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Israel - Palestine

The region sinks into a war without a future

Analysis and proposals

All-over preamble: Hamas is a religiously-inspired terrorist organization that represents neither the people nor the interests of the Palestinians. It must be fought by means that will ultimately weaken rather than strengthen it.

Read the October 9, 2023 publication

Read the October 11, 2023 publication

Read the November 3, 2023 publication

November 3, 2023

A bit of dystopia : Large-scale passive defense, exchange of hostages for members of the government and a halt to the settlement process in the West Bank: this is what a competent and responsible Israeli government would have done.

On the evening of October 7, Netanyahu and his government knew that :
- they had been warned several times that Hamas was preparing offensive operations,
- the high-altitude observation balloons over Gaza had been out of action for several weeks,
- Tsahal troop strength was reduced around the Gaza Strip on October 7, for two reasons: a) a military build-up in the West Bank to support Israeli settler actions, and b) the government clerics had requested, and obtained, permission for many soldiers to spend the October 7 religious holiday with their families; army troop strength was therefore significantly reduced around Gaza on that day.
- the atrocities committed by Hamas during its raid, further reinforced by the taking of over two hundred hostages, had been deliberately extreme in order to make Israeli society and government lose their heads and fall into a trap.

This successful Hamas attack proves beyond any doubt that the Israeli government has seriously failed in the field of security, even though this has always been the focal point of its policy and of all the election campaigns of its current leader. The attack of October 7 is proof that this strategy of maximum security, based on a permanent balance of power and the division of the Palestinians, is ineffective and ultimately fatal. However, it is still the same strategy of the balance of power that is at work by the entry of tanks into Gaza, with the results that we can guess: probable military successes, some of the hostages freed, and the creation of the conditions necessary for the arrival, in Gaza and elsewhere, of several future generations of ferocious anti-Israel fighters, not to mention the unleashing of an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitism worldwide.

If the Israeli government had been competent and responsible, here's what it would have done, the day after October 7: it would have understood - at last - that this short-term security strategy, which has been repeated for several decades, was finally proving to be a mistake, as it is now producing effects far worse than those it was fighting against: a massive strengthening of one of its most extreme and dangerous opponents. He would have sought to avoid escalation by analyzing the situation objectively.

Because, objectively speaking, the Hamas attack, however sudden, powerful and barbaric, in no way jeopardizes the country's overall security, as it is not attacked from the land (it's easy for the Tsahal to seal off the Gaza Strip without entering it), from the air (Hezbollah has no fighter planes) or from the sea (neither Hamas nor Hezbollah have the necessary maritime means). This has nothing to do with Ukraine, which is massively attacked on its own soil by numerous columns of Russian tanks supported by the air force. In military terms, Israel's only remaining problem is the rockets and missiles fired at its territory, a large proportion of which can be neutralized by its anti-aircraft defence system, reinforced if necessary by systems from the USA or other allies. In this way, a large-scale passive defense system could have been put in place on October 8. All that remains is the hostage problem. To solve this, there would have been a simple solution: exchange all the hostages for a group of Israeli ministers, including the Prime Minister, who bears a heavy responsibility for setting up the fatal spiral. This is what a competent and responsible government would do, as ship captains once did: personally assume its responsibility and its mistakes, by handing itself over to Hamas and thus saving two hundred and forty civilian hostages. It is very likely that Hamas would have accepted the exchange, given the high symbolic value of the war prize.

At the same time, and in preparation for a political solution based on recognition of its neighbor's rights, the Israeli government could have unilaterally declared a halt to the settlement process in the West Bank. This signal could have profoundly altered Palestinian opinion, weakening its support for Hamas.

But, as the whole world could have guessed in advance, this governmental team led by Netanyahu fell directly into the trap set, launching large-scale military operations that provoked a massacre among Gaza's civilians that international opinion will never be able to forget. The Israeli government has once again proved that it is neither competent nor responsible. There are several reasons for this.

The first reason is that the Israelis systematically overplay their need for security, for reasons linked to the country's history, threatened with destruction from the outset and for several decades afterwards. However, they have amply demonstrated that their army is the most powerful in the region, that they have nuclear weapons at their disposal and, what's more, that they are backed by the USA. Objectively speaking, and as mentioned above, there is no longer any reason for them to constantly harbor this visceral fear of their country's destruction. It is the Israeli political leaders, first and foremost Netanyahu, who, in order to win re-election, have been implementing the most primitive and imbecilic security policies for several decades.

The second reason is religious messianism. Initially driven by the progressive secular Zionist project, popularized internationally by the kibbutzim model, the country has slowly been transformed into a regime inspired by Jewish religious fundamentalism. The "only democracy in the Middle East" gradually became a bastille under siege (at first with good reason), driven by a religious worldview that rendered it deaf and blind to the legitimate needs of its Palestinian neighbors. The Zionist project has thus gradually developed an expansionist will in the West Bank, which has turned into a pure and simple colonial project, maintained by all successive governments. The absolute tragedy of this country is that the whole world has come to realize that Israel, although it sees itself as a model of enlightened Western-style democracy, is in fact no more than a neo-colonial power in the West Bank, driven by Jewish clerics.

