Israel at War after Gaza Attack

The 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war sees a re-escalation.

WaPo (“Netanyahu says Israel ‘at war’ after Hamas attack; Gaza militants claim Israelis held hostage“):

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “we are at war, and we will win it” as the country’s air force began striking Hamas targets in Gaza on Saturday, in response to a surprise assault on the 50th anniversary of the start of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Hamas militants infiltrated Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip — including by paraglider and over the sea — and launched more than 3,000 rockets, Israeli military leaders said. The confrontation, which has killed at least 40 Israelis and injured at least 740, is one of the most serious in years following weeks of rising tensions along the volatile border. A militant group in Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, announced Israeli soldiers were being held captive as the Israeli Defense Forces refused to comment on unverified videos circulating of hostages allegedly being taken by Hamas.

Like all the major sites, WaPo is essentially live-blogging the crisis rather than issuing full reports.

Other snippets from scrolling down:

Arab states that normalized ties with Israel stay silent on attack

Arab countries that had normalized relations with Israel in recent years were glaringly silent as events unfolded in Israel and Gaza, even as appeals from Gaza for support rang loud.

No declarations were issued by Morocco or Bahrain on the attacks. The United Arab Emirates later released a tempered statement calling for restraint and offering condolences to “all victims who fell as a result of the recent fighting.”

In contrast, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of which remain resistant to normalization with Israel, released statements that blamed Israel, saying its actions were a precursor to the coordinated attack.

The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Israel “alone” is responsible for the escalation because of its “continued violations of the rights of the Palestinian people, the latest of which was the repeated storming of the holy Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police.”

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry also criticized what it called “provocations” toward Islamic holy sites, including al-Aqsa Mosque. In a chiding tone, it said it had issued “repeated warnings of the dangers of the situation exploding” as a result of the “deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legal rights.”

Palestinian militants in West Bank celebrate Hamas attack

Palestinians poured into the streets of cities across the West Bank on Saturday to celebrate Hamas’ multipronged attack on Israeli territory, clapping and shouting, “God is Great!,” according to Palestinian news agencies.

In Jenin, a northern West Bank city that has been a hotbed of militant activity — and focal point of Israeli raids — over the past year and a half, militants distributed sweets, waved flags and prayed in the streets, according to the Hamas-affiliated Quds News Network.

Photos showed a throng of smiling young men in the West Bank city of Nablus clapping, with one man perched on the shoulders of another, flashing peace signs. In Ramallah, residents marched through the streets in support of Hamas. Through the loudspeakers of mosques in the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, religious leaders encouraged Palestinians to take up arms.

“They only understand the language of the gun, fight them!” one could be heard yelling in a video posted by Quds News Network on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. The sound of gunshots could be heard in the background.

Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh calls fighting ‘heroic’

Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’s political office, has hailed those fighting in Gaza, terming their efforts “heroic” and “historical” in a statement. He called on Muslims globally to stand in “defense of Al-Aqsa [religious complex in Jerusalem] … to do whatever they can, for this is not the time to wait and watch.”

U.S. condemns ‘unprovoked attacks by Hamas’ on Israel

The United States said it “unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas” on Israel on Saturday. “There is never any justification for terrorism,” said National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson in a statement. “We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks.”

I’ve disliked Netanyahu, thinking him a thug and a bully, going back to his first stint as prime minister in the 1990s. His illegal and immoral occupation policies have certainly contributed to this crisis.

That said, this attack by Palestinian militants was stupid. Attacking Israeli civilians was obviously going to result in a massively disproportional response. And, while there are no good guys here, I don’t see how the United States could have done other than side with an ally whose territory has been attacked.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DrDaveT says:

    I think your last two paragraphs here are as concise a summary of the situation as I’ve seen, James.

  2. drj says:

    This was almost inevitable. The Gaza strip is around 140 square miles and contains approximately 2.4m people. It’s incredibly densely populated.

    People can’t leave and Israel (together with Egypt) blocks the import of things like construction material, tin cans, fishing rods, wheelchairs, crayons, and even soccer balls. There is no economy to speak of and nothing to do.

    It’s basically one big open air prison.

    WTF did Israel expect to happen?

  3. Daryl says:

    The US has no choice but to side with Israel, which makes me wonder about Russia’s role in this.
    In any case, congrat’s to Jared and Donnie for bringing lasting peace to the Middle East.

