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Will Israel hand America a ceasefire? The IDF's job is far from complete

Smoke rises above Gaza City (YOUSEF HASSOUNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Smoke rises above Gaza City (YOUSEF HASSOUNA/AFP via Getty Images)


November 21, 2023   4 mins

Having choreographed their October 7 assault so skilfully, Hamas clearly had no plans at all for the Israeli counter-offensive. Nor did it plan for the inevitable cutting-off of Gaza’s electricity and water supplied by Israel, or consider the people who live next door to known Hamas facilities that were bound to be bombed. It didn’t even prepare its own fighters, whose anti-tank missiles were no match for the revolutionary “Trophy” active defence of Israel’s Merkava tanks and huge Namer infantry combat carriers.

When Israel’s bombing started, civilians were not allowed to shelter in Hamas’s tunnels: one of its leaders candidly explained to an interviewer that they were exclusively for the “fighters”, fatuously adding that the protection of inhabitants was the responsibility of the United Nations alone.

In past wars, Israeli offensives have been invariably swift, partly because UN ceasefires would be imposed as soon as they started winning, and partly because speed in deciding, moving and fighting is the Israeli army’s most conspicuous advantage in combat. But in Gaza, as predicted, that pace was the very first thing that the Israelis had to relinquish. Rushing into the tunnels would not drive the enemy into panicked flight. Instead, hidden sensors would trigger demolition charges, set to explode after the soldiers had advanced beyond them, trapping the troops underground.

In recent weeks, the advancing military has been forced to patiently follow the tunnel scouts of the specialised Yahalom combat engineers, who have, in turn, relied on their ultra-low frequency radar sets to detect tunnels through sand and rock, and their specially trained dogs to guide them through the dark networks. Because of this, Israeli casualties have been relatively low, while much of northern Gaza’s tunnel system has been wrecked and hundreds of Hamas fighters killed, with roughly 100 of them captured for interrogation.

It was always going to be impossible to find hostages or capture top Hamas leaders, since they were all taken into southern Gaza after the IDF’s call for the northern sector to be evacuated. As a result, the war isn’t even halfway done; only the northern tunnels have been assailed, while rockets are still being assembled and launched daily from the southern ones. But from a strictly military point of view, the war has unfolded far more successfully than seemed likely at the start, given the defenders’ inherent advantage in urban warfare and the ample ambush opportunities offered by the tunnels.

But the prudent methods that have enabled Israel’s sweep in the northern sector with a minimum of casualties come at a high political price: they prolong the war. This is excruciating for President Biden, who must keep the small but noisy pro-Palestinian progressives in his Democratic Party under control, while his diplomatic team must tend to America’s allies and friends in the Muslim world.

At the same time, however, one thing has evolved very favourably for Biden’s foreign policy team: it does not have to contend with European allies who oppose US support for Israel, as in previous wars. In 1967, for instance, the Italian government refused to allow gas masks to be sent set to Israel to cope with Egyptian gas warfare. Six years later, in fear of the Arab oil embargo, European governments would not permit US planes carrying supplies to Israel into their airspace. Things are altogether different now. Every European government that matters supports Israel, as does the European Union whose head, Ursula von der Leyen, flew to Israel early on in the war to say so.

While this greatly reduces the burden on the Biden team, there is one serious, unavoidable repercussion: Israel’s war is a terrible distraction from Ukraine’s, which is itself a huge distraction from the confrontation that really matters with the People’s Republic of China. That Biden met Xi Jinping in San Francisco last week, without the two coming to blows, may be a Good Thing, but it does not solve the problem that arises from Xi’s bellicosity.

This now manifests itself every day and in different ways. We can see it in the aggressive patrolling of Chinese aircraft and warships around Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam’s islands and Japan’s Senkaku islets. On land, we can also see it in the Chinese forces deployed in Tibet to threaten India’s Ladakh frontier. India is not a treaty ally, but US and Indian air, naval and ground forces train together, and the Pentagon will have to provide air support if necessary.

The existence of these other threats means that, while Israel’s ruling coalition is preparing for another month of war, Biden and his team would like an end to the fighting yesterday — or at least as soon as the Israelis hostages can be recovered. Hamas, meanwhile, is also desperate for a ceasefire; only its top leader is living it up in Qatar’s luxury, while all those in Gaza are in mortal danger.

In the negotiations, Hamas’s formula is to trade the smallest possible number of hostages for the longest possible ceasefire, with Israel’s coalition holding out for the opposite, while the Qataris go back and forth to find a compromise. As the wait continues, American and Israeli officials find themselves on opposite sides of the ceasefire question, but without any discernible acrimony. This is a matter of trust. The Israelis never fully trusted Obama, who ordered a damaging policy shift at the UN in his last days in office, but they do trust Biden. They are also impressed by Secretary of State Blinken’s steady hand on the tiller, and by the professional expertise of Secretary of Defense Austin, already well-known to them from his earlier apparition as the general commanding all US forces in the Middle East.

None of this ensures that the two sides agree on everything, but they at least do so on the things that matter. As a result, the US accepts that Hamas, with its oppressive dictatorship over Gaza and declared genocidal policy, cannot be a negotiating partner and must be destroyed like Isis. For its part, Israel’s new coalition government, unlike Netanyahu when still in sole control, accepts that US diplomacy must resume its quest for peaceful remedies for the conflict. The exemplary conduct of Israel’s Arab citizens — many of whom, from brain surgeons to mechanics, are working overtime to replace reservists — and the empathy shown by their elected leaders have taught even sceptical Israelis that coexistence could be the future. While the Gaza War shows no sign of ending soon, both Israel and America can see a way out.


Professor Edward Luttwak is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations.

ELuttwak

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Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago

The IDF’s job is certainly far from complete, and for the present must continue.
Nobody wishes for innocent Palestinian civilians to be caught up in the fighting as human shields, but it is Hamas not Israel that is responsible for the danger they are in.
What other options do the Israelis have?
It is not possible to be morally serious and suggest peace negotiations with Hamas – who could possibly trust any truce with genocidal terrorists who make no pretence of their aims? Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas leader, is explicit that “We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do it twice and three times. The Al-Aqsa Deluge (the Hamas code-name for the Oct 7 pogrom) is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth,” …“Will we have to pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it. We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.”
There’s no negotiating with that. It would suicidally irresponsible to even think it possible.
It can’t be the UN – a wholly corrupted organisation that literally defines ‘Zionism’ as ‘Racism’ and thus denotes the very existence of Israel as a crime.
So, can we expect other Arab nations to help achieve a solution? Supporters of Israel might hope so, but mere hope is a fool’s ally. The Abraham Accords were (potentially) getting closer to achieving that than any other such effort in my lifetime, but Joe Biden’s shunning of the Saudis and his appeasement and financing of Iran has probably fatally undermined that possibility – at least for the time-being.
From the Pro-Palestinian protestors – and some of the more objectionable posters on these pages – we keep getting arguments that explain why historically the State of Israel has no right to exist. But unless you’re actually calling for a genocide of Jews – which has long been the Arabs’ preferred solution – then maybe we need to look at this problem not from the perspective of History, which can be – and has been – too easily distorted and disputed, but from the perspective of Geography.
Israel, despite its enormous implications for world peace, comprises a tiny strip of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Just for a comparison that might resonate with UK readers, Israel is smaller than Wales.
It is bounded on 3 sides by Muslim Arab countries. To offer a sense of scale, Israel is approximately 8 thousand square miles in total area. By contrast the Arab world – the al-ummah al-ÊżarabÄ«yyah – is well over 5 million square miles larger! Vast open areas of uninhabited lands and with oil wealth beyond calculation. Massive mega-city projects are currently under construction all through the Gulf region.
Is it really so inconceivable to suggest that the solution to the problem might include any of these other nations? Is it really Israel’s problem alone?
There are 21 Arab countries in the broader region and a single Jewish state. The only Jewish state in the whole world. 8 of those Arab countries have openly started and fought wars to eradicate Israel, several others have funded those wars and decades-long terror campaigns against Israel. Yet Liberals claim it is Israel that is the aggressor?
As much as protestors might pretend it is not a call for genocide, Palestinians will happily tell you that “From the River to Sea” is a call for that tiny strip of land to be cleared of Jews from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. That Jews should be ethnically cleansed from their ancestral land.
Again, many ignorant Liberals of the West will claim that they are not Anti-Semitic but merely anti-Zionist. Okay, so can any of them point to any other country they wish to dismantle? What other nations on earth should be “cancelled”, should be declared illegal, should be dissolved? If it is Israel alone, if it is the world’s only Jewish state and no other, then maybe realise your anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Your “I’m just an Anti-Zionist” get-out-of-jail-free card is exposed for what it is, pure sophistry, you’re an Anti-Semite and you should own up to it.
I’d be delighted to see Arab nations step up and agree that this is a conflict that destabilizes the entire region and that they should have a hand in solving it – but popular opinion among their own people means they’re unlikely to do so overtly, when a majority among Palestinians would prefer to see an extermination of, rather than an accomodation with, the Jews. Not to mention that any Arab nation that has previously hosted Palestinians has deeply regretted it and spent decades ridding themselves of the problem. At that point I don’t see what other option Israel has but try and root out the terrorists themselves whilst they can.
Frankly, anyone who claims to support either Israel or the non-combatant Palestinians should be calling for Hamas to be hunted out of Gaza and Qatar, and captured or killed. Preferably killed.
Not only does Israel have the right to destroy Hamas, they have a duty to – for the good of their people, the Palestinian people and the wider world.

