Israel-Gaza Clash: Conflict of Narratives, Victory of Remote Warfare

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Yves here. The latest Israel-Palestine conflict has barely been declared over (despite skirmishes continuing) but the post-mortems are starting, in keeping with its significance. This was a victory for Netanyahu. As Barkely Rosser points out at Econospeak:

With the welcome cease fire in Israel-Palestine, it looks like Bibi Netanyahu has achieved his near term goal of remaining prime minister of Israel, thus not only remaining power but also out of jail, with barely anybody noticing that he has done this. His rival, Yair Lapid, who was invited by President Reuvan Rivlin to form a government, was hoping to cut a deal with the Israeli-Arab members of the Knesset, but that is now out of the question, so Bibi gets to stay in office. There will probably need to be another election.

And while there is officially a cease fire, this has not kept the Israeli security forces from further attacking people in the al-Aqsa mosque compound, which triggered the outbreak of this short war initially.

However, and perhaps readers can make sense of this for me, I don’t understand how the body count on each side supports the assertion that this battle represented a win for remote warfare. Yes, the Iron Dome prevented a lot of Hamas rockets from getting through. However, if you look at the ratio of Israeli deaths to Palestinian deaths in 2021, and apply that to the 2250 Palestinian deaths in 2014, you’d expect 116 Israeli deaths. In fact, far fewer died, only 67, despite ground troops being deployed in 2014 and not in 2021.

By Paul Rogers, professor in the department of peace studies at Bradford University, northern England. He is openDemocracy’ international security adviser, and has been writing a weekly column on global security since 28 September 2001; he also writes a monthly briefing for the Oxford Research Group. His latest book is ‘Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threat from the Margins‘ (IB Tauris, 2016), which follows ‘Why We’re Losing the War on Terror‘ (Polity, 2007), and ‘Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century‘ (Pluto Press, 3rd edition, 2010). He is on Twitter at: @ProfPRogers. Originally published at openDemocracy

As the 11 days of clashes between Gaza and Israel ends in a ceasefire, the military analysis truly begins. The Israeli army will painstakingly review all of its operations, especially the new weapons and tactics, to judge how successful they were and what improvements are needed.

Hezbollah in Lebanon has far more rockets than Hamas in Gaza, so one of the Israeli army worries will be how Hamas and other factions were able to carry on firing from such a small area right to the end, night after night.

The fact that Israel’s Iron Dome defences intercepted most of the rockets from Gaza and even shot down a Hamas drone will be counted as a success – especially for the arms companies seeking to promote Israeli expertise to new markets.

Hamas, meanwhile, will conduct its own analysis and will try to increase its stockpile and hide its missiles more effectively. It will want to improve its ability to fire multiple barrages – all the better to overwhelm Israel’s missile defences – and will seek to develop guidance systems. For now, there are celebrations in Gaza that the bombardment is over. For Hamas, its narrative is simple: “We stood firm, the Israelis didn’t dare invade us and we kept firing to the end.”

War of Narratives

During the last 11 days, a total of 232 people were killed in Gaza, including 65 children, against 12 killed in Israel. These tragic statistics are still far lower than the 2014 conflict, when 2,250 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, while five Israeli civilians and 67 soldiers were killed.

The difference between the two conflicts is that in 2014, Israel sent troops into Gaza and by doing so, lost soldiers, including many from its elite Golani brigade.

As the post-conflict ‘war of narratives’ runs its course, Israel’s premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, will certainly claim victory. With Israel’s surveillance and intelligence capabilities, including drones, satellites, communications interception and many other complex systems, the Israeli army claims to have been very effective.

However, the ability of Hamas to deploy ten-round multiple rocket launchers, and hide them underground prior to launch, will be a major focus point for the Israeli army’s improvement, not least with an eye to Hezbollah. According to an article in the 19 May print edition of Jane’s Defence Weekly, one of the barrages aimed at the coastal Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon involved firing 137 rockets in five minutes. The Israeli army will also want to work on its abilities to prevent Hamas smuggling more rockets into Gaza, especially its system of speedboats operating out of Lebanon and Egypt.

