Is Israel Weaker Than Widely Seen in Hamas/Palestine “War”?

We are again in the fog of (mis)information phase of reporting on a conflict that has the potential to escalate in a serious way. But we’ll pick through various accounts and speculation about Hamas striking from Gaza into Israel and its potential to set off a wider Middle East conflagration.

Let’s first dismiss the idea that somehow Israel ginned up the attack (as opposed to triggered a reaction to a provocation) or that Mossad was aware but chose to let it proceed so as to provide a better excuse for a ferocious retaliation. Israel’sresponse has been way too flat-footed for that to be credible. And Hamas’ massive rocket attack, which has overwhelmed the vaunted Iron Dome and continued last night, punctures one of the hallmarks of Israel’s prowess. Readers have argued that the resulting damage to the sense of day-to-day safety has the potential to weaken Israel’s economy, since recent immigrants and expat workers in its tech industries could decamp.

Let us also remember the elephants in the room. Israel, even more so as it has become more right wing and ultra-Orthodox continue to increase as a percentage of its citizenry, has no end game for the Palestinians other than continued oppression and the hope that the current resident population leaves and/or otherwise shrinks. They have relied on policing and when the Palestinians have attacked Israel, the use of the IDF to contain the eruptions.

On the other side, there are militant forces in the Middle East that want Israelis expelled from Muslim holy areas, and potentially all of Israel. These desires have not gotten much of anywhere due to Israel having nukes and being perceived to be too formidable, particularly with US backing, for a hot conflict to have had good odds of success. However, Israel’s opponents have noted that Israel did not fare very well when it attacked Lebanon in 2006 to try to root out Hezbollah and instead failed abjectly. However, an offensive operation is also much more demanding and risky than defense.

In other words, the Israeli government has maximalist aims but has been implementing them slowly, and a meaningful contingent in the neighborhood also has maximalist aims.

Also keep in mind, given the need for Israel to project that it is undefeatable, both to deter attack and to maintain confidence at home, that just as in the Yom Kippur War, a battlefield win can still be a strategic loss. As reader Lex pointed out yesterday:

Hamas doesn’t need to win. It only needs to drag Israel into a protracted and bloody struggle. Nor does it have anything to lose. Israel’s internal contradictions were boiling over before this, a conflict may plaster over them in the short term but not the medium. That’s especially true if the IDF does not produce a quick and overwhelming victory.

And hk:

The talk of IDF responding “overwhelmingly” is meaningless because they have effectively run up to the top of escalation ladder. What more can they do now? Kill all the Gazans? If they escalate beyond what they already have in the past, the diplomatic consequences will be intolerably high for no gain beyond satiating crazies’ bloodthirst.

Netanyahu has promised a ferocious response yet has also warned of a long war.

And the scale of the deaths so far also mean Netanyahu will feel, given his generally sanguinary inclinations, that he has to crush Hamas and to a large degree, Gaza, whatever he considers “crush” to mean in practice:

However, Netanyahu’s “long war” warning suggests he is not confident he will be able to contain Hamas quickly. Even though Israel has been shelling Gaza (some internet sources claim in including the use of white phosphorus), and troops are also reported to be massing, there does not yet seem to be a ground operation in Gaza.

Recall that Hezabollah warned through Egypt that it would saddle up if the Israel retaliation were de trop. One can only guess what that threshold might be, but pounding Gaza into Bakhumt-style rubble would probably lead Hezbollah to enter the fray.

Hamas was shelling targets in Israel last night and appears to have started again, and at first blush, the scale looks similar:

There are also claims Hamas has taken ground and is moving towards the West Bank. This is clearly not confirmed but would amount to a plan:

Note also that the Twitterverse claims that Hamas has considerable support in the West Bank and the PLO would be voted out of Abbas were to elections.

A friend said she could have financed the Hamas operation from her checkbook. That may not be an exaggeration:

But we don’t have the rumors that Hamas also bought weapons shipped to Ukraine on the black market confirmed or not. Recall also that Hamas captured the Israeli base next to Gaza. What sort of goodies did it seize beside tanks?

There are also claims that Israel is getting the ground situation back in hand outside Gaza proper:

Aljazeera reports that Israel says it has reclaimed all towns outside the Gaza fence, as of roughly 5:45 AM EDT.

The Wall Street Journal claimed in an exclusive report that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard helped Hamas plan its attack and even gave it the go-ahead. Per Aljazeera:

“The accusations linked to an Iranian role… are based on political reasons,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani told reporters.

Palestinians had “the necessary capacity and will to defend their nation and recover their rights” without any help from Tehran, Kanani added.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that Israel will quickly contain this uprising and the rest of the Arab world will sit on its hands. Given that the Hamas attack has been far more successful than past uprisings and shelling from Gaza continues, it’s not clear that past performance is a predictor of future results. China has brokered a deal between Iran and the Saudis that was on the way to normalizing relations; the US effort to get the Saudis to recognize Israel was to reassert US relevance in the region and specifically to pry the Saudis and Iran back apart. The Saudis have already said Israel has only itself to blame for the Hamas invasion, which will not go down well in Tel Aviv.

There are reasons to harbor doubts about how effective the IDF will be in a ground operation in the heavily urbanized Gaza, as opposed to retaking the surrounding territory. Regularly militaries and insurgent operations are not a happy mix. We’ve seen reports of reservists in Israel refusing orders to be called up, on the assumption that they’d be asked to serve in a clearing operation and that would be a suicide mission. Again this amounts to rumors. However, even if true on only a small scale, it would not be a good sign.

Jacob Dreizin is a forceful voice for the contrarian position. From a recent post:

…Israeli army (“IDF”) is **NOT COMBAT-CAPABLE**, cannot handle enemy tactical drones & obviously has not learned new threats/tactics from Ukraine war. (Probably, U.S. Army in same shape.) Having facilitated Azerbaijan’s success against Armenians… Israel finds itself as potentially another Karabakh 2020, unprepared for modernity. Any “conventional” showdown with a “real” opponent such as Hezbollah (with its extensive Syrian experience), at the same time as Gaza, will lead to the IDF getting UTTERLY WASTED & WRECKED BEYOND COMPREHENSION. This is why tactical nuclear weapons would almost certainly be used in a war with Hezbollah, which may content itself with “merely” sending over a stream of cheap (perhaps even unarmed) drones to wear out Israel’s Patriot missile stores (Israel’s short-range “native” [Raytheon/Boeing-assisted] anti-rocket defenses can sometimes but are not intended to target & hit straight-line trajectory craft)

So in one sense, Dreizin confirms the idea that the Gazans will be largely abandoned, not due to the strength of the IDF in conventional war, but due to the fact that it’s actually so fragile that Hezbollah could make great inroads in an attack, leading to a Israel to deploy nukes. Dreizin contends Hezbollah is too aware of that risk to take the chance.

