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Israel is braced for a second war The northern threat hangs over the nation

'We have no choice but to stay.' (JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

'We have no choice but to stay.' (JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)


April 5, 2024   6 mins

The loud “baa” of a curious sheep feels ridiculously, laughably incongruous; the only other sounds are the bone-shaking booms of the IDF and Hezbollah exchanging artillery in the near distance. Before you join the road to Kibbutz Metzuba, just over a mile from the 30-foot wall that signals the border with Lebanon, a yellow sign warns of the danger of anti-tank missiles. But it is not just tanks they hit: in January, a mother and her son were killed as they drove home to pick up some of their belongings.

Standing proudly on the greenest part of a mainly arid land, the orchards here are filled with avocado and banana trees, their fruit lying unpicked or decomposing on the ground. One labourer from the area who dared to stay was recently shot from inside Lebanon; it is not worth the risk. Since October 7, 18 Israelis — 11 of them IDF — have been killed on this border, while 70,000 of its residents are now refugees in their own country. “Everyone from here has been evacuated,” Moshe Davidovich, a local mayor, tells me. “As you can see, it is an empty and sad place.”

Six months on, while all eyes in the West are on Gaza and the fall-out from Israel’s relentless war to oust Hamas, in the Holy Land there is more concern about what will happen on its northern border. For Israel is fighting a war on six fronts; in Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank, as well as against the Houthis, the threat from Syria, and the even greater threat from Iran. On Thursday, anticipating retaliation following the killing of Iranian generals in Damascus, the IDF halted all leave. And nowhere are its fears more pronounced than in the north. How long, many wonder, until one of its daily skirmishes erupts into a full-blown war?

Until October 7, drones and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) rarely troubled Israel’s defences. But Hezbollah has plenty of them — enough, it turns out, to bypass the Iron Dome. Some come with bombs; others take photographs; a few are on “suicide missions” charged with causing as much damage as they can. Sometimes they are sent to simply hover and goad, a menace intended to cause chaos on the ground.

Because they work partly via GPS, the IDF has knocked out the signal from Haifa, 45 miles from the border: if you check Google Maps, your scrambled phone will tell you that you are at Beirut airport. The result is that Israel’s northern war is markedly analogue, with the IDF going back to basics, dusting off old textbooks from 1956 that contain time-tested instructions on how to build the perfect foxhole. Their mission is the antithesis to the army’s usual tactics of defending by attacking: as long as their comrades are still fighting in Gaza, the IDF’s instructions in the north are to repel and safeguard the border. Phones are also taken off soldiers in the field; technology can no longer be trusted even in the start-up nation.

“One of the lessons learned on our part is that technology doesn’t replace old-school tactics,” says Lt Col Dotan, 55, a reservist who comes from Kibbutz Eilon just 1.25 miles from the border. “It is not for me to decide what happens next,” he adds. “But when you learn military history, you understand that to defeat the enemy, or make him concede to your terms, you have to take the initiative and manoeuvre.”

Col Dutan near the northern border (Yoav Dudkevitch)

Further south, the mood remains jittery. Jerusalem in particular has the feel of a ghost town. Since the start of Ramadan almost a month ago, terrorist attacks have ramped up both in the city and in the West Bank. And while most Israelis support the war in Gaza, their confidence doesn’t extend to their prime minister. Demonstrations against Benjamin Netanyahu were rekindled last week. Some want a ceasefire; others want him to go quicker and harder in Gaza. They are all united by one thing: they want him gone.

“Jerusalem in particular has the feel of a ghost town.”

But how likely is that? There remains a question mark over how much longer Netanyahu can keep his coalition of miscreants together, especially with many debating whether Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) men should be forced into the IDF. When so many soldiers are being killed — nearly 600 so far — secular Jews are no longer willing to have a section of the society that does nothing to protect the nation other than pray.

Further afield, the response from “allied” countries in the West is also taking its toll on the nation’s psyche. For lots of Israelis, the demonstrations in London, the attacks on Jews in American universities, and the calls for further boycotts only go to show that Jews will be hounded wherever they are. “I was amazed to find myself asking my mother, who was going to visit my sister in London, if she’ll be safe there,” remarks Matt, who moved to Israel from London 20 years ago. “We all know how dangerous it is becoming, and it worries us.”

