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What is Israel’s next move? The first wave of the invasion has begun

Attacks intensify. (Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty)

Attacks intensify. (Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty)


October 28, 2023   6 mins

The news that mobile networks had gone down in the strip was the clue that something was imminent.¬†Then, last night, just under three weeks after the 7 October Hamas massacres, Israel announced that its ground forces were “expanding operations” in Gaza. Aerial bombardment of the strip was heavier than anything since the war began; more ground troops are pouring across the border.

It all came as a surprise. The government’s war cabinet is not even scheduled to meet until Sunday (which could, of course, be a deliberate misdirection). And I’m told soldiers on the Northern border are receiving weekend leave (subject to immediate recall), which would not normally suggest that a full-on invasion is happening.

One former IDF official I did speak to last night was unsure that this was the all-out invasion. Hamas reportedly offered 100 hostages for four-day ceasefire. Israel countered by offering two days for all hostages. ‚ÄúThen the talks collapsed,‚ÄĚ they said. ‚ÄúSo this can be one way to put pressure on them.‚ÄĚ

The hostages have complicated everything. Hamas has 229 of them ‚ÄĒ something Israel has never had to deal with before. When Hamas kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006, Jerusalem traded over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for his return. While Hamas holds these civilians, it has unimaginable leverage. Walking around Israeli cities, you see posters of hostages everywhere: on walls, lampposts, stuck to trees and flying from cars. Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met recently, and the hostages were at the centre of their discussions.

Central to this part of the war are the Qataris. Leant on by the United States, Doha managed to negotiate the release of Hamas‚Äôs four hostages earlier this week. ‚ÄúQatar are the funders and hosts of Hamas leadership,‚ÄĚ the former official explains. ‚ÄúWhen the Qataris call, the fucking pieces of shit Hamas answer the phone. They do not do things that piss off Doha.‚ÄĚ

And so, on Friday night, a picture was emerging of the start of a gradual widening of operations. According to Peter Lerner from the IDF spokesperson‚Äôs unit, over the past few days IDF ground forces have carried out a number of targeted raids inside the Gaza Strip to prepare for future stages. ‚ÄúIn the last few hours,‚ÄĚ he told me, ‚Äúthe IDF has expanded strikes and struck underground targets and terrorist infrastructure‚Ķground forces are expanding their ground activities this evening.‚ÄĚ

The ‚Äúdelay‚ÄĚ in starting, then, is not the result of hesitation but, rather, a systematic process the military has gone through. This began with an assessment of the 7 October massacres. From the IDF‚Äôs point of view these resulted from three failures. The first was intelligence: the security services and military were convinced that all the information coming out of Gaza indicated that Hamas did not want a confrontation with Israel.

The second was what might loosely be called the ‚Äúphysical failure‚ÄĚ. For years, the threat to Israel was deemed to be from tunnels snaking under the border; for over a decade, Hamas and affiliates had spent around $30 to $90 million on that labyrinth. In response, Israel ‚Äč‚Äčconstructed a barrier that reportedly reaches 100 metres depth in places, dotted with underground sensors. So their defence focus was almost entirely subterranean. But all the tonnes of cement and technology amounted to nothing. Terrorists went over the top, cutting through the barbed wire border fence with $20 bolt cutters. And when they didn‚Äôt directly attack the fence, they flew over it on paragliders or circumnavigated it by water. It was, an Israeli diplomat told me, ‚ÄúBiblically simple‚ÄĚ.

The third failing was the lack of requisite forces to respond. With enough troops, regardless of the other shortcomings, the atrocity might have been prevented. But, in some cases, it was ten hours or longer before soldiers arrived, which gave a thousand terrorists more than enough time to murder, rape and burn.

‚ÄúIt was obviously planned and executed very well,‚ÄĚ said Lerner. ‚ÄúIn a way that challenged Israel’s conception of the arena.‚ÄĚ This is instructive. The attack took place on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war. And back then, Israeli laxity was much to blame. The security establishment in 1973 thought the Arab states would not try another attack after their decisive defeat in the Six-Day War seven years previously. Security experts were convinced that the Egyptian troop movements were merely exercises. Back then, they were overconfident. It seems the same was true on this Holy Day.