Another data point suggesting that Israel does not have a lot of depth, materiel-wise, right now:

USAF flies (a short flight!) Syrian Civil War-era prepositioned small arms munitions (or certainly nothing heavier than mortar shells) by C-17A Globemaster III from Amman, Jordan to Ben Gurion Airport, Israel, on Sunday. Another Globemaster III took off from Amman at about the same time, and flew to Rammstein Air Base, Germany (we’ll see if it comes to Israel on Monday.) If they have to fly this petty junk to Israel, you know it’s BAD

Indirect confirmation comes from the fact that Hamas was able to seize the Israeli base next to Gaza. That speaks to poor discipline and motivation.

Now having said all that, this is clearly an overly dynamic situation. For instance, despite the past record of inaction when Israel punished Gaza for uprisings, it’s not clear that would happen in the event Israel is as brutal as Netanyahu promised to be, particularly in an era of intense social media coverage.

One take, from Black Mountain Analysis, is that the elite Iran Revolutionary Guards forces, known as the Quds Forces, dedicated to the liberation of Palestinians, looks to have been activated. The author then admits that take is speculative (and IMHO he draws his yarn diagram too tight) but the warning at the end of the post rings true:

Israel will mobilize everything and destroy Gaza. It remains to be seen whether it will be occupied or simply leveled with other means, but it will be destroyed….

The destruction and/or occupation of Gaza is unacceptable for the Arab neighbors. My friends… We can expect the region to be blown up pretty soon.

Mind you, I really hope to be wrong, but the odds of this sort of outcome are uncomfortably high.

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  1. furnace

    “However, an offensive operation is also much more demanding and risky than offense. ”
    I think it’s supposed to be “defense” in the latter part of the sentence.

  2. furnace

    Excellent post. Thanks for reminding me of Black Mountain Analysis, they got some good pieces there. I’m frankly a bit tired of reading pieces like today’s Simplicius which presume that this somehow must be a sort of falseflag or manipulative Pearl Harbor-style “just ignore it”. This bothers me because first of all, occam’s razor if nothing else demands that the obvious should be taken into account: the Israelis were humiliatingly taken by surprise, Mossad be damned.

    Secondly, this presumes that the colonized have no agency and that only the big honchos get to decide what happens in the world. The French learned (and are still learning…) this lesson by paying a high price in blood and treasure: ignore the oppressed at your own peril. I am firmly unconvinced that this is deliberate on the part of Israel; whatever their aims, Hamas clearly did their homework and are seriously engaging in war. That they have backers is well known, but I also am very unconvinced that Iran or whomever would want a massive conflagration right now. It has happened: now all parties must behave accordingly. Whatever the outcome of this war, Hamas has managed to do what no one else has in a long time: make the Palestinians be taken seriously.

    1. .Tom

      Simplicius likes that kind of speculation. I remember he played voting games with readers about the conspiracies that might be behind the Wagner uprising.

      “Overly dynamic” seems like a euphemism for unpredictable. Even if we knew the intents, plans and orders of the players thus far we would be stuck with the answer: I don’t know.

      1. GF

        We know what Netanyahu said and what the defense minister said (Total Blockade of Gaza). So we will sit back and watch 2.3 million starve-to-death.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Mossad institutional rot, IDF hubris, overreliance on AI analytics, and Hamas’s asymmetric evolution is more than enough to explain Hamas’ “shock”.

      But of course for some, it is much more alluring to attribute everything to someone’s mastery of 4D chess

    3. Lex

      This wasn’t a false flag. If it was, then Israel’s response wouldn’t have been so chaotic. Besides that, a false flag (at least a good one) needs to project a weakness that must be met with overwhelming force. It shouldn’t show an actual weakness. The whole everything is a false flag or conspiracy also gives “western” leadership a level of credit it clearly doesn’t deserve.

      1. Anon

        It seems to me, the Israelis have been poking the fundamentalist bear for quite some time now, and there are likely elements within the society that, if not relish, then are enlivened by these events. Whether they were caught off guard or not, the rest are now cornered animals. Whatever the historical justification for their existence or destruction, they are no less motivated for their survival, or won’t be anyway. I notice in the above essay only faint reference to the maximalist aims of the Palestinians; of which I would be thoroughly surprised did not involve a proper, medieval sacking.

        It’s just raw power now.

        How will the commentariat react if the Palestinians (and their surrogates obviously) exceed their mandate and take Tel-Aviv?

        1. caucus99percenter

          That’s about as likely as Native Americans rising up and taking back Manhattan, or seizing Washington DC (1/6 Buffalo Shaman guy notwithstanding).

          1. Anon

            Israel is not nearly as far along in their settler-colonialist project as we are, so your analogy is false. They are exiting the smallpox-blankets phase, and entering the scalpings phase, that or they never left the latter.

            1. sharonsj

              Since Jews are the original inhabitants of the area (which consisted of three Jewish kingdoms), stop calling them settlers/colonists–particularly since Israel is now 60% brown-skinned Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Muslim countries. In addition, the estimated number of Native Americans who were killed in the Americas was between five and 20 million, while about 87,000 Palestinians have died since 1948.

                1. Polar Socialist

                  The most original inhabitants were, of course, the Natufians something like 12 thousand years ago. And as the rather arid ground in this part of the world preserves even organic remains, we now know that the current day Palestinians do share a lot of genes with the Natufians.

                  But wait, so do many of the Jews. It’s almost as if these Semitic tribes have common origins! It’s almost as if, and I know it’s hard to believe, some left/were cut off after the destruction of the Second Temple and some just stayed and around the 7th century started to turn to Islam.

