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Is the West Bank heading for war? Israeli settlers are spreading terror and resentment

Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.

Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.


December 26, 2023   6 mins

Driving from Israel to the West Bank is like stepping through the looking glass. The world is almost identical, but subtly altered. Scenery deceives; palm trees line the centre of a boulevard, but they are short and stubby. The same off-white buildings that populate Jerusalem dominate Ramallah, but they are faded and dappled with wear. Everything here seems somehow diminished.

Beyond the trauma of the war in Gaza, there is another trauma in the West Bank: Israeli settlers. There are more than 450,000 Israeli settlers (and more than 100 Israeli illegal outposts) in the West Bank, with an additional 220,000 living in East Jerusalem. Since October 7, their thieving and violence has gone into overdrive. The UN humanitarian office has recorded more than 250 settler attacks, which resulted in the murder of eight Palestinians, including a child, and injuries to more than 70 others. Since late October, more than 1,000 Palestinian residents have fled several West Bank villages, claiming that Israeli settler violence and threats had driven them out.

I enter the West Bank from Israel through the Rantis checkpoint, a stark monolith etched in concrete and steel. Usually there would be a queue of cars here, but now the road is clear. Since October 7, the region has been in lockdown.

Central Ramallah is a thicket of modern bustle interspersed with building sites and the odd patch of rubble. School children — mainly girls in striped, blue uniforms — scamper across the pavement. If violence comes, it will be Palestinian youth largely battling Israeli forces in the streets. In Cafe Vanilla, a spacious bistro with an “I love Palestine” sign outside, I meet 33-year-old Gaza-born Fathi Aljhoul, a handsome man with a shaved head. On his right arm he has a tattoo of a leaf; a band encircles his left bicep. The owner of a marketing company, he looks just like a hipster in London or Brooklyn. Since the war began, he has lost 70 members of his family in Gaza — 45 cousins in one attack.

“We are very angry,” he tells me. “All of my friends are angry — and we are not afraid of anything. Every day, I watch Al-Jazeera from when I wake up until one or two in the morning. We have stopped our lives. We watch Gaza — it’s a mini-massacre every day. We watch our own cousins being killed every day.” He describes how the West Bank is spiralling. “Since the war began, the Israelis are killing three to four people here every day. An Israeli settler shot a Palestinian harvesting his olives in the heart.”

Since the war began, Israel claims it has arrested hundreds of Hamas operatives in the West Bank. The IDF carries out raids every morning and night. Aljhoul can’t even get to villages 10 minutes away in the Ramallah outskirts because the city is surrounded by Israeli Army checkpoints. “Since 7 October they have sealed off the West Bank,” he tells me. “In Ramallah things are probably easiest because you still have access from Jerusalem. But in Jenin and Hebron and across the West Bank it is harder. And this is in Area A, which is supposed to be under Palestinian control.”

He adds that the IDF is not just arresting Hamas operatives but anyone they want. “My friend has a brother who supports the Hamas party in college,” he tells me. “My friend does not. But every three or four days the occupation army goes to his home and ransacks his house. The last time, they took away his father for a night and flushed his Palestinian flags down the toilet. They want to take revenge on anything, including the flag. They have totally lost it since 7 October.” He continues: “Since the war began, we have lost everything: our family, our lives, our sanity. It’s very difficult to think about hope or peace now.”

I ask if we might see another intifada. “Anything is possible,” he replies. “It looks like we are getting there… I always spoke about a two-state solution, but over the past few years, new settlements have been built near Ramallah, Jerusalem, Nablus and Bethlehem. I believe the only thing left is to take all of Palestine again — from the river to the sea.”

After this, I wind through Ramallah’s narrow streets on my way to meet with an official from Fatah, the political party that governs the West Bank. My appointment is with Dr Sabri Saidam, Deputy Secretary General of Fatah’s Central Committee. Outside his office is a large poster of several Israeli soldiers surrounding a blindfolded Palestinian youth they have arrested. “I Can’t Breathe,” reads the caption underneath, the rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. As ever, Palestinian nationalism mixes easily with the ideological and linguistic tropes of the Western Left.

Saidam, a large man dressed in black, speaks impeccable English and has a PhD in physics from Imperial College London. “The West Bank and Gaza are one people,” he tells me, “and they are charged with emotion. The increasing attacks by settlers on innocent farmers is adding to the psychological pressure everyone is feeling due to the war on Gaza. People are bitter at losing loved ones. I have lost 44 members of my family in Gaza since the war began.”

Then there is the burgeoning economic crisis. 220,000 West Bank residents rely on daily wages from working in Israel. Without this income, society is in danger of collapsing. “This crisis is affecting the income coming into the treasury,” Saidam says. He is right to be concerned. The intense stress of war combined with sustained economic hardship could be the toxic mix that blows the West Bank apart. 220,000 people here rely on daily wages from working in Israel; without this money, society is in danger of collapsing. “We have tried wars, they achieved nothing. Neither side can solve this matter by throwing each other into the sea.”

On the coffee table in front of me lies a Quran, a model of the Dome of the Rock, and two tiny London black cabs, one of which has a Union Jack on its roof. It’s a reminder of the role of the British empire in the current Middle East Crisis. “Britain cannot be neutral,” Saidam says. “It has a legal and historical responsibility that gives it a special prominence on this issue.”

Once again, I ask if an intifada is coming. “I cannot tell you what will happen tomorrow,” he replies. “Wars are never endless, but they are senseless. Once they start, they can go in any direction.”

I later meet Mustafa Barghouti, who leads the Palestinian opposition party, Palestinian National Initiative. We gather in a boardroom in his office nearby (most things are nearby in Ramallah) where a large photo of the Dome of the Rock stretches across a wall. “Please record me. I like to be recorded,” he says, in a joking reference to the mass surveillance Israel subjects Palestinian leaders to.

“This Israeli government is very extreme,” he says. “We have people like [Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich saying ‘we should fill the West Bank with settlers’. So we then have one of three options. One: leave, which is ethnic cleansing. Two: accept a life of subjugation, which is apartheid. Three: die, which is genocide.” He goes on to describe the settlers’ “terror tactics”: “They are using the distraction of Gaza to push forward with their stealing of our land. They now think they have the green light to go.”

“We are already in an intifada,” he says. “What does it mean? Self-organisation, self-reliance, and defying Israel measures. The IDF cannot enter any town or city without being confronted by young people who try to resist in non-violent ways.” But these confrontations can easily slip into violence, which in this region easily expands.

Barghouti appears sincerely to want peace. But later, I watch an interview where he tells CNN that no Israeli civilians were killed on October 7. With each side enraged, and the hatred growing, even moderates must speak out both sides of their mouths.

Later that day, I talk to an American-born Israeli settler, Yehuda Anaki, who moved from New York to the settlement of Ofra, deep in the West Bank. I ask him what he thinks about those who say settlers like him are stealing other people’s land. “If anything is historic Israel it’s this,” he says. “It’s not Tel Aviv and its beaches. It’s not called Judea for no reason. This is our birth right — we have a historical connection to the land.” This is the problem in a single sentence. Settlers are driven by an unshakable belief in God the divine estate agent, parcelling out land to them personally.