Israeli arms companies will be particularly keen to put the best gloss they can on weapons performance, especially the Iron Dome system, as they aim for increased sales for their “combat-proven” weapons. Since Israeli companies work closely with US corporations, it will be a joint process with the US military lobby.

This close relationship calls into question any US involvement in mediation but may well have given US President Joe Biden power to insist on a ceasefire. The relationship has developed over decades, receiving major boosts in the years since 9/11.

When the 2003 termination of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq went so badly wrong, the Pentagon urgently sought to learn more about Israeli counterinsurgency experience. As Barbara Opall-Rome, Israel bureau chief at the US military publication Defense News, put it in an article published in March 2004: “Israel has much to offer in the technological realm, while operationally, there are obvious parallels between Israel’s experiences over the past three years in the West Bank and Gaza and our own post-offensive operations in Iraq. We’d be remiss if we didn’t make a supreme effort to seek out commonalities and see how we might be able to incorporate some of that Israeli knowledge into our plans.”

From that point on, there was increased collaboration in training, weapon development and surveillance technologies, and this accelerated with increased fears of missile and rocket proliferation from Hamas. Because of this, since 2009 the US Army has operated an advanced X-band missile early warning system on Mount Keren in the Negev desert in Israel, that is able to feed missile launch data directly into Israeli defence systems.

Until the US began building a permanent base in Israel in 2017, the Pentagon could claim that its interventions were temporary in that the system was mobile, but there is now a permanent set-up co-located with the Israeli army’s air academy near Beersheba in the Negev desert.

When construction started, the US general in charge, John Gronski, hailed it as: “…the first ever stationing of a US Army unit on Israeli soil. The US and Israel have long planned together, exercised together, trained together. And now, with the opening of this site, these crucial interactions will occur every day. We’ll have Israeli airmen and US soldiers living and working side by side.”

The US, therefore, has troops permanently based in Israel who are directly involved in its defence. This is hardly a good position for a mediator, even less so since last week Biden approved $735 million in military sales to Israel, including precision-guided bombs. However, if Trump had won last November, it’s likely that the ceasefire wouldn’t have been achieved at all.

Horrific Loss of Life

Although the immediate context of the conflict is most felt in Gaza and Israel, there is also a much wider global assessment that makes this current clash significant for any large military force internationally. Ever since the abject failure of the Western wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there has been a pronounced move away from ‘boots on the ground’ and into remote warfare using strike aircraft, armed drones, special forces and private military corporations.

The Israeli army has learnt the lesson of multiple casualties when confronting well-trained, determined and experienced paramilitaries: Hamas in Gaza in 2014 and Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. It will now want to avoid invasion and occupation like the plague, so specific forms of remote warfare will continue to be developed.

In the wider context though, there are two issues. One is the horrific loss of life in Gaza, which is combined with the predicament of hundreds of thousands of young Palestinians in the occupied territories, who are further provoked by the growth in violent attacks by extremist Jewish youths.

A unified Palestinian government, with the heavy involvement and perhaps even the dominance of Hamas, is becoming a more likely prospect. In the short term, Netanyahu may be satisfied with the outcome of the conflict but in the longer term, the ramifications remain to be seen.

The second issue is more certain. On the global level, militaries, intelligence agencies and arms companies will learn every lesson they can from this, both for use in future wars and to increase sales of weapons.

Arms companies will relish the opportunity to develop new weapons as the era of remote warfare unfolds. As ever, it is the arms industry that gains the most – as the Shakespeare quote goes, now thrive the armourers indeed.

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  1. urdsama

    I think this may be a case of Netanyahu (and the government of Israel) winning the battle but losing the war.

    What little sympathy they may have had left globally is rapidly disintegrating (with only a few nations being holdouts), and the fact that the US had to block 5 UN resolutions on the matter (and each time being the sole vote) has sent a clear message about the US both internally and domestically.