Last edited 7 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Mark Epps
Mark Epps
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Very well said.
You can read your history and come to the conclusion that it was wrong to carve out a strip of land for the Jews when other people were living there. But where does this leave us? Israel was created in 1947 by a statute of international law, ie the UN partition. Everyone has to accept it. The alternative is to overlay injustice with further injustice.
Arab nations could have absorbed the displaced Palestinians by now, like West Germany accommodated the 15 millions ethnic Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1945. Their descendants do not live in camps or call themselves refugees. Jordan has a lot to answer for by sacrificing a reasonable status quo pre 1967.whereby the West Bank Arabs were 50% shareholders in the Jordanian state. But they threw it away.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark Epps

Personally, my own reading of the history is such that I would say the Jews have the better attested historical claim to the land. To my mind, the State of Israel was not created in 1947 so much as re-created – but of course I understand the disputed narratives at play.
Regardless, such arguments are moot. They’re akin to discussing the sectarian issues of Northern Ireland and arguing about Cromwell and William III. It’s all rather like the old joke of the Irishman giving directions, “If I was you, I wouldn’t be starting from here …..”
Like it or not, no matter the competing historical claims, here is where we are, and any journey towards a resolution has to start from here.
Ask a Palestinian what “from the river to the sea” means and most will tell you, quite openly, that yes, it means driving every Jew out of Palestine. Polling data within the Palestinian communities of both Gaza and the West Bank shows support for Hamas between 65 and 80%. Hamas is explicit in its desire to kill every Jew in Israel. Thus the more moderate Palestinian might suggest that they only want the Jews expelled, but the majority would want to see them slaughtered.
If Gaza is, as pro-Palestinians like to claim, an ‘open-air prison’ then ask yourself, “Who are the Jailers”? Gaza, with its beaches and a port on the Mediterranean, could have easily become a commercial hub and a thriving tourist destination. An outcome that would have served the interests of Israelis and Palestinians alike. There was nothing to stop Palestinians choosing peace and prosperity – except that, when given the option at elections, they chose Hamas, a terror organisation that wanted death and destruction of Jews above all other considerations.
Whatever the future holds, Israel can not allow the Gaza strip to remain in the hands of those who are sworn to exterminate them.

Last edited 7 months ago by Paddy Taylor
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

And more pontification… please wake up and understand that no matter your seemingly passionate view, it’s only one side of the story

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Israel is a liberal democratic country. Name me one other such country in the Middle East
.given that you are doing so much talking about the other side of the story. Let’s face it, the ME are dictatorships that subjugate women and murder minorities. And what would YOU do if you were subjected to violent, barbaric terrorist attacks on your communities?

Last edited 7 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
7 months ago
Reply to  Fraoch A

Well every bit as democratic as the US and UK. So what exactly are you talking about.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Does that mean that “each side of the story” is equally valid?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

While that’s true, at some point individuals and nations must decide which of two irreconcilable points of view to support, or simply stay out of it. Two nations cannot occupy the same strip of land. The Palestinians have refused a two state solution at many, many points going all the way back to 1947. If there can only be an Israel or a Palestine, I’m picking Israel, and that’s not a particularly difficult choice.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Of course they have, based on your deep historical knowledge and lack of bias lol

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

The Jewish leaders agreed to the UN partition of 1947. The Arabs did not. Arafat walked away when they offered all the West Bank and Gaza in the 90s. These are facts. In order to justify the Palestinian cause, one must necessarily resort to nonsense arguments about who is indigenous and who is entitled to what. I’m sure people care very deeply about these issues, but they are subjective and have no objective reality. Both Palestinians and Jews have legitimate historical claims to the land. Which takes precedence rather depends on whether one considers primacy or recency more important to the notion of who is ‘entitled’ to the land. That was true in 1947 and its true now, but even today, after several rounds of defeat, one side seems determined to fight to the bitter end to have ‘all or nothing’ from the river to the sea rather than accept that they fought a war and lost. If they refuse to yield, nothing is what they will eventually get.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Please tell us the other side, why Hamas wants to exterminate Jews and all other “Infidels”. I’m waiting.

rogerdog Wsw
rogerdog Wsw
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The Arabs invaded Palestine from the Hejaz in 629, about 1300 years ago whereas the Jews were living in Palestine 4000 years ago.
It was the Arabs who stole the land from the Jews. 

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Oh read widely and grow up please

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

However another analogy maybe the medieval Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Established in 1099 by various francophone Christian thugs and dignified with the name ‘Crusaders’, it sought to turn back the clock on more than four centuries of Islamic conquest.Despite being antipathetic to all that surrounded it, somehow it survived until 1187.
Thanks to the Third Crusade is was ‘rebooted’ in 1192 and lurched on until 1291/1303
Convinced of its own divine righteousness, its battle cry was “God wills it”, but ultimately ‘he didn’t.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
7 months ago

I find myself agreeing with you Charles…
Paddy and Mark are a bloodthirsty pair (n’est pas?)
Mayhap their ancestors were crusaders? (Just saying…)

Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Paddy, I would challenge one thing. You wrote: “Hamas is explicit in its desire to kill every Jew in Israel.” In fact Hamas charter explicitly calls for the death of ALL Jews, not just those in Israel.

Rob N
Rob N
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

My understanding was that they wanted to kill all ‘non-believers’ and only want to start with the Jews.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Scratch any Muslim and that’s what you’re likely to find.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Oh dear, as a non-believer I better keep a low profile.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark Epps

“Everyone has to accept it”.

Unfortunately they don’t. One of the oldest lessons of history is that if you wish take over and settle another’s land it is best to exterminate or at the very least near exterminate the indigenous population.

