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David Ignatius: Israel calls its own shots, will invade when ready

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
October 28, 2023 12:00 am

David Ignatius: Israel calls its own shots, will invade when ready

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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October 28, 2023 12:00 am

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I'm Josh Klein.

And I'm Elise Hu. We host a podcast from Accenture called Built for Change. Every part of every business is being reinvented right now. That means companies are facing brand new pressures to use fast evolving technologies and address shifting consumer expectations. But with big changes come even bigger opportunities. We've talked with leaders from every corner of the business world to learn how they're harnessing change to totally reinvent their companies and how you can do it, too.

Subscribe to Built for Change now so you don't miss an episode. That is Michael Herzog. He's the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. saying that Israel is calling their own shots.

And those stories about President Biden saying, wait it out, get the hostages out, plan it out, are not true. Dave Ignatius, Washington Post columnist, has his own great sources and is kind enough to join us now. David, thanks so much for being here. I know this tumultuous time for you as well.

You know all the players. Is he right? Is Israel calling their own shots? Brian, what Ambassador Herzog said is obviously right. In the end, Israel reserves, as any company does, the right to make its own decisions, especially about security matters like this. It's also true that there has been intense consultation between the U.S. and Israel. The United States is the crucial second line of defense for Israel. We've moved to aircraft carrier task forces. We've shot down missiles that were aimed at Israel, fired from Yemen.

You know, we're close to being in this. So Israel listens carefully to what the advice is from the U.S. side. And there is concern in the U.S. that Israel not react in ways that will make its military and security problems worse instead of better. So I mean, I think that it is true that the consultation is going on, but Ambassador Herzog's right in the end, Israel decides what it wants to do, period.

So we know about the grounding. There was a big probe last night and they just did kill. They announced they killed one of Hamas's higher-ups. But I do want to bring you to this Wall Street Journal story that says Israel has agreed to U.S. requests to delay an invasion of Gaza because they want to get their missile defense in order. I just talked to Ambassador Friedman, who was there during the Trump years, just left the country, was there during the attacks.

And he said, I'm shocked that we don't have missile defense there already for our 2,500 troops in Iraq and in Syria, 900 over in Syria. Does that sound plausible to you? Do you buy that story?

I know it's not your story, but do you buy this scenario? So I think the U.S. has proposed a pause for various reasons. One is to get more air defense into the region. We have more forces now that are there that are exposed than before.

And so be natural to want more air defense to protect them. There is hope that some additional hostages could be released. And I think there's a desire on all sides not to disrupt that process, which obviously Israel would love to see some of those 224 hostages out. And finally, I think your listeners should bear in mind there's overwhelming need for air defense in Ukraine. The biggest problem going into the winter is the lack of sufficient missiles, air defense systems. So a lot of what the U.S. had hoped to be able to provide the Ukraine, it's now having to think about diverting tech U.S. forces and to provide Israel for its own defense.

So it's a complicated situation for the Pentagon getting all these planning streams coordinated. And I think for many reasons, the Israelis have decided they don't want to rush in. They don't want to rush into having a second fight with Lebanon. They don't want to rush into Gaza before they really prepare the battle space. What you saw last night, the probe by Israeli tanks, they're going to see more of that. They want to locate to the extent they possibly can where the Hamas terrorist fighters are. They want to understand the pedal network as well as they can. They want to minimize the risks once they go in and they're grounded in the patient.

I know that about it. And the guy they killed, Hassan Abdullah, they feel as though he was a high value target. So there was a probe in there. They sent in some tanks, they sent in some units and they pulled right back out. How do you feel, and must be surreal to you who know the Middle East so well, David Ignatius, to see Hezbollah meeting openly with Hamas and Iran representatives in Beirut yesterday?

Almost they bring in the cameras if they can spray the room to get the video out there. They're not hiding their alliance. Yeah, it's a photo opportunity for what they call the resistance. In the Arab world, to me, a really appalling fact is that the Hamas terror attacks across the fence that killed 1400 Israelis have been greeted by a lot of celebration. And the Israeli bombing of targets in Gaza has been greeted by protests. So they almost want to advertise their alliance.