On Friday I visited a Tel Aviv institution ‚ÄĒ Halper‚Äôs English Bookstore. When not interrupted by air raid sirens and loud booms thundering through the skies, the owner Yossi Halper made his thoughts clear: ‚ÄúFor a month, the TV here ran endless programs on the Yom Kippur War. Saying how we were caught with our pants down, and how that would never happen again. And it did.‚ÄĚ He pauses. ‚ÄúIn fact, literally: some of the soldiers killed were in their underpants, as they‚Äôd been sleeping.‚ÄĚ

Much has been made of past year’s political divisions, stemming from the government’s proposed judicial reforms, which are blamed for being the distraction that resulted in the inadequate response. But officials reject this, assuring me that the intelligence community sits beyond politics. The necessary post-mortem, when it eventually comes, will have to take many things into account, not least what signs were missed and why. Back in 1973, the resulting inquest brought down Defence Minister Moshe Dayan and led to the emergence of the Likud as Israel’s dominant political party. By any normal laws of politics, Netanyahu should be finished. But these are not normal times.

Recriminations are for tomorrow, though. Since 7 October, IDF and security services have focused on three core efforts. The first was restoring security to the south. The IDF caught a terrorist just last week, on day 14 in the southern sector. The situation there remains, if not active then vigilant, as far as the military is concerned. While most of the terrorists were killed, there is the possibility that a few remain, hidden in the fields around the border areas. So protection is the most important thing, with sufficient forces stationed there, unlike before. The second priority was rebuilding the border defences. The thought of another attack in the south is militarily, politically and above all psychologically impermissible. If Hamas broke through again, it would be too much for the people here to bear. The IDF is conducting small-scale cross border raids along the immediate perimeter of the barrier, looking for more bodies (10 people remain unaccounted for) and any Hamas targets they can find. On Thursday night Israeli forces carried out another raid.

Finally, there is what happened last night. The ‚Äúescalation of the military operation‚ÄĚ, or more simply, ‚Äútaking the war to them‚ÄĚ. The goal is clear, and stark. ‚ÄúDismantle, destroy, hunt down the leaders, the organisations and the individuals who participated in the massacres. Tearing the whole system apart and changing the paradigm.‚ÄĚ

This is beyond anything Israel has previously considered: to ensure that Hamas no longer exists as a governing force able to use Gaza as a staging post for attacks against Israel. What this means in practice is open to debate. It is clearly impossible for Israel to wipe out every Hamas operative in Gaza: they do not wear military uniforms and do not have bases or headquarters beyond the civilian buildings they operate from. While Israel has zero intention ‚ÄĒ or so I am told ‚ÄĒ of taking control of Gaza, it should not be forgotten that it was bogged down in Lebanon for 20 years after a supposedly quick operation to take out militants there; and of course, the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan are now universal.

The war cabinet thrown together in the wake of 7 October includes Netanyahu’s former political rival Benny Gantz, who also IDF Chief of Staff from 2011 to 2015. He has insisted on a clear plan on how Israeli forces will leave Gaza after defeating Hamas there and what type of governmental structures should be left in place. By all accounts this plan is still being put together. But, as we saw last night, things tend to move quickly in this part of the world.

Estimating that it will face around 30-40,000 Hamas terrorists, Jerusalem is mobilising over 300,000 reservists, the largest in its history ‚ÄĒ more than the Kremlin sent to invade Ukraine in February last year. There are two components to this mobilisation. First, the government must green-light it. There has, as of writing, been nothing official on this yet. Second, the optimal operational conditions must be reached: this means they need to take down the Hamas lookout posts, command and control structures, and the booby traps. ‚ÄúWe will not jeopardise our forces for the sake of rapid mobilisation,‚ÄĚ I was told.

Israel is a country that has always revered its soldiers. Reckless deployment and unecessary sacrifice is unconscionable in a small country that relies on every citizen taking up arms if necessary. As a result, this second component does not yet appear to have been fully completed. It is also complicated by the fact that so many hostages are still hidden. But thousands of soldiers are now fighting in Gaza. The first wave of the invasion has undoubtably begun. The defence establishment seems a step closer towards honouring its promise to take out Hamas and the war is about to get even bloodier than ever.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century.¬†(Hachette)

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Nell Clover
Nell Clover
8 months ago

Ah, Qatar. Supporter of Hamas, slaver of countless Asians, bribing its way to influence, a despotic racist state.

And yet our “trusted ally” because quite literally the UK has been bought and sold: the sponsor of those opposed to domestic fracking and yet the largest supplier of our gas, buyer of our assets to prop up the current account deficit with no questions asked, generous “donor” to ex-PMs for previous services rendered.

If I was Israel I’d be very nervous about just how long the West will maintain the moral high ground when we have surrendered ourselves to nations like Qatar.

Last edited 8 months ago by Nell Clover
Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
8 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I’d be very nervous (if I were Israel) until the US and others agree that Iran must be taken out and work with Israel to do so. (as we know, Biden and likely puppet-master Obama offered billions, including 10’s of billions in relaxed oil export restrictions, plus the 6billion for 5 hostages, which of course is sitting in Qatar. / QATAR! our friendly ally and hosts to Hamas).

