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The Israel-Gaza war has changed everything The norms of war are being rewritten in real-time

Billboards in Tehran depict Iran's arsenal of weapons (ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

Billboards in Tehran depict Iran's arsenal of weapons (ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)


April 21, 2024   10 mins

Analysts, journalists and strategists are all required to ignore the near-impossibility of truly understanding a war as it unfolds. Failing to do so would send us into a morass of self-doubt, and our work would become a useless succession of Zen-like shrugs. A pose of certainty is therefore necessary, even as recent history serves as a caution.

When Rwanda’s Tutsis were being slaughtered 30 years ago this month, it was anything but obvious that, just two years later, they’d be leading a semi-successful multinational campaign of conquest in neighbouring Zaire, then the second-largest country in Africa. The Syrian Civil War looked far different in July 2012, when a suicide bomber assassinated the country’s defence minister and Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law, than it did in September 2015, when Russian forces arrived to rescue Assad’s crumbling regime. And when the most recent Israeli campaign in Gaza concluded in May 2021, the country’s leading strategists, along with many in the US, believed Hamas wanted nothing more than a long stretch of quiet in order to consolidate its rule over the coastal strip. Operation Guardian of the Walls was the Israeli success that would finally allow the country to address bigger and more dangerous threats than those irritating Islamist militants in the south.

For both the Israelis and Palestinians, this proved to be a grave misunderstanding of reality. The Israelis believed they had reduced Hamas to strategic insignificance. Meanwhile, the people who turned out to be the most meaningful Palestinian decision-makers, namely Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and his inner circle, were caught in the climax of what the political scientist Shany Mor has described as the “ecstasy-amnesia cycle”, convinced against all prior experience that the violent destruction of the Zionist entity was close at hand.

After six months of war, it makes less sense to assess who’s currently winning than it does to ask which current premises are in greatest danger of being exposed. Even identifying the next shattered certainty is difficult, as shown by the Iranian attack on Israel last weekend and Israel’s muted reply five days later.

Prior to last Sunday morning, any declared inter-state barrage of scores of armed drones and 130 ballistic missiles with a combined explosive payload of over 60 tons — the largest drone attack in history — enough to shut down much of the Middle East’s airspace and to mobilise a half-dozen militaries, would have been considered a reckless escalation, or even a history-making assault on global peace. Instead, by the logic of the current hostilities, the strike and its far limper Israeli sequel appear more like an American-managed climb-down, or a semiotic act of mutual face-saving after repeated Israeli successes against senior Iranian personnel in Syria. Or perhaps the episode was Tehran’s test of how much it can do without provoking a significant US-approved Israeli response, something more than a pro-forma, low-firepower strike on non-strategic targets. In any case, we can now retire the worn-out idea that an assault of scores of ballistic missiles can automatically be classed as a serious act of war.

Identifying the next assumption to crumble will require facing the often-ignored reality that much of what’s happened since October 7 is without any real precedent in this conflict. We are deep into the unknown, and were there long before this past week. The sides have notched accomplishments that are both novel and gruesome enough to demand real analytic humility, even and especially from those who, like myself, have covered the crisis on the ground.

Let’s begin with the Israelis, who pulled all but a single combat division out of the Gaza Strip just days after the IDF’s accidental bombing of a World Central Kitchen convoy earlier this month, a blunder that clinched the Biden administration’s growing opposition to the anti-Hamas campaign. On paper, and by the standards of nearly any other conflict, Israel’s war with Hamas looks like one of the most lopsided military engagements in modern history.

Israel has lost 665 security personnel since October 7, including a number of relatively senior combat officers. Still, most of Gaza City fell within two months of Israel’s invasion of Gaza; by contrast, the US-supported siege of Mosul, the Islamic State’s Iraqi redoubt, took well over a year. Within six months, Israel claimed to have killed 14,000 Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives in Gaza and Israel, along with 420 terrorists in the West Bank and 330 in Lebanon. These numbers don’t have to be anywhere near accurate to be of historic proportions: By comparison, Palestinian militants groups lost a little under 2,000 fighters in the 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2021 Gaza wars combined, and around 1,200 fighters during the five-year period of the Second Intifada.

This time around, the Hamas dead include Saleh al-Arouri, the founding commander of the al-Qassam Brigades and deputy head of the Hamas political bureau; Marwan Issa, Hamas’s third-ranking Gaza-based military leader; Faik Mabhouh, the head of Hamas internal security in the Strip; and Murad abu Murad, the group’s aerial operations chief. Israel claims it has killed five Hamas brigade commanders, 20 battalion commanders, and roughly 100 company commanders. As of late January, between 20% and 40% of Hamas’s estimated 500 kilometres of tunnels had been destroyed or rendered inoperable. In the central Gaza stronghold of Khan Younis, the number might be as high as 85%.

It is conceivable that the sheer scope and seniority of the losses, along with the IDF’s ongoing destruction of tunnels, arms stocks and rocket facilities will have no long-term impact on Palestinian militancy, but it is just as possible that the armed resistance will spend years struggling to recover its prior capabilities. They will operate with far less freedom, and under a far more active Israeli threat, than before October 7, the former era of delusion in which most Israelis failed to view Hamas as an existential danger.

Hamas, meanwhile, have notched no battlefield victories against Israel in Gaza. Instead, they have lost nearly all of their ability to strike inside Israel and have also shown no real capacity to fight the IDF inside Gaza itself. Of the 260 Israeli soldiers killed in the Strip, 41 were killed in friendly fire incidents, while dozens of others fell outside of direct fighting, from tunnel bombs, booby-trapped structures, and other pre-set explosives. Actual frontal combat ended in overwhelming Israeli victories: IDF losses tallied in the low single-digits during a two-week operation at Shifa Hospital in March, an effort in which the Hamas commander in charge of recruitment and procurement, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad political bureau, and 700 other alleged terrorists were captured or killed. Meanwhile the newly deployed Trophy system, an Israeli-developed countermeasure for anti-tank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, has vied with Hamas’s tunnels as the major battlefield innovation of the war.

“Hamas, meanwhile, have notched no battlefield victories against Israel in Gaza.”

Just as Israel wagered that the horrors of October 7 gave them the legitimacy to finally go after Hamas positions inside of hospitals, mosques, and other sensitive civilian infrastructure, it has leapt over former guard-rails in Lebanon and Syria with equally significant results: the IDF killed 16 Iranian Revolutionary Guard personnel in a single March 26th attack in Syria. A week later, It eliminated Mohamed Reza Zehedi, the long-time Iranian commander in Syria and Lebanon, as well as two other IRGC generals in a strike on an Iranian diplomatic facility in Damascus. Hezbollah, meanwhile, has admitted more than 260 losses in its ranks since October 7 — which exceeds the acknowledged death toll during its 2006 war with Israel, an event that militia leader Hassan Nasrallah publicly regretted. This time around, the Hezbollah dead include several senior officers of its Radwan special operations unit, as well as the deputy commander of its rocket and missile forces. The attacks haven’t stopped Hezbollah from bombing northern Israel every day for months on end, but they haven’t triggered a regional war either, hinting that Tehran’s deterrence has frayed.