It is impossible to reason with this sort of nonsense. And even the IDF, as an officer later tells me, regards the settlers as a strategic threat to Israel. Word from inside the IDF is that on October 7, certain army units took a long time to arrive on the scene because they had been moved from the southern border to guard settlers in the West Bank.

Anaki, too, fears the possibility of war here. “Everyone is on high alert. It could ignite at any moment. What happened in Gaza will be 10 times worse. We are surrounded by Palestinians — to the north of Ofra is a Hamas village. I definitely think another intifada is possible. I slept in my full body armour 10 days ago. I thought, that’s it — it’s begun.”

Everywhere I looked in Ramallah, I saw young people — mostly men: gathering, smoking, talking. Without any hope of finding a job, many could drift towards organised violence and extremism. Meanwhile, Israeli civilians are out in force buying as many guns as they can lay their hands on. This is a war in which no one is left out. And here in the West Bank, the message is as worrying as it is clear: this is just the start.


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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Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 months ago

Neither side will relent, it seems, so one must win and one must lose.
Hamas and Iran intended to disrupt the negotiations between Israel and the Saudi with their gory, depraved attacks on Israeli civilians.
This seems to have backfired, as Israelis have reached the reasonable enough conclusion that Palestinians must be strongly discouraged from considering any more attacks. Being homeless, hungry, and terrified can discourage even the devout. And the dead can’t launch attacks of any sort.
I don’t understand why Palestinians are so astonished by the level of reprisals. They must’ve known what the outcome could be, or have had some idea.
Did they not think of the consequences of their actions? Now, even reigning in settlers will be more of a challenge for the Israeli government. Reigning in tank troops, artillery, and infantry brigades will be impossible.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

I wonder if the Americans would have been quite as forgiving if the British Army had used similar tactics against the IRA as Israel has against Hamas. I’d wager the condemnation would be universal if the RAF had carpet bombed the Republican areas of Belfast, killed ten thousand children and driven large numbers of Catholics from their homes.
Luckily for them Britain is a civilised country and saw civilian deaths as something to be avoided when responding to terrorism

Last edited 6 months ago by Billy Bob
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Did any of the IRA “atrocities” compare to the October 7th attacks ?
If so, then your question may have some relevance.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The IRA murdered over 1700 people, so while none of their singular attacks was as successful as the recent Hamas one their death toll was still very high

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wasn’t it closer to 2,500? And from a much smaller population of about 1.5 million.

However whilst they were quite happy to kill innocent women and children they never got around to beheading babies, nor raping people as far as I can recall!
They did off course, just like the IDF have the full unequivocal support of the USA and still do.*

(* Via NORAID and the Kennedy Clan.)

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

Nah beheading wasn’t really their calling card, the tended to focus on the kneecaps instead. They also had a good few rapists hiding amongst their ranks as poor Mairia Cahill found to her cost.
If the British Army were as blasé as the IDF in regards to civilian casualties though then they’d have slaughtered around 15,000 Northern Irish souls during two months of the Troubles

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You are talking total nonsense. The 2 situations on the ground are simply not comparable. Further, the casualties figures spewed forth by Hamas cannot be trusted as was clear from the claim that the Israelis had bombed a hospital killing 500, when in fact it was Hamas’ bed fellows who had launched a rocket that went off course and hit a car park with I believe almost no casualties.
The fact is that the IDF takes greater care not to harm civilians than any other military in the world, including the UK. Perhaps take a look at the number of civilians, including women and children, killed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. When you do, perhaps you’ll stop being a hypocrite. Or perhaps you are simply an anti-semite applying double standards to the IDF and everybody else.

Last edited 6 months ago by Johann Strauss
jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

You are joking. Tell me you’re joking.

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Johann; you are pitifully deluded, or, blinded by hate. My symapthies either way.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

That is on of the most ludicrous claims I have heard in a long time. From what I have witnessed I would say that they care little or nothing about civilian deaths.
Also I think you forget the scale of the Troubles. in 1972 almost 500 people were killed by paramilitaries, so adjust that figure for population.
In the same year there were about 2,000 bombings in the province.
The IRA were also in the business of kidnapping, torturing and killing people

B M
B M
6 months ago

So were the British Army at the time, both indirectly through loyalist paramilitaries and directly through the likes of Bloody Sunday. They weren’t as brazen about it as the IDF were though.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago

I guess the proud boast of the Hamas leader, interviewed in the comfort of Qatar, must’ve passed you by:
He’d been banging on about IDF bombing Gaza civilians who had no safe places to shelter in. He was asked why Hamas hadn’t opened its tunnels to Gaza civilians. He answered, without skipping a beat or evidencing any awareness of how his answer might be construed, that all Gazans wanted to be martyrs …..

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Hate filled drivel.

Fiona English
Fiona English
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Once again, a commentator who is so blinded by his hatred for anyone who disagrees with the current Israeli state that he refuses to admit the genocide taking place before all our eyes. To suggest that the IDF is taking care not to kill civilians is beyond parody. It is deluded and downright insulting to the memory of the more than 20 thousand dead and tens of thousands with life diminishing injuries. Violent revenge by a massively superior military force against a besieged, now close to starving, population insults also those whose murders are used to justify it.

Mark McConnell
Mark McConnell
6 months ago
Reply to  Fiona English

Stop using words you don’t understand. ‘Genocide’ isn’t just people dying in war.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark McConnell

It’s officially a genocide as per a court hearing in Germany when a protestor was taken to court for using the word genocide and was cleared as the events in Gaza are now considered to be pointing towards Genocide as per the UN, Red Cross and others. If the ICJ ruling holds up (unlikely as the judiciary is controlled), that’ll be it.

B M
B M
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark McConnell

What would you call a one sided indiscriminate bombing of civilians, randomly shooting them, including two of their own hostages trying to surrender, bombing refugee camps? I was hesitiant to use the word genocide at the start of this but I’m in no doubt now. This is genocide.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  B M

Extreme dereliction of duty by their government who failed to make provision for that population’s safety before the massacre of October 7th. Acres of tunnels and absolutely no places in them for the poor fools who elected them to power? Why do you think that was?
The unfortunate deaths of hostages are exactly that.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark McConnell

See my reply to her, that it certainly doesn’t apply to a steadily growing population whose leaders promise more massacres of Jews.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  Fiona English

Please use a different descriptor. Need I remind you that the Palestinian birth rate is growing, in spite of the proud boast of Fathi Hamad, who is on record as saying that women, the elderly and children make the best human shields? Or that children are sent to summer camps where they learn how to want to die while murdering Israelis?
Genocide is what’s promised by Hamas barbarians for all Jews and after them followers of other religions or anyone who refuses to follow the muslim prophet, unless they’re rendered powerless

Jim Cheoros
Jim Cheoros
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

testing

Last edited 6 months ago by Jim Cheoros
Oliver Butt
Oliver Butt
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

“the IDF takes greater care not to harm civilians than any other military in the world” ?????????????

Barbara Kay
Barbara Kay
6 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Butt

Colonel Richard Kemp: “I believe that on the basis of everything that I’ve seen, that everything the IDF does to protect civilians and to stop the death of innocent civilians is a great deal more than any other army, and it’s more than the British and the American armies.”