Even after an Israeli drone strike tragically killed seven aid workers this week, many feel that their soldiers should own up to the mistake and continue their operation — the idea of ending the war before Hamas is defeated and the hostages are freed is inconceivable. “Everyone is very upset about what happened to the aid workers,” adds Matt. “No one wants people coming to help being killed. But mistakes happen in warzones: we have lost our own soldiers through friendly fire incidents.”

“We are making a much bigger effort than any other military in our situation,” insists military historian and retired Brigadier General Eran Ortal. “No one else is demanded to provide supplies to its enemy after this kind of massacre. No one. Google a photograph of liberated Mosul; no one demanded humanitarian efforts when the Iraqis and allies liberated it from Isis. We have gone an extra mile but it has no influence on public opinion in many countries so we will carry on doing what we are doing.” The implication here is grimly straightforward: if the Israelis have to go it alone, they will.

And yet, the eternally confused nature of this war means that the mood is never settled. On a sunny spring morning, Tel Aviv appears almost unscathed. The bomb-shelter signs have gone from the airport; the restaurants are busy again; the biggest danger seems to come from the legions of jellyfish in the sea. But everything is illusory. Behind closed doors, a fifth of Israelis have increased their use of addictive substances since October 7, in a bid to deal with their trauma. Tel Aviv is also the centre for the hostage families. Their pain is a constant wound for all the Israelis, their images plastered on the walls.

Outside the headquarters of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, the latest visitors, a pair of politicians from Brazil, are having their photos taken. The hostage families have had meetings in the UK Parliament, the White House and the UN to encourage foreign governments to demand the release of their family members. So far, their efforts have proved futile: some 135 hostages remain in Gaza, around 100 of whom are thought to still be alive.

Inside, family members are lining up to tell their stories to the press. Their pleas are heartbreaking. The raw pain of one mother, Ayelet Samerano, whose son Jonathan was kidnapped by a UNRWA worker, is overwhelming. He is presumed to be dead, she says, but she just wants to “say goodbye and kiss him for the last time”.

Her torture is shared by many in Israel’s south, the epicentre of Hamas’s attack. On Kibbutz Kissufim, where 15 people were killed, widow Yasmin Margolis takes me to the step where her husband and the father of her two children, Saar, died. As one of the community’s security guards, he had been fighting off terrorists all day when he went to try and liberate the head of the kibbutz’s security, who had been taken hostage in his home by Hamas. Saar was shot dead, along with a soldier who came with him.

Yasmin Margolis stands outside the home of her mother-in-law in Kibbutz Kissufim (Yoav Dudkevitch)

Today, the agricultural kibbutz is a ghost town of burned houses, their walls peppered with bullet holes. The battle that took place here still feels visceral; its remnants jar with the pretty decorations placed incongruously on bomb shelters and hammocks before October 7. Towards the end of last month, Yasmin’s older daughter Mia turned 10. As she blew out the candles, Yasmin asked what she wished for. “I don’t want to get murdered,” was her chilling reply.

“The feeling that someone always wants to kill you is not unfamiliar to me,” Yasmin, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, explains. “But it is shocking at the same time. There are parts of me that still do not believe it. Because my husband was in security, we always knew there was a risk, but we could never have imagined that they would kill babies or people at a party.”

And what of the future? As Western support for Israel becomes increasingly uncertain, as the death toll in Gaza continues to rise, and as further conflict simmers in the north, what will the next six months hold? Yasmin is resolute: “I still think this is the safest place for Jews to be. We have no choice but to stay.”


Nicole Lampert is a journalist based in London.

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Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago

I wonder what our “from the river to the sea” commenters here at UnHerd think about this. After all, in their eyes, the IDF, and therefore the whole idea of self-defense of Israel is illegitimate. I suppose they’ll be hoping the Islamists can break through and deal with the Jewish citizenry with their c*cks and knives, like they did in October.