With Israel emboldened by its battlefield gains and newly aware of its true security needs, a Haaretz analysis in late March found that the IDF was attempting to establish buffer zones and long-term military corridors that amount to as much as 16% of Gaza’s territory. An extended Israeli presence anywhere inside the Strip would reverse decades of precedent: Since the early Nineties, Israel has unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza and southern Lebanon, ceded civil control over major cities in the West Bank to the previously Tunis-based Palestine Liberation Organisation, given up farmland on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, and conceded on many of Hezbollah’s demands in the demarcation of the Israel-Lebanon maritime border in 2022.

For over 30 years, Israeli policy has gone entirely in one direction, guided by a strategic concept in which the security benefits stemming from the actual control of territory isn’t worth the attendant costs in blood, treasure and international status. The creation of a buffer zone in Gaza, however small or narrow, would thus push against the current of the conflict. Much like the destruction of south Beirut, about which defence minister Yoav Gallant hypothesised in January, the Israeli reoccupation of some part of south Lebanon is far less unthinkable now than it was six months ago.

And yet, the near-term neutralisation of Hamas as a security threat, the massive numbers of enemy dead, and, crucially, Israel’s ability to sustain high-tempo military operations in several theaters without a crippling economic, political or social crisis, have not amounted to anything like victory. These developments do not mean Israeli policy since October 7 has been more effective than other alternatives. But their novelty will set the future parameters of the conflict, for better and worse.

Here, the Iranian attack presages other unknowable changes. For decades, a direct Islamic Republic strike on Israel was a regional doomsday scenario. But thanks to a multi-layered aerial defence system — whose performance so far may turn out to be another one of the war’s major developments — the help of allied militaries, and the dismal state of Iranian hardware, the Israelis, along with everyone else, have now discovered that even a barrage of hundreds of drones and missiles is perfectly manageable, or at least not an automatic spark for a wider war. At the same time, Iran now knows that if it lobs dozens of ballistic missiles at Israel, its adversary will still meekly obey American demands not to meaninfully respond. This knowledge could prove dangerous to the entire region: everything that’s happened since October 7 and after has stemmed from the mistaken belief that raising the threshold for acceptable chaos is a sign of strategic wisdom, or keeps anyone safe in the long run.

In the north of Israel, it’s clear the Iranians and their proxies have already dictated a major shift in what Israeli leaders — and their allies in Washington — have shown themselves willing to live with. Israel ordered the evacuation of all civilians within five kilometres of the Lebanese border shortly after October 7, out of fear Hezbollah would join the war at their full capability and duplicate Hamas’s slaughter. Prior Israeli planning had allowed for the short-term mass evacuation of civilians in order to free up infrastructure during a possible invasion of Lebanon. Ordering tens of thousands of people from their homes for months on end, creating an exclusion zone in which the state either can’t or won’t protect its citizens, was never a part of the country’s defence strategy. Wars have a momentum of their own, though: Hezbollah has fired over 3,100 rockets and missiles into northern Israel since October 7. Dozens of communities remain uninhabited.

This depopulation of the Israeli borderlands is the Iran-led resistance bloc’s major battlefield achievement over the past half year. Washington’s answer to the impasse has been special envoy Amos Hochstein’s shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem and Beirut, relaying American demands that the parties refrain from expanding the scope of the war — something they’ve largely obeyed even after the Iranian strike. Israel must now choose between a costly invasion that will likely trigger a long and unknowably destructive barrage from Hezbollah and create a fresh set of crises with Washington, or accept that the Iran-led bloc now holds the power of life and death within the Jewish state’s own territory.

The latter scenario has proven remarkably durable, and it is not the only area where the Islamic Republic has inflicted a new status quo. Tehran has given its Yemeni proxy the arms and training needed to shut down shipping in the Red Sea, while, in yet another first, Iranian drones launched by Iraqi militants and missiles fired from Yemen have both made it into Israeli airspace. The Iranian attack last weekend resulted in a nationwide lockdown in Israel, a total airspace closure, and the resource-intensive use of scores of interceptors and fighter jets, something Tehran had never inflicted on the Jewish state before. (The Israeli reprisal was significantly less disruptive to life in Iran, but it did show that Israel could hit specific targets, some of them adjacent to the regime’s nuclear sites, without crossing into Iranian airspace or encountering any serious operational difficulties.)

Though Hamas has lost a generation of fighters in Gaza, their sacrifice was hardly in vain: in staving off a total collapse of their statelet, the Hamas dead bought their comrades enough time to shift diplomatic conditions in the terrorists’ favour. Negotiations over the fate of the 230 people Palestinian militants kidnapped on October 7 always advantaged Hamas: it put the US in the position of forcing additional concessions out of their Israeli allies in order to keep the Palestinians talking at all.

“Though Hamas has lost a generation of fighters in Gaza, their sacrifice was hardly in vain.”

When Hamas is simply too rejectionist for talks to take place, the Americans and the Israelis have instead negotiated with one another, with the US demanding a gradually more limited scope of Israeli operations against Hamas in exchange for continued support. In time, American conditions on an Israeli invasion of Rafah, the final Hamas stronghold in the Strip, have become so onerous and nonsensical that the US has emerged, intentionally or not, as Israel’s single greatest obstacle to the group’s destruction. Looming potential crises stemming from Iran’s new willingness to directly attack Israel have likely made a Rafah operation an even lower priority, and thus an even fainter prospect.

In late January, Axios reported that the US was “reviewing options” for the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, an entity that would almost certainly include Hamas members in its leadership, given the organisation’s popularity and the fecklessness of the Fatah apparatchiks who run the Palestinian Authority. Whether the US actually extends such recognition is less important than the introduction of a new source of leverage into the US-Israel relationship. In future moments of tension, an American administration merely has to raise the spectre of a Washington-approved State of Palestine to enforce more manageable Israeli behaviour.

Those cynics who claimed that an act of spectacular violence had vaulted Hamas to respectability and reframed the conflict around their hard-line grievances seem unfortunately vindicated. Hamas raped, murdered, and kidnapped its way to new heights, and it has now survived the largest military mobilisation in Israel’s history. They have proven that no amount of depravity can jeopardise their long-term existence, and with Iran’s help they have wheedled their way under the US protective umbrella despite having taken five American citizens hostage on October 7 — or maybe because of it. Their broader network of Iranian-supported allies have successfully battled the US military in the Red Sea, ejected tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes, and launched a major state-declared aerial assault without any immediate consequences. The Iranian navy’s capture of a Portuguese cargo ship last weekend is an act of brigandage now so routine, and so tolerated by all applicable international actors, that it barely registered.

