New questions about the war

October 20, 2023 • 9:20 am

As Israel’s troops and tanks sit waiting at the border to invade Gaza, I’m starting to wonder if they really will invade.  For when I remember that Israel’s avowed aim is to get rid of Hamas, and then think of the options  Israel has (I’ve concluded that a ground invasion was the best tactic), I get shpilkes.  Can a ground invasion really get rid of Hamas when:

  • Hamas will not only be spread widely throughout the country, but also hiding in tunnels, and some may temporarily go to Egypt.  How can Israel possibly get rid of Hamas unless they kill or capture most of Hamas’s leaders and terrorists? Is that even feasible?
  • A ground invasion, particularly one designed to get rid of Hamas and recapture the hostages (I see the latter aim as futile), will absolutely destroy Gaza—at least the northern part. Is this something that’s worthwhile given the likely response of the world? After all, the Middle East is already inflamed against Israel based on a hospital bombing that was likely caused by a misfired terrorist rocket. Widespread destruction of Gaza will engender a much stronger reaction.
  • Even if Hamas is destroyed, won’t Israel’s actions in Gaza, especially if the infrastructure is largely destroyed, simply create another generation of militants that will replace Hamas?

I have no answers to these questions, and am losing confidence that Israel’s invasion (or a massive bombing attack) will accomplish its aims.

Nevertheless, Israel must respond to a brutal attack on its civilians, one involving rape, mutilation, murder, and the taking of 200 hostages.

This is a horrible situation, but of course besides Western countries, nearly all Middle Eastern countries will turn even more against Israel, scuppering any chance for peace, much less a two-state solution.  The problem of terrorism and threats from countries like Lebanon and Iran (the latter helped bankroll the Hamas attack) will remain.  (I’m not even going to mention dismantling settlements, which also won’t solve the terrorist problem.)

I wish that at the 2000 Camp David Summit, Yassar Arafat had accepted what I see as a reasonable offer of land for peace by Israel’s Ehud Barak. (This was one of several peace offers by Israel that the Palestinians rejected over the years.) Yet the laws of physics, as instantiated in Arafat’s misfired neurons, decreed otherwise.  But that’s water under the bridge. The questions that I’d like readers to discuss are in the three bullet points above.

83 thoughts on “New questions about the war

  1. Maybe demand that Qatar hand over the Hamas leadership currently ensconced in a Four Seasons Hotel in Doha & face trial in the International court. That would be a far more palatable solution.

    1. How would you back up that demand? Threaten to remove the US Central Command base in Qatar? Qatar probably fears becoming a pariah among its Arab neighbors by capitulating to such a US demand more than it fears losing that base or otherwise incurring the wrath of the US in the form of economic sanctions.

    1. Is posible to create a new palestinian Gob. for Gaza? Perhaps Fatah section that takes the control of institutions, to save Gaza population from the terrorists? Do part of the people would accept this new Gov. in schange of goods (better electricity and water suplies, facilites to Cross borders to work, etc etc??) For me thats the only solución to “destroy” Hamas…

  2. As terrible as the situation is, it is really depressing to think that Hamas knew the current trajectory of events would unfold. They wanted and expected what is now happening – to Israel, to the Palestinians, and the effect on the world.

  3. There is an article in The Tablet about urban warfare with Mosul as an example:

    It may be a “sort of” explanation why Israel is striking Gaza City from the air and is not in a hurry to start a land invasion. At the same time it shows that eradicating of terrorist groups is possible, but entails a staggering cost in life of both soldiers and civilians, as well as leaving only ruins where once there was a thriving city. Of course, the author reminds us also that the world supported the fight against ISIS. There were no mass protests against American and Iraqi forces fighting in Mosul and nobody was delivering humanitarian help to Mosul. Somehow everybody knew then that this help would get into the hands of ISIS.

    1. According to the Geneva Conventions,

      A doubt as to the destination of consignments would not be sufficient reason for refusing them free passage; the fears of the Power imposing the blockade must be based on serious grounds, i.e. they must have been inspired by the knowledge of certain definite facts. On the other hand, supervision by a neutral intermediary, e.g. by the Protecting Powers or the International Committee of the Red Cross, should afford the blockading Power adequate assurances. The question will be discussed again in the commentary on paragraph 3.

      So was the USA really violating the Geneva Conventions in regards to Mosul, or was the situation different?
      And would Israel be violating the Geneva Conventions if it refused humanitarian aid to Gaza?

    2. Given the clearly deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip and the extremely rare statement issued by the ICRC that the denial of food, water, and electricity to civilians, crucial for their survival, is not compatible with international humanitarian law, it is evident that humanitarian assistance delivered by impartial and non-discriminatory humanitarian organizations must be allowed to enter Gaza. Israel’s October 18 approval of entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza from Egypt, following an hour-long meeting with President Biden, is a step in the right direction. At the same time, it is also essential to ensure that this life-saving aid makes it to the intended recipients: civilians. As the commentary to Article 23 notes, “constant surveillance is necessary to ensure that the articles are in actual fact received by those for whom they are intended and that any illegal trafficking is made impossible.” But even that cannot be done if the aid cannot enter as soon as possible. The survival of civilians depends on it.