It worked well in Australia, particularly in Tasmania, quite well in New Zealand and Canada, but spectacularly well in the US where a myriad of genocidal ‘smash & grab’ raids, now sanitised as Indian Wars, almost eliminated the native population. Failure to do results in what has happened in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
D Glover
D Glover
7 months ago

It is simple to eradicate people who have no resistance to European diseases. Hence the depopulation in the Americas.
Africa is the headquarters of anti-human pathogens, so the boot is on the other foot. Europeans don’t depopulate an African country, they go there to die.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

All the more reason for a COVID Mk II then.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
7 months ago

‘It worked well in Australia, particularly in Tasmania’

Indeed, where they went a huntin’ Aboriginals after dinner.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

I gather before the War you could get a Game Licence to shoot a Kalahari bushman. The ultimate in fact, even more dangerous than the renowned Cape Buffalo.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago

Well, you sound like you should be in the Israeli cabinet lol

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
7 months ago

You must be reading Howard Zinn.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
7 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

The internet is full of nuts!

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
7 months ago

When conquering a settlement, men should be treated generously or destroyed, they will take revenge for small injuries, for serious ones they cannot. (Machiavelli).

rogerdog Wsw
rogerdog Wsw
7 months ago

Except of couse, it was the Arabs who stole the land from the Jews. 

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark Epps

I do not think that Germany was given any choice in the matter of the relocation of Germans ethnically cleansed from Eastern Europe and we had killed enough of them to create some room.
I do not think any of the surrounding Arab countries want an influx of Palestinians and why should they. Jordon did not sacrifice a reasonable in 1967 and ended up going to war with the Palestinians that ended up within its boarders

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

I think the “we” is somewhat of an exaggeration as far as the UK is concerned. 7 million of the ‘Hun’ were killed apparently, mostly by the Russians.
We the UK, in fact Bomber Command, accounted for about 750,000, and perhaps we got another 200,000 thanks to the Army and Royal Navy. A pretty miserable ‘bag’ all things considered.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
7 months ago

Charles that is a little ‘cold’ even for you.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago

I was exaggerating for effect. Wondered whether I would get called out

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark Epps

I am unsure one can suggest carving out a strip of land after WW2 was wrong. The Jews are people of the levant. They established Judah in the bronze and early iron age. As in many parts of the world, there have been waves of ethnicities through history. Colonisation, which I have heard bandied around by some in recent weeks, looks like stretch to me.

sergio bramasole
sergio bramasole
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

350 million Arabs outnumber 7 million Jews 50 to 1. Arabs also control 98,5 percent of MENA’s landmass with their lands stretching from the Indian Ocean on the one side to the Atlantic on the other. Yet the greedy bunch has been fighting Jews tooth and nail for a tiny swath of land in and around Jerusalem.
That being said, the only way to secure peace is to move Gazans elsewhere. Most are Hamas anyway. One must be reminded time and again, that jihadists, like the nazis in Germany, came to power through the ballot box.

Last but not least, central to having peace in the region is emptying Judea and Samaria aka the” West Bank” of jihadi elements along with their dependents. To double down on lasting peace, the Jewish state finally should reacquire what the world allotted to the Jewish people in the San Remo Treaty. Jordan is a settler nation. Go back to the Hejaz.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago

So, full-on ethnic cleansing it is then?

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
7 months ago

Maybe you should join them. You sound pleasant (not)

D Glover
D Glover
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Very good post, but one thing puzzled me.
The article said;
The Israelis never fully trusted Obama, who ordered a damaging policy shift at the UN in his last days in office, but they do trust Biden.
But you say;

, but Joe Biden’s shunning of the Saudis and his appeasement and financing of Iran has probably fatally undermined that possibility 

How do we read these statements together, please?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Yes, I’m really not sure Prof Luttwak is right on this.
I think Netanyahu and the Israeli Govt has (thus far) been pleased with the support they’ve received from the Biden administration since Oct 7th – but there was no love lost between them before that date.
It was surely significant that Joe Biden, in all his supportive statements towards Israel in the aftermath of the attack, and his condemnation of Hamas, never once mentioned Iran. Why? Was it from a sense of guilt?
If you wanted to be uncharitable, you could easily make the case that Biden had both armed and financed the terrorists that attacked Israel. He recently gifted (unfroze) $6billion to the Iranian regime in a hostage release deal. Incredibly, for a Govt so tuned to “optics”, the money was freed up on September 11th.
Republicans were quick to warn what might happen next – Senator Tom Cotton called it â€œShameful” and accused Biden of â€œdesecrating” the anniversary of 9/11 â€œby paying ransom to the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.” â€ŠAdding prophetically .. “I don’t think the radical Ayatollahs in Tehran are going to use this ($6Billion) for children’s hospitals. They’re going to use it to fund more attacks on Israel, more attacks on American troops in the region through their proxies.” 
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul said he was â€œdeeply concerned that the administration’s decision to waive sanctions to facilitate the transfer of $6 billion in funds for Iran, the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism, creates a direct incentive for America’s adversaries to conduct future hostage-taking,” adding that â€œThe administration is demonstrating weakness that only further endangers Americans and freedom-loving people around the world.” 
Of course, Sec State Anthony Blinken was quick to refute any suggestion that the $6bilion might fund further terror, insisting that the money was specifically going to the Iranians â€œto buy food, medicine and other humanitarian items”.
Well, the Iranians appeared not to have got that particular memo.  President Ebrahim Raisi announced that â€œThis money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money,” Asked by reporters if the money might be used for anything other than ‘humanitarian items’, Raisi stated: â€œHumanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs, so this money will be budgeted for those needs, and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government.” 
And where did the Iranians source the weapons that their Hamas proxies used to gun down Israelis? According to several analysts the M4 rifles that Hamas terrorists were seen toting in their raids on Israel were from the $7billion cache of materiel left gift-wrapped for the Taliban after Biden’s panicked withdrawal from Kabul. Another unintended but woefully predictable consequence of Biden’s foreign policy disasters.
It seems clear to me that the timing of this attack on Israel was to destabilize the region and to sabotage the chances of Sunni Islamic states like Saudi Arabia normalising relations with Israel. Biden’s actions (and inactions) have played a major role in undermining the best chances for Middle Eastern peace we’d seen in a generation. Another notable Biden foreign policy failure.
As the world order shifts, what are the priorities of the Biden administration? Do they even recognise the dangers facing the West and its allies around the world? 
The day before handing over billions to Iran, Joe insisted that â€œThe only existential threat humanity faces — even more frightening than a nuclear war — is global warming!” Perhaps we should be grateful that, when he sat down with Netanyahu a few weeks ago, Biden didn’t mention his concerns about the size of Israel’s carbon footprint.
I don’t know if you saw any of Joe’s public utterances on that trip to Israel? They were cringe-inducing. Describing the murderous thugs of Hamas as â€œthe other team”. And then later, talking to reporters about the rocket fired from Gaza that landed on their own hospital, suggesting that Hamas â€œgotta learn to shoot straight”. Who, in their right mind, could ever say such a thing days after Hamas had murdered 1400 Israelis?
In an increasingly dangerous world, we need strong leaders who project strength, resolve and good judgement. Biden’s obvious weakness emboldens all the enemies of the West.
Military power, now we are beyond the era of empire building, is mainly about deterrence. If a US President truly is “The Leader of the Free World” then nothing about Biden’s presidency would deter anyone. Weakness merely invites attack – and Ukraine, Israel, potentially Taiwan and the rest of the free world are paying the price.

D Glover
D Glover
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Thanks for the prompt reply.
I hadn’t read about that quote;

Hamas â€œgotta learn to shoot straight”

Wow. Does he know which side he’s on?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

The list of things that Joe Biden appears not to know grows longer every day

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Imagine if Trump said it!