The third reason is more trivial: the main mode of representation in Israel, the election of deputies to the Knesset, is based on proportional representation. The result is that, since the 1990s, the main right-wing party, Likud, has had to join forces with the "majority-makers" of the extreme religious right in order to form governing coalitions. As a result, these governments have steered a steady and inexorable drift to the increasingly extreme right, both in the social sphere (Israel started out as a social society, but is now an ultra-liberal society) and in the security sphere (notably through the constant encouragement of settlements in the West Bank, which were supposed to counterbalance the overall demographic deficit and "secure" the West Bank with a significant Jewish presence). This brings us back to the previous point: blinded by the messianic project, an integral part of successive political coalitions, this country has constantly encouraged settlement in the West Bank, with the "unwavering" support of the USA, a model of global imperialism.

The fourth reason is a phenomenon that is incomprehensible in a "true" democracy: the person most responsible for the security policies implemented in this country over the last fifteen years, which have clearly failed utterly, remains in office and has no intention of resigning. What is it in Netanyahu's brain that makes him so oblivious to his own responsibility? When you consider that he publicly blamed the ministers of defense and security for their incompetence on October 7, and that he doesn't for a moment consider saying that he himself had a hand in this disaster, you're left speechless with amazement. The Israeli people have at their head a great mental patient, a champion of denial.

Large-scale passive defense, exchange of hostages for members of the government, halting settlement activity on the West Bank: this is what a competent and responsible Israeli government would have done. It would have put a stop to the spiral of violence, and shown the world that Tsahal was capable of sparing many civilian lives in Gaza. It would have limited Hamas's power to cause harm. It would have made it possible to thoroughly rethink Israel's security policy, taking into account, at last, the principle of "peace for the territories". It would have enabled Israel to show that it is no longer a neo-colonial power in the West Bank, thereby silencing anti-Zionists and anti-Semites the world over. Finally, it would have enabled the conditions for dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians (Hamas being excluded, of course) to be rebuilt, opening up a new era in the Middle East.

Sources :
Charles Enderlin's documentary "Au nom du Temple" on Youtube
Breaking the Silence

Published on Mastodon on October 11, 2023

1/7 We have to admit that Hamas is pulling off a masterstroke. Strike Israel exactly at its weakest point, in the right place at the right time, and drive the blade so far in that the attacked country becomes drunk with rage and loses what little discernment it has left. So Israel is going to do exactly what Hamas wants: push into the city of Gaza on foot, for street fighting that will be very hard and very deadly, especially for civilians.

2/7 But Hamas couldn't care less about civilians. Tsahal, forced into an urban war lasting several months, will concentrate its efforts on Gaza, and thus clear the other fronts where its enemies are lying in ambush (North with Hezbollah, Golan with Syria, East with the Cis+Jordan). Given the level of preparation and coordination of the Hamas attack, it is very likely that a global organization has been planned, aimed precisely at weakening the other fronts.

3/7 This is why the northern front remains quiet: Hezbollah is waiting patiently for the Israeli army to push deep into Gaza, and suffer heavy losses, before launching its attack in the north. An uprising in the West Bank, supported by Syria and Jordan, is also possible. Imagine the potential disaster.

4/7 That's how an incompetent and corrupt government, led by a notorious mafioso and enlightened clerics, endangers an entire nation, by having no other policy, for almost thirty years (after the Oslo Accords), than that of revenge and collective punishment, which creates only one thing: hatred. In fact, Hamas doesn't deserve all that much credit: it's so easy to predict the reaction of the Israeli government in advance! Too easy!

5/7 The only hope left is a complete change in Israel's strategy during this crisis. In the course of this war, which will last several months, during which victory will gradually take shape (thanks in part to the USA), Israeli public opinion may well change. It will be influenced by two opposing trends: on the one hand, relief at the victory and recognition of the government of national unity, ...

6/7 ... and on the other, the memory of the Netanyahu government's direct responsibility for the major weakness of the country's defense at the time of the Hamas attack. Netanyahu and his allies will then be judged, and perhaps an awakening of conscience on the part of the Israelis will lead to a radical change in defense strategy, in order to put in place the only thing that can defuse the conflict: a halt to settlement activity in the West Bank, and the resumption of dialogue with the Palestinian Authority.

7/7 But for this to happen, Israel needs a government that isn't blinded by religious messianism obsessed with Eretz Israel (the "Greater Israel from the sea to the Jordan"), that understands that its neighbors are different, and that they have equal rights to sovereignty and territory. A secular, progressive government would have to come to power in Israel, just as it did in its early days. Suffice to say, this is unlikely. But who knows, there is still a left in Israel.

Published on Mastodon on October 9, 2023

1/3 I see passing on this network sympathies for the terrorist action that Hamas is launching around Gaza, on the grounds that Israel is a country that colonizes Palestine.
Yes, since its creation, Israel has supported the colonization of Palestine, which is contrary to International Law. We can and must criticize the Israeli government for this. We can even call for a boycott. But this in NO WAY justifies the mass murder of civilians, which are proven terrorist crimes, perpetrated by an armed group that does not represent the Palestinians.

2/3 You can't argue that war crimes are necessary to fight colonial crimes. Because you can't do what you accuse your adversary of doing without losing all credibility. If the colonization of the West Bank is illegal, then attacking Israel with violent actions, ON ITS SOIL DEFINED BY THE UN IN 1947, is also illegal, on the same basis of International Law.

3/3 Only liberation actions against colonization, carried out by Palestinians ON THEIR GROUND DEFINED BY THE UN IN 1947, are legitimate, provided they are neither war crimes nor terrorist actions (= aimed primarily at civilians). If the Palestinians had carried out such liberation actions ON THEIR GROUND DEFINED BY THE UN IN 1947, instead of carrying out terrorist actions on Israeli territory, their position today would be legitimate, and Israel would not have been able to use these attacks as a pretext to further strengthen its security.

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