  4. The trouble is that there doesn’t seem like there is anything that Israel could do to make peace with Hamas. If the Hamas charter calls for the end of Israel, Israel could take a totally hands off approach to Gaza, even provide lots of aid, and it seems unlikely that hostility from the Palestinian side will end. Let’s not forget, either, that there are countries like Iran that don’t want it to end. With that in mind, I think the only thing Israel can do in the short term is try to destroy Hamas’s infrastructure. I don’t see how that would make things worse for Israel from a purely Gazan standpoint. It might cause a widening of the conflict, but I think Israel has to accept that, or it will be stuck like this forever.

    1. The trouble is that there doesn’t seem like there is anything that Israel could do to make peace with Hamas.

      Maybe not, but Gazans are not happy with the Hamas government

      Gazan frustration with Hamas governance is clear; most Gazans expressed a preference for PA administration and security officials over Hamas—the majority of Gazans (70%) supported a proposal of the PA sending “officials and security officers to Gaza to take over the administration there, with Hamas giving up separate armed units.”

      across the region, Hamas has lost popularity over time among many Arab publics. This decline in popularity may have been one of the motivating factors behind the group’s decision to attack.

      The Gazans are very poor and were living in terrible conditions even before this attack. Maybe they could be further turned against Hamas by making Israel look like their benefactor. Could Gazans be granted temporary visas to work in Israel, for example, similarly to Mexicans who work in the USA and send money to their relatives?

      1. Almost 20,000 Gazans were working in Israel before 10/7. They came to work every day, their employers and co-workers thought they were friends. On the day o massacre many of them served as guides for terrorists, earlier they made maps and gave descriptions of every house and every family they knew. Some took part in killing and torturing their former employers and co-workers. How do I know? A few Israelis survived and they identified these people. There is also footage where some of these nice Gazan who worked in Israel were recognized. I sincerely doubt any more Gazans will ever get permit to work in Israel.

        1. It would have to be done with a lot of security, to guard against such possibilities.
          In general, the poverty of the Gazans and the relative affluence of the Israelis gives the Israelis leverage, which could be used to influence the Gazans.

          1. 1. Gaza got billions of dollars in international help. These millions went partly into the private pockets of the leaders, partly into buying and building weapons and terror tunnels, and the remaining crumbs went to the Gaza’s population.
            2. When Israel left Gaza 2005 (removing by force its own population – an ethnic cleansing of Jews by a Jewish state) it left the most modern greenhouses which could continue to produce excellent fruits and vegetables for Gazans. The next day the local population destroyed every one of them in gleeful abandon of destroying every sign of “Yahoods”.
            3. Children in Gaza are taught to hate Jews from the kindergarten age. There are many videos of little tots staging scenes: how to kill, a Jew, how to knife, a Jew, how to kidnap a Jew. Older children have special summer camps when they are taught how to use real weapon to do this glorious deed.
            4 Look at the school material taught in UNRWA schools. Not a pleasant reading.
            5. In spite of all this Israel arranged special courses for Gaza’s medical staff, for Gaza’s farmers and many other professions to share knowledge and make the life of Gazans easier. Many Gazans (inclusive relatives of leaders of Hamas) got medical care in Israel. Yahya Sinvar, current leader of Hamas in Gaza, had a brain tumor, was operated on in Israel and his life was (unfortunately) saved.

            So, how more of the same can save Israelis from murderous fever coming from Gaza?

          2. @Malgorzata

            Israel arranged special courses for Gaza’s medical staff, for Gaza’s farmers and many other professions to share knowledge and make the life of Gazans easier.

            That’s the sort of thing that might help. The people who were trained by Israelis probably did have friendlier feelings towards them as a result.
            Maybe Israel could work to create economic ties with Gazans, educational ties, in a safe way – so Gazans stand to lose if Hamas attacks and disrupts that.
            The West exports its culture by Western corporations selling abroad. Maybe Israel could do similar in Gaza. People’s enjoyments have a strong influence on them.

        2. I think people raised in a Western culture steeped in the values of Enlightenment tolerance have great difficulty understanding the mindset of those who grow up in a very different culture. I recently read a book detailing the intense propaganda the Nazis put into the school system, which changed the emphasis on scholarship to an unrelenting emphasis on war and hatred of the Jews. With that kind of background, it’s not just a matter of their making friends with someone who’s Jewish.

          What you report is heartbreaking. It’s also human nature, following a different set of values and premises.