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
3 months ago

“I still think this is the safest place for Jews to be,” to me sums up the purpose and resolute of the State of Israel. Notice how no one, maybe except some liberal English speaking countries, wants Gazans. Imagine if “River to the Sea,” plays out, fewer countries would take the Israelis (who were not massacred or enslaved).
Israel is fighting an existential war. And it is the first battle in a war that could involve many of us in the West.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago

Israel says Sea to River, and they act on that in all of “Judea and Samaria”, what is the difference?

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

About 20 Arab Muslim countries actually. Quite the difference.

Xaven Taner
Xaven Taner
3 months ago

It’s been part of Israeli state ideology for decades to frame life in the diaspora as dangerous and of low value. They hand out money to the most violent Jewish fundamentalists from around the globe to move to Israel and execute their expansionist aims. Israel is not a normal country.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
3 months ago
Reply to  Xaven Taner

Proof please. This is quite a bold statement.

Simon Binder
Simon Binder
3 months ago
Reply to  Xaven Taner

Wow, you need spend a bit less time on the Internet and get out more

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago

The World Central Kitchen workers were not killed by accident. They left their warehouse under the, acknowledged, constant surveillance of drones. Then the one vehicle was targeted. The IDF waited until survivors were put into the next vehicle, while the people desperately contacted the IDF, then hit the second vehicle. Then the IDF again waited for those survivors to reach the third vehicle before blowing that up. Had make sure as many were killed as possible. This was in a cleared area on an approved route.
You lie.

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

Is this the Hamas Ministry of Truth version, or just the “Woke progressives for decolonisation of Palestine” version? Same thing, I suppose.

Meanwhile, the reality is that the aid worker killings are a disaster for Israel. The international condemnation over this incident has reached the White House. If Biden withdraws support for Israel then Hamas will be dancing and ullulating in the streets and firing AK47s in the air. Probably they already are.

Their whole strategy is to isolate Israel internationally, so they can lay siege to a weakened enemy. You have to have no head at all for strategy not to see how this is a disaster for Israel. The aid deaths have achieved in a day what Hamas feeding civilian “martyrs” into the line of fire has taken weeks to do: ramp up condemnation of Israel to breaking point. Would IDF commanders who completely understand the propaganda dimension of the conflict, have chosen to risk losing the war by intentionally lighting up some inconsequential Brit busybodies?

Bear in mind too, the Progressive-Hamas axis is invested in claiming that that implausible scenario is the only possible narrative. They do that because they are trying to defeat Israel by leveraging civilian deaths for maximum international condemnation and isolation.

Of course, some progressives are just stupid, and have no idea what’s going on. They just react emotionally and parrot Hamas, who knows how to manipulate them.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Nope, just the facts. You know, the things that do not care about your (extensive) feelings.

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

I seriously doubt you know the facts. How would you? You’re just relying on some Hamas narrative, probably filtered through a progressive NGO news feed. It’s called bluster.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Sources: Haaretz, JosĂ© AndrĂ©s the head of WFK, in many statements said “systematically, car by car” quoted in many places including Reuters, Barak Ravid reported on this and so on.
The fact that many comments reach for slurs without any attempt at checking facts shows an absolute reliance on emotion.

Guillermo Torres
Guillermo Torres
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

Again, Edwin, read the BBC explanation of what actually happened. Jose Andres wasn’t there. The IDF is actually quite thorough when investigating and reporting this kind of thing.

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

“JosĂ© AndrĂ©s the head of WFK”, who was then “quoted in many places”. Ah, ok, so that’s where this spread from. This is about as credible as the missile “attack” on the Al Ahli hospital last year. Leftist truthers still believe that one too.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

Cui bono? You’re delusional.

Stephen Sheridan
Stephen Sheridan
3 months ago

Please don’t feed the Islamist troll Edwin Blake – the dishonourable member for genocidal Hamas.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago

Cui bono? mass starvation obviously. The piece itself preemptively justified this with the “but everyone does it” argument or did you not read it either?

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

The IDF has allowed 15,000+ aid trucks into Gaza. But they deliberately killed these 7 aid workers to achieve “mass starvation”?