As they say in the mafia: the fish stinks from the head down (and the head is in Iran)

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

I think you’ll find “taking out” Iran might not be so easy.. while they don’t have a nuclear weapon of their own, they do have Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to rely on if Israel or the US go down that road.. There is also the small matter of Russia’s nuclear arsenal the world’s biggest that might be called in?
You’ll find taking out Iran not quite as easy as taking out “sand jockeys”, cave dwellers and jungle fighters.. most of whom you were defeated by as it happens. This time you’ll be fighting a modern, sophisticated, well equipped army.. they’ll make mincemeat of you!

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Oh. Just like the Iraqi army then.

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago

After taking out Saddam, the Bush administration did a study that concluded they would need 1.6 million troops to invade Iran, so there will be no ground war, but the chances of air strikes are high IMO, not a good idea, total madness in fact

The neocons are crazy. God help us

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Then simply start arming Iranians – they don’t seem to be as keen on their leaders or the Palestinians as you are. ūüėČ
https://twitter.com/glnoronha/status/1711101913544966265
Though of course now AI is around who knows if that is true or perhaps Israel is doing a Hamas but on football stadia not hospitals?

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

There are a lot of reasons to be wary of Iran. Their “having Pakistani nuclear weapons to rely on” is not one of them.

james elliott
james elliott
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You don’t know what you are talking about.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

your wet dream about that is transparently obvious. But an invasion needn’t occur. Only a strike at the presidential palace. After Soleimani, the thugocracy there was so rattled it shot down a passenger jet that had taken off from its own airport, after which the Iranians were quiet as mice until Biden took over the presidency.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

The West’s “high moral ground” looks more like a deep, shameful crater to me. The piece makes zero mention of Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, breaches of the Geneva Convention and UN mandates and its barbaric slaughter and starvation of wholly innocent men, women and chidren including journalists, UN aid workers and defenceless children..
Some “High Moral Ground”! The depths of depravity lote like, no better than the brutal, murderous Hamas butchers ..indeed far worse given the scale of the genocidal attacks. High morals indeed.. and I’m talking about those who aid and abet these degenerate state terrorists.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Should’ve’ gone to Specsavers then ūüėČ

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I particularly love the artistic use of the word genocide here. Considering how the Palestinian population around the world is now over 5 million compared to a few hundred thousand when modern Israel came in to effect they have been spectacularly hopeless at achieving your label. If you want to compare the number of Jews in the middle east since 1920 outside of Israel you may see something closely resembling genocide….but don’t let the facts get in the way

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

By this time next week Israel will have killed over 10K civilians, few people posting here care

Terry M
Terry M
8 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

How do we know how many people have been killed in Gaza? You can’t trust Hamas, obv, and the Israelis have little info.
But YOU know! You, sir, are a troll.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Of course you wont’ accept that Hamas is responsible for most of those deaths by (a) committing the murderous massacres in the first place, knowing there would be a massive response; and (b) putting its citizens at severe risk by making them stay in the north and using them as human shields (and targets for their own misfired rockets).

james elliott
james elliott
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Again, you don’t know what you are talking about.

Guy Aston
Guy Aston
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So glad you remembered to mention Hamas.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

so much blah blah blah, so little time.

starkbreath
starkbreath
8 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

They’ve also extended their tentacles to the US, including a number of top universities.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago

So Article about the next move, but somewhat vague in conclusion. Understandable.
Some other things to consider – can IDF mobilise 300k for ground ops in Gaza and deal with potential serious escalation to the North and in the West Bank? There is potential here for the IDF to get seriously stretched in 3 directions – which at least so far as the North concerned why two US Carrier Groups, (and some UK warships) are now positioned in the eastern Med. This is not a Yom Kippur 73 type threat with actual invading armies, but it’s enemies don’t need armies to murder if they have home-made rockets they can lob from multiple directions at Tel Aviv. And Israel’s enemies bask in death and murder even if the result is not the collapse of Israel itself. It’s ironically almost nihilistic.
The role of Russia? – some will contend Ukraine and Gaza are entirely separate. They are not and these things are linked. The conflict in Middle East ideal for Putin and the continued Russian presence in the middle East a factor and a manipulator. Israel may have been almost agnostic on Ukraine but it’s in almost direct conflict with Russia in Azerbaijan/Armenia supporting the former as it sees strategic alliance against Iran. Peace will not come to the Middle East with Putin there as he has strategic interest in ensuring constant conflict there.
So the web of complexity is deep and Israel and Allies have more to consider than just the operational details of street to street fighting. As we know Plan As rarely last long and military planners must, one assumes, be war-gaming multiple scenarios.