        3. Malgorzata, I think “Laura” is a Chatbot. I’m not being snarky or ad hominem. I really do. There is a certain “tell”, where the bot responds to what you write but doesn’t appear to have processed it. Like your explaining why the Gaza work permits (which she seemed to be unaware of) turned out to be a security risk, then her replying that they could be resumed with extra security and relying on friendship to prevent a repeat, which already failed. You explained how the medical and vocational training Israel provided was repaid with murder; then Laura proposed that doing more of the same would be example of what might help.

          1. Thanks! I would never have guessed it. In my long life I met enought stupid human beings who were unable to put two and two together and get four that I thought I met another one here. But, as you say, it can be a stupid AI.

          2. Or someone with a legitimate email but they do input/output on ChatGPT – I figure PCC(E) would discern bot from human.

      2. “Could Gazans be granted temporary visas to work in Israel, for example”

        That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

        Things like that.

      3. To add to the above replies. Why is there a hard, fortified border around Gaza? Answer: suicide bombings and the 2nd intifada. Prior to that it was way easier for Gazans to travel into Israel to work.

  5. If we take post-colonial theory at its word – and the evidence suggests we should – then, quoting Jean-Paul Sartre (translation, 1961):

    “… no indulgence can erase the marks of violence: violence alone can eliminate them.”.

    See the excerpt from Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth (1961) here :

    IOW they WANT violence. The Israeli reaction is their (Palestine’s) real action (Saul Alinski).

    So – the way out of the “decision dilemma” (Alinski) is to give them no violence of any sort. Not even playful violence (maybe W. Ayers).

    Anything but violence.

    I have no idea how. Maybe suggest that no, Palestinians are not “wretched”. Offer something neighborly, something forgiving. It sounds insane, but so is Beautiful Trouble, so perhaps flipping that game plan would cause confusion.

    Of course that sounds nuts but what isn’t nuts at this point?

    1. I am sure that you’d be delighted to see your country offering “something neighborly” to a group that had just butchered more than a thousand of your fellow countrymen and kidnapped hundreds, including babies and elderly women.
      It’s is not “nuts”. It’s just incredibly idiotic.

      1. I’m not sure the point of this comment…

        … other that to insinuate a hidden, personal dimension to the stupid-sounding ideas I put up and admitted as much as I am not a wizard, to a chaotic problem in the first place – and then attack that insinuation.

        1. Out of respect to Jerry, I hold myself from telling you what I really think about your bizarre ideas.
          If you expect Israel to offer “something neighborlly”, “something forgiving” now, you will be disappointed.

          1. Now our host is insinuated as a participant in ignoring the truly terrifying Sartre excerpt in favor of making sure it is clear that “my ideas” (which are obviously useless brainstorming type ideas) are “bizarre”.


          2. I am not insinuating anything about Jerry. I find it very unlikely that he shares your delusions.
            As for you, i don’t think that you do this intentionally, but you expecting from Israel what no one would suggest to any other nation.
            In proportions and other ways, what we had here is much worse that what America suffered in 9/11. Even if that would make sense strategically, which it doesn’t, we are not in the mood for kindness.

          3. In my defense – because apparently that’s what this is now, instead of criticizing Sartre for literally telling people to kill each other as a precondition in a religious rebirth – the “idea” of “something neighborly, something forgiving” is, I thought obviously, notions from Christian tradition – “turn the other cheek” etc.

            Not my idea.

        1. I don’t think that there is a complete solution, but Israel has to give a very serious blow tho Hamas. For any sane Israeli, it is now clear that a we cannot tolerate the continuation of their control of the Gaza Strip.
          Peace between Israel and the Palestinian was not possible in the foreseeable future even before October 7th, because even so called moderate Palestinians reject Israel’s right to exist.
          Israel will do what any other would do in similar situation. I don’t want to see civilians suffer, but they will, not because we Israelis want it, but because it’s inevitable given the urgent need to remove the threat to Israel, and it’s also justified.
          No other country would be expected to tolerate an ISIS-like entity on its borders.

          1. I agree completely. The status quo is a nonstarter, and Hamas will never negotiate for peace. I don’t see any other option than to endure civilian deaths until Hamas is destroyed. Current civilian deaths have to be accepted in exchange for diminished suffering and fewer civilian deaths in the future. But, of course, we humans fail at managing emotion with reason. Since you are Israeli, I’m curious, do you think Israel is doing the best PR job possible? Is it keeping the stories of the hostages visible, as well as the brutality of Oct 7? Would a high quality documentary with the gruesome visuals help? Is there any way to undermine Hamas’ credibility when they report damage and deaths? (They don’t report how many of the deaths are Hamas assholes, right? For all we know, a high death rate is stellar news.) Is it impossible for Israel to succeed with PR when most mainstream media is biased against Isreal?

          2. One can always improve. I think that largely, we are doing a good job in the PR.
            Israel is fighting an uphill battle. First, Hamas doesn’t pay a price for lying. Some of their lies catch, and they don’t lose support then they are caught. Even those who support Israel are critical. Second, publishing graphic photos of the victims is something that most Israelis feel very uncomfortable with. Third. in some ways, Israel is indeed objectively stronger. The Palestinians hold the underdog card. Fourth, the Palestinians really suffer. As the number of civilian casualties grows, people whose intesrest in the conflict is less direct than ours tend to just compare the numbers. This is an idiotic way to judge the situation, but a very tempting one.