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

How do you categorically know this? No-one at this stage actually knows this to be true.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  LeeKC C

Edwin Blake is an anagram of Able Winked , as in Cain and Able. He’s a troll.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

No change then from The King David Hotel and the hanged sergeants in the olive grove?
And this to the chaps who had liberated Belsen! Ungrateful is hardly the word.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago

Israel spends its time regularly assassinating its neighbours scientists, generals and the like on those neighbouring countries home soil, they constantly build illegal settlements on land stolen from Palestinian farmers they’ve violently evicted or murdered in the West Bank, they pushed 2 million people to the brink of starvation and murdered 200 aid workers (not to mention well in excess of 10,000 women and children), then they have the cheek to label any criticism of their actions as being down to antisemitism

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You may not have not have noticed but of the 28 comments posted yesterday on Mr Etan Nechin’s essay, 12 have been permanently removed! So much for UnHerd.

As to the ludicrous ‘crocodile tears’ currently being shed by the US, I don’t a believe a word of it. ‘Kosher Nostra’/ AICE is as strong as ever.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago

I have noticed any comment vaguely critical of Israel seems to be reported rather quickly. Although I think it’s the readership rather than the site itself, it seems to be descending into somewhat of an echo chamber, with large numbers getting upset when an article doesn’t align with their predetermined opinions

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I have it on fairly good authority* that unfortunately the IDF are little more than a bunch of near hysterical, indisciplined, gun toting ‘cowboys’, and not the disciplined fighting force they claim to be.

It may also help them (IDF) if they were to adopt the policy of using ‘aimed shots’ rather the totally indiscriminate ‘suppressing fire’ (US) doctrine.**

(* A former British Military Attaché to the IDF.)
(** Sadly the British Army now does the same.)

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 months ago

The British Army doesn’t have enough ammunition to use the tactic of indiscriminate suppressing fire, even if it was thought to be effective.
It’s no doubt true that the IDF is becoming more trigger-happy. That’s what happens in every conflict as the soldiers see their comrades killed while exercising caution and attempting to spare civilian lives.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago

1 Para managed to fire seven million rounds on a seven month ‘tour’ of Afghanistan a few years ago.

I doubt if many were ‘aimed shots’.

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
3 months ago

Why be grateful to a country that 1) refused to let Jews in whilst the holocaust was ongoing and 2) refused to let them in and run their own affairs after the Holocaust.

Saying all that, I have no time for the irgun and stern gang murderers, but it’s just a realistic explanation why Jews should not have felt gratitude, especially as the then head of affairs in British mandate ofPalestine – Evelyn bubbles barker – was antisemitic and obviously pro arab

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago
Reply to  L Easterbrook

“Why be grateful to a country”?
Because of the Balfour Declaration off course!

Arthur King
Arthur King
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

What would the IDF have to gain with such an attack. Nothing.

Guillermo Torres
Guillermo Torres
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

Edwin, you’re correct but fail to mention that they were mistaken to be gunmen in the middle of the night after a mix up with a group of actual Hamas gunmen at the depot. Even the BBC ran the explanation of this tragedy today, take a look.

p3rfunct0ry 4p4th3t1c
p3rfunct0ry 4p4th3t1c
3 months ago

It’s news to me that Israel is fighting a war in the Occupied West Bank.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago

That’s no doubt true, those with eyes to see and all that. However any Google search will show constant attacks all the time. And behind that of course a renewal of unprecedented Israeli “approval” of new settlements there. The fact that they feel entitled enough to “approve” illegal settlement demonstrates the sea to river policy. The question is, is that river the Jordan or Euphrates?

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

And the other question is, is the ethnic cleansing you advocate considered to be genocide or not? It’s interesting when progressives add activism for ethnic cleansing and genocide to their elitist, totalitarian societal control agenda. Definitely something new emerging here on the Left.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Confession by projection, I assume?