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Barbara Kay

That’ll be the same Richard Kemp who sits on the board of the IDF fundraiser and lit their Hanukkah? He’s never got anything right that lad, including predictions for the Russia-Ukraine war. He’s 100% shill.

B M
B M
6 months ago
Reply to  Barbara Kay

Like shooting their own hostages trying to surrender. Carpet bombing refugee camps. Great “care” being shown there.

B M
B M
6 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Butt

“the IDF takes greater care not to harm civilians than any other military in the world”
That’s better.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

You still yakking on about that one hospital?
(26,667) killed and missing persons.
(19,667) killed who arrived in hospitals.
(8,000) child killed .
(6,200) female killed .
(310) killed from medical teams.
(35) Civil Defense killed .
(97) journalists killed.
(7,000) are missing, 70% of them are children and women.
(52,586) injured
(99) cases detained among health personnel.
(8) Detained journalists.
(1.8) million displaced people in the Gaza Strip.
(355,000) infected with infectious diseases as a result of overcrowding and displacement.
(126) public organizations .
(90) schools and universities were completely destroyed .
(282) Schools and universities partially destroyed.
(112) mosques completely destroyed.
(200) mosques partially destroyed.
(3) Churches targeted and destroyed.
 (52,600) housing units were completely destroyed .
(254,000) housing units partially destroyed .
 (23) Hospitals out of service.
(53) primary health care centers out of service.
(140) health organizations partially targeted.

B M
B M
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

You are talking nonsense, and I say that as an Irishman. The IDF are flattening refugee camps, shooting their own hostages trying to surrender and bombing areas they tell Gazans to retreat to if they don’t want to be labelled terrorists.
Was what Hamas did on October 7th reprehensible? Absolutely. Does it justify what the IDF are doing now, indiscriminate mass murder of civilians? Absolutely not.
To quote Margaret Thatcher, “murder is murder”, even though she was equally selective in it’s application, no matter what tribes the perpetrators or victims belong to.

Last edited 6 months ago by B M
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The IRA at least punished rapists within their ranks, because they knew it would cost them support, not glorified them like Hamas and their supporters did around the world from Scotland to Sydney, and from New York to New Zealand, and might I add, were celebrating and chanting in the streets about the murder, rape and torture of Oct 7th before Israel started their deadly invasion of Gaza.

Last edited 6 months ago by Brendan O'Leary
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

Mairia Cahill would certainly disagree with you that the IRA punished rapists in their midst

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes, of course, privately, like so many “freedom fighters” they were just a bunch of criminals, but, once again, my point is that they did not publicly celebrate rape like Hamas and their supporters.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

So the IRA didn’t actually punish rapists as you claimed previously

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Split the difference . They punished rapists of catholic girls

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago

Hamas doesn’t celebrate rape and none of the hostages were raped – this according to their own testimony.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Parks

And the earth’s flat, the moon is made of cheese and all pigs are fuelled and ready to fly.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
6 months ago

T

Last edited 6 months ago by Paul MacDonnell
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

Utter nonsense.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago

THERE WERE NO RAPES BY HAMAS BRENDAN. Do some research. Why would Hamas change it’s MO – sending rockets into Israel and taking hostages for prisoner swaps – overnight? This was a false flag for the colonisation project – the same people who told a load of traumatised Jews from WWII that they could have a ‘safe space’ which was dependent on booting out the Arabs, while surrounded by multiple oil-rich Arab countries (Israel has to rely on $11M/day handouts from the US) who weren’t going to mind one bit. Nobody (not least the Brits and the US) wanted peace in the middle east. Israel doesn’t care one jot about the Jews. Israel is merely a staging post for the West, or an aircraft carrier as RFK referred to it – and he’s supposed to be on the side of Israel.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Parks

Get professional help

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The British Army were volunteers and professionals. The IDF are conscripts.
Need I say more?

james elliott
james elliott
6 months ago

The IRA didn’t get around to rape as a weapon of war – though there certainly were rapists and paedophiles among the IRA membership.

Gerry Adams tended to minimize this by describing one IRA member (who raped a 15-year-old) as silver-tongued, or indeed his own brother’s serial paedophilia as a “private family matter”.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago

There were no beheaded babies Charles. These are the same tropes used in all wars that only the truly dumb fall for. If you look at the data from Oct 7, one baby (one too many) was killed – believed to be in a house that was fired at by a tank. Hamas didn’t rape either. In fact one of the hostages on 60 minutes talks about being dragged to a car with her pajama bottoms falling off, in fear that she would be. Instead she was given a full burqa to cover herself. She was released 54 days later – unharmed. I suppose you don’t think 9/11 was an inside job? Wear a mask? jabbed?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ Parks

Actually I was aware of that trope. It goes back to the Kaiser’s Grenadiers ‘eating Belgium babies “ in 1914, if not well before, but I hoped someone such as your good self would pick up on it. Thank you.

Of course 9/11 was an ‘inside job’. You only have to follow the logic of Cicero and ask “Cui Bono” …’who benefits’ and you have your answer.

Never wore a mask and forcefully exercised my legal right NOT to!

‘Blackmailed into having one jab! Survived, and have had NONE since.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago

Glad u survived.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
6 months ago

Oh dear, Charles, I thought you were just an amusing eccentric. But apparently, you are, instead, just a seriously misguided old man.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Certainly old but not misguided!
At your advanced age you shouldn’t be such an old ‘scold’.

Cheer up old thing! Worse things ‘happen at sea’, as they say.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ Parks

Lordy. lordy, are you off your meds? Flaming paranoia.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Parks

So one woman escaped being raped at that time at least. I believe the sworn testimony of those tasked with preparing the remains of those murdered or multiply raped before they were killed, for dignified burial, who would say you’re mistaken at best, lying at worst

El Uro
El Uro
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Billy, you don’t even notice the stupidity of your comments and your comparisons between Hamas and the IRA. Tell us about the IRA cut off the heads of babies about the IRA ripped open women’s vaginas and cut off their breasts after gang rape? Yes, IRA were cruel, but in any case they operated within the Christian paradigm of inevitable restrictions even in the case of most cruel terrorist attacks.
Only idiots or deliberately biased demagogues would compare Hamas to the IRA.pare Hamas to the IRA.

Last edited 6 months ago by El Uro
JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Hamas didn’t behead babies ‘El Uro’. I suppose you believe a Russian passport was found floating above Nord Stream 2 and that Atta’s passport was found in the burned out ruins of the WTC? Maybe they should make buildings from passports as they can clearly survive temperatures of 500C.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Here u go – direct data from Israel’s SocSec website made easy to understand by France 24 – no beheaded babies: https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20231215-israel-social-security-data-reveals-true-picture-of-oct-7-deaths

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The 1998 Omagh bombing killed 29. Had that atrocity occurred in the US it would have meant a body count of about 5,300.*
By comparison the body count of 9/11 was a mere 2996.

(* Population of US in 1998, 276 million, Northern Ireland 1.5 million, therefore a multiple of about 184.)

Possum Magic
Possum Magic
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

No, because Britain has experience with insurrections and knows how to dampen down tinderbox situations. The Israelis have no such experience nor litigation so long as they can rely on their influence within the US political system.