  6. There are no good options. Destroying Hamas is not even possible; they have spent a generation carefully training Palestinian children to hate Jews. Not just Israelis. Jews. Everywhere. Cut off the head of Hamas and fifteen more will pop up and not just in Gaza.

    There are no options Israel has that will bring peace and stop the killing; the hatred has spread too far and too wide. Indeed, it has always been here. Hamas has learned how to tap into it and the Muslim world feed on it, as do many others around the world, including in the US congress. The only thing Israel can get from this is vengeance, worthwhile but ultimately pointless.

    IMO, there is no hope. None. The violence, terror and death will not stop, no matter what Israel does.

    1. I’m inclined to agree with you, Edward. Whatever glimmer of hope there is, not only for the Middle East, but for the whole world, lies in the endeavor of leaving religion behind, an admittedly long-term endeavor.

      1. StephenB, you may well be right. But religion is one of many ways that a culture can differentiate between them and us. It is an emotionally powerful way but so are movements like the social justice movement that shares most, perhaps all of its characteristics. Perhaps a more effective long term solution would be to teach all children from a young age and continuing throughout life, that the whole human family is us. And that only people who commit serious crimes against others … or animals … or the earth … might be heretics who might or might not be one of them.

    2. Don’t be so sure about permanent hostilities in the Middle-East, France and Germany were in conflict from Napoleon to Hitler, but now war is unimaginable. Of course, Napoleon won and did the French in WW1 and WW2. The Germans won the Franco-Prussian war (the UK was neutral, the USA titled towards Germany). But the key point is that after around 150 years of war, the conflict ended. Are future wars in the Middle-East possible? Sure they are. However, by 2100 (or later or earlier) their might be peace.

    3. Damn it buddy, I was just about to go to sleep! Nightmares tonight; depression tomorrow. It seems that Iran is feeding the monster. What would happen if we focused on debilitating them?

  7. The problem is, as the British general Rupert Smith, wrote about years ago in his book “Utility of Force” is that with fights like Israel has potentially got itself into is that it is very difficult since Hamas depends on the people for concealment, for support, both moral and physical and, here is the catch, it is almost impossible to differentiate between non-combatants and fighters. I know it is an obvious thing to say but that is at the core of Israel’s problem. If Israel invades then I doubt that Hamas will stand and fight but rather fall back and regroup – possibly in Egypt ( there will be hoards of refugees and they can hide). And if they did stand? FIBUA ( Fighting In A Built Up Area) is seriously nasty. In 1945 Macarthur attempted to capture Manila without the use of heavy weaponry. The Japanese took every advantage of that and turned Manila into a bloodbath for both the Filipinos and the US. Eventually, and inevitably, the gloves came off and the full power of the US Army was used, devastating the historic centre of the city – Intramuros.

    The British Army Review ( a professional publication from the UK army ) has produced a full journal specific to FIBUA. It isn’t pleasant reading:

  8. Your three points Jerry illustrate that there’s no good, clear way forward. It’s a mess. What I keep wondering is what Hamas was thinking with their highly planned attack in the first place? They knew that Israel would respond in a big way, and that they themselves would get their ass kicked as a result. So why? Why???

    1. My conclusion after several years of researching the Arab/Israeli problem is that it is the unbridled hatred of Jews by Arabs that is the lens which explains everything. It explains the last 100 years of history and it is exactly what the Arabs are telling us through their actions and their words in publicly-spoken Arabic. They are quite honest about it among themselves – everything they do, every agreement they sign is merely another step toward the destruction of Israel.

      This is NOT about which land distribution is fair. The Arabs were given 78% of Mandate Palestine 100 years ago. They want it all, they want a Caliphate and they almost have it – they are so very close:

      1. The Caliphate died with Ottoman empire and isn’t coming back. Israel plays no particular role in this. Descension in the Muslim world is the key factor. If the Caliphate went to Istanbul, the Arab world be deeply upset. If the Caliphate went to Cairo (which would make some sense), the rest of the Arab world would object. For similar reasons, Jerusalem, Beirut, and Amman are all out of the question. For different (but similar) reasons, any city in Saudi Arabia is not going to be acceptable. Baghdad had the Caliphate at one time, but lost it (to the Mongols).

    2. As Sam Harris argues, all of Hamas’ actions are completely rational in light of their beliefs (same goes for the Christian who bombs an abortion clinic, et al). The problem is mutually incompatible religious beliefs. If one believes their actions/inactions bear on the fate of their and their children’s immortal soul–an eternity of bliss or of torture–what action is not justifiable? What wouldn’t a person be justified in doing to protect another, especially a child, from being burned in an everlasting hellfire?