                  Wouldn’t it be seriously ironic if the scientific evidence was telling the real story? That the Palestinians, Druze, Lebanese, Jordanians, Bedouins, Syrians and Ashkenazi are actually same people…

              1. Bosko

                Oh please, do I have to read this kind of thing in every newspaper, every comments section, every social media platform? Without getting into the useless game of contesting every one of your points, I have to say, one would have to possess an extremely childish knowledge of ancient history to claim that Jews were “the original inhabitants of the area.” The whole “Israeli Jews are indigenous” line is embarrassing and ridiculous.

              2. caucus99percenter

                So I guess according to the West’s book and paradigm, “Hawaiian Zionism” would be legitimate, where Kanaka Maoli form a Polynesian Irgun and blow up Waikiki hotels… with the ultimate long-term goal of forcing everyone else in the Islands to leave and go back to wherever their ancestors came from…?

              3. Anon

                I wasn’t the one who made the analogy, which I openly attacked as false, so you are commenting on the wrong post. Furthermore, if you notice, the one that did make the analogy referred to the Palestinians as “taking back” Tel-Aviv (Manhattan), so your gripe truly is with them. I speak facts, not propaganda, and whatever your flavor of bull, the land is clearly being contested so settler-colonial is appropriate.

              4. Anon

                And keeping it real:

                Illegal settlements = settler-colonial, right now, not in some historical setting.

                Sh*t or get off the pot guys, because the good guy routine isn’t cutting it.

      2. hk

        I’d even allow for the possibility that somebody might have started thing off a s a sort of “false flag” (that is, they set some things in motion with the hope of profiting from it in the future) but things got out of control: for an analogy, recall that some of the worst wildfires were started by “controlled” burns that got out of control. Not suggesting that this is what happened, of course, but only pointing out that, even if someone on the Israeli side had a hand in provoking it in some fashion deliberately, there’s no reason to speculate that the entire conflagration was “intentional.”

    4. pjay

      Well, like another massive “intelligence failure” that is being invoked a lot these days, Egyptian sources are claiming that they warned Israel of this coming attack and were ignored. This according to MofA, whose source is Ynet.

      Please don’t shoot the messenger here (me). Many analysts I respect are making the same argument Yves does, and I’m going with their judgment for now. But that said, I have to admit that the “denial of agency” line tends to irritate me when discussing this sort of thing. One could completely accept that this was a complex, long-planned operation by Hamas acting on their own powerful motives – i.e. their own “agency” – and it *still* could have been used by other parties for their own interests. We’ve done it with our own jihadists a number of times. Indeed *because* such groups have their own agency, we have not always been able to control their actions or outcomes.

      PS: I didn’t see hk’s comment before posting this, but that is more or less what I am saying as well.

  3. John R Moffett

    So strange how the only option never on the table is peace and harmony. People everywhere have that option, but rarely seem to exercise it of late. As a biologist I always wonder if war is the population limiting mechanism that the species Homo Sapiens has selected for over the millennia. Most species don’t fight to the death, but humans do so with gusto.

    1. i just dont like the gravy

      Very interesting theory!

      Makes you wonder how much of Locke’s tabula rasa is bogus.

      1. jsn

        One sub-thesis of Graeber & Wengrow’s “The Dawn of Everything” is that prior to “civilization” humans had 20-30,000 years of experience living together in large urban agglomerations, much like cites. Some inhabited continuously for thousands of years.

        In their view, “civilization” was a wrong turn when sociopaths and psychopaths got the upper hand, incorporating large bodies of the abused to become institutional abusers and setting us on our current course of globe burning, though it took a while.

        It’s now the largest and most important “collective action problem” to figure out how to get everyone who wants peace to stare down the psychopaths who only care about self aggrandizement.

        Göring at Nuremburg: “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

        Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

        Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.​”

        1. Jason Boxman

          The other interesting take away from that book was that when people were fed up with local rulers, they simply… moved somewhere else. The world was big enough at that time that people could just vote with their feet. You can’t really opt-out of corrupt American Democracy today, unless you happen to be a billionaire.

    2. digi_owl

      I seem to recall seeing the claim that our great ape cousins, chimps in particular, have their young males form raiding parties that go spoiling for fights with nearby groups.

      And the lethality of war is a recent development, iirc. Something about findings after WW1 showing that soldiers trained in traditional marksmanship (accuracy against a circular target) would often fire their shots over the head of an enemy soldiers to scare them off rather than aim at said soldier. Since then the training supposedly shifted to drilling reflexive fire against human torsos.

      And that is in addition to the introduction of machine guns and explosive artillery shells that do indiscriminate area damage rather than target individual soldiers.

      In recent years there have been talk about drone pilots quitting because they saw far too many kids blown up by the missiles meant for “terrorists”. I think one spectacular examples was a pilot that watch their target enter a building, triggered the launch, and then watched as a child come running round the corner and in the door right before the missile hit.

      One also find ever more elaborate attempts at dehumanizing the enemy, for example in posters dating back to WW1 showing apes wearing German helmets.

    3. outside observer

      It would seem a force of natural selection, no? Those with the peaceful gene killed off by those with the warring gene.

      1. Objective Ace

        Even if it weren’t prevalent at the gene level, any peaceful culture would tend to get killed off.

        1. t

          There’re reams and reams of work on the hawk and dove gene balance and hawk and dove behavior within species groups and how species deal with threats. In a flock of birds, for instance, you need some who will harrass hawks. Not too few, or the hawk will always win. Not too many, or the flock won’t have time to for business.

          Herd-based species can afford to have males killed. Species with mating pairs need more equal populations. On an individual level, animals prefer not to die and haven’t been stupid enough to invent weapons that give them too much confidence.

          1. Ann

            Dark Forest Hypothesis:

            “The dark forest hypothesis is the conjecture that many alien civilizations exist throughout the universe, but they are both silent and hostile, maintaining their undetectability by humanity for fear of being destroyed by another hostile and undetected civilization.[1] In this framing, it is presumed that any space-faring civilization would view any other intelligent life as an inevitable threat,[2] and thus destroy any nascent life that makes itself known.”