Taken in their entirety, the post-October 7 catalogue of novelties raises unsettling questions about the very nature of war. In recent years, the prior, supposedly discredited concept of war as a struggle over resources, territory and human lives appeared to be making a comeback. Azerbaijan settled the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by creating conditions under which all Armenians fled the besieged territory; Russia is gradually pushing its way forward in Ukraine due to old-fashioned advantages in manpower and ammunition.

Yet events since October 7 suggest that other conflicts are not won on the ground, but in the murkier realm of perception. A war in which one side has lost 670 fighters and the other has lost as many as 15,000, along with much of their pre-conflict safe haven and military infrastructure, should not invite abstract discussions about the nature and meaning of victory. That such debates are possible, and even necessary, marks another achievement for the resistance bloc.

In the absence of any real clarity, we are left facing an alarming new frontier, where both sides have discovered what they are capable of. Israel has shown that it can sustain a very long war, and pursue its enemies in places that were once considered off-limits. These enemies have shown that they can impose potentially ruinous strategic choices on the Jewish state even as their fighters and commanders suffer steep losses in the field, while also demonstrating that they enjoy near-limitless reserves of goodwill, moral legitimacy and diplomatic protection, including from Israel’s putative allies.

Perhaps the grim innovations of the past six months will threaten the full collapse of one or more of the conflict’s various parties, leading to a strategic stasis which will seed the conditions for a surprisingly durable period of calm. It is just as possible that everyone is gaining a new understanding of what they can achieve by force. Years of targeted strikes met with a predictable volume of rocket-fire, or the occasional drone and missile wave, are just as possible as a punctuated, world-changing regional war. Perhaps the most important reality of the post-October 7 conflict is that we may never know.


Armin Rosen is a staff writer at The Tablet.


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Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 month ago

Hamas has lit a Guns-of-August style touchpaper, so fingers crossed we don’t currently have a modern-day alliance system of guarantees of support which will domino into WWIII.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

The ‘Sleepwalkers’ by Christopher Clark might be a better analogy.

Duane M
Duane M
1 month ago

Yep. The US and its vassal states, sleepwalking into new horror. So true and so sad.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

Luckily, we have immensely wise leaders in charge so nothing to fear.. Biden, Sunak, Shultz, Macron, Von der Leyen ..what could go wrong? Oh yes, and the other leader, the one who leads the leaders by the nose.. Netanyahu.. Nothing to worry about; we’re in safe hands!

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

A key immediate question remains whether Israel will continue to accept the depopulation of it’s Northern border. Displaced Israeli’s and kids unable to return to school in Sept will be focusing minds. It is difficult to see how they accept this. One suspects without the impact of a US election influencing short term decisions the IDF would already be rolling tanks into Southern Lebanon. If the US political community reaches consensus it could happen early Summer – with the return to school deadline in mind. If not maybe this will be early 25?
More broadly there are so many other imponderables which could change things – a new Iranian Supreme Leader, an agreement some Arab states will peace-keep parts of Gaza, Netanyahu replacement, as well of course whether it’s Trump or Biden. But messy inconclusive stand-offs for many years have precedent. The Korean position probably has more applicability for where the Ukrainian conflict likely ends but it may also have lessons for the Middle East.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

What else did you really expect?

This is GOD on the subject some two thousand odd years ago:-

“I have noted what Amalek* did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
(1 Samuel 15:1‑3)

(*Substitute Palestinians for Amalek and there you have it.)

John Abeles
John Abeles
1 month ago

Blatant nonsense …

Israel has relentlessly sought peace in the past while the Palestinians and neighbouring countries have recently sought its demise – until Egypt and Jordan plus Abraham Accord nations have signed uneasy treaties

The Palestinian and other terror groups are openly genocidal in their intents

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  John Abeles

“It takes one to know one” as we say.

However I do love your line “Israel has relentlessly sought peace in the past”.

Really in 1945-48 for example Abeles old chap?

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago

more glib nonsense from vera.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

Should be a capital V.
Did you not receive a secondary education Storm old chap?

Sooner or later Israel will go the same way as the Crusader Kingdom*, it is inevitable given its antipathetic attitude to all who surround it.
Start packing now Storm old chap, if you hope for a future.

(*1099-1303 AD.)

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

Sadly we have another 125 years of slaughter and colonisation to ho then?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Armageddon in less than ten years would be my guess.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

It’s not glib nonsense.. it’s stirring the sh¡t – don’t you know the difference by now? CS is very predictable.. he thinks everything is an opportunity for him to wax eloquent on his vast knowledge of history and the classics.. “just for a larf” is CS’s MO, not serious analysis and certainly not suggested solutions! Once you know all that Charlie is well, Charlie!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Thank you for that vote of confidence Liam old chap.

I must confess ‘harry storm’ (sic) is rather easy to wind up, but it all adds to the sport does it not?

Frankly on this vexed issue what is the point of “serious analysis” or even “suggested solutions” when ‘Kosher Nostra’ reigns supreme in Washington DC and its Client States, such as our good selves?

Recently I have found Dave Cameron’s utterances on this topic quite nauseating. No doubt you have felt the same?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  John Abeles

Seeking peace from people you steal land from, murder at will and confine to a concentration camp is always going to be tricky, especially when it involves continued land theft, continued slaughter, continued incarceration without trial.. It’s not the kind of peace seeking that is likely to be agreed to. Why the Palestinians are unhappy with the IDF jackboot on their necks is a mystery isn’t it.. I mean who doesn’t like being stolen from, tortured and murdered?

Micheal MacGabhann
Micheal MacGabhann
1 month ago

Still reading those fairy tales at your age?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago

As a disciple of Diogenes of Sinope I hardly think so.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

I’m gonna write a book telling yous all what God told ME! He told me who to kill and all the stuff that’s rightfully mine! I’ll explain it all to gullible Yanks and they’ll support me coz if they don’t God will smite them so they’ll have to, right! You could make this sh¡t up.. I just did and so did the looney Israelites 3,000 years ago!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Is that a literal translation Liam old chap?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Isnt tgat the muslim view? Yet you seem to support then

Stuart Maister
Stuart Maister
1 month ago

The most thorough analysis of the situation I have read.