Bob Downing
Bob Downing
6 months ago
Reply to  Possum Magic

I rather doubt that Israel can be said to have no experience. It has been dealing with major and minor outbreaks of violence for its whole existence. What litigation may have to do with it I fail to grasp..The situation has always been far more complex, diplomatically and in practice, and we should all beware of taking any sides. That said, yes, US internal politics is a factor, but no less important than the meddling (and indifference) of the surrounding nations for reasons of their own, fuelled by nationalism and/or religious motivations.

Oliver Butt
Oliver Butt
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob Downing

But Israel has always showed an absolute lack of understanding about how the Palestinians must feel after 75 years of utter misery. The Israelis seem to think if they smite the Palestinians often enough, they will come to see how wrong they are and that they should be grateful to the Israelis for this enlightenment; delusional.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Butt

Palestinians feel the way they’re ordered to feel by their murderous leaders, whom they appease by offering their young to them to be “martyred” to fool people like you

Vincent R
Vincent R
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Not in raw numbers in one day, no. But many IRA attacks did kill 10 or 12, or more, or roughly 1% of those killed on Oct 7th.
So the more relevant, and proportionate question is; Had the British military responded to say the Birmingham bombing (21 killed), or the Brighton bombing (PM almost killed), or the shelling of Downing Street, etc, by killing 200 -300 people, most of them civilians in Catholic areas of Belfast and Derry, had that happened, would Northern Ireland be the relatively peaceful place it has been for pretty much all of this century?
Of course it wouldn’t

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Stop falling for the Israeli propaganda Ian and do some research. There are 124 witness reports from those at the music festival and beyond from Oct 7th who talk about being told to run with their arms in the air to prevent being shot from the skies, how some Hamas came and left their house without taking anything, how tanks fired directly into buildings (in one incident killing 15 Israelis) and how 200 of the bodies burned to a crisp were Palestinians – who clearly didn’t burn themselves. Even the ex-CIA counterintelligence puts the figure as 600 IDF killed by Hamas and 80% of the civilians killed by Israeli security forces.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ Parks

There is video of the atrocities taken by the terrorists themselves. Reverand Giles Fraser, who writes here, has witnessed it, and written about seeing it. Perhaps you should read what he’s written. It’s available in Unheard’s library. I don’t think he lies.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Parks

Riddle me this: why didn’t Hamas offer space in their tunnels to Gazan civilians? Do you actually believe the Hamas official who’s on record as saying that all Gazans wanted to be martyrs?
Arab proverb which sums up Hamas and their useful idiots, “He strikes me & weeps, and then he runs before me weeping and saying that I struck him.

Andrew Morgan
Andrew Morgan
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Northern Ireland is part of the UK, so the RAF would have been bombing its own state. The IRA did not govern Northern Ireland, was not elected and did not enjoy widespread support. Catholicism was not committed to the destruction of the Britain and did not have a 20th century track record of consistent barbarism, human rights abuses and terrorism.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Morgan

The analogy that Mssrs BoB and Stanhope are offering is really quite easy to understand, both parties have murdered numerous civilians, you however don’t want to hear this because of your partisan mind set. You are well represented on unherd (unfortunately).

Last edited 6 months ago by Carl Valentine
Andrew Morgan
Andrew Morgan
6 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Yet it seems you have failed to understand the analogy.

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Murdered? Look up the meaning before commenting. Do try not to use emotive language unnecessarily and innaccurately.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

What a tyrant.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Morgan

According to most Zionists Gaza and the West Bank are part of a Greater Israel. Until the Palestinians have a state of their own then it’s classed as Israeli soil according to any map

Andrew Morgan
Andrew Morgan
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thanks, your analogy is now watertight. I’m off to correct some cartographers.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Why do the “Palestinians” keep refusing the offers of a state of their own, then?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago

Why bother with BB? He apparently doesn’t know what would have happened if Hamas had the bomb. It’s probably just a few years away as the current American administration falls all over themselves in the insane attempt to allow Iran to have it. When Iran finally pushed the button, we’ll hear BB suddenly change his tune.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

I’ve heard many comments on here justify Israeli policy as essentially “might has right”, with Israel being the stronger party so the Palestinians should simply accept what they’re given. Therefore I’ll assume if the situation is reversed in the future they’ll accept the situation with good grace if the Israelis are forcibly removed from their land?
For what it’s worth I certainly won’t be cheering any Iranian attempt at killing Israeli civilians. I never want to see civilians targeted in any conflict

J. Hale
J. Hale
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The Palestinians already a state of their own. It’s called Jordan, where a slim majority of the inhabitants consider themselves Palestinian. But they won’t be satisfied until they eradicate “the Zionist Entity.”

Last edited 6 months ago by J. Hale
JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

Most of those in Israel are Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews with zero connection to the Holy Land as they hail from Europe. This according to Hebrew and Israeli University studies (plus a CIA report from 2007) that have been looking into the DNA. In which case, if their ancestors were nowhere near the land, their claim to it is somewhat moot.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The main reason that these areas are now Israeli “supervised” is that the surrounding Arab countries wanted Palestine land for themselves – resulting in the lack of a state for the Palestinians.

Last edited 6 months ago by Ian Barton
JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Morgan

But then the UK mainland never belonged to Ireland – we didn’t steal the land from them. So it’s a ridiculous comparison.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The population in Ireland before the famine was 8,000,000. During the famine the British exported record levels of crops out of Ireland into Britain, while watching as over 1,000,000 Irish starved to death and some 3,000,000 fled to the US, to save their lives and the lives of their families. There are 7,600,000 people in Ireland now. It has yet to recover.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

So because Westminster made some extremely heartless and callous policy decisions that made a famine worse nearly 200 years ago, Israel today is allowed to mercilessly bomb civilian areas in Gaza in retaliation to a terrorist attack?
That’s a rather long bow to draw in my opinion

Simon Binder
Simon Binder
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What is the relevance of carpet bombing to this conversation? This didn’t happen in Ireland and nor is it happening in Gaza.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Simon Binder

A third of Gaza’s buildings have been damaged beyond repair (by contrast only 10% of German buildings suffered the same fate throughout the entirety of the Second World War), and in the first two months the IDF dropped the equivalent of both atom bombs exploded over Japan, all this in an area the size of the Isle of Wight. You don’t have to call it carpet bombing if you like but it’s certainly wanton destruction

Possum Magic
Possum Magic
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

And in the whole Second World War, the London Blitz killed pretty much the same number of people as the IDF killed in 11 weeks. If you scale up to the UK, the the IDF has killed or injured the whole population of Birmingham twice over.

Possum Magic
Possum Magic
6 months ago
Reply to  Simon Binder

Really?!? So what do you call the complete destruction of a city of 2m+ people?

Jim Davis
Jim Davis
6 months ago
Reply to  Possum Magic

Justice

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Davis

Anger? Desperation? What is the remedy to a backward people who only have one goal in mind. Perhaps this is the only way forward. Everything else seems to have been tried.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Are you truly that stupid? THE UK and US stole the land for their own ‘interests’. Here at UnHerd colonial central, that’s ok – if the victims are Arab.

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Davis

is this a typo? the word you were looking for is GENOCIDE!

J. Hale
J. Hale
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Wilson

There are 465 million Arabs in the world. There are 5 million Arabs who self identify as Palestinian. So even if you killed them all it wouldn’t be genocide.