    4. .Tom

      I think what’s unique in humans is language and tied to that comes episodic memory and imagination. These together provide for shared beliefs and plans, which is the basis for both the rapid adaptability and the organized violence. What you suggest would require some selection pressure for the organized violence that’s distinct from the selection pressures for its precursor capabilities.

    5. Louis Fyne

      the Mideast is resource poor (water, arable land, etc)…it is a zero-sum game.

      has been since the days of Akkad and Sumer once the population passes carrying capacity of the land-climate

      1. Anon

        This. However we are also not so good at distributing resources equitably, while being rapaciously good at consuming them. That’s that human layer.

    6. SOMK

      I’ve read alternate takes, an article in New Scientist years ago which argued that if you look at how easily our hand and face bones break, our fights tend to end quickly and not be overly prolonged, we are not genetically primed for violence, compared to other animals our sexual dimorphism (which is the biggest indicator of a propensity for violence, ie. being built for it, ala Silver Backs or Great Stags) is middle of the road. Reductively there are essentially two models for mammalian reproduction, tournament species (one male with several females, only 5% of males reproduce, the male does little or no work in terms of child rearing, more male aggression… yada yada) and pair bonding species (visa versa), per Robert Sapolsky we’re about half-way between both.

      Problem is thanks to our over-developed brains, we can use/develop technology to leverage our comparative lack of strength compared to equivalently sized animals and devise weapons that allow those who possess them to dominate those who don’t. Even without weapons, we have the capacity for imaginative thinking, tool use, setting traps, bating food with poison and so on.

      It’s a perenial question, a variation of the existential notion of are humans inherently good or evil, you will find evidence to support both, but it speaks to fundamental dispositions you can’t argue people out of, though broadly ‘the good’ outweighs ‘the bad’ IMO.

      “There’s a force in iron that lures men on”. -The Odyssey E.V. Rieu translation

      “Guns level the playing field against ***holes, you can be the biggest bad ass biker, MMA, street fighter guy in the world, they put you in a cage with some Honey Boo Boo with a shotgun, the Vegas odds are going to alter drastically.” -Doug Stanhope

  4. Vicky Cookies

    One wonders, sadly, if this bloody and dangerous war would have occurred had Israeli liberals reached a hand out and included Palestinians in their protest movement this year.

    1. Alex

      I don’t remember Hamas reaching out so I don’t think this would make any difference. If anything, Hamas leadership is likely to want to scuttle any kind of normalisation, whether internal or international, since it weakens their position.

      1. Victor Moses

        Hamas doesn’t need to reach out. This odd phrasing assumes parity between occupier and occupied. Hamas and the Palestinians want freedom from colonization and oppression. But Israeli Zionist liberals only care about their freedoms not those their state brutalized.

      2. hk

        This was a while ago, but Hamas had, for well over a decade, offered to negotiate for a long term truce (50 years was their opening offer), although not for permanent peace. The offer was on table for pretty much all of 2000s and much/most of 2010s, I believe. Israel never took the offer seriously, as I remember it.

    2. Cassandra

      A recent report alleged that MTG reached out to Code Pink to make common cause against the US support for war in Ukraine. She was (allegedly) rebuffed.

  5. digi_owl

    And it all has to do with some rock where some old stories claim things happened.

    Never mind that whenever i look at a map, i wonder the why Palestinians were not simply handed the south wedge between Egypt/Sinai and Jordan. Would allow them to have a coherent territory/nation of their own.

    But then we still have the likes of the Kurds stuck on land split between Turkey, Syria and Iraq, when oh so much could be solved by allowing that to be a nation of their own.

    Almost as if some powerful people in some lofty corner offices wants these situations to stay unresolved and “itchy” so we are all distracted from their back room dealings.

    1. MikeInBrixton

      It is not Israel’s or the ‘International Community’s’ right to parcel out a piece of the Palestinians’ own land to them.

      We are dealing with a settler-colonialist state occupying by brutal force the land of another people.

      Palestinians have the right to resist and under international law to armed resistance – that right does not of course extend to war crimes of murder of civilians and hostage taking of civilians (capture of soldiers as PoWs is different).

      The sad truth is that the brutal siege of Gaza and the destruction of hope brutalises people rather than producing fine moral vision.

      I am fed up with hearing about ‘Israel’s right to self-defence’. Rights have to be universal otherwise they are privileges. Israel’s ‘right’ to self defence is an unjustified privilege unless Palestinians are accorded the same right.

      1. Nevermore

        “it is hard to find a single place on the habitable earth that has not admitted this tribe of men (jews), and is not possessed by it.” Strabo.

        1. EY

          Important correction: “it is hard to find a single place on the habitable earth that has not admitted this tribe of men (humans), and is not possessed by it.” Strabo.

          1. Nevermore

            Not sure if you are being sarcastic but Strabo is talking about jews, its probable that later translations of Strabo have been purified and the word “jews” is replaced by humans.
            From “Caesar and Christ” Volume 3 of Will Durant, page 546:
            “Fifty years before the fall of Jerusalem, Strabo, with anti-Semitic exaggeration, reported that “it is hard to find a single place on the habitable earth that has not admitted this tribe of men, and is not possessed by it.” He took it from “Strabo in Josephus, Antiquities, xiv, 7.

      2. sharonsj

        Number of Jews expelled and/or forced out of Muslim countries: Morocco,265,000; Algeria, 140,000; Tunisia, 105,000; Libya, 38,000; Egypt, 80,000; Syria, 30,000; Iraq, 135,000; Yemen, 63,000; Iran 80,000. Where’s your outrage about that?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          So you are confirming that Palestinians never expelled Jews.

          And while we are playing numbers, since when were you outraged about 1.5 million ethnic Russians fleeing the Donbass in 2014-2015, 1 million to Russia, 500,000 to Belarus? This per UN agencies, BTW.

    2. .Tom

      “Corner offices” again. These were a powerful symbol for me in yesterday’s conversations here.

      Maybe the corner offices like to keep situations ready for when they need a fight for some other reason.

    3. square coats

      I would just like to mention as an aside that one big issue with the land many Kurds would like to claim as their own in Syria holds a large amount of Syria’s natural resources, so it can’t be so simple as Syria simply agreeing to cede it all to them as a separate State.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And a lot of the territory that they occupy has never been Kurdish but has always been Arab. Without the presence of thousands of US troops, the whole lot would be rolled up in weeks and go back to being a part of Syria. But with the Kurds, they will not be allowed to have their own country as every single country that borders them is hostile to them because the Kurds want to cleave off portions of those countries as they has Kurds living there.