    I have no doubt more actions will be taken against the Palestinians: militarily, blocking any kind of aid or Israeli boycott action, and silencing those reporting on the carnage, but the comparisons to SA apartheid are only growing louder, as well as comparisons to Germany pre WW2.

  2. Randy

    I mean… the Israelis won because they get to keep their apartheid state and ethnically cleansing the Palestians.

    1. Jeff

      Israel is really bad at ethnically cleansing Gaza. Not sure you know what that phrase means.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    I don’t know the breakdown in deaths, but I think early reports indicate that many of the Israeli deaths were Israeli arabs, who of course don’t benefit from the provision of deep shelters that are normal in non-arabic neighbourhoods. They are, in effect, human shields. I don’t know whether Hamas deliberately targeted those neighbourhoods in order to increase death rates, or if it was just the outcome of random firings just hitting those areas by chance.

    In any bombardment, the death rate is highly influenced by how quickly the targets get shelter. There is a general rule of thumb among artillery experts that nearly all casualties are caused by the first shot, all subsequent rounds are just noise and dust. WWI zeppelin raids proportionately (per bomb) caused vastly more deaths than WWII bombs in England because in the former case everyone went outdoors to watch the big balloons. The first firebombing of Tokyo in February 1945 caused so much loss of life because the Japanese authorities hadn’t prepared – subsequent firebombing killed far fewer people despite doing just as much material damage.

    This is a long winded way of saying that casualty rates will have as much to do with the ‘surprise’ element as whether or not the weapons used were accurate or effective. And there is also a simple random element. I used to do desk top assessments in the West Midlands on possible UXB’s as part of land surveys and what was surprising to me was how many casualties were due to random events compared to those killed by Luftwaffe bombs. In one heavily bombed area, the two big casualty events were a village wiped out when a Lancaster prematurely released its load after engine failure, and the second was a wedding party in a pub decimated by a prematurely fired anti-aircraft shell.

    What I do think stands out from the latest conflict was that the Israeli military seemed genuinely shocked by the effectiveness of Hamas’ rockets. Given the way Gaza has been blockaded, I’m very surprised that they succeeded in building up such a large store of rockets. It seems the Israelis were too, and this could have contributed to the proportionately high Israeli civilian casualties over the last few days. It might also be, of course, that the Gaza’s have become better at protecting themselves. So I think any assessment based on raw casualty figures won’t really tell you much about the effectiveness of each sides weaponry.

    Incidentally, Iron Dome is based on the use of guided missiles, which cost something like $40,000 each, so there is a limit on just how many can be used against drones or rockets that might cost a tiny fraction of that amount. An effective defence against drones or rockets therefore has to be based on something much cheaper.

    1. jrkrideau

      I don’t know whether Hamas deliberately targeted those neighbourhoods in order to increase death rates, or if it was just the outcome of random firings just hitting those areas by chance.

      Hamas missiles have no guidance systems. I think they aim them in a general direction and hope. Think more of a smaller version of a WWII Katyuska rocket perhaps than a modern rocket with a sophisticated and some maneuverability.

  4. Taurus

    The way I parse the assertion that the body count (on the Israeli side) represents a victory for remote warfare is that they did not lose [many] soldiers. The nightmare scenario for the Israel PR machine is to have videos of their disarmed soldiers as prisoners of Hamas. All of a sudden they look more like the helpless children that they are instead of extras from a Marvell movie that they are built up to be.

  5. tegnost

    The US, therefore, has troops permanently based in Israel who are directly involved in its defence. This is hardly a good position for a mediator, even less so since last week Biden approved $735 million in military sales to Israel, including precision-guided bombs. However, if Trump had won last November, it’s likely that the ceasefire wouldn’t have been achieved at all.