      Of course, the beliefs are absurd, but are nevertheless the problem. Until God-belief is reduced to a deistic, noninterventionist higher power, or is otherwise completely reconceptualized (or irradicated), I doubt lasting peace is possible.

      In the meantime, Israel (and the world) is in a no-win situation.

      1. Ouch. My initial reading of the typo was “irradiated”, which is distressingly apropos. Let us all fervently pray to our nonexistent deities that Israel does not find itself in an existential crisis that provokes Samson’s solution.

      2. There is nothing inherently religious in the zeal to kill Jews, JB. Do you think all those non-Arab college kids and politicians valorizing Hamas are religious observers, literal followers of Islam or Christianity or Hinduism? That if only they converted to atheism — I’m sure they mostly already have — they would lose their reason to hate Jews?

        You see, what they are fighting for is an anti-semitic strain of decolonialism. For most of them it can’t have anything to do with religion. They just hate Jews. They are the very atheists you say the world needs more of. That might be a good idea on its own merits but it won’t stop antisemitism or bring peace wherever tribes who can tell each other apart fight over land and resources.

        They say democracies never go to war with each other. That’s why the spread of democracy is a good idea. I wish the same could be said for atheist societies. I think the real danger to world peace is the spread of Islamic fundamentalism into liberal western democracies.

        1. Every time I hear the paeans to the peace of some future atheistic society, I wonder whether such declaimers ever heard of the 20th century.

          On this, as on much else, Leslie, you cut to the core: fundamentalism–of whatever variety. We have been experiencing our own irreligious forms of it in the [formerly?] liberal West.

        2. There is an crucial difference, though, between the leftist antisemitism, and Islamic fundamentalist antisemitiism: the latter are willing (longing) to die for their delusions. That kind of ultimate commitment might interfere with the Harvard student’s weekend jaunt to Martha’s Vineyard.

          1. Yes, of course, fundamentalist Islam is a dangerous moral cancer on the world. My point is just that atheism on our side doesn’t help get rid of it. Atheism among Muslims would be a capital idea. If you have any idea how to translate into the Muslim world the success you’ve had in undermining belief in Western countries, I’m all ears. I’m not holding my breath.

            I’m not even sure that atheist armies are capable of standing against religiously driven hordes seeking reward in the afterlife. It’s almost like unilateral disarmament.

    3. Right now I suspect the “Why” is to undermine the peace talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia. With the predicable response from Israel, the Saudi government likely believes it cannot go forward with that without fomenting significant and destabilizing protest from their population.

    4. what Hamas was thinking with their highly planned attack in the first place? They knew that Israel would respond in a big way

      I saw a speculation that

      across the region, Hamas has lost popularity over time among many Arab publics. This decline in popularity may have been one of the motivating factors behind the group’s decision to attack.

      This seems to imply that Israel’s response was the *point* – to make Israel look like a big baddie. Perhaps Israel being very destructive in its response is to be avoided so far as possible, as playing into the hands of Hamas.

  9. Nearly 30 years ago I came to the US to study Middle East politics at Georgetown U., from Australia. I continue to do so. After a career on Wall St and as a lawyer I write for various websites about politics, psychology, etc.

    I write for various places, Forbes, Counterpunch, etc. but my column is at TheModerateVoice and Democracy – mid level, slightly left dailies.
    This is my latest on Gaza. It is unashamedly pro-Israel.

    Enjoy, as I enjoy all your comments every day at WEIT!
    NYC (This is me:

    1. I just read your piece. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. A very strong statement indeed on the real motivations of Hamas.

  10. Some of the problem (not all of them) have easy solutions (pun intended). The tunnels can just be filled with seawater. Has Hamas put hostages in tunnels? Perhaps. Will Hamas claim that they have put hostages in tunnels? Almost certainly.

    Note that there is precedence for this approach. The Japanese were notorious for using tunnels in WWII. The US used water against them and it worked.

      1. I think the implication is that the tunnel bores go below sea level. Find (or breach) one near the beach and gravity does the rest.

      2. Of course, aqueducts take years to build (ask the Romans). Permanent pipelines (buried) take months to years to build. However, temporary pipelines can be built in just hours. Gaza is not that large and the ocean isn’t that far away. Iwo Jima had vast tunnel systems. Apparently, the US made heavy use of flamethrowers to defeat the Japanese.

  11. One can be certain that the Israeli leadership has all the same questions.

    I think that Israel will have to go into Gaza, but will do so on its own timetable (unless pushed by some as yet unforeseen contingency). And, the longer the Israelis delay the invasion, the more time there is for another solution to emerge. I don’t know what it might be and perhaps no one does at this moment. But delaying the invasion (for now) provides time for regional players to explore solutions. I am not optimistic, but the suspended animation might be helpful. It did provide a bit of time to allow at least some humanitarian aid to staged for delivery in Gaza, for example.