Last edited 8 months ago by j watson
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Nihilistic, perhaps; it could also be called Biblical.

You’re absolutely right about Putin. Meanwhile, Xi also looks on, as US capabilities in defending its interests are further tested. Taiwan has reason to feel even more uncomfortable.

Last edited 8 months ago by Steve Murray
j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Agree SM.
More broadly I’m quite a Hawk on Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. These must be defended and if any one falls we will enter a dark age – perhaps a bit melodramatic but I do think it’s that stark. And I think Putin, Xi, Khamenei (and let’s add Kim Jung Un) all have the same objective – undermine the West and all it stands for. The poor majority of Palestinians are just a pawn in this battle.
Critical time next Feb with Taiwan elections. Does Xi risk a Pearl Harbour moment and possible consequent similar outcome after time for himself as for the Japanese if the West rallies? Or does the US find itself as Khrushchev did with Cuba and turn the boats back round after sailing them towards the S China Sea? In theory the risk should be too big for Xi, but the stars are aligning for him. Rational logic doesn’t always get applied. Two Carrier fleets now distracted to the Eastern Med helps him.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Absolutely no idea why you’ve been downvoted (i’ve upvoted) since your points make sense and are more penetrating than some of the other comments. It’s key to “what Israel does next”.

Of course, if people are voting due to your previous comments (and i’ve downvoted many) they should be ashamed of themselves for falling into a very reductive trap.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As you probably noted before I don’t pay attention to votes one way or other. If such a thing made a difference to a view I might hold it’d be all about ego and not the point so look to ignore best I think. I don’t subscribe to Unherd because I needed or wanted the comfort of lots of confirmatory ticks, in fact quite the reverse – to be challenged, read stuff I often won’t agree with, be made to think via a different prism etc. Builds neuronal muscle I think, or at least hope. Nonetheless appreciate the comment you made.

D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The Russians are winning

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

They shouldn’t worry, Net Zero is going to annihilate the West as economies and so societies collapse and we in the UK are probably about to vote in a Government even more committed to such insanity than the current morons who rule us.
Mind you they do say China funds Extinction Rebellion. Money well spent it seems.
https://unherd.com/2021/12/does-the-ccp-control-extinction-rebellion/

Terry M
Terry M
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Net Zero is a suicide pact for Western Civilization.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I’m not sure if the real risk isn’t for Uncle Sam? After all…
1) the Chinese have a vast army and could, if threatened at home put millions in the field.
2) the good old Hiroshima solution is n/a as the Chinese, unlike the Japanese do have nuclear weapons.
3) the Chinese have home advantage!
4) just like Arab states on Palestinians they might not like the Mainlanders but they are brother Chinese after all and a heavy hand against PRC might trigger a similar response?
5) It’s just possible Taiwan might fancy BRICS+ is a better bet looking at the US’s decline and impending de-dollarisation?

Terry M
Terry M
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Numbers 4 and 5 are completely wrong. I have many Taiwanese colleagues and friends. They absolutely hate the Red Chinese and they understand that the BRICS won’t protect them.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

It’s remarkable how the stars are aligning for China. We know that China has ties to both Iran and Russia. There’s a non-zero probability they knew these events were coming or even helped plan them. We live in frightening times. I was eleven in 1991. For most of my life, I have taken for granted the impossibility of a third world war. Now I’m terrified I’m witnessing the opening volleys. I hope and pray it doesn’t come to that. I agree with your assessment that the loss of Israel, Ukraine, or Taiwan would result in a new dark age, but I’d still rather face that than a war that might well end in nuclear annihilation. If I had supreme power, I’d back down, pronounce the death of the liberal world order, build a wall around America, accept the pain of decoupling from China, Russia, and every other enemy of freedom and democracy, and digging in for another Cold War. I’d accept the new dark age and play the long game for what comes after, but maybe I’m just a coward. It’s a cold calculation that writes off millions of free people. There are no good choices, just guesses about which path is least horrible.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Yes and I think the West still waking up to the linkages and the threat. But the West is the classic ‘sleeping giant’ IMO and if it has ‘will’ it is greater than the threats combined. It’s also the old Napoleonic maxim about morale worth 3 times ration strength or similar. And given time and persistence the West far outproduces China et al too. The question how much time one has? In WW2 essentially UK bought the West 2-3 years to fully mobilise, helped of course by how the Dictators behaved. The scenario today and historical lesson seems to be deterrence ‘will’ needs to be shown rapidly and clearly now.
The challenge for Biden, or his successor, is how he articulates isolationist America cannot stand for long and their way of life is in jeopardy depending on what happens in these places to the American people – it’s the ‘arsenal of freedom’ moment that Roosevelt conveyed IMO. In Europe we are fairly strong behind Ukraine overall (albeit some differences and equivocations), and almost the same re: Israel. Taiwan where we are less united as yet. That may change and I think what the Taiwanese convey they want in Feb 24 critical. The CCP trying very hard to influence that election of course.
One fears to mention but Trump of course a game changer and the light in the West will be further dimmed if he gets anywhere near the levers of power again. I think alot of speculation valid that Xi is waiting also to see if US further weakens itself with a constitutional crisis. Putin of course preying he gets in.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Oh so Trump is worse than Biden, the president who caused the Ukrainian invasion??