    Two basically unsupported conclusions in this passage, a.) biden wants to mediate, but gives guns, manpower, and money, and b.) trump would not have acheived ceasefire with the implicit assumption that biden did. No supporting evidence. How about israel stopped when they reached whatever loony objective they had (whatisname is still PM…sooo…)
    then it gets to the meat and potatoes…
    “The second issue is more certain. On the global level, militaries, intelligence agencies and arms companies will learn every lesson they can from this, both for use in future wars and to increase sales of weapons.

    Arms companies will relish the opportunity to develop new weapons as the era of remote warfare unfolds. As ever, it is the arms industry that gains the most – as the Shakespeare quote goes, now thrive the armourers indeed.”
    Peace loving joe is going for his nobel prize?

    1. Synoia

      Leslie Charteris who wrote “The Saiant” novels in the UK had a frequent theme based in “Evil Arms Dealers” stirring up trouble to sell more of their wares.

      The difference between the 1930s, when the novels were written, and now is that Arms dealers in the 19390 were to be salesmen for private enterprise, and now the whole sphere appears both state driven, and Centrally Planned.

      Which leads to the conclusion that the US us now both an Empire, and Centrally Planned, except when it come to the subject of it’s Citizens Welfare, which is guided by the invisible, grasping and greedy, hand of the Market.

  6. David

    The author isn’t an expert on military affairs or on the region itself, but it’s a competitive market these days, so I suppose he felt he had to put something out. And such insights as “militaries, intelligence agencies and arms companies will learn every lesson they can from this”, are always valuable, I suppose. It’s an idea that would never have occurred to me.

    Anyway, two points. First, as Carl von Clausewitz said the other day when I invoked his spirit, inflicting casualties on the opposition achieves nothing unless it furthers your objectives for the conflict. If the Israeli objective was to kill as many Palestinians as possible and destroy enough real estate that the population turned against Hamas, it looks as though they’ve failed. Hamas’s objective is less to kill but to frighten, and I think they’ve probably achieved that, at least partially. But of course if your objective is to minimise casualties, then the easiest thing is not to conduct the operation in the first place.

    Second, the non-involvement of ground troops and the use of air-power and stand-off weapons is not some kind of higher strategy, it’s a confession of weakness. The only way the Israelis will ever achieve their limited objective of preventing rocket attacks is to deploy massive ground forces in Gaza, getting out of their tanks and APCs, conducting searches, arresting and holding thousands of people and destroying buildings and tunnels. That would take weeks, and it’s not remotely feasible, not least because the casualties would be prohibitive. (This has been known since WW2 of course). Drones, satellites etc. etc. are much less useful in an urban environment because they can’t see through walls and roofs, they can’t track people reliably and by definition they can’t see underground, where Hamas seems to have hidden most of its arsenal. Even bad weather can be a problem. Again, this has been known for ages.

    Likewise, I’m not sure where he gets the idea that “Ever since the abject failure of the Western wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there has been a pronounced move away from ‘boots on the ground’ and into remote warfare using strike aircraft, armed drones, special forces and private military corporations.” In fact, such techniques were used pretty much from the beginning in both countries, especially Afghanistan. But it would be odd to describe air attacks and special forces as “remote warfare.” Indeed, the whole idea of special forces operations is hands-on contact with enemy fighters. And PMCs (the “C” usually stands for “companies” not “contractors”) were overwhelmingly used for tasks like static guard duties and VIP escort. They were usually retired soldiers anyway. They have never been used, so far as I am aware, in direct combat expect when themselves attacked.

    So basically, the only lessons here are the ones we have known for some time about the limitations of high-technology warfare against insurgents. In open terrain where there are organised groups of fighters, as in Mali and Afghanistan, air power and drones can be very effective. But insurgents who hide in the civilian population, avoid direct combat with superior forces and know and exploit urban terrain, are effectively impossible to combat this way. Israel’s force structure is overwhelmingly western in orientation, geared for fighting high-technology conventional wars. They are not prepared to take the casualties involved in fighting on the ground, and no amount of gee-whizz satellite technology can compensate for that. In addition, the overmatching of sophisticated defences by lots of cheap projectiles is a well known feature of military history. Rogers, given his line of business, has a bit of a fetish about “arms manufacturers” but I frankly don’t think they’ll find much to celebrate in this operation.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yup, the article does read a little like he was trying to find something to say on it, when its really not possible to say much interesting except ‘this is more of the usual’.