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

If you had an argument you’d use it. But you don’t. You’re down to ad homs.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
3 months ago

Let us remember, in WW2 the allies had to lay waste to our enemies cities and industrial complexes before we could bring the war to an end.
Israel is in the same position, either they defeat Hamas in Gaza or the war will go on for more decades.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago

It’s vastly different in that the Allies were fighting a well matched army, with fortified defences and an industrial base churning out heavy weaponry. They couldn’t have shifted them without a bombing campaign to disrupt their factories and logistics.
Israel is an incredibly well equipped army fighting a rag tag bunch of fighters they vastly outgun and outnumber with no industrial base in an area in size similar to the Isle of Wight, who have no capacity to bring in fighters from elsewhere.
It’s akin to the RAF carpet bombing the Republican council estates in Belfast in retaliation to the IRAs bombing campaign

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Israel are fighting Iran and their proxies across the Middle East.
It bears no relation whatsoever to the IRA terrorist campaign

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago

Why doesn’t it? Both the IRA and Hamas are paramilitaries rather than conventional armies, both had nothing in the way of tanks, heavy artillery, an Air Force or any air defence, both are facing a vastly bigger and better equipped opponent, both are based and hidden in civilian areas, both enjoyed local support.
The only difference is the British had some humanity and refrained from killing thousands of innocent civilians in order to take out the fighters, something the IDF clearly lack

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You are talking rubbish.

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You seem to know all about how to fight a war not of your choosing, against an enemy who states they exist to destroy you. I’m guessing you’re a general, or a retired general? Or are you just a random leftie punter with fashionable opinions, trying to undermine Israel’s right to defence, with armchair commentary how you’d do it better?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

I’m a Field Marshal actually. It’s also quite nice to be labelled a leftie, what with my views being rather conservative it’s a certainly novel experience.
However you do seem to get rather upset whenever anybody is vaguely critical of Israel killing women and children in appalling numbers. Do you believe that they should have the right to kill as many civilians as they please in their retaliatory assault?
Would Britain have been justified in killing thousands of innocent civilians in order to wipe out a handful of IRA commanders?

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s nonsense to conflate the IRA with Iran and it’s proxies determined to annihilate Israel from the map … get a grip Billy, engage brain?

Guillermo Torres
Guillermo Torres
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Hamas are not republican separatists, they are a genocidal death cult. Were there 30-40k IRA members under Belfast hiding in 300 miles of tunnels using the rest of the Irish as human shields? Why are you so keen on blaming Israel for the civilian casualties? Comparative data from other urban wars clearly show IDF restraint given this unprecedented terrain.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago

There were tens of thousands of Provos holed up in the council estates of Northern Ireland yes. Whilst they didn’t have tunnels they were all hidden amongst the civilian population

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Hamas does indeed have an industrial base, as exemplified by its tunnel infrastructure, constructed with money and materials supplied as aid. Neither are they rag tag fighters, as the events of 7 Oct should have made clear to you.
The IDF is, as you say, well resourced and well trained. So, if the Israelis weren’t trying their best to reduce civilian casualties, there would be nothing living and nothing standing in Gaza by now.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago

Tunnels aren’t an industrial base. Hamas have no abilities to make their own weapons, everything has to be smuggled in from abroad.

Grahame Wells
Grahame Wells
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Many civilians in Germany were killed by grenades, rifle fire, artillery and tank fire not just carpet bombing as Allied troops cleared towns, as you know. In order to save their own lives they grenaded basements etc as they fought bands of Nazi soldiers, (not a mechanised battalion) sometimes regrettably killing civilians. No clean wars. How many civilians killed in the Gulf wars by the Allies? – and could you really even differentiate? Don’t start a war if you don’t want your own civilians to die is the lesson. Israel even kills its own troops by accident let alone aid workers. The intense scrutiny of every action is merely to find a point of accusation.

Robbie K
Robbie K
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If you are indeed a Field Marshall it’s quite concerning you view the IRA and Hamas attrocities and circumstances in equal measure. Perhaps one should revisit this narrative?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

drivel

Arthur King
Arthur King
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So the Gazans should surrender turn over Hamas and release the hostages. They got the war they started.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s not “retaliation”. Hamas must be destroy if the Israelis want to avoid doing the whole thing over again in twenty years.
The Palestinians are the only ones left in the world who think they can destroy the Israelis. They must be made to wake up from their fever dream and get on with their lives.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

At the end of the war the allied war machine wastly outnumbered the german capacity. You mean the russians should have halted outside Berlin and called up Hitler in his bunker and offered a two-state solution so that no more of the Hitler Youth needed to be killed?

New war. Same enemy.