Terry M
Terry M
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Yeah, that’s completely deranged TDS.
If Trump were Prez now you can bet Iran would not have provoked the Hamas invasion. They remember Sulemaini’s fate and you can be sure Trump would multiply that.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Trump’s taking out of Soleimani made Iran quiet as a mouse until Biden came in. Your statement about him makes no sense at all.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Yes build a wall around USA to keep you safe? lol just your endemic drugs and gun massacres to amuse you then.. Americans really do thing the world revolves around them, just like the Brits did when they were top dog I imagine.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Why does China need to invade Taiwan, the Chinese are far less impulsive than the Americans, China can wait while the Americans degraded themselves while being the playground bully. It is USA we need to fear maybe less so the Chinese. (Agreed Iran is a basket case)

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

knee-jerk anti-americanism is so boring.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Maybe time for the Taiwanese to realise they are, after all part of China? The UN says so, geez even the US says so!

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Evil and stupid. The U.S. doesn’t “say so.”

–ü–į–≤–Ķ–Ľ –°–Ķ–Ľ–Ķ–∑–Ĺ–Ķ–≤
–ü–į–≤–Ķ–Ľ –°–Ķ–Ľ–Ķ–∑–Ĺ–Ķ–≤
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

–ú–ł—Ä –Ņ—Ä–ł–ī–Ķ—ā –Ĺ–į –Ď–Ľ–ł–∂–Ĺ–ł–Ļ –≤–ĺ—Ā—ā–ĺ–ļ –ļ–ĺ–≥–ī–į –ĺ—ā–ľ–Ķ–Ĺ—Ź—ā –Ņ–ĺ—Ā—ā–į–Ĺ–ĺ–≤–Ľ–Ķ–Ĺ–ł–Ķ –ě–ě–Ě –ĺ –ĺ–Ī—Ä–į–∑–ĺ–≤–į–Ĺ–ł–ł –ė–∑—Ä–į–ł–Ľ—Ź –Ĺ–į —ā–Ķ—Ö –∑–Ķ–ľ–Ľ—Ź—Ö, –Ĺ–į –ļ–ĺ—ā–ĺ—Ä—č—Ö —Ā–ĺ—ā–Ĺ–ł –Ľ–Ķ—ā –∂–ł–Ľ–ł –į—Ä–į–Ī—č. –ö—Ā—ā–į—ā–ł, –Ķ—Ā—ā—Ć –Ķ—Č–Ķ –ē–≤—Ä–Ķ–Ļ—Ā–ļ–į—Ź –ĺ–Ī–Ľ–į—Ā—ā—Ć –≤ –†–ĺ—Ā—Ā–ł–ł. –Ě–Ķ —Ö–ĺ—ā–ł—ā–Ķ —ā—É–ī–į –Ņ–Ķ—Ä–Ķ–Ķ—Ö–į—ā—Ć, —ā–į–ľ –Ņ–Ľ–ĺ—ā–Ĺ–ĺ—Ā—ā—Ć –Ĺ–į—Ā–Ķ–Ľ–Ķ–Ĺ–ł—Ź 4,5 —á–Ķ–Ľ–ĺ–≤–Ķ–ļ–į –Ĺ–į 1 –ļ–≤. –ļ–ľ.!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I’d no idea it was Russia that caused all the mayhem in Israel-Palestine! I thought it eas the Eskimos.. well, we live and learn!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Some of us do. You? From your posts, I’d not be so certain. ūüėČ

j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

‘All’? Err no, and you know that wasn’t claimed. But is it stoking. It aligns with Iran. After 73 the Russians largely got pushed out of Middle East. Since 2011 they’ve been back and the same game. Undermine US’s main ally, Israel and any other Western interests in the Region.
As regards Taiwan – let’s see how they vote. That’s why the election in 4mths so important. (Now I think, but have you mixed up with someone else and apols if so, you’ve been vocal about Colonial history re: the Emerald isle? My folks are Irish too, if relevant, but do we need to watch closely here to see how deep and consistent your self-determination instincts really go?

starkbreath
starkbreath
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You not insult Liam. He one of President Xi favorites. He good boy!