Malcolm Robbins
Malcolm Robbins
1 month ago
Reply to  Stuart Maister

Hardly – a clever piece propaganda it is though with every paragraph seeking to manipulate the reader into supporting a pro-Israel stance. A bit too formulaic though.
And the closing paragraph says it all and represents the depressing world view of the author: “…It is just as possible that everyone is gaining a new understanding of what they can achieve by force… Perhaps the most important reality of the post-October 7 conflict is that we may never know.”
In other words his conclusion is in favour of endless war rather than reflecting on the futility and destructiveness of sectarian violence. And he has the audacity, in the third paragraph to say: “…The Israelis believed they had reduced Hamas to strategic insignificance. Meanwhile, the … Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and his inner circle, were caught in the climax of what the political scientist Shany Mor has described as the ‘ecstasy-amnesia cycle‘…”. (note the Israelis were rational while Hamas are ideologically driven).
I must say I can’t see any light between the nature of the (religious/ethnic) ideological beliefs nor violence promoted by both extremes in this situation. When are people going to realise the principle of universality and promote the conditions that could lead to a lasting peace?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago

When God is on your side it doesn’t matter how you behave on the battlefield.

That said, the ruthlessness of the Israeli’s response is no worse than the behaviour of our politicians in egging on the Ukrainians to sacrifice a generation in a war we all know they can’t win. If war has any value it must be to force us to face the truth about ourselves.

Andrew Chanerleycalabrese
Andrew Chanerleycalabrese
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Yes you are right, when France wanted to send French troops to the Ukraine, the response was very muted from the USA and Europe. That tells us and the Russians that the West are a bunch of chickens. All of Ukraine up to the Russian front should already by occupied by NATO forces, that would make Putin put on his brown trousers and stop any further incursions.

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
1 month ago

How many streets and neighborhoods in London, Paris and elsewhere will it take to lose for people like you to understand Islam doesn’t tolerate lasting peace without total conquest?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Stuart Maister

The only minor omissions being the wanton slaughter of innocent women and children, the endless war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.. I suppose the author didn’t want to confuse the core issues?? Disgusting piece.

Matthew Jones
Matthew Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The least successful genocide of all time.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
1 month ago
Reply to  Matthew Jones

‘Progressives’ redefine the meaning of words to fit their political prejudices when the prejudices don’t match with reality.
‘Genocide’ suddenly becomes redefined as perhaps referring to civilian casualties from a war involving the hated Israel, in which aerial bombing might or might not be classed as ‘indiscriminate.’
‘Racism’ becomes redefined as something which is ok, or even necessary & ‘anti-racist,’ when they do it. Etc.

Tony Plaskow
Tony Plaskow
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Unsure what you mean here? He talks about Hamas throughout the article

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 month ago

A very thoughtful piece. The author is right about the erosion of many pieces of conventional wisdom. At the risk of doing what he warns against, it does seem to me that – irrespective of what happens in Gaza – the strategic balance has been shifting slowly but inexorably in favour of Iran and against Israel. The failure of the drone attack may suggest that there is now a rough balance but in a few years – after perhaps the Iranians have acquired nuclear weapons and consolidated an Iran/Iraq/Syria/Hezbollah bloc – the shift will probably have gone further. Ultimately, the struggle with Hamas is a sideshow to this larger game.

Perhaps one piece of conventional wisdom that needs to fall by the wayside is that Israel can afford to proceed without coming to an accommodation with its Sunni neighbours. Its efforts in this direction over the last twenty years have been uninspiring as the result of domestic politics. If the majority of Israelis are now willing to face down the ultra orthodox community, they should perhaps also do so with the settlers. It would be a good start to gaining some diplomatic and strategic flexibility.

Allen Z
Allen Z
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

The current polling in Israel shows the Centrist National Unity Party winning the next election by significant margin at the expense of Likud. In the past, much Likud support came from voters who, for security reasons, did not want to see the IDF leave the West Bank a/k/a Judea Sumeria under any agreement with the PLO. However many of these same Likud voters were unhappy with Likud’s right wing coalition partners (the Settler movement and the ultra-religious), but put up with them due waffling of Centrist politicians about whether the IDF stayed in WB.
Now, due 10/7 and on-going Gaza War, all the Centrist politicians have made it clear that, while there can be autonomy for Palestinians in WB and reduction of Settler activity, the IDF will not leave the area. Thus allowing many LIkud voters to move to the Center politically.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 month ago
Reply to  Allen Z

That is an encouraging analysis.

Stewart Cazier
Stewart Cazier
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I think it difficult to describe the Iranian drone attack as a failure, given that it wasn’t meant to succeed (in terms of causing real damage). As with many set piece actions of apparent retaliation, it was communicated in advance to ensure that the adversary was prepared and understood it principally as a face saving piece of theatre

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 month ago

No mention of the tens of thousands civilians murdered in Palestine and a hint near the end (Armenians) of what might be in store for the rest.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago

What else did you really expect?

Douglas Hainline
Douglas Hainline
1 month ago

When Iran acquires deliverable nuclear weapons, this will change everything, although in an unpredictable way. The key question is: will the approaching nuclear holocaust be confined to the Middle East? Another important issue: how secure are the Sunni monarchies/dictatorships, given that their collaboration with Israel is probably deeply unpopular with their own people?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago

Your last comment speaks to a key point in this issue – when do the Muslims resolve the animosities among themselves, let alone figure out how to live with the Jews? Given the choice, I get the sense that the Arabs would prefer to be rid of the Persians – or least those in charge of the Islamic Republic – than the Israelis.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago

‘They’ don’t need a ‘sophisticated delivery system.’
Just plant them on the West facing slopes of the Mountains of Moab and let the wind do the rest.*

Cyprus may have to be evacuated, if there is time.

(* What’s known in the trade as “ground bursts “.)

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago

my oh my vera is in fine jew-hating form today, almost salivating at the prospect of israel’s nuclear annihilation (but concerned over possible harmful effects for Cypriots). nice.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

Come on Storm old chap, you know deep down you don’t have a case!

Here is how William Edward Henry Appleby Esq put it so perfectly a few days ago:-

“The point is, what do the “returners” of the last 70 years or so have to do with the people that left there over 1,500 years ago? Millenia of mixing with Europeans and other groups means that modern Jews don’t even resemble the locals that have lived there continuously since. Culturally, ethnically and genetically, the returners don’t fit in. Even Judaism itself is not one religion. The *only* reason that Israel should exist is because of the Holocaust, which is a stain on Christian Western Europe and not on the Arabs or Muslim locals, that I accept. Other than that, I don’t see why Jews, or for that matter Muslims or Catholics or any other loosely affiliated religious movement needs a political homeland.”

So loathsome as the Arabs are to you and others of your ilk, they are being asked to pay for a crime they didn’t commit. Or have you missed that as well?

By rights you should have demanded your new homeland be in Austria or Bavaria. Perhaps if you had pushed harder, the proposed Morganthau Plan might have accommodated you, and saved us all a lot of trouble.