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
7 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

I don’t think he even knows what day of the week it is.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

And they said Trump would cause WWIII! Ha.
Perhaps Ole Joe should have simply given “the other team” a huge cache of weapons and equipment by quickly abandoning a U.S. military base somewhere in the area. Oh, wait, he did that already!

Last edited 7 months ago by Warren Trees
astralplainer
astralplainer
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Great post. Surely the transfer taking place on September 11th wouldn’t have given Hamas time to orchestrate the attack in such a short space of time, given its level of sophistication. They would need time to train, prepare, learn to fly paragliders – a new tactic. Surely this attack would have taken place regardless of the transfer?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  astralplainer

Bloomberg estimates that Iran has recieved $29.5 billion since Biden took office – thanks to relaxed oil sanctions.
The US also extended a sanctions waiver that grants Iran access to a further $10 billion from Iraq – from selling them electricity.
$40 billion buys a whole lotta terror.
Possibly the risk of losing such largesse is what has kept Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies out of the war – but as Hamas is mostly funded by Iran (and Qatar) there’s little doubt that the financial appeasement of Tehran in large part funded Oct 7th.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Don’t be concerned, the USN’s Ohio class subs will turn Iran’ to glass’ in under 20 minutes. All it needs is the WILL.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Paddy, what clarity. I’d feel a lot safer if you were in charge of the free world.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

Not I.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

Me neither, how sycophantic!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

So easy to pontificate at length from the sidelines

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Sure, it’s a hell of a lot easier than being on the ground in Israel or Gaza.
But so what? What is your point? Does my distance from the problem mean I’m wrong?
These pages are full everyday of interested people making the case for what they believe on a huge variety of topics.
I see your comments most days doing something similar.
Should we all stop posting here, just because “UnHerd Reader” thinks it’s easier to write from the sidelines about an issue than to …. what? Take up arms? Run for Office? Head a Diplomatic Mission? Wave a Magic Wand?
Posters come here to read and critique other peoples’ points of view and try to make the case for their own positions. Discussion and disagreement – as long as it is done civilly – are what these pages are for, isn’t it?
Of course you’re perfectly at liberty to just down-vote if you want to and add a snarky comment but I ask you, sincerely, don’t you think it would be a more fruitful use of your time to actually engage?
If you have a point, then make it. If you think you know better, then tell us. If you have information we seem to lack, then share it.
If not then…. what? If it is just that you find the truth discomforting, stop reading.

Last edited 7 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Dominic ODell
Dominic ODell
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

On the current “war”. Rules of war apply no matter who you support. Putin kills children too and is rightly condemned. The UN definition of war criminals is applicable across all duristicions.
USA, UK and Europe are all complicit in this.
On the peace.
All states thrive best when all citizens are subject to laws of the land. Laws democratically formed but governed over by an INDEPENDENT judiciary. One man,one vote. Freedom of expression. Free press. Universal suffrage. A capitalist economy( shit but the best shit, but the best we’ve invented so far.
Ethno states and apartheid systems have no place in modern democracies.
Israel has to change for it’s own good. No borders no checkpoints. No police state. When this happens the violence will stop. It’s really not that difficult. But for the leadership they feel they have all to lose. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic ODell

Dominic,
Please tell me that by “Ethno states and apartheid systems” you are referring to the neighbouring Arab countries and not Israel?
Just in case you’ve bought into the frankly idiotic lies being put about by “Pro-Palestinians” …. you might want to educate yourself and realise that Israel is a liberal democracy – the only one in the Middle East.
There is no apartheid in Israel, there are Israeli Arabs – muslims – at every level of Israeli society. Over 20% of the entire population is Arab. They have full equality of rights and there are no limits on how far they can climb in their chosen career. There are Arab Doctors, Lawyers, businessmen. The Head of Israel’s largest bank is an Arab, there are Arabs serving in the Knesset. Israel’s Arab poulation enjoy freedoms that would be unthinkable in Egypt, Jordan, Syria or Iraq. Could a Jew survive, let alone thrive, in Palestinian controlled areas? Claims of “Apartheid” defy observable reality, and certainly bear no comparison with actual apartheid. No blacks were able to run banks or sit in parliament in South Africa.
No Arab citizen anywhere across the Middle East enjoys the freedoms that their counterparts do in Israel, as a simple matter of fact, it is not even close. The only reason such an equivalence was first drawn was due to the checkpoints run by Israel’s security forces, where Palestinian Arabs are searched when they want to come into Israel. But you’d have to be wildly dishonest to claim that such security measures are not warranted, given the long history of suicide attacks on Israeli citizens.
Right now there are Muslim Arabs serving as soldiers and officers in the IDF, faithfully defending their Israeli countrymen and rooting out Hamas Terrorists in Gaza.
Where are the Jews in Egypt, in Jordan or Syria? In Iraq? Little more than a century ago 40% of Baghdad’s population were Jewish. in 1941 all were slaughtered. The same would happen to any Jewish community in surrounding Arab countries. They are the Apartheid Ethno states – yet ill-educated, indoctrinated numpties accuse Israel? If it wasn’t so sinister it would be utterly laughable.

Last edited 7 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Israel has none of the natural resource advantages enjoyed by many of the Arab states (the Arab states that don’t have natural resources, with attendant foreign workers to extract them, are complete poverty hell holes). Yet Israel is relatively prosperous and that is entirely down to the Israeli people, 80% of whom are Jews. Palestine, when part of the British empire before being decolonialised by the UN on the formation of Israel, was never prosperous nor was it when part of the ottoman empire before that.
I wonder how many of Palestine supporters in the west who enjoy the prosperity of the west and the freedom to march chanting from the river to the sea would be happy if a deal was done removing all Jews and bringing them to the west, whilst sending all Muslims from those countries to Palestine – there are 8 million Jews that is a lot to relocate something would need to be done to make room for them. How well do you think such a “free” Palestine would fare then?
One thing is certain the gay Pride weeks that take place in Jun every year in Tel Aviv would cease.

Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Paddy, do you know if there are any Jews at all in PA controlled territories? If not, might they be considered apartheid?

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

The PA territories are totally Judenrein. Israel places a big red sign at the entrance to Areas-A warning any Israelis that entry is also forbidden by Israeli law and God help you if you continue past this point because we can’t.
Example at https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/an-israeli-sign-is-displayed-on-a-road-at-the-entry-of-the-west-bank-picture-id474346967?k=6&m=474346967&s=612×612&w=0&h=xPGri7sqe04VUMXzTdjWy-aJTp8yovH44xFdL8v04Us=

Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Thank you, Rafi

R.I. Loquitor
R.I. Loquitor
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

If only American college students supporting Palestinians/Hamas would read this.

Dominic ODell
Dominic ODell
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Israel wants to be taken seriously as a fully functional democratic state but it just isn’t. Sorry if you think otherwise. Why do you think they marched in their thousands in July September against the new laws? If you combine Arabs and Jews together under all terrain of Palestine you would have 48% Arabs and 52% Jewish population mix. Do away with silly internal borders.
Do you think UK should have internal borders between Welsh Scots and English because of ethnic or religious difference? No absurd.
We are United under a 200 year history (Scottish union the last).
If you assert that Israel needs internal borders for security reasons then you have to ask why?
Separation for Religious reasons is medieval and divisive. It’s only for Jewish people in its founding principles. The Arab people living there are living separate lives and are not treated fairly. Not as equal.
https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-know-about-arab-citizens-israel.
And no one is saying neighbouring Arab countries are any example to follow. Of course not. Not one of them really supports the Palestinian cause.
They can’t defend against the slaughter of innocence because Israel has a big brother that always has its back. USA.
This war is totally asymmetric. The eradication of Palestinian people is the real goal. Always has been. Always will be because Israel wants a Jewish state and further expansion of its territory.
It’s political objectives are so obvious and not even hidden by it’s ruling elite. It uses phony terror wars against the West Bank and Gaza to achieve that.
It’s current rage against Gaza and the west bank is actively encouraged by the west and sorry but I find that totally sick.
At least in Ukraine and other examples of war the people who are bombarded can flee to areas where the bombing isn’t happening, or abroad.
The people of Gaza are trapped by borders where they would be shot if they try to leave.
If 7th of October was Israel 9/11 then why is the rest of the world marching for Palestine?
Surely they all can’t be wrong. Injustice screams out.
Israel really needs to have a cold hard look at itself or it will never have peace. The state of Israel has caused the greatest upsurge in anti-Semitism across the globe because of the way it acts. Stop behaving like a sociopath and start behaving like a civilized human being.
Rights for Palestinian people across greater Israel are the only way forward. USA will still have Israel’s back and it would start to look like a modern democracy.

Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic ODell

If Israel “changed” and had “no border, no checkpoints,” Israel would cease to exist. Plus, in the interests of equanimity would you also propose that no other country in the world had borders or checkpoints, or just Israel?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

Well, that seems to be the case on America’s southern border….

Dominic ODell
Dominic ODell
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

No internal borders would be a better explanation of what I meant. Of course external borders.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic ODell

What are you smoking
 really?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic ODell

Fear is the strongest human emotion. Stronger than love, stronger than greed, stronger even than sex, it trumps all and alway has done.
Why do you think something as absurd as religion ever “got off the ground “?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

Yes, Charles, all religion is based on fear, as simple as that.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Well said. The Muslim world helped create this problem. Rather than take in the Palestinian refugees and allow them free immigration after the wars of 1948 and 1967, they instead built refugee camps and kept the refugees there as political pawns in their own bids to erase Israel. A half-century later, they are hotbeds of terrorism, criminality, and violence. The Arabs don’t want a bunch of criminals, terrorists, and people who have been living off UN aid for most of their lives any more than the Israelis do, but they are as much responsible for the present state of affairs as Israel is.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Jolly
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“Nobody wishes for innocent Palestinian civilians to be caught up in the fighting …”
https://www.cjpme.org/pr_2023_10_16

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

The key word there was “innocent”, which you appear to have glossed over.

The link you provided is referencing members of Hamas.

Palestinians they may be, but innocent they most assuredly are not.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Your penultimate paragraph is spot on.
And that quote: “We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.” As long as I’m not one of them, eh?
Hamas are profoundly evil; those in the West that support them are profoundly stupid.
A very good comment; thank you.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
7 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

‘Hamas are evil’, Iran is evil, Saudi’s are evil, Moslims are evil, in fact its only us in the ‘West that are so great, right??

George Venning
George Venning
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“so can any of them point to any other country they wish to dismantle?”
Ooh, I know this one.
Apartheid South Africa.
You remember. South Africa was widely considered a “pariah state” but it eventually bowed to pressure by releasing the convicted terrorist Nelson Mandela who then led the rainbow nation through an extraordinary transition characterised by a Truth and Reconciliation process which inspired the world.
The Soviet Union would have been another example.
But, whilst both transitions had their difficulties, neither went anything like as badly as many people had feared and neither involved genocide (or nuclear war).
To be clear, no serious person in the West is calling for “Jews to be ethnically cleansed from their ancestral land” much less a “genocide of the Jews”. And, in Palestine itself, even Hamas has accepted at least the principle of a two state solution at times.
You, however, are explicitly claiming that all of the Palestinians should be accommodated in neighbouring Arab countries. What is this other than the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their own land?
As to your claim that the Jewish claim to the land is stronger than that of the Palestinians, it’s pretty bizarre even at the national level. The idea that individual European Jews returning to Israel after centuries elsewhere, have a greater claim to the land and homes than the individual Palestinians currently living on or in them (or who were forced off it within living memory) is… let’s just say that it’s not a theory that international law takes very seriously.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Well, the IDF drops the bombs, but bears no responsibility if innocent civilians are killed – and children agonize for hours under the rubble.
It’s all Hamas’s fault. What a perverse point of view!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago

Israel are going to have to press on
 I don’t see another alternative.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

“Make a desert and call it peace”, as the Ancients would say.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
7 months ago

Inter armes silent leges.

William Brand
William Brand
7 months ago

Sometimes that is the best option

Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri
7 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Making a desert out of Gaza: sounds like you’re advocating for the obliteration of the Palestinian people. Or at the very least ethnic cleansing.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago
Reply to  Daoud Fakhri

That is not the way Israel are behaving. They could more easily and quickly fire bomb Gaza throughly from the air. They are not doing that.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

Wrong
you need ‘grunts’ on the ground to hunt these people out. It’s all pretty visceral even primitive at the end of the day!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago

They’d do that in a heartbeat were they not wary of Western public opinion.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Daoud Fakhri

Ah, but the word has two meanings, you pick.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
7 months ago

I think that was conjured up by Tacitus in his imaginative literary depiction of the Caledonian Chieftain Calgacus exhorting his warriors on the eve of a battle with a Roman Legion at Mons Graupius in 83 CE.
‘….ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant…’
-They create a desert, and call it peace.-
The IDF will no doubt fall short of that but they are going to exterminate Hamas and supporters, and destroy their infrastructure if they can; I hope they succeed.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

Seconded.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

Absolutely. However, Hammas is an ideology and, like cancer, it can be cut out but if a few cells remain it will pop up elsewhere. Islam wants to kill the host body and take over the world.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

Which meaning of the word?

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
7 months ago

South African by any chance? They know a bit about apartheid and treating people appallingly…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

How unnecessarily rude Valentine.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago

The Israelis have won. Neither the Israeli Arabs nor the Sunni states have intervened to help Hamas. The Iranians have backed away, Hezbollah fighters have stayed in their dugouts. Hamas’ only allies are feckless blue hairs and Corbynistas. One of the most catastrophically stupid military gambits in history has utterly failed and with it, I suspect, the entire hundred year genocidal campaign to drive the Israelis into the sea.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

There’s just a sliver of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It may yet be extinguished, but i think you may be right.
Plus, we now have “the enemy within” out on our streets in plain sight.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I am that “enemy within” that disagrees with the pro-Israeli comments

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The comment was not pro-Israeli. Even the most hard core anti-Semite would have to agree that Hamas’ strategy failed. In the end superstition will always lose to education.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I think it is a little early to declare defeat / victory, however the points you made are certainly a good sign. An Israeli ceasefire in return for Saudi signing the Abraham Accords and then the more moderate Arab world replacing IDF in Gaza with peace keeping troops would really be a defeat for Hamas’ barbaric strategy.
Whether we will see all that come to pass remains to be seen; it is unlikely by not impossible. However I do feel that Israeli strategic interests are not best served by a protracted military campaign.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

and 3 billion a year from the Yanks

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Budda said, “Where ignorance is our master there is no possibility of real peace”.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Not a “useful idiot” then?

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

No, a ‘useless idiot’.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Then give us your solution.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

And you are entitled to hold and express your opinion. If you lived in Israel and held such opinions you would not be popular (they are not popular here) but you could hold and express them. If you lived in an Islamic country and held and expressed opinions which were considered anti Islamic, then you would have your head cut off. Might be worth thinking about that as you chant from the river to the sea.

Susan Matthews
Susan Matthews
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I find these UnHerd comments frankly terrifying. Who knew that genocide was so attractive?

Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I’ve got a pro-Israel comment: Hamas’ incursion into Israel was barbaric. Do you disagree with that? Just wondering if there is any pro-Israel comment you can agree with. Do you have similar feelings about any other country. It would help understand your viewpoint if you can tell us whether you think Israel has any right to exist. If not, are there other countries which you think have no right to exist?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

Palestine has no right to exist; the West has long ago decided that.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

And commenting under a nom de plume; very wise.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well said, It is disappointing that so many ‘pro Israeli armchair generals’ exist on this site, it is pure ignorant racism. Does the unherd readership really believe all middle Eastern denizens are ‘evil’? Personally I think Netanyahu is pure evil and as bad as Hamas, both sides have fanatics in their ranks as does unherd…

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Thank you for identifying yourself. You are, of course, free to comment and take the consequences.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Thank you for identifying yourself and your willingness to take the consequences.

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

From your lips to God’s ears.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Unfortunately I don’t think that this is the finale of the Arab hundred year genocidal campaign to drive the Israelis into the sea. You need to think like a jihadi, not like a westerner.
First of all, Iran is still fully armed and will soon have a nuclear capability. Hizballah still have 150,000 warheads pointing at Israel. The PA has not changed its tune one bit. They have patience, (unlike Hamas it would appear) and are waiting ready for their opportunity.
As far as Hamas is concerned, any outcome of the war is immaterial. As far as they are concerned they already won on 7th October. Their aim is martyrdom on the road to Jerusalem while killing as many Jews and other infidels as they can. If any Hamas operatives survive the current war, they will declare they won and prepare for the next victory.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Iranians are not Arabs.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

True. But the 150 year project to throw the Jews into the sea was until now primarily an Arabic one. Although they now lead the way, the Persians joined relatively late in game.

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
7 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

It’s an Islamist one that transcends nationality.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Only just, sadly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

One can only hope.

Arthur G
Arthur G
7 months ago

As General MacArthur said, “In war, there is no substitute for victory”.

N Satori
N Satori
7 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

…and General Patton said: “The purpose of war is not to die for your country but to make sure the other b****rd dies for his!”

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
7 months ago

“Speak softly and carry a big stick,” said Teddy Roosevelt.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
7 months ago

A quick ceasefire sounds humane and, according to the article, would please America. But what then? There is nobody in Gaza to make deals, no government as we know it.
In the Muslim world there tends not to be a state, as such. People are happy to follow relgiously rules and look after their own extended families. If a group or family is more powerful than the rest and is able to negotiate, it very much does NOT stand for everyone. So things would go quiet for a while and then ……?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

Edward I clearly demonstrated what was required when he conquered Wales and built that magnificent series of Castles, that still grace the place today.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
7 months ago

Yes, a good answer. But back to the real world. Edward I didn’t have to put up with the automatic weapons available today. Nor was there a group of volunteers calling themselves ISIS, prolonging the guerilla war for ever.
Your answer, translated as keeping Gaza in the status of a prison camp hasn’t worked so far. Why should it work in the future?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

He had the Welsh longbow to contend with.

Otherwise not a prison camp, but permanent occupation, for say a generation.
“Prevention is better than cure” as they used to say.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
7 months ago

I’m glad to heaer from Professor Luttwak that the Israeli casualties have been very low. Have there been any casualties on the other side?

alan bennett
alan bennett
7 months ago

The Israelis say 1000 Hamas dead, there will have been many more injured.
There will have been some civilian deaths, they will have been marginal.
The MSM antiSemitic journalists will accept hugely inflated Hamas figures as the truth, because they are supporters of the destruction of Jews and Isreal.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
7 months ago
Reply to  alan bennett

Add to the ~1000 Hamas fighters killed in Gaza, another ~1500 killed inside Israeli territory on 7th October and the the days after. Another 1000 or so have been captured.
I would guestimate civilian casualties to be a lot higher than marginal though considerably lower than Hamas inflated figures, which are both inflated and also don’t distinguish between military operatives and civilians. Israel has not been employing “knock on the roof” to warn people to evacuate buildings so there are no doubt a lot of families of targeted individuals who have been buried with them under the rubble. Also it took a long time for people to take Israeli warnings seriously and/or for Hamas to lose control of its human shields and for people and move south.
Israeli casualties stand today at ~1200 civilians murdered on 7th October and 240 civilians of various nationalities are being held in Gaza. To date, 68 Israeli soldiers have died in the fighting.

Fraoch A
Fraoch A
7 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

That number 1200 includes over 300 IDF millitary members.

Dominic ODell
Dominic ODell
7 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Up to half the dead on 7th October will turn out to be friendly fire from the IDF. Kibbutz people fleeing from Hamas have confirmed that IDF came in with tanks artillery and Apache helicopter gun ships. IDF panicked and killed and blew up everything in sight with no attempt to distinguish between combatants and civilians.
The truth will out eventually.
We all condemn the Hamas atrocities on the day but the IDF made the slaughter greater still.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  alan bennett

I trust the IDF are punctilious about cremating every single Hamas body they find?
Islam has quite an aversion to cremation, something to do with ‘the arriving in heaven’ as a ‘handful of grey ashes’ is just NOT the done thing apparently.
.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
7 months ago

Unfortunately not. Jews are also adverse to cremation. I would be in favor of pig skin shrouds but those aren’t used either.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

That’s a pity, the chance of eternal damnation is not to be sniffed at!
I gather we Brits employed such tactics very effectively during the so called Indian Mutiny 1857-58.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago
Reply to  alan bennett

Marginal – you really do believe your own b/s

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago

This is actually the first I’ve read about IDF progress in destroying the tunnels and Hamas. If it’s true I hope the Israelis reconsider their PR tactics. Photos, of the tunnels just before demolition and of the prisoners before interrogation, maps (of the ruined tunnels) and some solid numbers would help.
As grotesque as all of the killings have been, they would be far worse if any aspect of Hamas or their fortifications survived.
I’m going to support Israel and the Jewish desire for a defensible homeland. But I worry that in the absense of evidence too many others will lose interest or decide that the assault on Gaza is nothing but a cruel exercise in revenge.

Last edited 7 months ago by laurence scaduto
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

One has to ask but what is the evidence for beheaded Israeli babies?
Are there links to verifiable photographs? If NOT this may all seem rather dĂ©jĂ  vu, reminiscent of the Kaiser’s Army barbecuing Belgium babies in 1914, and Saddam ‘Insane’ doing something similar to Kuwaiti premature babies in 1991.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
7 months ago

Fair point.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago

To withold all information because some people may not believe some of it seems a bit silly. In any case I wasn’t referring to photos of the Oct 7 rampage. I was thinking of battlefeild photos from inside Gaza.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

A very good article not least because it moves the debate on from picking sides to starting to think tentatively about the endgame. As Luttwak points out, sooner or later there will be a ceasefire and ultimately the search of longer term stability will resume BUT it will be with a post Nethanyu Israel and a post Hamas Palestinian population – or at a minimum with a much reduced and discredited Hamas. In the middle of the 1973 War it was hard to see any prospects for peace between Egypt and Israel but that was the long term result. Perhaps one may hope that a similar dynamic arises – after the IDF have completed their operations in the tunnels beneath North Gaza – from the current cycle of horror with the Abraham Accords not only revived but supplemented by a recognition that any deal will require satisfactory lives for the inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank as well as security for the Israeli population.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

The population of Gaza with probably be 3 million by 2030 and upwards of 5 million by 2050. The percentage of young, testosterone fuelled males is also rather too high for comfort.

Egypt only gave up in 1973 because after a ‘good start’ they were “beaten into the ground like a tent peg”. Given their enormous population of close to 110 million they are bound to try again and again and again.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

Gaza – Agree.