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Israel can handle terrorist armies on multiple fronts. But the more the escalation the less likely Israel will be able to avoid the kind of tactics that lead to more civilian casualties The very idea that Israel, with it’s powerful army can’t handle Hamas and Hezbollah which a lot of people seem to hold demonstrates just how badly Israel’s deterrence has deteriorated. It must be regained and fully.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

I think they may not have enough anti rocket defence capability in the North. They’d certainly have enough force for major any land offensive, but that’s not really the threat. It’s insurgent raids and rockets. Which is why I think they are just waiting til the US is better positioned to help provide more supporting cover and to make Hezbollah/Iran v aware of their capability.
The other thing about the IDF is it’s primarily a civilian force. Whilst all do military service it’s not the same as the 82nd Airborne hitting Fallujah as a fully professional force. So IDF will use much more ordnance and be unashamed about it to reduce it’s own casualties. I think the leaflets currently being dropped daily in Northern Gaza are making the consequences of staying v clear. It’s a dreadful situation for the innocent there, and undoubtedly Hamas will seek to use human shields both in street fighting and in battle for public opinion, but I don’t think it’ll make much difference to how IDF goes about it. They have other priorities and been here before.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago

Just watched a huge number of bloody, body bags and wailing civilians in Gaza City. It’s not going to be easy to keep up the support for Israel with these images on TV on a daily basis. We have to keep reminding ourselves that there was a massacre in Israel and that there are still over 200 hostages. But a picture says a thousand words and what we see are powerful pictures. “What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve over”.

Last edited 8 months ago by Clare Knight
–ü–į–≤–Ķ–Ľ –°–Ķ–Ľ–Ķ–∑–Ĺ–Ķ–≤
–ü–į–≤–Ķ–Ľ –°–Ķ–Ľ–Ķ–∑–Ĺ–Ķ–≤
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

–†–Ķ–∑–Ĺ—é –≤ –ė–∑—Ä–į–ł–Ľ–Ķ –ļ–ĺ–Ĺ—ā—Ä–ĺ–Ľ–ł—Ä–ĺ–≤–į–Ľ –ė–∑—Ä–į–ł–Ľ—Ć!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago

And the same to you!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Support for Israel? Can’t say I’ve seen as much as one would expect given what started it all.
This is shocking, but strikes me as being frighteningly accurate depiction of some Western attitudes.
https://twitter.com/eylonalevy/status/1717459468508672016?s=48

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

This is where the issue lies. If those in the body bags were Hamas fighters you could pull them out by the thousands and nobody would care, but unfortunately they’re nearly all civilians with many women and children.
How many militants has Israel’s air strikes killed, in comparison to the number of civilians? For many around the world the ratio currently simply looks too high, far too many civilians have lost their lives which then caused sympathy for the original terrorist attack to wane

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Remember that the ‘Gaza Health Ministry’ is run by Hamas. Please be aware that murderers and terrorists have every motivation to inflate casualty counts, classify terrorists as ‘civilians’, etc. They do this precisely to fool well-meaning, yet trusting people. 

Oliver Butt
Oliver Butt
8 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I heard someone from the UN making a plausible argument as to why Hamas’ figures are correct. The UN knows how many of its staff have been killed (and therefore what percentage) and if you take the same percentage and apply it to the total Gazan population you come out with a figure very similar to the one produced by Hamas. And, of course, I would add that the Israelis have every bit as much incentive and form to lie about the figures as Hamas. There is a huge propaganda battle going on on both sides at the moment.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
8 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Butt

one might also have to take into account the UN’s political slant.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

If the figures were that inflated the Israelis and Americans would be publishing their own figures, as it’s not in their interests to have the number of casualties being reported much higher than the real total

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

It’s not just “the count” if we’re seeing actual footage, and you can tell by the bags that they are babies and children. They’re not actual body bags just thin sheets covered in blood.

Last edited 8 months ago by Clare Knight
Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

But you can’t see what’s in those bags!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Obviously, but the bodies are being hastily covered in the aftermath of a bombing, so we can pretty much see who’s dead. These aren’t commercial body bags they’re just blood-soaked sheets.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

The casualty counts are irrelevant when one can see with one’s own eyes.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Exactly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Exactly. That’s what I said.