  12. I was thinking along the same lines today, and I share your sentiments.

    As far as solutions are concerned, I could only think of one. It is probably naive, but I guess its worth getting some thoughts on it.

    Firstly, I think the land invasion can serve as a first pass to eradicate as much of Hamas’s and the PLO’s physical and political structures as possible.

    Once that is done, Israel should take over the governance of Gaza (not setup a figurehead), and start re-building efforts. This means re-building homes, schools, and hospitals, ideally so in a way that makes terrorist activities hard to facilitate. This should happen concurrently with helping refugees to relocate.

    Furthermore, a good educational pathway should be mandated, and pathways to various vocations should be constantly emphasized. The previous narrative fed to Palestinians is one of martyrdom and all sorts of nonsense. A new national narrative needs to be instituted, and this should be done through school and the media. There needs to be a set of national economic goals that the Palestinians could work towards to that would help develop their nation, and that has to be constantly emphasized by the new narrative.

    Security should be exclusively handled on the ground by the IDF, and the idea is that with time, Palestinians would get use to their better standard of living, have a more optimistic set of national goals, and see the terror attacks from the likes of Hamas as a threat to their new, better standard of living, and their new national narrative. This way, the IDF would be (rightfully) perceived as a defender of their well-being, and groups like Hamas would be seen for the threat they are.

    Over time, the hope is that Gaza would eventually be stable enough to self-govern. When that time comes, a peace accord should be signed, which entails a partnership that ensures both nations thrives, and with anti-terrorism as a strong common imperative.

    Overall, I do not think there is a liberal way out of the current situation, especially given the illiberal constraints imposed by Hamas (i.e. nothing short of the eradication of Israel). As such, my suggestion is more paternalistic, something along the lines of Singapore. I think there needs to be a new foundation for Gaza, one that is as rot free as possible. The foundation might be illiberal, but it serves as a template for a new culture that unifies their citizens behind a worthwhile national narrative, and a strong respect for law and order (and zero tolerance for corruption). Over time, if such a nation becomes prosperous, its liberalisation would soon come after after a few generations.

    Ultimately, the idea here is to increase the standard of living to that of a first world country and establish a new culture with something positive to look forward in the future (jobs). This has to go hand in hand with establishing a culture and narrative that does not tolerate corruption, respect law and order, and enforces consequences for those who want to transgress. I would naively guess that my approach would deter people from terrorism, because generally speaking, who would want to give up their comfortable life and aspirations, especially for a goal that is culturally demonized (terrorism)? For them to be able to make this calculus, a comfortable, secure, and aspirational future must first be tangible to them. Then, the stakes of losing it for something incredibly stupid like terrorism becomes more apparent.

    So, this is my naive armchair suggestion. Feel free to tear it apart.

    1. To my layman’s ear, your suggestion sounds a bit like what the U.S. did when rebuilding Japan after WW2.
      So at least there is a precedent for success (in my mind at least).
      The destruction needed before rebuilding is obviously the unpalatable part but at least your plan includes a path forward that has worked in the past.

    2. According to a poll,

      (62%) [of Gazans] supported Hamas maintaining a ceasefire with Israel. Moreover, half (50%) agreed with the following proposal: “Hamas should stop calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.” …

      In fact, Gazan frustration with Hamas governance is clear; most Gazans expressed a preference for PA administration and security officials over Hamas—the majority of Gazans (70%) supported a proposal of the PA sending “officials and security officers to Gaza to take over the administration there, with Hamas giving up separate armed units.”

      So most of the Gazans don’t even *want* Hamas as government, which makes sense. It hasn’t worked out very well for them, after all. Hamas being a rogue government, maybe replacing Hamas with the Palestinian Authority could be done with less violence than establishing Israel as the governing power.

  13. Dream on. And look at Russia, which, like Hamas and the Gazans, never had a free democratic society or the rule of law….and never will. Hamas and the Palestinians are waging a religious war in which their lives and those of their enemies count for nothing. Your sensible but impossible musings on a new Gazan society, government and polity are unachievable because the will and the principles needed do not exist and never will. The political mistakes of Netanyahu and the ultra orthodox are a disaster for secular Israelis but are now sidelined because of Hamas. The notion that Hamas’ principles and objectives can morph overnight into a democratic state with the rule of law requires basic changes in human beliefs and ideologies. This will never occur with Hamas unless and until the Palestinians cast off Hamas and all notions of violence.

  14. I can’t tell for sure what “should” happen, but I imagine it would be better if the world (as much of it as is possible) would help Israel and go after Hamas (reportedly some leaders have or are living in Britain, for example) and execute as many operatives as possible worldwide and then in Gaza. And free all the assets for the Gazan people and prove to them Hamas is their destruction. The US should lead in this with strong economic and trade pressure.