Last edited 6 months ago by J. Hale
JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

Genocide: A crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, in whole or in part.
Or ‘in part’. Get it now?

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Wilson

The much touted genocide, and yet the number of Palestinians increases every single year! I always thought that a genocide results in reducing population size.

As for the oft repeated victim figures in Gaza, consider the source! I for one don’t trust Hamas to properly report the colour of the sky, and their death toll numbers call for the greatest scrutiny.

Hamas is not concerned with Palestinian welfare! They don’t care one bit about civilians unless it supports their narrative. This is a terrorist group, and they have proven that they shy away from nothing, including the use of children as human shields, if it helps them achieve their goals.

Hamas is not a liberation movement wanting to establish a Palestinian nation. It seeks the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic empire on its ruins, and we know this because senior Hamas leaders openly say so!

J. Hale
J. Hale
6 months ago
Reply to  Possum Magic

The British did far worse to Hamburg in WWII. Why the double standard regarding Israel?

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

We should be aiming for a high bar – not a war crime. The problem is that no warmongers like Blair ever get prosecuted, so all leaders think they can get away with murder – of their own people and anybody else. There is no moral compass, that’s one of the reasons (the rest being $$$) why a psychopath like Netanyahu with an approval rating of 4% can bomb the crap out of Gaza and no-one does anything.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
6 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

My grandfather flew Lancaster bombers in WWII, and participated in the bombing of Dresden in February of 1945. 25,000 people were killed in just three days; almost all of them women, children, and old people. The three-day air raid destroyed 25,000 out of ca. 28,000 buildings in the city.
I am not in a position to judge my grandfather, but he felt guilty about his role in Operation Thunderclap for the rest of his life.
As for the double standard, I think Douglas Murray said it best: the root cause is anti-Semitism. https://youtu.be/zF328-6bZtI?si=OkTqt_FI7GyR9xVY

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Simon Binder

You’re not there though, are you Simon. Israel has dropped 53,000 tonnes of explosives, that’s 3 times more than the Hiroshima bomb.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The IRA never won any popular election and never controlled any territory. It never had a territory and the economy of a territory to fight to eliminate the existence of Britain and the British to establish an Irish Catholic theocracy extending from the Atlantic to the North Sea.

Hamas won a popular election, now uses the economy of the territory it controls to fight to eliminate the existence of Israel and Jews to establish an ethnically exclusive Arab Muslim theocracy extending from the river to the sea.

Northern Ireland’s troubles were low level intra-community sectarian terrorism and criminal gang fighting and score settling. Less than 1% of the Northern Irish population – on both sides – were ever involved in paramilitary activity. No paramilitaries had any formal support at any level of government inside or outside of Northern Ireland. That is one reason why the eventual settlement of the troubles that saw the IRA give up its arms left the constitutional arrangements unchanged and Northern Ireland part of the UK.

Gaza is a politically united de facto war state. More than 10% of its population is directly and indirectly engaged in the attempted military destruction of its neighbour; Gaza is one large military base and its resources – such as EU aid – diverted to military ends. Hamas is overwhelmingly supported by the people and has huge financial support. There is no political solution that will make Hamas peaceful.

Many British have a poor grasp of the Northern Ireland troubles and what went on. But to even start to compare Gaza and Hamas with Northen Ireland and the IRA is simply bizarre.

Last edited 6 months ago by Nell Clover
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Good luck. We are dealing here with a terrorist apologist . No depths to which he will not stoop. I’m wondering now if he is not a member of Hamas. Complete with false name.

Last edited 6 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

Being critical of Israel murdering nearly 10,00 children doesn’t make me an apologist for a deplorable terrorist group whose attack killed 30

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It does here at UnHerd colonisers central.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago

Yaaaaawn.

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Woeful historical knowledge of NI on display here! As for large ‘military bases’: Israel is really just one almighty arms dump for US foreign policy. And rather than reflexly slating my opinion, please find out how much money and weaponary the US has diverted to the upkeep of Israel’s blind & inhumane flailings.

David McKee
David McKee
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Nell Glover, a “terrorist apologist”? I don’t think so. Still, comparing Gaza with Northern Ireland is a valid comparison, so long as we are aware of the differences as well as the similarities.

Hamas and the Provisional IRA are both terrorist organisations. They are irregular ‘armies’, which attempt to impose their political will through indiscriminate violence. The IRA aimed to make life so painful for the British, that they would withdraw from the province. Hamas wants to destabilise Israel, so that the Palestinians rise up in revolt.

So far, as Patrikarakos’ excellent and balanced piece makes clear, it’s working perfectly. Doing what terrorists want you to do is rarely a good idea.

Incidentally, I was born and brought up in Northern Ireland, and I write this in front of a roaring fire in east Belfast. So I have some acquaintance with the Troubles.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Another difference is that the Jews are indigenous to the land but the British aren’t. We are fighting for our homeland against nasty (nice word) terrorists.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

55% of Jews in Israel trace their ethnicity to Europe, the Americas and ex Soviet states. How is this indigenous to the Middle East?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It isn’t!
In fact ‘they’ should have been given Austria as compensation for the Holocaust in 1945, as of all the Germans they were/are the most culpable.

Oliver Butt
Oliver Butt
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The Jews are not indigenous to Israel. You could say a) All those living in Israel/ Palestine in, say, 1900 were indigenous (as they were not there by some coordinated politically motivated immigration). Or b) There are no indigenous peoples as the area has always been a crossroads as people have come and gone and stayed. Or c) The indigenous inhabitants are those from whom the Israelites stole it when they came out of Egypt. a) = a very small percentage of Jews.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Butt

Palestinians who didn’t leave the land have 97% ancient Hebrew DNA according to various Israel University studies.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Indigenous to the land? You sure about that? Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews hail from Europe. Some from Germany, Turkey and some from the Khazars who converted to Judaism in 740 AD. These people (Golda, Ben G, BB) have no ancient Hebrew DNA and zero ancestral connection to the Holy Land and don’t even believe in God.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Gaza has 2 million people living there, and around 20,000 Hamas fighters, which would be fairly close to your 1% analogy for Northern Ireland would it not?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The proportion of Hamas is far larger and the general population is very supportive of their terrorism against Jews.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The Provos are estimated to have had around 10,000 members at the height of the Troubles, when Northern Irelands population was around 1.5 million. A slight majority of those would have been Unionist at the time so you can say they had 10k members out of sympathetic population of around 700k. This is fairly close to Hamas having 20k-30k fighters from Gaza’s population of 2 million

Oliver Butt
Oliver Butt
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

But then all Israelis pass through the IDF and remain reservists (including women), so a far greater percentage of the population are ‘armed combatants’ than in Gaza. And nearly all non Arab Israelis support the war on Gaza.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Butt

You asked them all did you?

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You asked them all did you? YouGov in Gaza is it? No you didn’t. Most weren’t even born when Hamas was elected in 2006 and anyone under 35 would have been too young to vote. Maybe try reading something other than UnHerd, UnHerd reader.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

1:How many IRA killers were ever extradited from the US?
2:What was NORAID?
3:Did the Irish Republic both overtly and covertly support the IRA?
4:Please do stop using that euphemism the ‘troubles’, it was squalid little war, or ‘low intensity operation’ to get technical.
5: Do you really believe the IRA have “given up their arms”?