        1. Freethinker

          The kurds are sh*t outta luck because they’re a minority wherever they exist, landlocked & surrounded by powerful neighbours, that is a disastrous situation & it’s a wonder they still exist given the merciless character of their location. But since they were happy to be the lackeys in the Turkish genocide of Armenians, they can’t really complain…..

    4. Alice X

      >Never mind that whenever i look at a map, i wonder the why Palestinians were not simply handed the south wedge between Egypt/Sinai and Jordan. Would allow them to have a coherent territory/nation of their own.

      Palestine was a province of the Ottoman Empire. When that was broken up Palestine, rather than being granted independence was made a protectorate (mandate) of the UK. The Jewish population was 8% in 1918 but the UK controlled immigration and by 1947 it was 33%. They had legal title to 7% of the land but the colonial dominated UN deigned to give away Palestinian land without their vote or say in the matter. So the whole problem goes back more than 100 years.

      Oh, and the Kurds, the Treaty of Sèvres (1920), which was the first treaty breaking up the Ottoman Empire, proposed an independent Kurdistan but the Turks rejected it and went to war. The subsequent Treaty of Lausanne (1923) was more favorable to the Turks who signed it (but not favorable to the Kurds).

      1. Lysias

        The genocide of Armenians, although ordered by the central Turkish authorities in Constantinople, was to a large extent carried out by Kurds.

    5. Don

      It doesn’t have very much, if anything, to do with some rock. I grant that three related monotheist religions with mutually murderous intentions attaching great cultural significance, for obvious historical reasons, to the same small part of the world doesn’t help, but it is far more about some oil, and first and foremost, about the projection of Western Imperial power.

    6. Revenant

      I think your proposal for a homeland is a non-starter.

      It would remove Israel’s navigation rights on the Red Sea

      It would prevent any schemes like the Red-Dead canal etc.

      A Palestine with independent sea access on a Muslim-only littoral can be supplied and raised as a threat to Israel by Saudi, Jordan, Iran, Sudan etc. If millions of Muslims can make it across the Red Sea to Mecca, they can also make it to Palestine for Jihad.

      If we are thinking demonically and creatively, Turkey should offer the Palestinians as much of Greek-speaking Cyprus as they can invade….


    The world since covid is much scarier for military conflicts. The unthinkable had already happened. Deaths in the tens of millions. Complete state change for economies and governments.

    The relative calculus for planners changes when the backdrop is no longer “the end of history”.

    Not only might this time be different. But I think it’ll take a lot less to push the button than if the same events happened 10 years ago.

    1. Louis Fyne

      partly because (many other side reasons), parties are no longer afraid of the West, realizing fighting against the West/dying for yiur people is not futile—the imperialists have no clothes.

      Give me liberty or give me death

  7. Alex

    The situation is dynamic of course, so just my personal observation that contradicts somewhat the rumours of reservists refusing orders. Lots of reservists who live elsewhere are flying in to join the army. These are mostly not right-wing or religious people.

    In the Arab world, Ayman Odeh, the head of one of Arab parties in Israel, called for Arab Israelis not to join the conflict ( – speaking in Arabic with Hebrew subtitles) and UAE condemned Hamas. These are exceptions rather than the rule, obviously.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      There are reports that 100,000 soldiers are assembled, so whatever level of refusals there are, they are not at a level to forestall a ground attack.

    2. Sibiriak

      “Israel has called up 300,000 reservists thus far.”

      –Israeli defence forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari (The Guardian, 09.16 BST)

  8. NN Cassandra

    Problem with tactical nukes is that they were conceived as tool against local concentration of forces, but nowdays everyone is practicing dispersal of forces, especially guerrilla fighters. So dropping nukes on Lebanon would have minimal military effect and huge cost for Israel.

    1. digi_owl

      Frankly if one want to do localized damage on a massive scale, a fuel air explosive (basically a propane tank or similar with a timed release valve and ignition source) work just as well as a small nuke and carry far less political repercussions.

        1. digi_owl

          That was not so much an FAE as a warehouse sized fertilizer bomb.

          Still, nuclear weapons have their potential power listed in terms of tons of TNT.

          And there was an incident during WW1 where a ship loaded up with ammunition and such in a Canadian port blew up. The damage was downright horrific.

    2. Carolinian

      I know nothing about Dreizin but just saying that makes him an idiot.

      Someone here yesterday accused NC commenters of sitting in their armchairs and being callous but what about the US Israel cheering section which has always encouraged Israel in their intransigence and propaganda? Who exactly are the armchair warriors?

      The Israeli lobby has always leveraged the Middle East conflict for their own power purposes here at home and if you think that is incorrect then please cite the more than a handful of people in Congress who are willing to defy them. And when it all goes wrong send in the nukes? The reality denial bubble is out of hand.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Dreizin is not at all keen about the idea. And he thinks the Israelis were dopes to get in this position. Stop projecting your prejudices on him just because he is Jewish.

        1. Carolinian

          My prejudice is against the very mention of using nukes. Are others doing so? If so I retract.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            There are some Reddit threads discussing it. There was speculation that the fertilizer ship blast in Lebanon was a small nuke but it was soon established not. I suspect the lack of much international concern over that explosion, which was absolutely devastating to Lebanon (and there are still questions as to whether it was an accident as opposed to exploiting massive stoopid in leaving a potential huge bomb sitting in port for IIRC over a year) is the reason for Dreizin asserting Israel could (or would calculate it could) get away with that if it felt sufficiently cornered by Hezbollah. Going to that extreme a position is meant to indicate how Israel’s military is not up to the task of coping with much in the way of response as it escalates in Gaza, and how it could resort to pretty bad extreme measures.

            I agree Dreizin is a flawed narrator, but not because he is insane. He’s a drama queen.

            Wikipedia says Israel has been reported to have tactical nukes. Since Israel is opaque about everything nuclear weapons-wise, it has no stated doctrine.