POSTED AT 10.08 BST and immediately SIN BINNED.

David George
David George
1 month ago

“should have demanded your new homeland be in Austria or Bavaria”
Nonsense Charles. The now Israeli Jewish people from North Africa, the Stans and from the broader Middle East will not be convinced they’ve nothing to fear from the Muslims/Arabs. Nor will the Bahai and Buddhists or the Christians and Druze or the Yezidis and Zoroastrians that have sought refuge in Israel.
From a 2019 study and according to Wiki Jews are less than 70% of the population. Of those 44.9% were Mizrahi (defined as having grandparents born in North Africa or Asia), 31.8% Ashkenazi (defined as having grandparents born in Europe, the Americas, Oceania and South Africa), 12.4% as “Soviet” (defined as having progenitors who came from the ex-USSR in 1989 or later), about 3% as Ethiopia and 7.9% as a mix of these, or other Jewish groups, Bulgarian or Greek Jews, who would be categorized as Ashkenazi according to this definition, although they are overwhelmingly Sephardic.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  David George

David, I would thought it was obvious that I was referring to the situation post the 8th May 1945.
You maybe be unaware but millions of Germans were summarily ejected from areas where they had lived for centuries, the Sudetenland, East Prussian and Silesia for example.

Clearing out a few million more Austrians/Bavarians should have NOT been a problem. Sadly NO contemporary politician had the ‘audacity’ of Ancient Rome to execute such a policy, and we are where we are.

David George
David George
1 month ago

The movement of diaspora Jews to Israel began well before 1945 and was never totally out of Europe so, no.
Is this really about land though? Is self determination really the motivation for the Islamists?
Lebanese Jewish refugee Professor Gad Saad:
“The mindset in the Middle East is very simple. It is based on the Qur’anic concept of dhimmi status for all religious minorities who are “people of the book.” Such people can at best be tolerated but they should NEVER be in a position in power whether within a country or within the Middle East. As such, Israel’s existence violates a definitional and fundamental tenet of the mindset in the region. It is that simple.
It has nothing to do with land; nothing to do with two states; nothing to do with other geopolitical realities. Islam is supreme. Islam can protect you as long as you know your place. Israel said NO! We have dignity; we have a right for self-autonomy. Ask yourself the following question: How are non-Muslim minorities faring throughout the Middle East? Yes, there are times when minorities are “tolerated” but the overlords reserve the right to exterminate you as they see fit. There is 1,400 years of that recorded history. Learn your history.”

David George
David George
1 month ago

Contrary to your assertions Charles, the Israelis are mostly not from Europe or direct descendants of European Jews. Many of the modern Israelis are refugees (including Christians, Druze etc.) from oppression and genocide in North Africa, the broader Middle East and the Stans. The idea that they have a claim to a homeland in western Europe is absurd.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  David George

As above.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  David George

What about all the ones from Eastern Europe, Holocaust survivors etc at the end of WWII?

What was ‘EXODUS’ all about?

I not saying they have a claim to “western Europe’ but as Ashkenazi Jews had lived in Europe for centuries and were the main target of the Holocaust, it would have been logical to give them a homeland taken from the perpetrators would it not?
As I recall both Austrians and Bavarians were disproportionately ‘involved’ in the Holocaust, not to mention that HITLER was an Austrian was he not?

POSTED AT 0851, BST and all too predictably SIN BINNED immediately.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

Being purely practical, if Israel didn’t exist, in the morning, what would be the effect on the World? Surely that is a hope we all share?

B Stern
B Stern
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Being purely practical, if Ireland didn’t exist, in the morning, what would be the effect on the World?
There I fixed that for you.

Duane M
Duane M
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

It is Israel threatening to exercise its “Sampson “option that causes greater alarm. Although it puts Israel in the about same place as the newly-arrived black sheriff in “Blazing Saddles.” I wish Israel could see itself with a little more perspective. If they blow themselves up, even taking along a portion of their neighbors, it will be a tiny blip in the history of the MIddle East.
BTW, harry, disgust for Zionism does not equal hatred toward Jews. Plenty of Jews also oppose Zionism.

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
1 month ago

I do not believe Israel will allow it. Netanyahu’s broad strategy was to have the U.S. handle this while Israel took care of the procies. But that is obviously no longer viable as the feckless Demcorats have no intention of doing anything at all to Iran let alone attacking it to stop its nuclear pursuit. Nomatter what the cost or difficulty, Iranian nukes will spell the end of Israel so cannot be allowed to happen. Israel has shown it can easily attack Iran from the air and if it has to, it will do so in a serious way. Our best hope is that the Mullahs are somehow overthrown.

annabel lawson
annabel lawson
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

Yes stop nuclear capability for Iran and if it’s too late, take it away.
Annabel

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

Yeah, it’ll be confined to the ME alright.. incoming missiles, planes etc all US, UK and sure, the Iranian victims will just roll over.. or might they attack Washington DC and London? Mmm tis a question? Actually it’ll be far simpler to shut down the Straits of Hormuz and attack Western shipping in the Gulf, just like Germany did in it’s war will GB.. It’ll be easier to crush the West economically.. as parasites for 200 years Westerners will be unable to survive their toys being taken from them. Tough, battle hardened Arabs will eat us for breakfast, economically! Iran has allies too who already know Western warmongering all too well..
Nah, it’s WW3 alright.

Arthur King
Arthur King
1 month ago

One outcome of this conflict is the shift of many in political classes towards more right wing parties. How many remains to be seen, but The West is now different and in time we will see this play out.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Arthur King

Do you mean the landslide shift to the Tory party? ..or are Tories Socialists now?

Arthur King
Arthur King
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The Tories are set to decimate the Liberal Party in my country. In Europe support for the right is rising. As for the UK, it doesn’t register much on my relevance scale. Your elites have gone mad.

Neiltoo .
Neiltoo .
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The current iteration of the Conservative Party is indeed socialist compared to what came before. That is why it will be wiped out at the next election. It has taken its supporters for granted, promised them much and delivered nothing.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
1 month ago

One clear result is that Israel’s international standing has suffered potentially irreparable damage and younger generations everywhere, even in the US, are doubting the legitimacy of the Zionist project. In addition , Israel seems to be destined to be a far-right, theocratic state that has even forced the US and others to sanction the settler movement.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 month ago

Test

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago

At some point, it should become clear – but it won’t – that this is not a problem for the West to solve. Whatever one thinks of Israel, the onus lies with the rest of the Arab world, which greatly outnumbers the Jews but is often at odds with itself. These people have to decide how much more killing they’re willing to tolerate. Several Muslim nations have made peace with Israel. Many are doing business with Israel. But others remain fixated on wiping out the country.
The West has tried to mediate. Repeatedly. It has failed each time, not due to a failure of imagination or a lack of interest, but to not being of that world. An externally imposed solution is seldom very effective for an internal problem. So, when do sober Arab minds coalesce to say that this ends, and to recognize that “this” goes beyond Muslim and Jew, extending to killings between Shias and Sunnis? Muslims kill more Muslims than anyone else and by a wide margin.
I don’t know how one brokers such a solution. What does it take to get the Saudis and Iranians to set aside their differences and dislikes and work toward some common goal that benefits their citizens? Surely, if a Gulf state or several can work out arrangements to co-exist with Israel, Muslims can do likewise with each other, which could then extend more broadly.