  4. Bill Jempty says:


    This was almost inevitable. The Gaza strip is around 140 square miles and contains approximately 2.4m people. It’s incredibly densely populated.

    Hong Kong has a similar density and Singapore even more dense per square mile.

  5. charontwo says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Singapore is self-governing, is a major port, has an economy of trading, manufacturing, shipyards, ship repair, finance and tourism. Also an important airline hub and airport.

    Hong Kong is a major port, air hub, trading and tourism.

    ( I worked in Malaysia for 6 years, I have been to both, often to Singapore).

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too

    Imagine the fear of death stopping people from killing each other…

  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    The NSC condemning the attacks is fine, but characterizing them as “unprovoked” is just laughably false.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    Welp, that’s the Israeli Left fucked. Netanyahu will have a free hand and he’ll be brutal. Does Hezbollah jump in as well? If so, should inhabitants of Tehran start locating their nearest shelter?

  9. DaveD says:

    I read speculation that hostage taking was in hopes of preventing indiscriminate strikes.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: Bad comparisons. Not just apples and oranges, more like apples and butternut squash.

  11. DK says:

    Israelis have been in the streets protesting Bibi vile and vicious rightwing government for months. They know his antipathy to peace, that war has been his desire. He should have been exiled after he contributed to assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, a true man of peace. Instead, he’s now Israel’s long-serving prime minister.

    And the Hamas terrorists have played right into Bibi’s hands. I understand why they put it in, but that “unprovoked” bit flies in the face of stated US policy.

    As with my buddies Kyiv last year, waking up again to friends in Haifa and Tel Aviv facing bomb threats and war. Terrifying.

  12. Andy says:

    A few quick and preliminary thoughts.

    This is really bad. There are videos of Hamas militants going through houses and executing civilians, and pulling people out of cars and slitting their throats, then taking women and children hostage. It’s got the vibes of Bucha.

    I don’t know when the last time something similar happened – when enemy forces were rampaging unchecked in Israeli towns – the last time something similar happened could be as far back as 1948.

    This was a massive intelligence failure by the Israelis, and that will likely have domestic political implications. This is especially the case since Israel’s long-standing policy of dividing Palestinian politics is partly responsible for Hamas having a stranglehold on Gaza.

    The scale, timing, and execution of the invasion suggest it took months of planning and preparation, all with a high degree of secrecy. Combined with the fact that it just happens to take place on the 50th anniversary of the 1973 war, it’s clear this wasn’t – as some suggest – some quickly cobbled together response to recent events at Al Aqsa.

    I suspect that whatever limitations Israel had on the use of force will now be rolled back. It seems likely that Hamas is taking hostages to use as bargaining chips and human shields.

    As a political matter, I doubt Israel will settle for anything less than the destruction of Hamas after this. The public will demand it. That means an Israeli invasion and the implications of that are likely to be very bad, not only for the civilians in Gaza, but also for the region generally. The chances of escalation to also have a war along the Lebanese border are not trivial IMO.

  13. Modulo Myself says:

    The only real thing I learned from 9/11 was that if you live in a supposedly-free society the moment a spectacular terrorist attack occurs the mirage ends. You live in a society. The society worships the will to power. No other alternatives exist except to strike back, even if there’s no real point to the strike.

    After 9/11 we had morons blathering about Orwell and freedom while studying the James Bond villain base Bin Laden supposedly occupied. This is even grimmer–out of Gaza what can be conjured aside from people trapped their entire lives in a prison reduced to cheering the taking of terrified hostages and the bulldozing of a fence? Hamas is no different than a drug cartel, half-fiction half-state. Take them out, another will exist. The same Americans who fetishize shoplifting videos are busy watching and rewatching clips of innocent civilians having their throats slit. Thank god, praise to Jesus, here’s some real evil…

  14. drj says:


    That means an Israeli invasion and the implications of that are likely to be very bad, not only for the civilians in Gaza, but also for the region generally.

    I wouldn’t surprised if that were the point: to wreck the Saudi-Israel deal to normalize mutual relations and to deliver the signal that there can’t be peace in the Middle East without taking the Palestinians into account.

    A very, very desperate measure to prevent total Palestinian irrelevance.

  15. Andy says:


    I think you’re probably right about that. Some are speculating that Iran had a hand in it, as they are strongly opposed to normalization and are a principal sponsor of Hamas.