      Only time will tell of course, but as you suggest, the only way to say who has one and who has lost is to know what your strategy is (if there is one). Hamas has, I think, succeeded in chipping away at Israels sense of security and has also had a minor win in the propaganda war, as its clear that its no longer outside the overton window in the US at least to suggest that Israel is always right.

      The reality that Israel knows it cannot go into Gaza has also been underlined. Hamas will surely see this as a victory, and it will have been noted on the West Bank and by Hizbollah and the Syrians and Iranians.

      As for remote warfare, its at least as old as the catapult. The whole point of gunships sailing up rivers to pound obstreperous natives from a safe distance and (later on) biplanes to drop bombs and occasionally poison on tribes that didn’t do what they were supposed to do from 2,000ft, is remote warfare. I was in Damascus in 2002 and at the time you could still see the bullet holes in the roof of the main market there from where the french used aircraft mounted machine guns to make some sort of point or other. Technology means a constant to and fro, which is arguably increasing as the technology advances. It looks like the pendulum is now swinging away from big states to smaller actors with drones and simple rockets, but this could easily change if someone comes up with a cheap and effective way to counter them.

    2. upstater

      Rest assured that arms manufacturers are already at work on next gen hardware to attempt to mitigate the thousands of Hamas’s homemade rockets. We have a local company, SRC and SRC Tec, spin offs from Syracuse University back in the 70s when DoD contracts were not cool to do on university campuses. Combined, they employ 1500+ and have revenues of $200M+. Small DoD potatoes, but 20 years ago it was a tiny fraction of this size. And SRC is just one of hundreds of such enterprises. One of their signature products is radar and targeting against incoming mortars (it was a revolutionary product). Another is EW against drones.

      Obviously the density of Gaza or the dispersion of Hezbollah negates the usefulness of such hardware. But that doesn’t matter to merchants with a product to sell. They have sales and marketing down to a science… self-licking ice cream cones. It works!

      Israel can certainly stop the rockets without a ground invasion, but it won’t happen. Look at what the US did in West Mosul or Raqqa. Those places were leveled with artillery. Fortunately for the Palestinians such bloodletting won’t happen even with AP’s and Al Jazerra’s offices being destroyed. There were no such bureaus in Raqqa or Mosul, only in-bed stenographers. Plenty of innocents were killed, largely unnoticed.

      1. vlade

        You are correct that the arms manufacturers will have a “solution” to sell, they always have.

        David’s point is that very likely that solution is orders of magnitude more expensive than the saturation-with-cheap-stuff. If all you need to do is put bit of a steel tube with rudimentary propelant that can also solve as the explosive (and if you feel sophisticated, put gyro stabilisers on it), it’s very cheap. Israel buying most (if not all) of those solutions is really Hamas win, as it means Israel spending resources on stuff that’s mostly feel-good but likely no-good.

        Your last para – the situation is much, much different. Raqqa or West Mosul were civilian cities, where the opposing party didn’t have literally decades to prepare. In Gaza, Hamas seems to have a vast network of deep underground tunnels. US experience in Vietnam showed that the only way to really deal with that is in-person infiltration, which has extremely high casualty rates (Vietnam tunel rats had 30% casualties, a number that would be entirely unnaceptable to Israel).

        1. Synoia

          “the only way to really deal with that is in-person infiltration”

          Err, that is not entirely true. The best way to deal with tunnels is Poison Gas. Use of which is a war crime.

          When one of the judges of war crimes has a direct interest in a specific outcome, and veto powers, the Current War Crime punishment system is ineffective.