Faith Ham
Faith Ham
1 month ago

The U.S. has foisted its Vietnam legacy on the world. Win militarily. Lose in the court of public opinion. Tuck your tail between your legs. Eviscerate yourselves from within.

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
1 month ago
Reply to  Faith Ham

It certainly is the Biden approach. Perhaps Israel can yet find its way to a different outcome.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

Not just Biden. EVERY US administration since Eisenhaur has waged u njustified wars, assassination, regime toppling and every other kind of heinous international crime including genocide (with millions of victims). 98% of Israelis are now brutalused, fully indoctrinated psychopathic killers.. and so “a different outcome” is very unlikely.. I imagine the 2% are already getting out AFAP so as not to be eaten alive by their Moloch worshipping neighbours.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The USA has been behaving like this since at least 1898 and the simply outrageous “Remember the MAINE affair “.

Still ‘we’ taught them……..sadly.

Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Your comment that 98% of Israelis are now fully indoctrinated psychopathic killers is as offensive as it is untrue. If that were indeed the case, Gaza would now be a parking lot. You forget that Hamas wishes to annihilate Israel and you are giving them justification. Shame on you.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

He and others regularly ignore certain words, some of which are underlined below, ascribed to Israel only. It must be a genetic deficiency.
“…unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza and southern Lebanon, ceded civil control over major cities in the West Bank to the previously Tunis-based Palestine Liberation Organisation, given up farmland on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, and conceded on many of Hezbollah’s demands in the demarcation of the Israel-Lebanon maritime border in 2022.”
Doesn’t sound much like a genocidal regime to me.

B Stern
B Stern
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Maybe it’s something in the drinking water in Ireland.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Pillock

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Faith Ham

I think public opinion would strongly support Ukraine and Taiwan. Support for Israel was waning, but the Iranian 300 drone attack will have done much to help reverse that. Militarily each conflict remains v inconclusive and dangerous but no indication the Autocrats are winning. In fact much more to their surprise is how solid the West has remained.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Western govts only; not Western people, certainly not young Western people.. govts come and go.. young people become aware and grow up to become politicians.. Israel is over. Warmongering, supremacist Western (sick) values ensure the demise of the US Empire and all it’s sycophants and vassals will follow. It is the dawning of a new age..

Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The West is being taken over internally by Islam. These young people will come to rue the day they let it happen, as illustrated by the despair of the Iranian people at their despotic Mullahs.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

They will learn quickly what an “infidel” is.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

ANd what wonderful alternative to ‘sick’ western values do you have waiting in the wings Liam?

David Brown
David Brown
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Dee Lusional (sick)

Neiltoo .
Neiltoo .
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Why do you hate that which allows you to be what you want to be?

Obadiah B Long
Obadiah B Long
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

We have been extensively infiltrated. The infiltrators have influenced us, and especially young adults, to be overwhelmed by guilt and fear. They must be excluded from our society by any means necessary. It is an existential matter.
Western values have done miraculous things. It is not inaccurate to call them “supreme,” objectively speaking. The infiltrators do not share them, cannot share them, and will not accomplish miraculous things. Rather, they will drag us back to the Middle Ages. Even if you feel the Middle Ages were not that bad, maybe more humane, it is too late. Can’t be done.

Dick Barrett
Dick Barrett
1 month ago

So this writer believes that 15,000 people in Gaza (half the total deaths there since October 7th) were Hamas fighters. Does he have any credible basis whatever for that figure? In any case, this author sees Israel as the victim of clever manipulation of world public opinion, but I see little mention of Israel’s appalling record of apartheid and colonialism going back over the last 20 years. Does he not consider that to be relevant??

David George
David George
1 month ago
Reply to  Dick Barrett

It was about 14,000 terrorists killed in Gaza according to Israel – not all Hamas as there’s Islamic Jihad and others involved. Hamas are now saying they can only account for 22,000 total killed.
That’s a remarkably low proportion of civilian casualties considering the terrorists are fully imbedded in and under residential area, schools and hospitals etc. and are blatantly (and illegally) using civilians as “human shields”.

Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
1 month ago

This is an excellent analysis. The only important part not addressed in it, is the strong internal opposition in Iran to the immense cost of the mullah regime’s single-minded pursuit of Israel’s destruction. It has been pointed out that there are far fewer pro-Gaza demonstrations in Iran than there are in London or Paris. Whether and how much this internal opposition will influence Iran’s policy could have a major effect on the whole Middle East.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny Kaye

It’s not quite so easy to demonstrate in Iran is it? The regime is (rightly) paranoid about US led coups and destabilisation.. Internal opposition is seen as pro Western and now that despicable Western ‘values’ are in the toilet throughout the world, all those US backed demos will greatly reduce in number.
Just think of it this way: if you lead a pro Western values demonstration in Iran you will be seen as a likely CIA stooge.. not a good look in Teheran these days! Even if the demo is in support of Gaza the authorities will be very wary of such demos being hijacked by Victoria Nuland and her ilk! ..and with bloody good reason ..and yes, I do mean bloody, literally!

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

‘despicable’ – I would love to know more about the historical and societal comparators upon which you base that nuanced and sophisticated judgement. As Thomas Sowell would say ‘despicable compared with what?’

Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

It should be very easy to demonstrate in Iran for Palestinians and against Israel. The mullahs would love nothing more. And yet, when an Iranian soccer game public was give small Palestinian flags to wave, they chanted “shove the flag up your a**” . That much for popular support for the Palestinian cause in Iran.
https://twitter.com/RealPersianGod/status/1711089926052208748
I had to look up who Victoria Nuland is. I fail to see the connection.

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
1 month ago

The war isn’t over yet and your analysis of what Hamas will gain if it does indicates why Israel has no choice, none at all, but to ignore Biden and go into Rafah and finish Hamas off. Hamas can not survive as a governing entity. Period.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

Correct!
Simply astonishing how the ‘Holocaust Dividend’ has been squandered so quickly.
No doubt Israel’s attempt at ‘Lebensraum’ is ultimately responsible?