    I also think what’s left of the two-state solution is finally dead. Hamas never accepted it, and what they’ve done here will ensure the last vestiges of support Israel are dead, too.

    The more I read about this, the worse it gets, and with it, terrible long-term implications. It would be one thing if Hamas went after the Israeli military, but the deliberate slaughter of civilians and then celebrating such actions takes this far beyond the rocket attacks against civilian areas that have become almost normal.

  16. Beth says:


    I also think what’s left of the two-state solution is finally dead.

    Yeah, that was aborted by Likud the moment it was conceived and shot by the Settlers just to be safe. We’re about to watch a Western power commit genocide and everyone is just going to shrug.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    I imagine that Israel has already choked off food and, assuming they have the capacity @Andy: ? the water and power as well. They aren’t going to be able to rescue all the hostages, they’ll have no choice but to essentially write most of them off. Not that Bibi will be making that public any time soon. Hamas just ensured their own destruction, the end of any faint notion of a two party state, and quite possibly a sharply curtailed Israeli democracy.

    I don’t think it will end the yet-to-be-decided Saudi deal. Israel and Saudi will both see this as an attack from Iran. But still to weigh in: the Arab street.

  18. mattbernius says:

    I’m not sure what else there is to say at this moment. Most of the early (often bad takes) are usually confirmations of everyone’s priors and reducing this really complex situation down to binaries that are not helpful (x side good, y side bad–or x side bad, y side worse).

    So far I’ve seen one bit of initial analysis I found helpful. It’s from British-Lebanese conflict journalist Oz Katerji. Katerji is currently covering the war in Ukraine.

    Strategically speaking, Gazans want the Israeli blockade of Gaza lifted, and Palestinians in general want statehood, an end to the occupation & an end to Israeli military & settler violence. Hard to see how today’s attacks advance these causes beyond revenge.
    The Israeli military response is going to be heavy, and will disproportionately affect civilians as any military action in densely populated urban centres always does. Furthermore it will be supported by a unified population & sympathetic international community.

    It’s hard to come to any other conclusion that this new and bloody chapter in the Israel-Palestine conflict will achieve anything other than a disastrous loss of life, and further entrenching the conflict for future generations.

    Palestinians are desperate, not just in Gaza where things have been at breaking point for over a decade, but also in the West Bank where the situation has been deteriorating for some time, particularly with regular Israeli operations in Jenin.

    Palestinians are routinely being killed as a result of the occupation, with no resolution in sight, and with an international community that has long since lost interest in trying to bring the conflict and occupation to an end. A sustained violent response was almost inevitable.

    So trying to judge this escalation by its objectives seems futile, hard to imagine a world in which Hamas don’t fully understand how weak their hand is, and how badly Gaza will suffer as a consequence, yet they took the decision to do this regardless.

    The calculation from Hamas seems to be that inflicting a price on Israel and against the Israeli population is worth whatever consequences are to come, and given that there is currently no hope for the peace process, that there is no benefit for them in maintaining the status quo

    Sadly it’s a very cynical view of the situation (i.e. that beyond scuttling peace processes and the normalization of Israeli relationships with the Arab world, there are few if any long term goals of this operation)–which leads me to believe it’s a pretty defensible interpretation on the situation based on the facts we have.

  19. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t know about food, but it’s been confirmed power has already been shut off.

    Hamas made it clear they are taking the hostages into the tunnel systems underneath Gaza – these tunnel systems are always high-priority targets for Israeli strikes, so Hamas intends to use the hostages as human shields, which isn’t exactly surprising or novel for them.


    Think Keterji’s take is a good one. The only thing I might disagree with is that Hamas was never interested in settling for a two-state solution or peace with Israel. Their goal was always, and remains, the destruction of Israel, as their “tactics” during this current invasion make clear.

  20. Daryl says:

    Reminder: We don’t have an Israel Ambassador because Rand Paul has a hold on President Biden’s state dept nominees and no senior military defense official in Israel because of Tuberville

  21. DK says:

    @Daryl: Yeah, when do we get to talk about Putin Republicans emboldening terrorists and signaling the US won’t defend allies by blocking Ukraine aid and blocking military promotions?

    When do we get to discuss Trump revealing Israeli intelligence to Russians, after which Hamas visited Russian senior leadership?