B Stern
B Stern
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Bret Stephens reports in the NYTimes about a suggested plan by former IL PM Bennet. The plan is for IDF to divide Gaza in two, surround Gaza City, where most of Hamas is, albeit underground, and then wait. Maybe six months. Send home a lot of the reservists. Keep shooting at Hamas if they show their faces, and wait until they run out of food, water and fuel. Don’t send IL forces into the tunnels or the narrow streets of Gaza, at least not too much. Just wait. This results in fewer civilian and IDF casualties. And time really is not on Hamas’ side. We’ll see.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  B Stern

Well, it’s a plan that’s for sure, but I’m not sure if the tunnels are only under Gaza, or if they stretch under the whole strip. If they do that plan wouldn’t work.

martin logan
martin logan
8 months ago

The problem in all this is that any effective offensive will have to be slow & grinding. Every tunnel has to be id’d and neutralized. Otherwise it becomes one giant game of whackamole.

But this would also take many months, and likely degrade both US support & the Israeli economy. The number of civilian casualties may also become too great to enable continued US support.

The only political solution would be replacing Hamas with the PA. But little chance of that while Bibi’s is in power.

Iran thus seems the big winner. The alliance with MBS is dead for now.

And if Bibi’s remains in power, Israel may be in its most precarious state since before the 6 Day War.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I find my thoughts on this moving as the days go by. Recognise the valid thoughts you convey ML. And also the demos now in Israel cautioning about what happens to the hostages if they invade. But also can’t help but reflect how Israeli’s are rallying behind a cause they see as existential, despite and not because of their current political leadership. Bibi was calling half of them traitors but weeks ago as they protested in the streets about his constitutional changes, and he’s dead in the water (and even made sure his Son avoiding call-up by sitting in Florida!). But the cause is bigger than him and one doesn’t see that weakening. It may be that after weeks of street fighting and body bags the will weakens, but I don’t think the possibility going to be sufficient to stop the initiation.
Iran doesn’t win if Hamas ejected, or if it tries to interfere further and finally the US decide to support Israel and take out their nuclear capability. US giving itself that strike capability now with how it’s positioned it’s Fleets. Thus considerable jeopardy for Iran if it oversteps. In fact what’s happened may have strengthened the will to do this action. God forbid they get Nuc capability.
Of course the Palestinians deserve better, but they now, terrible as it is, are but a pawn now in a bigger battle.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 months ago

Re every citizen taking up arms; I thought that a proportion of ultra-orthodox Jews refused to do military service, but I may be wrong about that.

Rob C
Rob C
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

I think Ukraine and Russia have shown how you can’t just draft people into the armed forces, hand them rifles, and expect them to accomplish much.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Yes I think the ultra orthodox Jews are exempt from the military, but they are good at threatening and evicting Palestinians from their homes, also they like Netanyahu!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

That’s why Bibi panders to them because he wants their vote.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Are they the Jews protesting against Israel in New York?

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

No, I suspect the Ultra orthodox Jews are fully behind Netanyahu and the bombing campaign (reprisals)

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

They aren’t “reprisals.” They’re “never again”s. If you think Israelis will let up after a massacre of such scale and savagery you don’t know Jews at all, which is clear anyway.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

It’s a bit suspect who the “Jews” against the war actually are.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

They’re changing their minds but it’s hard to imagine them being soldiers!

John Tyler
John Tyler
8 months ago

I have no idea why anyone thought Israel’s measured approach was anything other than just that.

Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

One reason is that people in the West don’t understand the zealotry of Hamas et al, who are more of a death cult than a resistance movement. Another is the increasingly unipolar, simple-to-the-point-of-crass, understanding of conflict in our contemporary culture: powerful/established/successful/organised/educated = bad/bully/perpetrator/colonialist, and vice versa. A third is the ancient practice of scapegoating the smallest and oldest Abrahamic religion .

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

They probably didn’t have any daughters/relatives attending the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
8 months ago

Israel has the support of the USA, witness the 2 carrier strike groups. The USA will step in to help if things get overstretched. Israel must be strong and treat the hostages as already dead. They CANNOT let themselves be negotiated with over them and prevent the chance they now have to wipe out hamas from being taken. No matter what the civilan casulaties are, Israel MUST press ahead with the operation and turn a deaf ear to the bleating of the worlds progressive left media. This is their moment to send the message to the scum in Tehran and the rest of the despots in the arab world that Israel and the West will NOT be messed with…….

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

Is that so..?

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Yeah. What did you think “never again” meant?

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
8 months ago

Meanwhile, the UN has voted for an ‚Äúimmediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce‚ÄĚ with 120 for, 14 against, and 45 abstentions (including the UK).
https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/10/1142847

Last edited 8 months ago by Nik Jewell
Arthur G
Arthur G
8 months ago

To paraphrase Admiral William Halsey, Israel’s next move is “Kill Hamas, Kill Hamas, keep killing Hamas.” Repeat until they surrender unconditionally.