SIN BINNED at 11.30 BST, Sunday 21 April.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

Spot on Charlie.. for once! But don’t down play Zionist Libensraum.. it has been very, very successful. 98% of Israelis believe the IDF’s brutal war crimes were either OK or not brutal enough …pretty impressive, right? It puts one in mind of Orwell’s puppies in Animal Farm.

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Rather than Animal Farm I see The Mouse That Roared. Fight, lose and get dollars.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

Hamas as a govt entity is not the problem for the Zionists silly! They were set up by Likud to prevent PLO peace talks from succeeding.. the old divide and conquer maxim.
It’s Hamas’s survival as a terrorist/freedom fighting organisation that’s the real issue! ..and even more so Hamas’s survival as a political ideal that counts! Indeed, Hamas freed from its govt duties, will be an even more formidable enemy now that its allies/suppliers no longer fear the IDF capability. In short, Israel is over.

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

The Jews just need to survive until Biden is gone. Trump would never have permitted Oct 7 to happen.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 month ago

I posted this yesterday but it doesn’t seem to have made an appearance.

No mention of the tens of thousand dead Palestinian civilians and near the end a hint (Armenia) of what may be in store for the remainder.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

But they’re not white.. hell, they’re not even Christian fgs and they’ve got all that oil and gas! Get a grip will you!

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 month ago

Just realised that the most likely reason my original post was rejected:
I mentioned the name of the country, not the people.

Unherd have been making a big fuss recently about the silent censorship that goes under the disinformation banner. Maybe they should look in the mirror.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 month ago

Oops! The original post seems to have made it. Wasn’t there when I looked previously.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

The more I read (with an open mind btw!) the more the propaganda came.. hotter and heavier as the paragraphs were puked out.. I the end I had to stop.. halfway through still no mention of the slaughter of innocents, despicable war crimes, Satanic cruelty or any of that boring old stuff that deflects from aiding and abetting a valued ally! Sickening.
I guess the best thing to do now is read Scott Ritter on the same topic and ‘average out’ the so called facts presented by both sides.

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
1 month ago

This is a very complex article. I suggest to make a larger claim about this war: this war is local, but total. It is local in the wider Middle East, and it is total, because Hamas has from before October 7 committed itself to a multi-dimensional, no rules, no holds barred war to liquidate Israel. The evidence suggests that israel was not aware of this when the october 7 attack occurred, and it took some time for Israel to realise that the war had been extended, purposefully, into the global media. Here Hamas has everything pre-arranged. All aid to Gaza went into the terror underground network, whose lodes concentrated on hospitals and schools to ensure that Israeli attacks on Hamas operatives killed as many Palestinian civilians as possible. Hamas Health Authority then challenged the IDF on the international media as the source of statistics for killed, and wounded. Meanwhile, major organs in the US and the UK especially had been penetrated, notably the BBC.
What this means for Israel is that decisions by its leadership have to take into account, the complete dimension of the war as one prosecuted on multiple fronts, and always in danger of leaking into a wider geographic war, sucking up non-related disputes.
Still, the objective of Israel is 99% likely to remain what it has been: the liquidation of every single member of Hamas. The argument that alternative Hamas’s will spring up is beside the point. They may well do; but if they do, they will be perfectly well aware of the risk attached.

Obadiah B Long
Obadiah B Long
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

All wars should be multi-dimensional, no rules, no holds barred war to liquidate the enemy. That’s why they call it “war.” Anything less guarantees a repeat for the next generation. War is horrible, so why should we keep perpetuating it with restraint?

P Branagan
P Branagan
1 month ago
Reply to  Obadiah B Long

…..so why should we keep perpetuating it (war) with restraint?
Absolutely my dear chap Long – brilliant thinking.

So the Russians should nuke Ukraine and the rest of Central/Western Europe to radioactive cinders. No more Napoleons or AHs or Nulands coming from the West.
(The Americans will not intervene to save their pathetic European vassals as to do so will guarantee their own absolute destruction).

Yes indeed – restraint is for wimps! Let’s sort things out once and for all. Let the nukes fly.
Now, why didn’t I think of that!
Silly silly me!

Obadiah B Long
Obadiah B Long
1 month ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Indeed, silly. You are confusing strategy with restraint. Refraining from nuke usage is a strategic choice. That’s very different from trying to minimize civilian damage, for example. In fact, restraint gives the enemy time to build up more weaponry (Iran) and grow up a new generation of fighters (Palestine). The enemy is the enemy civilization, not the enemy army. That is the point.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
1 month ago

The only thing Israel is testing is how far Western hypocrisy will go in ignoring the full bingo-card of international law violations Israel has racked up in the last six months – and that is only on top of a consistent, decade-long flouting of the UN and Security Council resolutions.
What we in the West seem to fail to understand is that we’re fooling nobody but ourselves. The rest of the world see the reality and our hypocrisy, and acts accordingly.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 month ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

I don’t think anyone in the West who gives an iota of thought to this vexed issue has a scintilla of doubt as to where the blame lies.

Unfortunately our so called governments think otherwise, thus it shall almost certainly “end in tears”.

Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo
1 month ago

The most significant inflection point in this conflict will arrive when Israel and its allies begin to exhaust their industrial and economic capacity to manufacture their incredibly complicated and expensive missile defense systems. The stunning asymmetry in cost and effort to build defensive interceptor missiles versus offensive ones makes this conflict attritional in favor of Israel’s enemies. The missile defense systems are currently being used contrary to their large-scale strategic purpose. They cannot be manufactured in sufficient numbers to achieve defensive capacity against perpetual high-volume missile/drone assaults. They were intended to be deployed in combination with offensive systems that would, after an attack was repelled, destroy an enemy’s ability to continue launching weapons. Unless Israel and its allies begin degrading its enemies’ missile stockpiles and production/acquistion capacity, eventually the asymmetry will manifest, Iran’s and Hezbollah’s missiles and drones will begin reaching targets, and Israel’s response will have to change dramatically.

A D Kent
A D Kent
1 month ago

 The statement that the Iranian strikes did minimal damage relies entirely on the assertions of the Israelis themselves – if wars were won on that basis then we’d have lost the Battle of Britain solely on the basis of Goerrings account of the relative losses of either side.

The claims may or may not be true, but the ramifications are (IMHO) clear . There were at least half a dozen, and possibly more hits from balistic missiles on one of the most heavily defended targets in Israel (and therefore the world). As I’ve pointed out here before, had the Iranians chosen to target the Dimona nuclear facility the outcome could well have been terminal for Israel. The Iranians now hae a much better idea of what it might take to properly level some Israeli targets and make no mistake, they have the weapons to do it.

Beyond that I’ve seen numerous estimates of over a billion dollars for the cost of defending this single attack – how long is that viable for the Israelis. Sure they shot down lots of their drones, but each one at the cost of a couple of multi-million dollar missiles and associated costs..