    Since MAGA traitors are already trying to blame Biden, I don’t think it’s too soon. What’s happening to the civilians caught up in this is the stuff of nightmares.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Hamas just ensured their own destruction, the end of any faint notion of a two party state, and quite possibly a sharply curtailed Israeli democracy.

    Netanyahu has already been curbing Israeli democracy, in an effort to stay in power and out of jail. While I have no doubt that he will use this opportunity to tighten his reigns further, the crisis of democracy in Israel is an Israeli thing.

    There have been protests against Netanyahu’s actions restricting democracy, but they have been largely ineffective. It’s an Israeli problem. If the protests had shown any signs of being likely to topple the authoritarian Netanyahu regime, I would lament a lost opportunity, but as it is… meh.

    As for the rest — I have no love for Hamas, and their attack is going to provoke a truly vile counter-attack. But we’ve been on the road to this for ages, and I am not in the slightest bit surprised. An intolerable status quo leads to desperate people trying to unbalance that status quo, but it usually ends up much worse at least in the short term.

  23. dazedandconfused says:


    The Hamas statements about it seem to indicate it’s one of these kind of deals.

    They’ve given up hope and decided to go down in a blaze of “glory”.

  24. becca says:

    BBC has been airing some very interesting takes. A former Mossad chief was livid about how Israel intelligence totally failed to see this coming. “Unprecedented failure “. Seemed to be pointing the finger of failure right at Netanyahu. A reporter from Haaretz didn’t mince words. He laid it all at Bibi’s feet. The reporter doesn’t think Netanyahu will survive this, in fact he seemed sure of it.
    Apparently this came so out of the blue, Israel is really reeling. Stunned. They thought their security apparatus would have had an inkling something was going on. The Mossad guy, an older chap, was sure it would have in the past, but… he stopped short of blaming the government Bibi has so cynically formed but his words dripped with barely contained fury. Bibi was too busy trying to save his own skin and took eyes off the ball

  25. Kevin says:

    This is horrible for all involved, and not going to help anyone. That said, I do wonder how much Hamas has been watching Ukraine over the past 18 months, and will be using similar tactics to at some level defend themselves against a much more powerful invader.

    And I wonder if the incredibly overpowering response on the part of Israel is going to force Israel’s allies to admit what’s actually happening. That’s all Has can hope to achieve, at this point.

  26. mattbernius says:

    I think its far too early to make any predictions about the political fallout of this attack. I’ve seen a lot of theories about the intelligence failure and other reasons why this was so hard to mobilize against–but given that a lot of this has been spread on social media, especially platforms that gutted their misinformation teams, I don’t trust anything I’m reading enough to repeat it (especially in cases where it reinforces my priors). Ditto theories about international aid for these actions beyond Iran (obviously).

    The fact is we’ve got a lot of former COVID-19 experts who more recently became Ukraine experts pivoting to being Hammas experts. I’m doing the best to keep that in mind.

    I think we all should give it at least a few days and see where that aspect of the story settles out.

  27. charontwo says:


    BBC has been airing some very interesting takes. A former Mossad chief was livid about how Israel intelligence totally failed to see this coming. “Unprecedented failure “. Seemed to be pointing the finger of failure right at Netanyahu. A reporter from Haaretz didn’t mince words. He laid it all at Bibi’s feet. The reporter doesn’t think Netanyahu will survive this, in fact he seemed sure of it.

    Because of reasons associated with Simchat Torah and holy locations on the west bank, all 26 IDF battalions were in the West Bank, leaving the area near Gaza with no IDF forces in the area at all.

  28. DK says:


    The reporter doesn’t think Netanyahu will survive this, in fact he seemed sure of it.

    Like Trump, Bibi’s political obituary has been written a million times. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    He is the worst Israeli prime minister. But some Israelis just can’t get enough.

  29. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Welp, that’s the Israeli Left fucked. Netanyahu will have a free hand and he’ll be brutal.”

    Until it comes out that the massive intelligence failure here was because Bibi had refocused the security apparatus to spy on his political opponents and thus missed what must have been a months-long build up to this attack.

  30. Beth says:


    Or he allowed it to happen so that he could refocus everyone on Hamas.