Last edited 8 months ago by Arthur G
William Brand
William Brand
8 months ago

I herd that Israeli civilians are not allowed to keep guns in their homes! If this is true then the reason for this debicle is obvious. Unarmed Jews died like sheep. I would recommend a law requiring any reservist to be required to jeep full infantry gear in his home and to cary a pistol when he leaves his home beginning at age 13.

Geoff W
Geoff W
8 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Where did you hear that – at an NRA meeting?
A moment’s reflection would suggest that Israel, as a small Jewish country surrounded by a large and hostile Muslim population, would NOT forbid civilians to keep guns in their homes.
A few more moments on the internet would then confirm that it DOESN’T forbid civilians to keep guns in their homes.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
8 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

No ban on owning firearms, just controls. Having a firearm is thankfully not a constitutional right in this country but if you have a licensed weapon or a police or army issued weapon for community protection, then you are allowed to keep it in your home. These police and army issued weapons have been reduced in recent years because of theft and the impotence of the police and state on preventing them, and because of the feeling that security was so good – all part of the picture of how this catastrophe occured.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
8 months ago

There’s some evidence that Palestinian “civilians” took part in the October 7th massacre; not associated with Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Just nihilistic death-cult types, overwhelmed by their hatred of Israelis.
If true, these are men who have done wrong by their own families, their people and their religion. In their madness they may even have killed other Arabs; Bedouin citizens of Israel, seventeen at last count. Right now, Gaza is crowded with murderers and psycopaths.
It’s worth reiterating: This whole thing is much more complex than it seems.

Greg La Cock
Greg La Cock
8 months ago

A part of winning the long war, will be to eliminate funding for Hamas. This comes primarily from both Iran and Qatar. Hamas leaders and financiers must be targeted (I liked the ‘deck of cards’ used by the USA to identify Iraq’s most heinous criminals). Amongst those cards, would be individuals who’s business interests fund Hamas. Destroy these, whether they be Iranian, Qatari or for that matter, British. As an opening shot, I would like to see the Americans destroy a key Qatari pipeline, as they did to Russia.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
8 months ago

Hamas is in the American military colony of Qatar so that the Americans can negotiate with it on a deniable basis. If they did not want it there, then it would not be. In the United Nations General Assembly, the shameful abstainers, but abstainers all the same, included Britain, Australia, Canada, India, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, even the Netherlands that had already sent in Marines, and even Ukraine. Much hailed in Rightist circles, the new Government of New Zealand was nevertheless part of the global majority.

The United States and Israel must make do with Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Fiji, Guatemala, Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, and Tonga. We may be grateful that Keir Starmer was not its Prime Minister, or the United Kingdom would have been on that list, exceeding Anthony Albanese, Justin Trudeau, Narendra Modi, Giorgia Meloni, and Volodymyr Zelensky. Labour will not call for a ceasefire until the United States had done so, a tied hand that Rishi Sunak has not inflicted upon himself.

Iris C
Iris C
8 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

Didn’t they abstain because the UN resolution did not condemn Hamas and the taking of hostages?
That was clearly the right response to a resolution put forward by the UN Secretary – who had indicated previously that there was some justification in the Israeli massacres – which was disgraceful

John Tyler
John Tyler
8 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Personally, I think abstention on this motion was absolute cowardice. Calls for a ceasefire are exactly what Hamas want: ‚Äėwe kill Jews and you call a ceasefire.‚Äô Is that what the naive appeasers call proportionate?

Paula Fields
Paula Fields
8 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

I thought it was only Canada that abstained for that reason

William Brand
William Brand
8 months ago

Israel should just starve hamas. Blockade all aid and cut off water. Hit any desalination plants and wells. As civilians come out load them on boats and. set them adrift next to Iran. Let Iran deal with them. Also attach slave collard to them. Collars have satellite GPS monitor and lethal anti tamper devices with remote detinators. Once all civilians are removed use nuclear depth charges to collapse tunnels.. Drill to place underground explosion.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

I’d imagine (and hope) the Jews would be rather squeamish about collective punishment and ethnic cleansing after what happened to them in the Second World War

Edit: I can’t believe people are upvoting your ideas of genocide. I’ll assume all those being critical of those waving Palestinian flags after Hamas’ atrocity will also condemn comments such as this?

Last edited 8 months ago by Billy Bob
Rob C
Rob C
8 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Send all who want to go to Sweden! I bet the Swedes can’t wait to prove their moral superiority. Any who stay behind are obviously Hamas and can be killed easily without civilians mixed in.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

Arab countries (especially Saudia) use Egypt to stop Gazans leaving because many consider them, even without Hamas, to be troublemakers. cf Scotlands First Minister.