  7. The Rev Kev

    David’s comment above has already talked about a lot of what I was going go to say but he tells it better anyway. It is a bit of an irony that Hamas would love to launch a force into Israel to take the fight to them – but can’t. Whereas Israel has the ability to launch an invasion force into Gaza – but won’t. The Israelis have already indicted that Hamas has ATGMs which would be problematic for their armour. And perhaps they have manpads too. Probably. The last time they went into Gaza their tactic was to level entire blocks – and still they had dozens of elite soldiers killed. Destroying building sounds great to an invader but as the Germans discovered, doing so creates the perfect environment for a resistance to fight you from. To invade and take over Gaza would lead to hundreds if not thousands of Israeli deaths and politically that would be a catastrophe. And to what end? How would they occupy it this time around?

    There is a bit of history about what is happening here. Before WW2 there were a group of Army Air Cops officers called ‘airdales’ who thought that all you had to win a war was to bomb it from the air and then land to accept the surrender And you wouldn’t even need escort fighters. Well they did need those fighters and over fifty thousand airmen were killed & wounded over Europe – and it still took an army of a coupla million to land and end that war. The US/Coalition invaded Iraq and after two weeks thought that it was all over. And then the Iraqi resistance began. So now we have the idea of drones, stand-off attack craft, missiles but if a population refuses to quit, then what? And what Israel has seen is mass protests around the world which you really did not see before. The only realistic choices for Israel is a two-State solution or ease bringing in the Palestinians as citizens of a Greater Israel. The Israelis have totally destroyed the first option through their settlers and the second is politically impossible in modern day Israel. And now they are rapidly running out of road to kick this can down. To be continued…

    1. NotThePilot

      I definitely have a lot of thoughts about the moral and strategic side (which David had some great comments about), but I’m not up to discussing that today. Let’s just say at this point, I’m someone with a lot of Jewish sympathies but practically zero left for Israel under the Likud & Friends (TM).

      I will just say though, I see a lot of people mentioning how the Hamas rockets are really cheap and simple (which is good for their strategy), but not very capable. I honestly wonder (and you hinted at something related when you mentioned how Hamas probably has ATGMs now), if there’s more to that, which could be a subtext of this ceasefire.

      When the shooting first started, I don’t know if it’s true, but I read somewhere that while the Western media totally ignored it, parts of the Israeli press reported Hamas did fire off a couple guided weapons. I also saw a couple blogs discussing how Hamas didn’t just seem to be firing off rockets in defiance (the story the media seems to have settled on), but they were acting more like they were following a wider plan.

      A part of me wonders if all of these cheap, dinky rockets (which ironically turns the “hapless Palestinian” stereotype to their strategic advantage), were actually just the first phase. We don’t know, but if the ceasefire didn’t happen, it’s possible that only after soaking up all the Iron Dome’s interceptors with knock-off Estes rockets, they had much more potent missiles ready and waiting.

    2. upstater

      “and it still took an army of a coupla million to land and end that war.”

      And seven million Red Army soldiers…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Who were responsible for about 80% of the Wehrmacht soldiers killed in WW2. The Allies came in on the tail end of the war in Europe.

  8. jrkrideau

    I don’t think this is win for remote warfare. Rather is just a win for asymmetrical warfare, exactly what the USA has been doing for years. The Palestinians have nothing to hit a plane or stop a missile. When you have complete air superiority, things look easy.

    The Palestinians appear to have home-made rockets, which I have seen described as having the technical sophistication of a 12-year-old’s science project. As Roger’s points out “Hamas …will seek to develop guidance systems”. The German V-1 had a guidance system.

    I get the feeling that shooting down Hamas missles is a bit like skeet shooting as opposed to actualling hitting a bird.

    The worry for Israel is that Hezzbollah has real missles (and possibly anti-aircraft capabilities?.

  9. Watt4Bob

    About those dueling narratives.

    Before we had asymmetrical warfare, we had asymmetrical access to the press.