Pat Thynne
Pat Thynne
3 months ago

This is a serious question: how do you defeat an idea? Particularly when the current attempts to do so are generating more recruits to that idea? As far as I can see the only way Isreal will ever be safe is if it changes relationships with the states that surround it sufficiently to make the Hamas idea irrelevant or an anathema. And changes its behaviours and attitudes towards the Palestinians who have a right to live in the land where they were born. I love Isreal (and yes, I have lived there) and it breaks my heart how it has got the idea of nationhood so fundamentally wrong right from the outset.

Stu N
Stu N
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat Thynne

If you’ve previously lived in Israel, one would assume you would know how to spell it’s name.

Arthur King
Arthur King
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat Thynne

The idea that is being defeated is that Israel is going away. It’s not. The other idea is that is dying is that Islamists can fight an asymmetrical war without huge losses. The other idea dying is that we in The West need to maintain our higher morality in warfare when the other side does not. As Trump alluded to correctly. The West could eliminate the Taliban in two weeks. Iran could be eliminated in about two hours.

David George
David George
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat Thynne

Pat: “the current attempts to do so are generating more recruits”
In the same way, as the essay affirms, that the October 7th atrocities galvinised Israeli resistance to being murdered?
God knows what motivated the terrorists in the first place but the idea that the Islamists (Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Iran’s Ayatollahs etc.) are fighting for “freedom” is as wrong as its possible to be.

J 0
J 0
3 months ago
Reply to  David George

When the allies annihilated the Nazis by carpet bombing, and wiped out the Japanese elite by A-bombing, that didn’t create ‘more recruits’ for the axis powers, and it also smashed their ideologies. Sometimes (nearly always!) ‘total war’ is the only answer. Particularly if, unlike the Nazi when the invaded and occupied a country, the Islamist invaders then set out to slaughter with knives, shovels and AK47s every single man, woman, child and baby (yet born or otherwise).

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago
Reply to  David George

What motivated Hamas was to draw Israeli into large scale conflict. They could then use the footage of Palestinian death and destruction in their propaganda war against Israel. The aim is to weaken Israel’s support in the West and harden attitudes among Israel’s regional enemies. If they can break Israel’s alliances and isolate them, Israel will be more vulnerable to long term siege tactics by its neighbors.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
3 months ago

Only Netanyahu could get away with the ethnic cleansing of Gaza. The people who propped up murderous psychopaths for 15 years are reaping the consequences of actions last October that put human civilisation back many, many centuries.
The plan is for a radically reduced Gazan population to dribble away somewhere, amorphous though that sounds. The question then is what to do with the West Bank. Integration in an enlarged Israeli state would seem the best call but the cold reality is that the territory will doubtlessly end up with reservations for steel-eyed guerillas plotting their next attack.

Phil Re
Phil Re
3 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Civilians killed in Gaza are fulfilling their own civilization’s—and the British left’s—highest aspiration for them.
Remember this chestnut from Hamas legislator Fathi Hamid? He said it on air on Al-Aqsa TV in 2008:
“[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: “We desire death like you desire life.”
The death industry he spoke of wouldn’t have succeed without international partners, and the British left was the main partner in those early years after Israel left Gaza.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago
Reply to  Phil Re

it’s interesting how people like Hamid say things like this while being far away from any danger themselves. It’s as if the only thing they prefer to a dead Jew is a dead Arab.

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago
Reply to  Phil Re

Wow. I had not come across that quote before. There’s a lot of evidence for that attitude among Palestinian jihadists, but here it’s summed up in a proud and defiant confession.

Arthur King
Arthur King
3 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

After Oct 7th Israel has grounds for removing the Arabs from Gaza. No nation need live by genocidal savages. To hell with international law if it sides with people who support Hamas.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago

As Graeme Macdonald so appositely reminded us two days ago : – “Jews and the state of Israel are permanently exempt from criticism”. Until this lamentable state of affairs is rectified there will be NO peace in the Middle East.

Marianne Kornbluh
Marianne Kornbluh
3 months ago

Only Israel is all the time criticised. Peace will come when the Palestinians will be willing to tolerate a Jewish state.