            I agree this is a dramatic line of thinking but in a new piece today, Elijah Magnier argues that Israel is in a ton of hot water. Short version is it faces a massive drone war and has no ready response.

      2. lambert strether

        > The Israel Lobby

        See John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby,” London Review of Books (2006), for a summary of their book by the same name.

        Mearsheimer was ostracized for “Israel Lobby” in much the same way as Thomas Frank was ostracized for “Listen, Liberal!”

    3. Weil

      “Problem with tactical nukes is that they were conceived as tool against local concentration of forces, but nowdays everyone is practicing dispersal of forces, especially guerrilla fighters. So dropping nukes on Lebanon would have minimal military effect and huge cost for Israel.”

      the problem with tactical nukes is that they exist, we have normalized them, made them into movies and sources of violent entertainment, refer to them seriously as war machines and have accepted, therefore, our demise within both our minds and culture by even thinking of embracing them.

      Thinking remains rooted in imperialism.

      We are victims of menticide and we are now beginning to see the blowback.

      We have absorbed the military culture and thus weaponized ourselves.

      “We have met the enemy and it is us.” Pogo

      1. JBird4049

        The bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the size of a modern “tactical” bomb and still killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people. This does not count the many more injured or the cancer deaths decades later.

        There are very good reasons why they have only been used twice. If for no other reason then their use would invite the use of them on the attacker in retaliation. Certainly, anyone using them on a city could expect no sympathy from anyone else after that.

  9. timbers

    Now would be as good time as any for Zelensky to ask Israel to send more weapons to Ukraine to stop Russia.

    1. Polar Socialist

      On that vein: Ukraine is accusing Russia of sending captured Ukrainian weapons to Hamas in order to discredit Ukraine.

      1. timbers

        Well, then Z should ask Netanyahu to drop what he’s doing to get them and send them back to Ukraine.

      2. Altandmain

        Chances are corrupt Ukrainians were the ones who sold this equipment. The Ukrainian state is the most corrupt in the world.

        1. ThirtyOne

          I seem to remember some weapons depots blowing up pre SMO in Ukraine. Scuttlebutt was some were destroyed to cover missing inventory. Then there’s the rocket engines that looked familiar showing up on North Korean rockets:

          Elleman compared footage of those launches shown on North Korean television in July with photos of Soviet missile engines dating to the 1960s. One of them appeared to match the RD-250, an outdated but highly reliable machine.
          Roughly 200 of these engines still exist, according to Yuzhmash, the missile factory in Dnipro that made them. Nearly all are stored in Russia, but Elleman concluded that if one had been stolen, it would more likely have been from a smaller stockpile in Ukraine.

  10. LawnDart

    The ghost of John McCain must be restless:

    Iran vows ‘crushing response to any foolish move’ after Israeli, US threats

    The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry says the country will not hesitate to deliver a crushing response to enemies in case they make any foolish move against it.

    Nasser Kan’ani made the remarks during a press conference in the capital Tehran in response to the latest anti-Iran comments by US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham…

    Bam! Bam! Bam! It’s Lindsey Graham! And he’s pushing Uncle Sam into war with Iran! John’s wet-dream’s now Lindsey’s plan (so better fill up those gas tanks while you can!).

    [Posted with appologies to songbook talent]

  11. furnace

    From The Cradle:

    “We are in a very large reserve recruitment process, and we have reached 300,000, the largest operation of its kind ever in Israel,” an army spokesman said.

    Lots of troops means lots of bodies. This is going to be a bloodbath on both sides. And an army of this level can only be considered genocidal. Things were hot enough already, but I’m afraid this is going to light the gunpowder depot like nothing else.

    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday said he has “ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel; everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.”

    Oh. So we have already reached the “untermensch” phase of propaganda. Classy.

    1. caucus99percenter

      Instead of invading, deprive 2 million people of food, water, medical supplies, and electricity and then lean back and watch with glee as death totals mount? Collective punishment, taken to the extreme?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well, maybe the new George Bush. Bush was totally fixated on Iraq and ignored the warnings about Al Qaeda so he ended having 9/11 on his watch. Probably find that Bibi was so obsessed with getting his judicial ‘reforms’ rammed through that he ignored the warning signs too. Even the Israelis are calling it their 9/11.

          1. pjay

            I thought that Ritter’s comments on AI were interesting. Most commentators are suggesting that “radio silence” by Hamas, avoiding electronic communication, was a large factor in this “massive intelligence failure” by Israel (and also the US). Ritter suggests that Hamas *continued to use* such communications in a way so as so mislead AI-based data analysis. Something I did not consider on my own but now makes sense.

    2. John k

      I wonder if Egypt can stand aside and let this happen given their border with Gaza… or, if they do something, what? Allow water and food to go in? Allow gazans out? If food flows, will weapons sneak in? Enormous sympathy from rank and file Egyptians if not their leaders.
      And Jordanians likely sympathize plus Jordan harbors an enormous contingent of Palestinians.
      Separately, I read gazans drove off helicopters with man pads, maybe sourced from Ukraine?

      1. hk

        Unless we have evidence that Stingers brought down Israeli helicopters or Javelins knocked out Merkavas, I would not put too much trust on Ukrainian sourced arms in Gaza. Possible and even likely the scenario might be, weapons developed in the old USSR are too common in the Middle East and could have come from a lot of places.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Egypt reportedly send teams of military medics into Gaza already yesterday to help the situation. I hope they’re smart enough to stay away from hospitals, though.

  12. Louis Fyne

    Gaza has 2 million people in roughly a hellscape the size of Mannhattan.

    In no scenario can 100, 200,000 troops pacify that zone to match Bibi’s rhetoric!

    And a big chunk of the IDF are reservists, many secular Jews.

    If the IDF will enter (to match the rhetoric), it will be horrific fighting and erstwhile middle-class comfortable israeli families will see suffering (KIA) at levels not seen since 1948.

    Per capita worse than US in the Vietnam War.

    And remember just months ago, Bibi was on the doorsteps of receiving a colour revolution from.

    So you have urban, suburban reservists fighting/dying for ultra-right-wing Orthdox political aims. (and there are various IDF draft loopholes that benefit the ultra-orthodox)

    Ironically the opposite of the US, where the meme is that conservatibes will not volunteer to fight for a woke Pentagon

    Whether by design or accident, Hamas will pressure Israeli society in any long-term war at pre-existing fault lines.

