks is a controversial statement. 

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The fact that Democrats cannot accept this simple premise shows the philosophical, moral, and ideological decay which started with the radical left on college campuses, and has infested the highest levels of the U.S. government, courtesy of the Biden administration. Biden’s failure to veto the United Nations Security Council resolution demanding Israel submit to a unilateral cease-fire marks an all-time-low-point in U.S. – Israel relations, and future leaders in both countries must recommit to strengthening our bonds and unifying our actions in an increasingly dangerous world.

Hamas has mastered the despicable art of embedding themselves in the civilian population of Gaza and the West Bank to ensure any action against them will result in civilian casualties. And while every innocent life lost is a tragedy, Democrats blaming Israel for those deaths is off-base. The responsibility for those losses lies squarely with Hamas, Hezbollah, and their supporters in the rogue Iranian regime. Until, the civilian population of Gaza and the West Bank physically and ideologically distance themselves from Hamas, collateral casualties will remain a terrible but unavoidable reality in Israel’s fully justified response to terrorist aggression.

The U.S. must not tie Israel’s hands in their response. We must recognize that only through the total annihilation of Hamas, Hezbollah and affiliated terrorist organizations, can Israel achieve security for itself, and reclaim the fragile regional peace that President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and Republicans achieved through the historic Abraham Accords.

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The Biden administration and international community are wrong to tie Israel’s hands when dealing with the primary funder and organizer of these attacks: the Iranian Mullahs. The Iranian theocratic regime, in concert with China, Russia, and North Korea, is funding and organizing terrorist actions around the globe. They are using the billions of dollars handed to them by the Biden administration to purchase and deliver high-tech weapons to terrorists. Their international network of embassies and consulates serve as logistical centers for violent extremist groups worldwide. Iranian technology and resources are being used to kill Israelis every single day. Iran’s Yemeni Houthi allies are firing Iranian made rockets and drones at cargo ships, and riding Iranian-supplied helicopters to board them. Iranian proxies across Africa and Southeast Asia are being used to destabilize governments and spread terror among the native populations. 

If it is reasonable and correct for the U.S. government to target key Iranian regime officials, as Donald Trump did with Iranian general Qasem Soleimani for his role in organizing and funding attacks on U.S. forces, it is equally appropriate for Israel to take unilateral action targeting Iranian regime members engaged in supporting Hamas. Furthermore, in the wake of Iran’s bombardment of Israel, it is within Israel’s right to target Iranian production, launch, and command and control facilities; both those involved in the recent overnight attacks, and those designed to support Iran’s nuclear weapons programs. America would not sacrifice our national sovereignty and right to wage war under duress, nor should Israel. 

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Let’s not forget for one second our wide-open southern border and the implications for the safety and security of Americans so long as the rogue regime in Tehran operates with impunity. Every day, thousands upon thousands of unvetted individuals are crossing our borders. It is naive to believe that some of these individuals are not connected to Iran or their terrorist proxies. 

Iran and their terrorist-support network must be held to account. Otherwise, the attacks by their proxies will continue. It is long past time for the international community to place the blame for ongoing religious and ideological violence in the Middle East where it belongs: with the radical terrorist supporters fomenting conflicts throughout the region. Neither Israel nor the West can unilaterally move us beyond this ongoing and centuries old religious strife. 

The foundation of the conflict is the incompatibility of Jihadi ideology with humanitarian values. An end to the conflict requires recognizing that fact and having the courage to confront it, both in the West and throughout the greater Muslim world. If the people of Gaza want to ensure zero casualties at the hands of Israeli troops, the path forward is clear: isolate and eliminate Hamas operatives and radical Jihadist elements within their own society, and ensure they never again are allowed to use the broader population as human shields.  

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Kari Lake is a Republican Candidate for US Senate in Arizona

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