Egypt – It is entirely true that Sharon defeated and encircled a large chunk of the Egyptian Army but I am not sure that the Egyptian reaction was one of demoralisation. It was instead more a source of pride that they had made a good showing to begin with even if ultimately they ended up losing. They certainly did much better in 1973 than in 1948, 1956 or 1967. (Just as Saddam gained prestige for surviving an attack by America even if he was driven out of Kuwait). Arguably, it was this pride that enabled Sadat to make peace. One needs to remember that though the Arabs had a glorious empire from the seventh to the thirteenth century since the Mongols they have mostly been dominated by one bunch of foreigners or another – until relatively recently. Perhaps this encouraged a low bar.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

“ the Arabs had a glorious empire from the seventh to the thirteenth century” is pushing it a bit!

The Abbasids had lost control to their Mamluks or Slave-Soldiers before the end of the ninth century with incidents such as the Samarra Anarchy. By the early tenth century thugs such as the Mamluk Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ra’iq were in charge. Subsequently Baghdad fell to Buyids in 945 and to the Seljuks in 1055.
True the Abbasids retained a ceremonial function in Baghdad until 1258 when they were literally ‘crushed’, but it was little more than that.

In recent years I suspect copious amounts of ‘Arab’ cash have been used in an attempt to distort the historical record.

POSTED AT: 13.10 GMT.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

I suppose you are right but I think in the Arab view the really sharp divide was the 1258 Mongol sack of Baghdad. Most of the really extreme theology that UBL etc drew on was developed in the aftermath.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Like most people the Arabs have little idea of their own history. In fact Islam had already ‘hit the buffers’ well before the sack of Baghdad.

When nutters such as one AbĆ« កāmid Muáž„ammad ibn Muáž„ammad aáč­-áčŹĆ«siyy al-Ä azzālÄ«y (c1058-1111) produced his seminal work ‘Incoherence of the Philosophers’, Islam basically gave up thinking, and it has been all downhill ever since.

POSTED AT 15.19 GMT.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

“Testosterone fuelled males” is funny and so true. More are going to be released from jail in Israel in exchange for some hostages. Young men with nothing to do in life except to become terrorists and make babies who will have nothing to do in life except………….and so on.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

Does anyone know how the IDF is going to deal with estimated ‘hundred’ of miles of Hamas tunnels?
I have heard flooding might be an option, but that seems unlikely given the size of the problem.

I trust someone has thought of using the ultimate attack dog, the magnificent Malinois? Far more intelligent and agile than say the infamous XL Bully, it would be my perfect choice. Given the fact that most ‘Arabs’ are pathologically terrified of dogs, the Malinois would have an absolute’field day’. Additionally they can be fitted with small cameras so that handlers and observers can enjoy the ‘sport’.*

(*Perhaps the IDF would consider ‘live streaming’ the ‘sport’ for our general edification before afternoon tea?
In affect a ‘Colosseum’ in every home.)

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
John Weaver
John Weaver
7 months ago

Has this piece been edited? The following mistakes let down a very interesting piece: ‘Consider the people who close to known Hamas facilities that were bound to be bombed’/’with rockets are still being assembled’/’refused to allow gas masks to be sent set to Israel’/’at least as soon as the Israelis hostages’.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  John Weaver

Correct.’Show again’.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
7 months ago
Reply to  John Weaver

Yeah it’s pretty slipshod, especially given the writer.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  John Weaver

I would also have liked to see more evidence in the form of links to authoritative sources to back up some of his claims. As it is the only link in the article is to another of his UnHerd articles.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
7 months ago

In the past Israel has been very smart when deciding whether it has more to gain from fighting than it does from a ceasefire. I am confident Israel will be smart this time. It is a shame the same is not true in Ukraine.

Last edited 7 months ago by Adrian Smith
Doug Israel
Doug Israel
7 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Israel has been very stupid in allowing a genocidal murder cult to govern a territory on it’s border for 17 years. The results were demonstrated on October 7. Hopefully Israel has learned its lesson.

Susan Matthews
Susan Matthews
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

Why did Netanyahu encourage and support Hamas then?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

Precisely, well said Sir!

William Brand
William Brand
7 months ago

Anti tunnel. warfare should use a combination of anti submarine technology and oil field technology. Never enter a tunnel. Depth change instead. Use seismic exploration tech and drilling to locate the tunnel. Drill down insert explosive collapse tunnel. Build fast robot drilling machines. Since Hamas tunnels are only 100 feet deep in soft soil. If they go down 1000 feet in hard rock drilling multiple holes is expensive. we may need underground nuclear charges to collapse tunnels but at that depth release of radiation will not occur.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Dogs would more fun! Rather like ferreting but on a larger scale.

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
7 months ago

The conversation is degenerating….

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

Nonsense, it hasn’t started yet.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

Do you guys think this is a game? So secure…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Oh dear, dear me! Is that a whinge I hear from the Antipodean outback?
Given your background I would have thought you were a bit of an expert on ‘gallows humour’.

Rob N
Rob N
7 months ago

Disagree. Dogs would die as they stand little chance against men with firearms let alone behind gates etc.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

‘They’ did very well in Iraq and Afghanistan even winning the Dickin Medal.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

Poisonous gas?

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
7 months ago

Like with markets, the ‘crash’ doesn’t come when things are going badly. Things are going swimmingly?
.better watch out.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
7 months ago

So what would you propose as a solution for the Palestinian problem? Let them rot away for another 75 years while the Israeli government proposes annexation? Biden’s insistence on a two-step solution and sanctions against settlers are mere impotent posturing. In the meantime the younger generations elsewhere, without a sentimental attachment to Israel, are migrating to sympathy for the underdog. Normalization with the Arab neighbours has been stopped in its tracks.

Allen Z
Allen Z
7 months ago

Well, Gaza could become part of Egypt like it was before 1967.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  Allen Z

That would be the last thing Egypt would want. Egypt wanted and got Sinai back because there was oil and not a load of troublesome Palestinians there.
The first step has to be recognition of Israel’s right to exist (and therefore defend itself against all who would attack its territory and its people) by the majority of the more moderate Arab world ie what Egypt did to get Sinai back.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago

Until 1967 Gaza was a part of Egypt and the West Bank was in Jordan. So what exactly is this ‘Palestine problem’ you refer to. It’s a fiction, isn’t it?

Fraoch A
Fraoch A
7 months ago

“a mere impotent posturing” mair llike cynical posturin. The two state solution gets trotted out whist the illegal settler colonialists continue buildin an Israeli suburb with a well.maintained road tae ferry them back an forth over the green line to work.
The practice of “kickin the two states solution can doon the road” has been perperpetuated by the US and other various actors on that particular stage.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

Isn’t it a Two-State solution, not a “Two-Step solution”?

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
7 months ago

I find little more than wishful thinking in this article. It reminds me of Bush’s ‘mission accomplished ‘ boast. As to some of the comments: how will the crude jokes and casual racism help when the suicide bombers come calling?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

Israel is preparing to restore Capital Punishment

that should help a lot.

Fraoch A
Fraoch A
7 months ago

I serously hope that was a satirical comment.