The question, Brian, is whether it goes beyond photo opportunities to embrace the resistance, as they call each other, to actual fighting. The signs have been so far that while Hezbollah wants to make a show of support, fire some rockets across the border, it's not prepared for a full-scale war, nor is Iran. Everything I hear from U.S. and Israeli officials tells me that that's their reading. But they were wrong about Hamas. They didn't think Hamas would attack across the fence. They thought Hamas was deterred.

It wasn't. So they're really scared of making the same mistake twice. So the big question is, and you write about this, what happens the next day? You go in and you rid the place of every Hamas agent you can find, and they're gone for now. Everyone knows logically, we saw it with Al Qaeda, ISIS, they'll pop back up, but at what level?

So what happens the next day? Nobody wants Gaza. Jordan doesn't want it. The Israelis don't want it.

Who gets Gaza? So that's the core problem, and I think you and your listeners know that for the United States, in our basically frustrating wars over 20 years in the Middle East, one problem we didn't think enough about the day after. I mean, our army is the strongest in the world over a long way.

We can blow through anything. But what then? And Israel has some of the same problems to think about. It does not want to reoccupy Gaza. It wants somebody to take responsibility for security there that's not Hamas.

But who is that? And there's a lot of discussion I met with some Arab leaders in Washington last night just to talk over that issue. What force might go into Gaza after the military operations are concluded to stabilize things? How would that work? Would it be an international force? Would the U.S. take part in some way? Would the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank, is unreliable, but it isn't as bad as Hamas? Would they go in? So those are all the issues that people are discussing.

They don't have answers. It's one reason I think the Israelis are being careful and not launching a full ground offensive before they know what would go in place once it was done. But with big changes come even bigger opportunities. We've talked with leaders from every corner of the business world to learn how they're harnessing change to totally reinvent their companies.

And how you can do it, too. Subscribe to Built for Change now so you don't miss an episode. One thing is clear. Remember they told us about the caves in Bin Laden and he has all these tunnels in these caves?

And that was overstated. I don't think that's the case with Gaza. These tunnels seem real. When those hostages came out, that 85-year-old woman came out and talked about it was a spiderweb of caves down there and she got medical attention. There is an underground world the Israelis are going to have to fight in. Is that true?

Yes, you put it exactly right. Sometimes people in Gaza call it the metro. There are so many tunnels.

They add them all up. It's hundreds of miles of tunnels. They've been working on them for 15 years. They're very sophisticated. They've built them carefully.

And it makes this conflict extremely difficult to plan. The Israelis in the two plus weeks that they've been waiting have been using all kinds of exotic sensors, new technologies, things we don't know about, to try to ascertain to the extent they can a map of these tunnels. Where are people? Where are the hostages?

Where are the fighters? What are the booby traps? And they've been using every bit of technology they can and go into these tunnels to some extent with robots and drones. You can put a lot of drones in the tunnels. You can send robots down.

But at some point, you've got to send human beings to clean them up. And it's a nightmare of warfare. There's a special unit of the Israeli IDF, the Israeli military, known as Summer, which translates as weasels. The guys who go underground, they're incredibly tough, super brave. But in the next couple of weeks, pay attention to the news reports about these Israeli fighters operating underground in this tunnel network because they'll be the toughest guys in the Israeli military.

The Washington Post, Dave Ignatius with us. Dave, it's day 19. The official number of Israelis killed on the 7th, 1,106, 798 civilians, 308 soldiers, and 15% are unidentified. It means there's a lot of people there that were so mutilated, so destroyed, that we can't make out their identification yet. That's why it's hard to get an idea of how many hostages.

But I think the number is up to 224 now, even with the release of four. So we'll see where this goes. How do you feel, David, about the fact that our troops have been attacked by these Iranian affiliated militias anywhere from 11 to 14 times since the 7th, and we have not attacked back in that rough neighborhood? They look at that as weakness. So what you know from the fact of those attacks, let's say it's 13 attacks on US positions, roughly 24 US service people injured, what you know is that these Iranian backed militias are not deterred. They don't yet feel that they'll pay a price. And so the attacks are going to continue or increase until they know that they'll pay a price. So I'm certain that there'll be US retaliation. Again, as with Israel, you don't want to jump into things before you have a clear sense of how each chain in Lincoln, this chain is going to go.