    Part of this, would be to let the “we care about Palestinians” groups put their money and efforts where their mouth is — and stop blaming Israel for an impossible situation. I’d love to see the likes of Rhashida Tlaib squirm under the moral necessity of this position (especially after holding Israel to an impossible standard to justify her efforts at Jewish destruction: a hard lesson that needs to be reinforced nationwide). Also, eject SJP from colleges, as they are a terror-supporting group, and deport Hamas supporters on visa (supporting terror groups on visa is against federal law)

    It would also serve to separate the Ukraine issue (driven by NATO creep, Russian need for Crimea as a strategic asset which has been under Russian control for 200+ years, and thus legitimate Russian security concerns which Zelensky violated — hence the factual need for Russia to secure Ukraine from NATO) from Israel (ridiculous Biden ties these two). Ukraine should be partitioned in my view and security guarantees made. This should have been done prior to war, saving 200K lives. As part of the deal, Russia can help hunt down Hamas …

    I’d also like to see the evidence presented and remembered at the U.N. of the atrocities. I find it ludicrous that of the 150+ nations on earth, Israel has more than *all other countries* UN resolutions against it in 2022. This is just frank anti-Semitism by the so-called “world body”.

    1. Isn’t it nice that you give Ukrainian land to Russia, even though they target and murder civilians in dozens of war crimes. As far as I am concerned that invalidated everything you said

      1. They are two different issues, utterly and completely, with no relationship between their peoples and history. The analysis of one does not affect the other.

        The US, in my view, is no friend of Ukraine. The US is using Ukraine (and the threat of NATO entry) to get to Russia, and who pays the price? And who put pressure on Russian security via the many NATO expansions (Russian being invaded through the European corridor many times over the past centuries)? What country cannot join NATO? (trick question. Answer: Russia, of course). I’d rather have seen a negotiated settlement with guarantees for Crimea remaining under Russian control and Ukraine remaining out of NATO, preserving the loss of life and hopefully preserving Ukraine. What have we now?

        I’m not a “Putin supporter” btw, just I don’t see this being resolved without a real effort at security guarantees and the sooner we get there, the less bloodshed.

        1. That is your opinion and I disagree that the U.S. is giving tons of money and aid to Ukraine “to get to Russia”.

          It’s up to Zelensky, not you, how this is settled, and he wants Crimea back. Ukraine should not lose an inch of land in your vaunted “settlement”, which I presume allows Russia to take even more of Ukraine.

          I’m glad you’re not in charge of Ukraine, though I gather you think you have a better solution than Zelensky does.

          1. I can’t say I “have a better solution”. Can anyone really make that claim?
            I just make argument from what I know hopefully for mutual benefit. Crimea remaining under Russian control could be (and I believe is) a necessary step (Stalin having given Crimea to Ukraine which I believe was a mistake, yet Crimea remained autonomous) to peace with security.

            Crimea is a necessary warm water port of the Russian Navy (whose ports are frozen for much of the year) and the Russians are realistically (as far as I can tell) not going to let Crimea go, hence the geopolitical realities seem in stone and I’d rather avoid Russian and Ukrainian causalities proving that out. I am glad I am “not in charge of Ukraine” but I am not as convinced as you that Zelensky is correct (nor Putin for Russia, for that matter).

          2. Jerry, in the world of war it doesn’t really matter what a man wants. It only matters what he can do. If Zelensky wants Crimea, then he has to take it. If Ukraine “should” not lose any land, then that will become a reality only if they can impose their will on Russia and eject them from the land. Without current US and NATO support, it would be impossible. Even with US support, short of our boots on the ground, our planes in the air, or a significant increase in Ukraine’s capacity to strike inside Russia, then it still might not be possible. If Ukraine wants to fight, lose a generation of its youth, and still lose its territory or the war, then that is Ukraine’s business; I laud them for their courage and steadfastness. I would encourage the same if in their shoes. But hope is not a solution: we eventually must ask whether we are funding a losing cause–and thus contributing indirectly to the prolongation and bloodshed. It is that latter concern that is at issue, not the money. I don’t know the answer. I don’t know whether anyone does.

            As to motivations, I believe both you and Jim are correct–depending on who you are talking about. There are, indeed, influential people in government and policy who, over the last three decades, have advocated using Ukraine to “get to Russia”–for them, it is a tool in a larger strategy of permanently weakening Russia. But there are also a good number who see intervention as more of a humanitarian concern, the defense of freedom against Putin’s aggression, and so on. A few can share concerns of each side. But as I said above, all that matters is what one can do—no matter what one wants.

        2. I also believe that Biden’s linkage of Israel with Ukraine was a mistake. They are entirely different issues, no matter what surface similarities people invoke. I will be greatly dismayed if he submits the funding request to Congress as a package deal, thus playing the type of politics that he claims to oppose, essentially using support for Israel as a bargaining chip to achieve unrelated political objectives.

          1. And what POTUS in Biden’s position wouldn’t link these two deadly conflicts? Both countries are ALLIES, that’s the only similarity one needs to link the two. I think Biden is also making sure that one conflict doesn’t overshadow the other: both are extremely important to win.