Had a similar insurrection occurred amongst say the Latino population of the USA and raged from 1971-1998, it would have claimed the lives of over 500,000 souls.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

What drivel. We didn’t steal the England mainland from the Irish, did we.

El Uro
El Uro
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I wonder if the Americans would have been quite as forgiving if the British Army had used similar tactics against the IRA as Israel has against Hamas.

False analogy. Hamas is not the IRA, Hamas is the Nazis, and the Gaza is a small Nazi Germany.
In addition, there are far less then 10 thousand killed children. I realize that rounding up makes your arguments more impressive, but hardly any more compelling.
Driven from their homes and carpet bombing? “Driven from homes” means to save lives of civilians, “carpet bombing” means to kill as much as possible. – If you use demagogic techniques, at least try to ensure that your arguments are not mutually contradictory

Last edited 6 months ago by El Uro
Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
6 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Obviously you are completely blind to reality but before you broadcast further apologies for genocide please Google something like “white phosphorous Palestine”.

Ian_S
Ian_S
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Wilson

Google white phosphorous Palestine (Palestine? Oh right, yeah, I see where you’re coming from), and find some extremist nut job leftwing conspiracist website. Nah. Won’t waste my time. If there were anything so deliciously slanderous to Israelis as white phosphorous attacks, it’d be all over the MSM, and the UN would pontificate about nothing else for months. Be less credulous.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If I’m not mistaken, but correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t believe the IRA built a huge terror network of tunnels under hospitals, schools and churches, and daily launched missiles into mainland England. Had that been the case, I suspect the response from the British Government may have been far more severe. You can’t compare apples and oranges.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Nor did 90% of them wake up each day praying for the death of every Englishman?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

I disagree, that is precisely what many prayed for and still do.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

In yet, for all the whinging, it’s actually Israel wiping Gaza off the map.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

No they didn’t have to as thanks to the Irish diaspora there were thousands of ‘safe houses’ to scuttle off to!
I do wonder if Ms Nell Clover’s was one of them?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

So according to most on here the RAF would have been justified in bombing peoples homes in Bogside, and any civilian deaths would have been the fault of the Provo’s?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes it does appear like that!
However in the event ‘we’ decided on a far more moderate policy.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

Because we’re a civilised society that is able to understand that people aren’t responsible for the crimes of others

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe we stole mainland England from the Irish in 1948.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You are writing like Oct 7th murder and rape spree was an isolated attack and the last 22 years of tens of thousands of rockets , mostly after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, were just party games, not deadly bombs.
They didn’t kill as many as they could have otherwise, because unlike Hamas, Israel spent serious money on defence of their people, not on trying to exterminate their neighbour’s people.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago

They’re not defending their people Brendan. They are defending their colonisation project. The Israeli leadership (BB doesn’t believe in God, neither did Golda or Ben G) is merely a holding base for the US of A. If they cared about their people, they’ve have defended them on Oct 7th, not left the gates open and taken 5 hours (at the earliest point) to respond.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Spot on Billy Bob. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Avro Lanc
Avro Lanc
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If the IRA had done to our women what Hamas did to Israeli civilians you can bet your life we’d have levelled Belfast.

See Dresden for examples…

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Avro Lanc

You don’t know what they did Avro – you weren’t there. Where there’s occupation, there will always be resistance.

Avro Lanc
Avro Lanc
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ Parks

I’ve viewed enough Hamas guncam footage to know you’re talking nonsense mate – I’ve seen exactly what they did hence my comment. Have a great day.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well, couple of key differences mate. First, unlike in Gaza, N Ireland has (or had) a majority British settler population, descended from lowland Scots and N English. Inconveniently, the 2 NI communities were not neatly segregated, but lived (and continue to live), side by side in a random fashion. Thus, wiping out large numbers of the Irish community to kill a few IRA members would inevitably have meant killing significant numbers of local British also. So, while it was discussed as an option on the British isde, it was never really a very practicable option, even though of course various Unionist hotheads (e.g. George Seawright) occasionally called for Irish republican villages in NI to be carpet bombed by the RAF. Instead, and after some early old-style “bash the natives” style disasters, the British learned fast and began to use an effective blend of serious (behind the scenes) political engagement, increased administrative fairness, and widespread use of intelligence (informers). This is the most effective way to deal with paramilitaries embedded in a community. The Israelis / the IDF are no mugs and well know this too. In fact, recently, the sensible and hard-headed Ben Wallace reminded them of this: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/former-defence-secretary-ben-wallace-urges-israel-to-learn-from-northern-ireland-in-gaza-conflict/a268550014.html
But Israel’s aims are very different from those of the British different in that they don’t wish merely to “defeat Hamas”, as naïve Westerners think, their obvious long term goal is large scale clearances / ethnic cleansing and de factor absorption of the Gaza territory into Israel. 
As Thoreau remarked, judge Israel’s intent from its ruthless actions, not from its honeyed words.
A smart, long-term approach aimed purely at neutralising Hamas, is not what Israel wants, for heaven’s sake.  
This is very unlike Britain, who has always been largely indifferent about NI. Remember, the British even discussed pulling out with the IRA in the early 1970s: https://www.jstor.org/stable/30002102
You get all these decent Western folk, convinced that Israel must have attacked in a blind fury, with no or little thought about what to do next.
C’mon folks, it’s a well-thought plan, there is a hard-headed long-term strategy at play here, and it’s working a treat. It only appears inchoate if you’re a bit gullible. That is, if you’re naive enough to wonder about “how Gaza and Israel will get along after the war”, you’re obviously tender-hearted enough / soft-headed enough to assume that there ever was any serious intention to have a Gaza afterwards that would even need to be dealt with.
Well, fair dues, this guy is honest about the ethnic cleansing:
https://twitter.com/AsafRonel/status/1741363175314919482
Legally, genocide includes “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; …”
Note “or in part”.
However, such nuances are lost on the hoi polloi who assume that, for a charge of genocide or ethnic cleansing to stick, the carnage and/or displacement must be absolute, i.e. nobody remaining in situ / nobody left alive etc.
Hence, in terms of popular PR in the indulgent Western media, it’s a win for Israel, as “there still will be Palestinians in Gaza” (just not very many of them lol); and the rest can conveniently be dismissed either as terrorists or who just coincidentally decided they would prefer to live elsewhere, for “humanitarian reasons”.
This is the Orwellian meaning of “ethnic cleansing corridors”, oops sorry “HUMANITARIAN” corridors lol. There, corrected myself ha ha.
This is how they do it, the stick we know about, more civilians killed in 2 months than Putin has managed in 2 years (“surgical” strikes indeed), but also the carrots – backed with endless and unlimited US cash, exploiting the relative impecuniousness of neighbouring states:
https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/israel-latest-weapon-palestine-egypt-debt-gaza/
Israel has read the room well, and perceives, correctly, that the governments and populations of powerful states in the world are quite relaxed about a spot of ethnic cleansing in Gaza. Wholescale ethnic cleansing in Gaza would of course be cheered to the echo by right wingers in Britain and in the US.
(Churchill would of course have approved. In 1937, in testimony Churchill thought would remain secret, he spoke about the Arab inhabitants of Palestine to the Peel Commission on a Jewish Homeland that the British had set up. 
Churchill said, “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time.
“I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia.
“I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race, has come in and taken their place.”
That viewpoint is still extant in London, in Washington and in Tel Aviv.)
The attack by Hamas (of course an organisation that Israel had not-so-secretly been funding all along, as, in addition to the obvious divide-and-conquer part, it’s in any event strategically preferable to deal with blatantly unreasonable opponents (their predictable rhetoric and lack of political and PR nous means you can easily justify never having to engage, since there are risks of a compromise when one engages, and the Israelis certainly do not wish to be manoeuvred into any sort of tedious do-gooder compromise, when all that land and offshore gas is available for the taking) than e.g., the more reasonable PLO or PA) was a golden opportunity for Netanyahoo (he doesn’t give a fig about dead liberal kibbutzis), and Israel is on a roll, and final victory for them looks increasingly likely. Soon, Gaza will de facto have ceased to exist, and the W Bank is on a similar trajectory, at which point the Israeli project will (for now at least) be complete.  Prorsum!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This does not take in to account the thousands of rockets Hamas have fired at Israel over the years. The UK response may have been different had there been frequent rockets fired indiscriminately at civilian populations