And the ability to hit those Israeli targets goes for the various US bases in the gulf too (as they already demonstrated in Syria after the murder of Soulemani.

What we’re seeing now in the Gulf is what we’ve been seeing in Ukraine. The West’s military industrial base and with them their military doctrines (their ‘way of war’) are woefully inadequate. Sure they worked nicely against an already weakened, isolated state or in just smashing things up (see Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya), but when it comes to anything like a peer – they’re proving not to be up to the task in this new epoch of cheap drones and hypersonic missiles.

Israel is no longer a safe haven – it needs to come to terms with that and start to act accordingly.  

alan bennett
alan bennett
1 month ago

The blackmailing nonsense by Biden will stop under Trump, next summer Israel will finish off Hamas and Trump will do for the mullahs.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Thought provoking and well written and reasoned piece but strikes me it misses the center of gravity of the war – Hamas as the governing entity in Gaza. It actually misses the political center of gravity altogether — if war is an extension of politics by other means, this one takes it to an extreme. Israel since that fateful decision, urged by the U.S., to allow an election in Gaza rather than allowing the PA to govern by diktat and arming them to do so, has been fighting a war of containment against the terrorist statelet which it thought it had nailed. The international community too went along as it agreed with Israel that the three year cycles of destruction and rebuilding of Gaza with the occasional rocket barrage came with lower cost than pushing out Hamas from its governing role and imposing a less hostile ruler on the place.  
Rosen is right when he says “for over 30 years, Israeli policy has gone entirely in one direction, guided by a strategic concept in which the security benefits stemming from the actual control of territory isn’t worth the attendant costs in blood, treasure and international status.” That changes now that Israel is for the first time in its history losing territory in the north and south and cannot live next to a Hamas led entity any longer. Carving a buffer zone out of South Lebanon again would be incredibly costly, but perhaps sustainable. But no buffer zone in Gaza that leaves Hamas governing makes any sense, and even in pure security terms achieves little. Tunnels and rockets simply emanate from a smaller piece of hostile territory. And the sense of Israel’s enemies closing in as it fights now on four fronts remains. Since the rallying of Hezbollah, Iran, and the West Bank Palestinians against Israel started with the violent power rush of October 7th, those who perpetrated it cannot be allowed territory to govern. They can plan and conspire and even attack, but not from territory they control. Thus, who governs Gaza is the only real question. Leaving Hamas in that role is like Israel leaving a noose around its neck and hoping the hangman doesn’t flip the lever. Eliminating them as a governing body pushes all other enemies back.  

Luke Lea
Luke Lea
1 month ago

“At the same time, Iran now knows that if it lobs dozens of ballistic missiles at Israel, its adversary will still meekly obey American demands not to meaninfully respond.”
That’s quite a conclusion to draw from a single event.

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
1 month ago

In the spirt of Passover, I need to ask, “Why is this war different from all other wars?
One would think that progressive or liberal western opinion would be on the side of the democracy, the side of equal rights for men/women/LGBTQ+, the side of reproductive freedom, the side of freedom, the side that had it women raped, civilians including children butchered and killed or kidnapped, but not this time. Why?
This war is also being fought on college campuses in the United States. Look at the kaffiyeh wearing protestors – many with their faces covered to obscure their personal identities and more women than men. These are the future leaders of the world, with credentials from supposedly the top universities in our country. Columbia is becoming Jew free. A campus rabbi advised Jewish students not to go back until the university can guarantee their safety. Do you think this is a high priority for Columbia? What school is next? Harvard is running a close second.
Deterrence works in both the Ukraine and Gaza Wars. Ukraine is deterred from attacking deeper into Russia, and especially from hitting Russian oil installations and Israel is deterred from going into to Rafah to finish off Hamas or retaliating significantly against Iran, by, get ready, the United States.
Hamas’ strategy of using its own people has human shields and media props worked. Gazans suffer because Hamas attacked Israel, Israel responded and Hamas put its fighters, terrorists and weapons underground and beneath homes, hospitals, schools and mosques, heck even beneath UN facilities. Israel attacks and gets blamed for the casualties, Hamas and Iran smile. President Biden has become Hamas biggest military savior.
I am not sure how or if this ends. Perhaps Hezbollah is quite happy with an Israeli free zone in Israel. If I’m them, I’d look at getting my missiles a little further each month and push Israelis out of Haifa and then out of Tel Aviv. Israel will end up with a security zone in Gaza and Hezbollah will get one in northern Israel. I’m not sure what it will take for Israel to forcefully strike back at Hezbollah, or will the current Administration come to Hezbollah’s rescue.
Israel better make the most out of the aid package its getting from the US. It might not get another one.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 month ago

Missing is the analysis of why Hamas attacked Israel. My belief is that it wanted to prevent an accord between the Saudis and Israel. The question then is whether the events of the last 6 months have derailed this accord.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

Rationally, the only sustainable solution would be to move these people on so they don’t elect or prop up an equivalent government, a new Hamas. In that sense, Israel’s powerbrokers have always believed in ethnic cleansing for Gaza; they just waited for their opportunity, though at some cost.
The Palestinian reservations were always best concentrated in the significant patch of land that is the West Bank. As far as modern war goes, once again Islamic militias were able to perpetrate local massacres in the fashion of Isis, Boko Harum and even Al-Queda elsewhere. In that sense, the last 10 years has set back human civilisations centuries but that has hardly deterred American and European neoconservatives from focusing on Russia as ‘the Enemy’.
But we are reminded that the western Left has propped up the Palestinian course for 6 decades now, and they have stocked up the international community’s key multilaterial institutions with their people.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
1 month ago

Wars are won or lost based on perception? We really are living in virtual reality.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
1 month ago

A probing article.
Militarily, Israel is riding to victory in Gaza like the USA did in Afghanistan and Iraq early on. Indications are Hamas will suffer the fate of ISIS in Syria: It will be degraded to the point it will eventually become a fuzzy memory like Black September in the decades after the murder of Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics thanks to the Mossad-led assassination programme.
The difficult question is not if Israel will win in Gaza. It is what happens after. Will it embark on a state-building project like the Americans did in their Middle East wars of the 2000s-2010s, which ended in failure?
It is also difficult to know the extent to which Iran itself or its proxies like Hezbollah gets more involved directly in the war in Gaza. What is known is that the members of the Axis of Resistance value more their stranglehold on power in their countries than their dislike for Israel and desire to vanquish it. A serious Iranian attack on Israel can elicit an equally or worse retaliation from Israel supported by the West and friendly Arab states. Any ‘war’ that ensues after this has the possibility of involving a foreign coalition of Western & Arab troops entering Iran which will jeopardize the Ayatollah’s power, and it is unlikely he will risk this.