Phil Re
Phil Re
3 months ago

Israel exempt from criticism? You’ve really gone through the looking glass! Have you not heard of the UK? Israel-bashing has long been the favorite pastime of Britain’s political class. They give themselves a special permission to lie when it comes to Israel, then act like it’s unfair when they’re criticized for their lies.
The British left took its cue from the infamous Soviet propaganda campaign of the 1980s. Just recently, we heard one lordly old Brit say in parliament that Israel is responsible for antisemitism—including, presumably, his own. Does that sound to you like a country where Israel is exempt from criticism?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago
Reply to  Phil Re

But for the British Balfour Declaration of 1917 there wouldn’t be a State of Israel.

WHO seriously denies this?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago

A horrible mistake on our part in hindsight

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

We were ‘bankrupt’ at the time and had NO other choice, sadly.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This is the only comment of mine that’s currently visible, somebody has obviously reported all my other ones. Fair play, that’s commitment to trying to shut down opinions you don’t agree with!!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes it is getting rather tedious I must say.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago
Reply to  Phil Re

Most of the pseudo criticism from the US and others is really a master class in ‘crocodile tears’.

Our own Dave Cameron (UK) being a prime example.

Phil Re
Phil Re
3 months ago

It’s still hard to fathom the depraved reaction to October 7 that we’ve seen in much of the West. I knew England was a sick society long before that, but the depth of the moral rot is still shocking.
For many in England, self-righteousness toward Israel has become a substitute for looking in the mirror.
And what would they see in that mirror?
A society more concerned with cultural sensitivity around grooming gangs than with the safety of the victims trafficked by those gangs.
A society that howls with rage over the accidental killing of aid workers, but that shrugs off the abduction of civilians by UN personnel who took part in an unspeakable mass atrocity.

Robbie K
Robbie K
3 months ago
Reply to  Phil Re

Whilst I understand your point here, I would not agree that this is representative of English society, rather a minority but vocal element of it.

Phil Re
Phil Re
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I take your point.

Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
3 months ago

The US owes Hezbollah for more than 200 Marines, a CIA station chief and a lot more. The French owe them for more than 50 paratroopers. Those debts have been accumulating interest for more than 40 years.

mike otter
mike otter
3 months ago

The “aid workers” story is just another swing in the propaganda war ensemble of both sides. You’ve got to laugh that these highly experienced and highly paid military operative “aid workers” look very much like mercenaries to the ordinary observer. Same goes for the IDF unable to direct fire against combatants deciding to hit anything that moves. It shows the desperation that comes with “total war”. The fact is both side are puppets in a more global game and the players in Russia, Iran and USA (inc UK) must realise that if they can’t put their fire out in ME&A it will ultimately flare up in their own territories?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago

Perhaps it’s just me but this line caught my eye: Standing proudly on the greenest part of a mainly arid land, the orchards here are filled with avocado and banana trees.”
Why is it that the Jews have somehow managed to build a first-world society out of ‘mostly arid land while the bulk of Arabs live at subsistence levels? If not for the coincidental presence oil, the entirety of the Muslim nations would be no better off than sub-Saharan Africa.

Peter Stephenson
Peter Stephenson
3 months ago

No doubt, Israel is the front line of an attack which is inching in our direction. Good luck to lefties siding with barbarians when they come in to their homes with guns and knives.

Arthur King
Arthur King
3 months ago

If Iran attacks Israel, The West will support Israel.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

I won’t. I want nothing to do with a regional conflict between two warmongering nations in the Middle East

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Then with the greatest of respect, you’re a fool. That battle is coming to the West within 5 years. You’ll need to pick a side.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Trimble

This is a regional dispute over territory that doesn’t affect the west in any way. I wouldn’t want to see a western soldier suffer as much as a stubbed toe by getting involved trying to keep apart these two groups of animals apart

Rod Lewis
Rod Lewis
3 months ago

Thank you for this article Nicole. I think I might be correct in thinking you have reflected the mood from Israel. The comment that caused me to comment was. “The feeling that someone always wants to kill you is not unfamiliar to me”
I have travelled to Israel from the other side of the world quite a few times since the mid 80’s, most recently in August, and I admit to not liking it much. Despite the material progress I have witnessed this feeling of impending threat always hangs in the air. I so hope you are wrong about a second war breaking out as I would like to return to a country I don’t like to visit people I do.