  31. JohnSF says:

    Hamas has screwed itself.
    There was considerable global inclination for pressure to be brought on Israel to change its policy re. the West Bank etc.
    And indeed, within Israel.
    That has now been rendered utterly irrelevant.
    I have to wonder, how much is this driven by radicals who wish to shut down any option of a negotiated peace?
    Because there are some IRG and Hamas/IJ factions who truly believe that apocalypse = victory.
    (Same applies on the radical side of Israeli politics, tbf. And to the crazed US evangelicals who see Israel as merely a stepping stone to the Millennium)

  32. Gustopher says:


    There was considerable global inclination for pressure to be brought on Israel to change its policy re. the West Bank etc.

    If history is any guide, there was merely considerable global inclination to consider the possibility of perhaps someone else bringing a small amount of pressure in the general vicinity of Israel to ask them to consider a hypothetical scenario in which someone might be considering applying pressure to Israel (but not so much pressure as to ever be considered “soft on Hamas”).

  33. JohnSF says:

    Hamas may be miscalculating here.
    Things could get a lot, lot worse for Gaza.
    Catastrophically worse.

  34. JohnSF says:

    But it should not be forgotten, the economy of Israel is closely coupled to trade with the EU.

    “The EU is Israel’s biggest trade partner, accounting for 28.8% of its trade in goods in 2022. 31.9% of Israel’s imports came from the EU, and 25.6% of the country’s exports went to the EU.”

    Get that sanctioned and Israel is looking at economic catastrophe.
    By comparison, Israel/US trade is trivial.
    Hamas just threw away any chance of European economic pressure on Israel in the short term.

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    As someone said, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    I’m looking to the Lebanon border to see whether this goes from really bad to catastrophic. If they’re going to save the Saudi deal they’re going to want to find an Iran connection – the enemy of my enemy and all that. Do the Arabs still GAF about Palestinians?

    If Bibi limits his retaliation out of concern for the hostages, he won’t be able to retaliate in as dramatic a way as he needs to. Hitting Hamas a year from now ain’t gonna do it.

  36. charontwo says:
  37. charontwo says:

    A thread

    A few thoughts on today, in no particular order. First, among Israelis: impossible to overstate the level of shock. The intelligence failure resembles 1973, but you almost have to go back to 1948 to find an analogue for the violence that played out in cities and towns.

    It’ll take a few days to know the scale of Israel’s response. Netanyahu has historically been cautious about using military force. But he’s now surrounded by a coterie of incompetent ideologues, and public opinion will probably be in favor of a dramatic change to the status quo.

    … etc. etc.

  38. SenyorDave says:

    The Israel/ Saudi always made sense because they had two things in common. Both have leaders who have no respect for the rule of law, and are actively seeking out domestic opponents and trying to neutralize them (easier for Saudis, they just kill them, Bibi uses the government to spy on them and pass laws to squash the opposition). And secondly, neither of them GAF about the Palestinians (or even pretend to).

  39. Gustopher says:

    WaPo gift link to a Max Boot editorial:

    Opinion This is Israel’s 9/11. The consequences will be dangerous — and unforeseeable.

    9/11 was a mosquito bite. An irritation that we responded to as if it was an existential threat. We were a big, open, free country, and part of the cost of freedom is risk. As so many on the right have told us, “Freedom isn’t free.” (It’s a buck 25, per Team America)

    To the extent that Israel wants to follow in our footsteps of massive overreaction, and slaughtering far, far more civilians than were affected by the initial attack on us, we should be a slow, sluggish “partner” with the goal of minimizing the spread of violence.

    I had been planning to write this week about the negotiations between President Biden, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to normalize Israel-Saudi ties in return for a U.S.-Saudi defense treaty. Analysts I talked to were cautiously optimistic that this megadeal might be concluded by early next year.

    If Saudi Arabia didn’t have oil they would be a pariah nation.

    Despite the continuing civil war in Syria, the region felt calm. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan remarked just last week that “the Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades now.”

    When everything is quiet, they are all busy planning the next offensive.

    Israel has gotten accustomed to the threat posed by Hamas rockets — and there was indeed a large-scale rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on Saturday. But there is no precedent for the massive ground assault that Hamas also mounted. Hamas’s fighters managed to penetrate Israeli border posts and the border fence enclosing Gaza, rampaging through surrounding Israeli communities, massacring innocent civilians and seizing hostages.

    Ponder the use of “fighters.” It delegitimizes them. Hamas soldiers. Committing war crimes, obviously, but soldiers.