Last edited 7 months ago by Fraoch A
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago

Say “boom boom” as you leave mate

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
7 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Don’t matey me, mate.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago

It may sound callous, but I find it difficult to take any of the current public “debate” re the Palestinian-Israeli conflict seriously. I start articles, and find myself glazing over. Regrettably, the Overton window is resolutely ahistorical and remains bounded by the “politics of the last atrocity”. And in all the tidal wave of atrocity porn and lachrymose outrage (I understand people need to grieve, but grief-driven public outbursts, however sincere, tend not to make for good policy), I have yet to discern even the merest outlines of a proposed workable solution. Absolutely nothing by way of a coherent proposal, and absolutely nobody rational, or balanced, taking the lead at all.
Although it is somewhat Swift-ian, there really are only 2 workable solutions – (i) a 2 state solution (now almost geographically impossible, given the sheer amount of un-checked settler annexation), or (ii) ethnically cleanse all of Gaza and the W Bank. Viewed amorally, either could work. However, the West, and esp the US, has to provide meaningful support for (i). In the continuing absence of that support, naturally one of the participants to the conflict, in this case the more powerful one, will take what it can get. It’s not a policy to de facto leave the resolution of a conflict to the unilateral policies of one of the participants.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
7 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

“It’s not a policy to de facto leave the resolution of a conflict to the unilateral policies of one of the participants”
It’s not?
How did it come to pass that France and Germany would become allies and close partners in working towards a unified European government – after decades (centuries) of military conflict, including the actual invasion of France by the Nazis just a few years earlier?
Whatever you think the answer to that question is… why does it not seem a plausible answer to the Israel-Palestine question?
The reality is that not all cultures are equally good for the well-being of their inhabitants.

Last edited 7 months ago by Kirk Susong
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago

Anyone confused by the “complexity” of the Middle East, rejoice, help is at hand! In 2009, the Israelis published a guide on how to think about the Middle East, and how to speak about it:
https://www.transcend.org/tms/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sf-israel-projects-2009-global-language-dictionary.pdf
Given the intellectual pretensions of so many Unherd commenters, it’s ironic how little conceptual distance there is between the one-eyed garbage of a cynical PR handbook and the sincerely-held opinions of the majority of Unherd readers lol. 
The Israelis have done a number on you lot alright

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Anyone who puts “LOL” after their comment can’t be taken seriously, particularly when it’s not even funny.

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

ROFL!

j watson
j watson
7 months ago

The questions I guess – what are the terms of a ceasefire? And then what?
Crushing Hamas’ current Gazan base probably the easy task when compared to how a sustainable peace secured. Hamas has just proven itself the ‘crime and terror syndicate’ many knew it was already. You can’t negotiate with that, so Israel has to deal with the PLA and help manoeuvre them into speaking for all Palestinians. Yet then we inevitably confront the 2 state solution paralysis which Bibi has sought to kill off by undermining PLA and essentially supporting Hamas. The only thing certain is it needs new leadership on both sides to make real progress.
50 years ago during the Yom Kippur war nobody would have thought Egypt within 5 years would make a fundamental peace with Israel which has been sustained. And a peace made by Sadat and Begin after 30 years of fighting each other. Thus nothing impossible even with the deep rooted hatred many Palestinians and Israeli’s will feel for one another.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  j watson

No Palestinian leader can agree to a two-state solution because, as Arafat put it: ‘they’ll kill me’. The only viable solution is for Israel to ignore the Palestinians and pursue better relations with neighbouring states as per Trump’s strategy.

j watson
j watson
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

It’s true it’s a big ask, and of course Sadat paid with his life for the Camp David agreement. But the majority of Palestinians would take it and thus it’s about how a peacemaker is not assassinated as opposed to the principle.

Rob N
Rob N
7 months ago

I feel that the Israel/Palestine issue is one of the few really difficult political/philosophical issues in the world today.
On the one hand we have a democracy (or nearly) who have some fairly standard Western views on life, liberty etc and don’t seem to want any particular harm to non-Jews.
On the other hand we have a bunch of mad religious zealots who clearly want to kill all Jews and, probably, mass convert or slaughter all non-Muslims in the entire world. Their outlook is very different to the, previously, civilized West.
HOWEVER why did Israel get given a new country after WW2 which displaced and disenfranchised huge numbers of people living there. Since then they have seized extra land (entirely sensibly geopolitically) and forced out the inhabitants and replaced them with their own religious zealots. They have treated the Palestinians as subjects yet also treated them all as enemy combatants with collective punishment, military rule (no attempt at regular policing) and, on many occasions, acted in ways that got the Nazis convicted of war crimes. Israel has also connived with some of its enemies to ensure that there is no 2 state solution and so no chance of long-term piece (though I do not believe that real peace would follow a 2 state solution anyway).
Unfortunately we are where we now are and the state of Israel exists and removing it in any peaceful way seems impossible, impractical and unwise. And even though Israel are not even close to being paragons of virtue the pure evilness of most of Hamas means that Hamas must be defeated. Yet Israel must not be allowed to continue pushing Palestinians into Hamas ad infinitum.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
7 months ago

Very nice essay. I looked forward to reading it and was not disappointed.
I do have two questions about (or quibbles with) the concluding paragraph:
(1) The “Israeli/Palestinian issue” appeared to have been on a trajectory that would have largely resolved it. Specifically, the Abraham Accords set up a process by which various Arab states were lining up to (eventually) recognize the state of Israel. One may not have predicted that things would follow such a trajectory, but that’s where things were going.
Meanwhile, the Saudis were next in line, and Saudi recognition would have amounted to another nail in the coffin of the matter. The matter would have continued to fade as Arab governments basically decided to give up on it. It was just a luxury they would indulge in when it would suit them. But, the inevitable response to the attack of October 7 put Saudi recognition on hold. So, Hamas did achieve its primary objective: forestall Saudi recognition. But, for how long? Hence my question: Isn’t US diplomacy, usually impotent and myopic, just a distraction? Isn’t the real action concentrated in getting the Saudis and others to get back to the business of formally recognizing Israel?
(2) What do we mean by “destroy Hamas”? Yes, destroying the impressive network of tunnels will vastly diminish its capacity to launch rockets, but there leadership may remain intact, and there will always be a new cohort of true believers.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
7 months ago

SOLUTION 1: The only logical political solution is a 2-state one. However, Israel does not want that, and has not done so since 2004 – see Dov Weisglass’ infamous “formaldehyde” quote:
Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, clarified Israel’s position when he admitted: “The disengagement from Gaza is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians … this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.”
See: https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-180624/
See also:
https://theintercept.com/2023/11/17/hillary-clinton-hamas-israel/
“Our decision makers, including the defense minister and perhaps also Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, knew about Jabari’s role in advancing a permanent cease-fire agreement. 
 Thus the decision to kill Jabari shows that our decision makers decided a cease-fire would be undesirable for Israel at this time, and that attacking Hamas would be preferable.”
SOLUTION 2: The only logical military solution is to kill and / or ethnically cleanse over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza. Behind the scenes, Israel fancies the job – see:
https://www.972mag.com/intelligence-ministry-gaza-population-transfer/
Unfortunately for Israel however, the US and other Western allies have weak stomachs, and once you get to circa 20 – 50,000 dead Palestinian civilians, the clamour grows for “talks” and a settlement. Even though, as 1 above reveals, there no longer is anything to talk about.
All that’s left is the prevailing approach of the last couple of decades – periodic platitudes about a 2-state solution while an “acceptable level of violence” continues – essentially a “kicking the Arabs down the road” policy, accompanied by the usual hand-wringing nonsense from rich white Westerners.

Micah Dembo
Micah Dembo
7 months ago

The north Gaza operation is complete after several weeks of hard action in tunnels. There have been casualties but not as many as expected. Therefore the operation is progressing to second phase and according to Israeli news reports the exhausted units need to be rotated and so a ceasefire of a few days will be advantageous, especially if some hostages can be recovered. During the pause, Israel will be setting up field hospital and military HQ in the now secured northern sector. Israel will also immediately restart offensive operation if there is any cheating by Hamas operatives. These will restart the instant the ceasefire ends. All Hamas supporters must surrender without condition, or die with their boots on.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
7 months ago

From the sea to the river, God will deliver. Israel will be free ….