        3. The US signed the Budapest Memorandum vowing to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine, so it is obliged now to help Ukraine regain all its occupied territory, including Crimea. Any doubts that Crimea is Ukrainian territory have been planted by Russia alone.

    2. Russia agreed to borders for Ukraine at the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Russia has no right to any portion of Ukraine, including Crimea. There was no immediate threat to Russia from NATO, and it was far from certain that Ukraine would become a member. This is an excuse for what Putin has stated he really wants: the recreation of a Russian empire. Putin is a menance to his people, to Europe, and to the world. Russia has been a brutal power for 800 years, culminating in the monstrous Soviet Union. Putin must not be accomodated. The US is not driving this war, Ukraine is. It will be an enduring shame if the US abandons Ukraine.

  15. I assume that Mossad has ways of tracking the various upper-end Hamas people, otherwise Israel would not have made the threat.

    I also assume there’s a lot more intelligence work going on that we don’t know about.

  16. Interesting comments…my takeaway is pessimism and hopelessness. Or maybe I’m just projecting.

    One thing I do predict is that when the dust settles, Netanyahu is toast; he was already on shaky ground, and this tragedy happened “under his watch.” Whether blame is warranted or not, this was a major security failure, and he is ultimately responsible. Israel deserves better leadership than what is provided by Bibi imo.

    As an aside, I listened to part of a talk that Clinton gave in 2009. I wasn’t able to copy the link, but you can find a 3-minute link on u-tube by googling: President Clinton 2009: Why Hamas won Gaza. I hear a lot of anti-Palestinian rhetoric along along the lines of “well, the Palestinians voted for Hamas, so they deserve it.” Not only does this ignore the facts that Clinton highlights, but it doesn’t account for the fact that there hasn’t been an election in Gaza since 2007.

    1. This is characteristic of “parties” like Hamas, NSDAP, and the communists: you can vote them in, but you can never vote them out. So even if the majority of Palestinians are now against Hamas, they are powerless.
      This said, I don’t see any Palestinian protests against Hamas not only in Gaza (where they are impossible for obvious reasons) but also in the West. All Palestinian and pro-Palestinian protests in the West are against Israel, showing that at least the politically active Palestinians support Hamas and share its agenda.

  17. The IDF seem to have gained control, so time, be on their side, gathering intel, where are the hostages? what do they know of their location, rescue operation, supply tunnels, underground weapon storage, shelters? Plan for minimal causalities and if possible hold leaders of this attack to account.
    If the proximate goal is to lance Hamas from of any influence this is a good start to a long term goal of whatever is decided.

    I don’t think enough is being done to discredit the Hamas administration. They should be exposed loud and clear, the corruption, wealth accumulation at the expense of the Gazan.
    Hack their accounts (illegal perhaps) show the flow of aid dollars and where it ends up. Then pound them from all quarters, squeeze them as hard as possible.
    They reside in Qatar because they value their lives more than their Charter and principles.

  18. In a Triggernometry interview released today, Sam Harris advocates clandestine assassination of avowed Hamas leaders across the globe by Western nations. Eric Weinstein hopes to couple Palestinian terror attacks on Israel or Jews with a published equation of Palestinian territory that will become immediately forfeit and forceably taken militarily to become a permanent part of Israel. i.e. ‘the choice is yours – attack our citizenry at your own peril because we’ll keep taking land in recompense.’ Creative!
    Douglas Murray wants avowed British Palestinians who support Hamas (illegal in the UK as I understand it) to be stripped of their UK citizenship and deported to Palestine.

    Does anyone like these solutions?

    1. On the global terrorism campaign advocated by Sam Harris, I think this is a terrible idea, as our (the US’s) history with this sort of thing has proven very problematic.
      I’m not sure I understand your description of what Weinstein is describing. Maybe clarify a bit more.
      The Douglas Murray idea sounds deeply anti-democratic. I don’t support all ideas/ideologies, but I support their right to be expressed.

  19. Good points. Maybe the best option would be to do what Israel did after the Munich attack on their athletes and get the Mossad to kill the entire HAMAS leadership and even better the vipers nest which is the Iranian theocracy. It would be a pretty big stretch for the “Israel is worse than HAMAS” crowd to spin that into “genocide”. Maybe offer the price of a couple of Iron Dome units to any Palestinian or Iranian who provides actionable intelligence to facilitate that project. Jimbo’s solutions also sound reasonable, although taking land would be spun as more “genocide”.

    1. Without any concrete knowledge, I have no doubt that killing top Hamas leaders is now on the table.
      But a lot changed since the 70s. The terrorists and their host countries take very serious measures to keep them safe. Such operations are not done without very good chances of success.

  20. I think Israel must do what is expected to work against Hamas, and not worry about the world’s response, because the world will not like it anyway, but neither will it do anything.

  21. Time for Israel to buy up some American hellfire R9X “flying ginsu” missiles and carve up some Hamas leaders.

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