    Hamas wants an endless urban war in Gaza to bleed israel, and Bibi’s (and even liberal Israel’s) rhetoric is walking right into their trap.

    folks understandably have blood fever and want revenge…..but a rash invasion of Gaza will make things worse for everyone, including Israeli Jews

    1. Alex

      There is also a religious nationalist group which has grown quite a lot lately and they do serve in the army,

    2. Walter

      I disagree that “Hamas wants an endless urban war in Gaza to bleed israel.” That seems to suggest a long term, strategic plan, perhaps like the U.S./NATO plan to bleed Russia in Ukraine. It doesn’t work in your own front yard (“mowing grass,” anyone?).

      I suspect that Hamas saw the end coming for their people (increasing ejection from large areas of the West Bank, incursions on Muslim sacred sites, periodic bombing of Gaza, decay of or interference (Trump 2018) with international humanitarian support, climate impacts), and said “OK, we’re doomed, there’s no deal we can make, so no sense in waiting. We’ll go down now, but we’re gonna make you bleed.” I’d bet that it’s not just Hamas’ leadership, but many, many Palestinians that feel that way.

      I suppose it could (possibly?) work out as a strategic plan if Israel decided to make an *unbelievably* good deal for the Palestinians instead of going to all out war. Unbelievable may not be a strong enough word. A sad and horrifying episode begins, but just another step in humanity’s decline.

      1. Victor Moses

        Since Hamas can’t be defeated – how exactly do you defeat a legitimate resistance organization with broad support – yes – their goal is to inflict huge casualties on the Israelis and bleed them such that there is little choice but to recognize a fair deal must be made. Recall that the 1973 war was followed by the Camp David Accords in 1979 that handed the entire Sinai conquered in 1967 back to Egypt. Any ground incursion will be terrible for the Israelis in terms of killed and injured – they’re in shock from 900 or so killed now – what happens when thousands are killed? Hamas has won this battle despite the huge losses soon to be inflicted on Gaza.

        1. Snailslime

          Defeat them by killing the entire population?

          2 millions ain’t that much, far larger populations were exterminated even before the invention (or at least spread) of firearms.

  13. Mikel

    Why wouldn’t Israel just repel this attack and go back to their slo mo, but persistent and consistent “lawn mowing” and other things? None of which has made them the pariah state it would have made of so many others?

    Why would it have to be all or nothing for Isreal now at this instance?

    1. Raymond Sim

      There’s a laundry list’s worth of reasons actually. But fundamentally it’s because the US no longer has hegemony in the region.

      1. Mikel

        In recent years, seems like the US has prized or priortized chaos in the region more so than hegemony. Just looking at the results of actions taken…

  14. Lex

    Israel is almost certainly much weaker than it looks or projects. That’s part of the reason the Israeli state is now overreacting in a dangerous way. The Hamas operation not only exposed real weakness but the chaotic response by Israel is worsening that.

    Can Israel wipe Gaza off the map? Probably, though limited munitions may preclude it. Can it initiate a ground invasion of Gaza? Sure. But there is no guarantee of success and the rhetoric from Tel Aviv is putting the Israeli state in a bind of total victory or anything less being defeat.

    And the Israelis are faced with the classic insurgency conundrum. Their adversary has only death or victory. Overwhelming military force against that adversary always creates more adversaries. There was footage yesterday of a man in Gaza who lost his whole family to an air strike. That man will now pick up a gun he didn’t carry last week. (The same can be said to some degree on the Israeli side, but the difference will always be what the person has to lose.)

    I’m wrong plenty, but it looks like Israel is maneuvering itself into a lose-lose situation because of its weakness.

    1. furnace

      Thing is, the Palestinian only has the gun left. Plenty of Israelis have multiple citizenships and cushy places to return to. The cornered animal is always the most dangerous.

    2. Victor Moses

      Totally agree with Lex. But the Israelis can’t not put on a show for their citizenry. It depends on whether their leadership understands the situation as you’ve laid it out or are too consumed with bloodlust and/or stupidity to act any differently.

  15. diptherio

    The fallout from tactical nukes stays right where you detonate the thing, right?….right?

    From the little I know of these things, it seems like the combatants are far too near one another, and near Israeli civilians, for them to consider using a nuke in the area. Would they not just be irradiating themselves if they did that?

    1. digi_owl

      Not just themselves, but everyone downwind for miles.

      Back when Chernobyl popped the dust cloud made it all the way to Norway, where some sheep farmers need to take special precautions to this day.

      1. Michaelmas

        diptherio: …It seems like the combatants are far too near one another, and near Israeli civilians, for them to consider using a nuke in the area. Would they not just be irradiating themselves if they did that?

        digi_owl wrote: Not just themselves, but everyone downwind for miles.

        No. You are naive. There are many kinds of nuclear weapons, and not only in terms of dial-a-yield but of radiation release patterns. Forex —
        ‘A neutron bomb, also called an enhanced radiation warhead, is a specialized type of nuclear weapon that would produce minimal blast and heat but … large amounts of lethal radiation … Its blast and heat effects would be confined to an area of only a few hundred metres in radius, but within a somewhat larger radius of 1,000–2,000 metres the fusion reaction would throw off a powerful wave of neutron and gamma radiation. High-energy neutrons, though short-lived, could penetrate armour or several metres of earth and would be extremely destructive to living tissue. Because of its short-range destructiveness and the absence of long-range effects … (it) might not endanger nearby cities or other population centres.’
        ‘A neutron bomb, like a hydrogen bomb, is a thermonuclear weapon. The explosion from a neutron bomb is relatively small, but a large number of neutrons are released. While living organisms are killed by this type of device, less fallout is produced and physical structures are more likely to remain intact.’

        Me: In other words, a thermonuclear device creating a highly intense, brief flare of high-energy neutrons but with minimal blast and long term fallout.

        (Though IIRC with some neutron activation in local metals, e.g. local buildings’ girders.)

        And guess what? According to Mordechai Vann, former Israeli nuclear technician and peace activist, who got in deep trouble — with 18 years in prison, including more than 11 in solitary confinement, and continued persecution since 1986 for revealing the scope of the Israeli nuclear program —
        Israel started mass producing neutron bombs in 1984.