Robert Burns
Robert Burns
6 months ago

The Israelis have known for many years that their strategy of deterrence (you kill one of us, we’ll kill twenty of you) doesn’t deter Hamas attacks, it encourages them because mass killings of Palestinians by Israel ignites global anti-semitism. Hamas couldn’t care less about Palestinian suffering. Containment hasn’t worked either, look what happened when the border fence was breached on 7 October. Israel is now in an impossible situation, having fallen into Hamas’s trap and destroying any hopes of winning Palestinian hearts and minds for a peaceful two-state solution. And as a lifelong admirer of Israel and its achievements, I’m finding it’s becoming increasingly difficult to feel much sympathy for them, especially the settlers.

Last edited 6 months ago by Robert Burns
Ian_S
Ian_S
6 months ago
Reply to  Robert Burns

Nobody was concerned about winning the hearts and minds of nazis. And if you find it difficult to feel sympathy for those fighting fascist totalitarianism, then perhaps you rather admire it.

El Uro
El Uro
6 months ago
Reply to  Robert Burns

I’m not sure you had it.
https://www.msn.com/…/i-saw-the-children…/ar-AA1m3dAH

james elliott
james elliott
6 months ago
Reply to  Robert Burns

“Israel is now in an impossible situation, having fallen into Hamas’s trap and destroying any hopes of winning Palestinian hearts and minds for a peaceful two-state solution”

Uhm…… no, sorry.

*Since* October 7th Israel has lost Palestinian hearts and minds??

These would be the same blackened, diseased Palestinian hearts inside of the Hamas terrorists (and civilians who followed them in) who murdered 1,400 people in a single morning, raped women and children to death and kidnapped hundreds of others as bargaining chips and sex slaves?

The same diseased hearts in the crowds of thousands of whooping Palestinian civilians cheering wildly as Hamas dragged bloodstained bodies and dead bodies of captured civilians through the streets.

You are concerned that *since* Oct 8th those people have turned against the Israelis?

Wake up.

The Palestinians are a lost cause. They should be expelled en masse. Expelled from Gaza, expelled from Judea & Samaria.

Robert Burns
Robert Burns
6 months ago
Reply to  james elliott

Sounds like you’d support a final solution to deal with Israel’s Palestinian problem. Now where have I heard that phrase before?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Robert Burns

Yes it is quite extraordinary how that huge reservoir of sympathy garnered after ‘Mr Richard Dimbleby liberated Belsen’ has been dissipated over the years.
Even Aeschylus couldn’t have done better.

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago
Reply to  Robert Burns

Most Israelis aren’t Semites, so it isn’t anti-Semitism.

Bullfrog Brown
Bullfrog Brown
6 months ago

And the leaders of Iran, Qatar and Turkey, together with all the western money that UNRWA & the UN have seen line the pockets of Hamas leaders & used to build Hamas terror are COMPLICIT ..

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
6 months ago

Although I’m completely supportive of Israel’s response to the attacks on Oct 7th, I’m equally unsupportive of the attacks of the settlers. I’ve seen video of them taking advantage of the war in Gaza to run Palestinian farmers off their land and take it for themselves. It’s painful and inexcusable to watch. Of course, this has been going on before the October 7th attacks and is a contributing factor to the war. The settlers should and could be stopped so why aren’t they?

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

They were often punished in the past, under other Israeli governments. And military reprisals and/or operations against Hamas were restrained, so that if a Hamas commander was hiding in his grandchildrens’ nursery, the IDF would let him live, in order to spare his grandkids.
Up until 7 October, potable water and electricity still flowed into Gaza from Israeli utilities, and Gazans often crossed into Israeli areas for employment.
Israel still exercises considerable restraint, notifying their enemies of incoming attacks, and allowing civillians (amongst whom are likely Hamas operatives) to escape, which is an option Hamas frequently doesn’t allow their own people.
But beheadings, rapes, gory tortures, and gruesome deaths (well beyond the bombings & occasional shootings that were the usual IRA tactics) have the habit of eliminating sympathy for the enemy. The gloves have come off, and the rubble will bounce.
Palestinians, who were in general celebrating Hamas’ psychotic orgy of carnage, should hardly be so astonished.
And, as vicious as the IRA could be, they did not to my knowledge murder and rape hundreds of young people in one go at a rock concert, nor did they long for the death of every Protestant in Ulster.
There exist no films of Provos beheading Protestants with a garden hoe, nor of them shooting the family dog, nor torturing children to death before murdering and raping their parents.
If there were, I’m fairly certain my government wouldn’t have tried to pressure the British authorities for restraint. But in any event the actions of the British government were largely self restrained, excepting one or two incidents that were moreso low level, brutish bungling (Bloody Sunday, for example) than any official policy of intentional, punitive cruelty towards the Irish.
The Biden administration did pressure the Israelis into accepting a brief cease-fire, ostensibly in exchange for hostages, which Hamas almost immediately violated.
Biden’s State Department is also infested with Obama acolytes, who are inexplicably generous towards, and in several instances compromised by, the Iranians.
The Obama era staffers have made no bones about their pro-Palestinian sympathies (hence their protest letters circulating through US embassy and consulate networks) and these attitudes are frighteningly common among our hard left progressives, as is an appalling level of antisemitism. Many Democrats in our government today (and our federal employees are largely Democrats) have a low level of support for Israel, and grudgingly tolerate Israel’s existence because of liberal Jewish loyalty and generosity towards their party.
It’s probably to the good that American Jews are very politically active, and very politically powerful, among the Democrats. If they weren’t, their lives could be far more precarious in the States, and in Israel as well.
The Biden Administration’s support for Israel is stronger, somewhat, than Obama’s near hostility towards Israel, but their support for Israel is far more qualified than imagined.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
6 months ago

Boy, you went way off topic in answer to my question “Why does Israel allow the settlers to continue to steal land from Palestinian Farmers?”