    There is no war that is not chock full of war crimes. We can barely keep police from killing indiscriminately, let alone soldiers. War crimes are the cost of war. We could find different war crimes committed by Israeli forces over the years. Or human rights violations, if you want to say that there can be no war crimes without a state of war.

    And the idea of a nice, sanitary war on the same terms as the stronger army has never really been a thing. Our Founding Fathers were a guerrilla organization that hid behind trees, rather than standing in formation in brightly colored uniforms like the Brits.

    While Israel could never make peace with Hamas, a movement dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, it had learned to live with a terrorist organization in control of the Gaza Strip as a lesser evil — compared to a renewed Israeli occupation, an even more extremist group such as al-Qaeda in charge, or Libya-style chaos.

    Maybe trying to make peace with Hamas, or helping to create a situation where Hamas wasn’t the best alternative for the people in the Gaza Strip would have been a good idea. Just spitballing here.

    As a 2017 Rand study noted: “Israel’s grand strategy became ‘mowing the grass’ — accepting its inability to permanently solve the problem and instead repeatedly targeting leadership of Palestinian militant organizations to keep violence manageable.

    I’m not going to hold out a lot of sympathy for a country that has given upon the idea of peace, and is routinely killing its neighbors to prevent them from getting too organized.

    And, if it gets routine, the neighbors are going to shift strategies.

    But even a tactical victory would leave Israel facing the question: “Now what?” Most Israelis have no desire for a long-term occupation of the Gaza Strip, one that will inevitably lead to further Israeli casualties and accusations that their troops are committing war crimes. But they are running out of alternatives.

    There are only so many stable end-states for Israel and the Palestinians:
    – Palestinian genocide
    – Israeli genocide
    – some flavor of Internment camps, reservations or apartheid
    – Two states
    – no more Jewish state as Israel becomes a multiethnic state

    Our aid to Israel should (and should have always) been predicated on one of those last two scenarios.

    If someone has another scenario, I’m open, but I don’t see it happening.

    (Maybe Egypt and Jordan could annex some land and accept a whole lot of refugees in a grand deal that would ultimately be “ethnic cleansing, but on the delicate cycle.” Not ideal, but “less worse than constant war and human rights violations” has some attraction. I’m open to creative solutions, but no one seems to be presenting any.)

    Hamas did not attack because of the miserable conditions in Gaza.

    Bullshit. There may be other, more immediate reasons, but the ability and the feeling of need comes from the miserable conditions,

    Its leaders are insulated from deprivation and motivated by religious and nationalist fanaticism. But the terrible conditions do make it easy for Hamas to recruit fighters from among young men so poor and desperate that they have no better alternative than to become “martyrs.”

    And, again, it would be in Israel’s best interest to ensure that young men in the Gaza Strip have better alternatives. And, if the US is going to tie itself so tightly to Israel, it would be in our best interest too.

    Peace is hard. “Mowing the lawn” is easy, until it stops working.

    Ultimately, Israelis and Palestinians have to recognize that they have no alternative but to live side by side in peace. Responsible Israelis — who are largely missing from Netanyahu’s far-right cabinet — know that Palestinians’ lives have to improve to prevent more eruptions of violence in the future.

    This part I’ll agree with.

    ETA: Apparently I needed to rant. We should wash our hands of the situation, offer to resettle anyone who wants to resettle (we have a spare Dakota!) and then ignore it forever. Some people just want to be at war.

  40. charontwo says:


    There is more to Israel than Bibi and the factions that support him. That was like judging the U.S. by the behavior of the Trump administration and the Trumpist factions.

  41. steve says:

    Gaza has a wall around it. Thought they were impenetrable?


  42. Gustopher says:

    @charontwo: Bibi has been around basically forever. While there is more to Israel than him and his supporters, the remainder has not a lot of effect.

    It is similar to judging the US by Trump if we kept electing him. 70% fair and 85% accurate.

  43. charontwo says:


    Judgemental and morally certain. Whatever, you do you.

    It’s all just so abstract and simple, right?

  44. Joe in Australia says:


    As a political matter, I doubt Israel will settle for anything less than the destruction of Hamas after this. The public will demand it. That means an Israeli invasion …

    I don’t think Israel (or anyone, really) has the ability to remove an ensconced enemy from its urban environment. It certainly doesn’t have the ability to do so without mass civilian casualties, including Hamas’s hostages. I can’t imagine any outcome that doesn’t end with Hamas in power after the dust settles.