I mean, I know the CENTCOM commander, General Carilla, he's smart, he's tough, so he'll take action, but I don't blame him for taking his time to thinking exactly how to do it. See, I don't think it applies here because they've been there. They know the neighborhood. They know who the actors are.

These aren't newly created actors. The alliance might be somewhat nil, but you know who's financing and pushing it. My feeling is we could have the best commanders, but if the State Department slash White House says don't do it, they can't act in their best interests or in our best interests or with all their knowledge and experience. I just can't tell you whether there's been an order from the YS to delay plans that General Carilla's already organized.

I don't have that information. I think you're right that they always have good contingency plans to respond to attacks like these. I've been with CENTCOM commanders at some of these places. I was at Al Asad Air Base when there were threats of attacks.

I've been in other places that have been attacked. Our forces out there are vulnerable all the time. This threat includes our embassy in Baghdad, which has been evacuated out of the most limited group of personnel necessary. Same thing with our consulate in Erbil and in Iraqi Kurdistan. So we're hunkered down knowing that our forces are our forces and diplomats are subject to attack. We're going to have to push back. I think your point is exactly right.

Just questions when and how. So here's the president yesterday at his rare press conference Cut Five. It also means that when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next. And in our view, it has to be a two state solution. It means a concentrated effort for all the parties, Israelis, Palestinians, regional partners, global leaders to put us on a path toward peace.

David, is the two state solution even worth even bringing up? Where's the Palestinian partner and the passion for the Middle East neighbors to get involved? Nobody really wants Hamas in charge, but there's nobody emerging that would be in charge that would be palatable for the Israelis or for anybody else.

So one other couple of questions. One is who's going to be in charge of Israel going forward? I think there is widespread criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu for the chain of events that led to these terrible attacks on October 7th. Will he continue on the long run?

I don't know. It could be that there'll be a government that's more sympathetic to the ideas of a two state solution. The Arabs are trying to get their act together on this. They believe, as does the United States government, as has the U.S. government for as long as I can remember, that stability and security for Israel in the long run will be enhanced by having a Palestinian state that's demilitarized.

They want to see that. So the Arabs are talking to Saudi Arabia, to Jordan, to Egypt, to all the Arab countries that we deal with, to see if after Hamas is cleared, can there be a whole force in Gaza and eventually a new force in the West Bank that's stable, that doesn't every couple of years launch a new attack, that opens a new door to greater stability for Israel. And if they could demonstrate that, I'm sure many Israelis would want to be part of that process.

But there's so many ifs in what I said, Brian. I'm just telling you that people are working hard to figure out, could you get to that place? Because that place would be better than what Israel's living in now, no question about it.

All right. I mean, they have so much money that were flowing into Gaza. If they put it to the right thing, it could be Martha's Vineyard. I don't know about Martha's Vineyard, but it could be it could be safer and more and more secure for everybody.

There's no question. Palestinians should have a better life. Palestinians in Gaza do not like Hamas. They feel oppressed by Hamas. I just quoted in the newspaper dozens of Palestinians in Gaza who hate Hamas.

But there needs to be a very coordinated effort by the U.S., Israel, moderate Arab states to help bring something different into place there. It would be great. David, if it does happen, you'll be the first to get it.

David Ignatius, Washington Post. Thanks so much. Thanks, Brian.

Great to talk to you. At just 30 years old, the founder of FTX was one of the wealthiest people in the world. That all changed in November 2022 when the company collapsed and filed for bankruptcy. Now Sam Bankman Fried stands accused of committing one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history. Join me, Kelly O'Grady, every Monday and Thursday as we follow the trial of Sam Bankman Fried. Subscribe today wherever you download podcasts or at Listen to the show ad-free on Fox News Podcast Plus, on Apple Podcast, Amazon Music with your prime membership, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-28 00:17:36 / 2023-10-28 00:24:35 / 7

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