Jim C
Jim C
6 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I’d have thought even a fairly shallow acquaintance with the Old Testament will tell you why the Israeli settlers are being allowed to run the Palestinians off their land.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

I don’t have even a shallow acquaintance with the Old Testament, I’ve never read The Bible.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
6 months ago

Hamas did know what Israel’s response would be that’s part of the plan.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago

Settlers aggravate matters hugely and I don’t agree with their actions, but that doesn’t resolve the problem that Hamas doesn’t want a solution. The Settlers heighten tension and this should be stopped. All Hamas’s deliberate terrorism does (see the difference between Settlers and Hamas?) is drive Israel to the right – and it must be noted that they were liberal enough not to endorse Bibi with a majority. I wonder what the vote would be now, but I’m betting the sophistication of Israelis would still win out.
The job must be now be done. Enough. I have not seen Jews celebrating deaths en masse, nor have I seen them celebrating killing of civilians. I have seen Muslims do it and even though this is not their only voice it must be said, it is an overwhelming voice coming from their land of choice – the West.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
6 months ago

You don’t think Hamas were deliberately allowed to create havoc to give ‘Bibi’ the chance to be a ‘hero’ and drive out the Palestinians from Gaza first and then elsewhere . Lebensraum in ‘Judaea and Samaria ‘ It’s slightly hard to see how the Israeli could have been quite so inept . It’s almost as though a house holder in a dodgy area deliberately kept the windows unlocked and the house unprotected .

JJ Parks
JJ Parks
6 months ago

I don’t understand why Israelis are so astonished by the level of reprisals? How would you react if someone stole your home, land, killed your relatives, humiliated you for decades and then you watched as they built on your land and stole more of it, limiting you electricity to 4 hours per day, cutting off the water supply at will? You’d have rolled over would you? Never judge a man until you’ve walked in his shoes.

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
6 months ago

The Arabs in Israel deserve no more sympathy than minorities in many countries. Anybody crying for the hundreds of thousands kicked out of Kuwait? Sudan? Black September? The reason sympathy is elicited for the people above is obvious.
Car ramming, stabbing, shooting, suicide bombing? It’s done to Jews. Tell your boys to throw rocks at your police. Israeli Arabs could live in peace and many do. Apartheid? Same hospitals, restaurants, bathrooms, professionals, MDs, entrepreneurs, universities, etc. Everything was open to Arabs and Jews alike. Not so much now. This author ignores the ubiquitous Holy Jihad. Does anybody need Jihad explained?
Like George Washington and Mahatma Gandhi Jews made the British leave. Then there were the 3?, 5? wars of self-defense? Jews fought and died for the land and it’s the Arabs that encroach upon Jewish towns and villages. Only Jews build fences with lights facing out to guard themselves against the Holy Jihad.
Now, how can Arabs be trusted? Before October 7th Arabs earned good money working as they mapped out and planned their surprise attack- their murderous sucker punch taking hundreds of hostages old and young. 1,200 killed that day. Teens at a music festival. I could repeat the telling of horrors. Now without Arab labor and the call up of soldiers, Jews would rather crops rot in the fields than trust Jihadists.
And that’s what they are. Aren’t you sick of the media hiding their criminal behavior, infringement, intrusion and intentions in London, Paris, Stockholm etc.? Sheiks had many sharecroppers on their land. When those Sheiks sold their land they knew they’d get cash and a plus. The sharecroppers would say it was their land and fight like Arabs do.
Israel used to be sparse with gun permits. Now thousands of licenses are being approved. Israel gave Gaza as a land-for-peace experiment. In Oslo, Israel gave thousands of weapons to PA police as an experiment in self control. We may see bloody results of that experiment too.
So here we are. Sorry, Eastern Europe isn’t an ancestral homeland for Jews. There’s no going back. What’s one more war of self-defense in a neighborhood of deathly hate? How many times must citizens run to bomb shelters in days, weeks, months or years? You can call it resistance. We call it existence, survival and destiny. So do your worst and we shall do ours and may the disproportionally stronger one win.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago
Reply to  Ron Kean

Now, how can Arabs be trusted?
There’s a question no one else is asking. Instead, some will say “what about the Israelis?” Well, what about them? Leave them alone and see how that works out.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
6 months ago
Reply to  Ron Kean

Yes Jihad is an obnoxious concept and behind a lot of the attitudes of Muslims to Jews in Israel / Palestine.
However didn’t Begin also make
Religious claims to Israeli ‘ownership’ of what he called Judea and Samaria (to explicitly include the West Bank) it is hardly surprising the local Arabs would be attracted to extremist Islam , given old testament claims to their land made by the Israeli government . Seems to me a sequence of provocations.

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
6 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

And why did Egypt, Syria and Jordan attack in ’67 and ’73? Was it because they thought it was their land?

El Uro
El Uro
6 months ago

he has lost 70 members of his family in Gaza

If I were a correspondent, I would ask how many relatives he has in Gaza and what “relatives” are in his understanding. I don’t even want to dispute the numbers, I would like to better understand the local mentality. But, alas, the correspondent seems more concerned with making an impression than with providing insight.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
6 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Yes, that is food for thought!! I have about 5 family members living throughout the world, 70 does seem a bit excessive.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I have 22 first cousins (I think). If you included their spouses, children, second cousins and the like I could get up near 70 I reckon, and our birth rates are a long way behind that of Gaza.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Goodness. What is your ‘our’? I can only muster a half portion of that. Then the half portion only produced a handful. My ‘our’ is part of Africa and they can beat a lot of punters here. You must see the problem. Birth rates in the West are plummeting and rising hugely in parts of the world.
I might be pressing some buttons here, but it would be interesting to measure IQ to birth rate. Not sophistication – just IQ. Unless there is deliberate increase in birth rate.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago

That does rather sound like the spirit of ‘Apartheid’ lives on, which under the circumstances is not that surprising.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

My “our” is English, even though I’ve since disappeared to the antipodes.
Your opinions sound more like eugenics to me, it appears you pine for the good old days of apartheid. It’s amazing how you regularly accuse me of antisemitism and then seemingly throw out rather racist opinions that largely disappeared with the fall of a certain German regime in the 40’s, and that others seemingly agree with you.
For what it’s worth no, I don’t agree with you in regards to their being a link between IQ and birth rates. There’s definitely a link between how wealthy a society is and the birth rate, though I think this more to do with birth control and cost of living pressures

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I do not wish to engage in any sort of bigotry, but consanguinous marriages over many generations do lower the IQs of their societies, and aren’t uncommon in clan-based societies. It’s been reported that about half of Palestinians are the product of consanguinous unions.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago

Be careful…. Mention IQ and logic leaves the room and slurs begin. The people have been well trained.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

We’re just not as racist as yourself. It was a tragedy when apartheid finished in your opinion wasn’t it?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No, I voted for the end of apartheid as a matter of principle, while knowing we were on a slippery slope. Have you ever done that with your future?

Last edited 6 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
6 months ago

Well if you consider how many generations Jews lived in Shtetls in Eastern Europe , and don’t let’s get started with consanguineous marriages among the Haredi Jews in Israel ,London and New York .
Nothing clan-based there?

Last edited 6 months ago by Alan Osband
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Why are the IQs highest in places like Japan, China and Korea?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

You mean rich countries which have a strong education culture?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No, they do not allow large amounts of immigration.