    When I was researching the seeming impossibility of understanding the lack of progress toward a peaceful solution to the conflict in Palestine, I was surprised to find some scholarly work that focused on exactly this issue. For our purposes here, it’s enough to say his book investigated the parallels between the Irish/English, Palestinian/Israeli and the South African/Anti-Apartheid situations.

    Much of the difficulty IMHO, and the author makes this clear in this analysis also, is that the power of the occupier is such that they control the way the world sees the issues framed, and of course it is in their interest to make sure that from the perspective of someone ‘outside‘ the conflict, everything appears to based in ‘mindless hatred’ and ‘centuries old tribal warfare’ or ‘deep religious divisions’.

    The occupied are not only fighting the occupiers, but also the collective mis-understanding of the whole world, that insists it ‘knows‘ that the ‘problem‘ cannot be fixed because the ‘bad guys’, (read IRA, PLO, or ANC) are irrational players who refuse to ‘get with the program‘ ‘be reasonable’ or ‘civilized‘ or what ever false reason is being foisted on the consumers of the co-opted press who after all have no real stake in the conflict itself but none the less feel very strongly that they ‘know what is going on’.

    What they inevitably think they know, is that the occupied and their leadership are irrational people with unrealistic demands, and it’s obviously impossible to ‘make them happy’. The other side of the false narrative is that the occupiers are civilized people with reasonable expectations who face extermination if they are not allowed to deal in a pragmatic manner with the imminent threat.

    It’s become clear after the fact, that allowing the Irish Catholics to share power in Northern Ireland has not resulted in mass emigration of Protestants, and the political inclusion of black Africans in South Africa has not resulted in the extermination of white South Africans, and so I believe that at some distant time, Palestinians and Israelis will probably live together in peace.

    This will not come about because the world decides it’s important to understand the truth about the roots of the conflict before voicing strong opinions. The co-opted press will continue to spread dis-information right up until the peace-treaty papers are signed, and the killing ends. At that point, all the folks who right now firmly believe that there is no way to make peace with the Palestinians will suddenly be greatly surprised, and will forever after deny that their collective ignorance had anything to do with the fact that peace took so long in coming.

    When peace finally comes to the Middle East, all the dopes in the world will think it’s because the Palestinians suddenly decided to be reasonable.

    1. Synoia

      What you suggest can take generations, at-least three and probably four, without skirmishes every few years.

      Look at the US South, WW1 and WW2 as examples.

      My observations, with a very limited set of samples, (The Boer War, WW 1 and 2) for this manner of “reconciliation” is that the great majority of people who had direct experience of the military action need to have passed on, so the body of knowledge is mostly anecdotal, not directly experienced.

      With actions every few years, the “anecdotal only” takes are at least between two and four generations.

      In the case under discussion, Israel, this clock has yet to start.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Yes, which is why I described the coming of peace as being at “some distant time.”.

  10. Edward

    I think the world, including many Americans, are fed up with U.S. imperialism, not just in Palestine, but everywhere. The U.S. loves to lecture others about human rights. These days, though, the propaganda is weak indeed. Washington doesn’t seem to notice– although after debacles like the Alaska/China summit, Blinken may be starting to realize this. Anyway, not only does Washington not care about human rights, but is itself a major violator, and its rhetoric is pure opportunism and exploitation. What is someone supposed to think when another person lies to them about something they value to manipulate them?

    On Palestine, most governments, based on their U.N. votes, reject Israeli apartheid, but the U.S. has been able to block efforts to reign in Israel’s behavior. The rest of the world hasn’t been willing to fight the U.S. on this issue, but they probably resent the U.S. coercion. The Oslo “peace process” was a fraud that bought Israel more time to create “facts on the ground”. So after decades of U.S. bad faith on this issue and with a weaker America, I think we are at a point where Washington is going to take a lot of criticism as it continues to support Israeli Apartheid.

    I have to say, though, that whenever Israel gets in trouble, some international crisis conveniently seems to save them, like the Gulf War or 9/11.

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