        1. Revenant

          It’s all relative. The physics cannot be tweaked to exclude the production of cis-uranic fission products, e.g. Cs and I isotopes that lodge in bone and thyroid respectively, or transuranic fusion isotopes (or just unreacted nuclear materials) like plutonium and uranium. A neutron bomb will produce a lot of neutrons but it will.also produce a lot of radionuclides. These will still constitute fallout unless the explosion is underground, either from volatilising soil thrown up in the blat or, in airburst, simply raining back down where the wind blows….

    2. hk

      I think the nuclear option is untenable for Israel precisely for this reason (South Korea, for example, does not fear NK nuclear weapons much, certainly relative to the more conventional arms, precisely for this reason–NK will not use nuclear weapons on Korean Peninsula b/c it’ll irradiate their own territory, too. They know that NK nukes exist solely to blackmail US and its more distant allies.) I doubt Israel would use nuclear weapons against its immediate neighbors (maybe Iran or Saudi Arabia, if things go haywire…but not Gaza, West Bank, or even Damascus or Beirut.), unless it is about to be destroyed itself.

      1. Michaelmas

        hk: I think the nuclear option is untenable for Israel precisely for this reason.

        Don’t count on it. See above.

        1. hk

          I suppose I’m being a bit naive…but neutron bombs came up a lot in conversations back in 1980s, then the topic sort of disappeared into thin air last couple of decades. How much “practical” knowledge is there of its effects? How many “usable” neutron bombs does anyone have these days? As per what GF asked above, do we have good “in vivo” data as to what comes out of neutron bomb blasts?

          1. Michaelmas

            How many “usable” neutron bombs does anyone have these days?

            Supposedly, the US discontinued them in 1992, Russia still has some, and India announced in 1998 it could field them if it wanted to. France and China also tested them, and Pakistan claimed it had built some.

            But see my last point below.

            How much “practical” knowledge is there of its effects?

            As they were developed and tested in the early 1960s, and operational by the 1970s, there’s probably a lot of practical knowledge about the effects, short of any state actually killing large numbers of human beings with them.

            Here —


            In fact, the wiki makes an important point: “Although no country is currently known to deploy them in an offensive manner, all thermonuclear dial-a-yield warheads that have about 10 kiloton and lower as one dial option, with a considerable fraction of that yield derived from fusion reactions, can be considered able to be neutron bombs in use, if not in name.

    3. Bugs

      I think those nukes are meant for targets relatively far from Israel itself. Iran, major Muslim religious sites and European cities.

  16. Bruno

    Why hasn’t the UN Security Council been convened to order a cease fire (as it immediately should have been? And why haven’t I seen anywhere in either the Official Media or the real media even any refererence to the UN?

    1. John k

      Israel ignores un resolutions, and anyway us would veto any peaceful resolution. Beyond that… how many divisions does the un have?
      Peace happens when one side can impose it or when both want it.

        1. Lysias

          They could still get a resolution passed by the General Assembly, even if that wouldn’t have the force of law.

  17. Glossolalia

    Can’t find it now, but I read on some obscure site yesterday that there’s a theory that a lot for weapons/rockets used in the attack originated in Ukraine. Anyone seem similar claims?

      1. Lex

        I haven’t seen any incontrovertible evidence either. Except that I have seen video of Hamas fighters operating Strela shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles and a clip today of a Merkava getting hit from what could only be an anti-tank guided missile. Neither are proof of Ukrainian origin but the odds of them being sourced from elsewhere are pretty low.

  18. Weil

    “Israel will mobilize everything and destroy Gaza. It remains to be seen whether it will be occupied or simply leveled with other means, but it will be destroyed….”

    All paid for through Congressional appropriations by the largess of the US Congress in the name of freedom.

    In return, Americans will be asked to bare austerity, cuts in social services, cuts to the dis-abled, Seniors, municipalities and the needy.

    This is capitalism and imperialism.

    Clero fascism.

  19. Jason Boxman

    In past years I think this came up, that there are only so many rockets that Iron Dome can shoot down before ammo is exhausted; this is another example of a sophisticated weapon system being defeated by cheap, but effective in quantity weapons; we saw this in Iraq as well, with cheap IEDs chewing up up-armored humvees. Not to mention that cost and technical capability required to make these interceptor missiles. This was never going to be a stable deterrence scenario.

  20. David in Friday Harbor

    Interesting how little discussion there is here about the ultra-orthodox Zionist “desecration” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which includes the Dome of the Rock, third holiest site in Islam from which the Prophet is said to have ascended to heaven.

    This past decade has seen an ever-escalating series of provocations against Christian and Muslim holy sites by ultra-orthodox Zionist zealots, most of whom are settlers of European and American origin. The ultra-orthodox claim that they want to establish a “third temple” on the site of Al-Aqsa. This past week they allegedly broke the post-1967 rules by praying, blowing shofars, and sprinkling cow’s blood on the mosque grounds — under the protection of armed Israeli security.

    Hamas calls their recent murder-spree “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.” Most of us here are secular non-believers for whom the religious are magical-thinking nut-jobs. Sadly, people in prisons often turn to religious mysticism for comfort. Gaza is such a place.

    Don’t look for a rational strategy on the part of these pathetic inmates who have nothing to lose and martyrdom in their sights. This human tragedy will continue to unfold and the suffering will only multiply.

    1. Dan R

      But isn’t religion pretty much the driver of everything in Israel? There are so many sites important to Western religions in that country.

    2. David in Friday Harbor

      I also have little doubt that Hamas targeted the “Supernova Sukkot Gathering” psy-trance festival on the Re’im secular kibbutz. A psy-trance rave would be interpreted as a blasphemous pagan provocation by both orthodox Jews and observant Muslims.

      The media portray the festival attack as some sort of wrong place/wrong time accident, but this is doubtless why the festival was moved at the last minute. Unfortunately for the attendees, their thumping psy-trance ”music” must have been heard quite loudly in Gaza, a short 2 miles away.

      The Re’im military outpost probably gave the organizers a false sense of impunity. What amounted to an open and provocative display of secularism and class privilege no doubt played a part in the choice by Hamas of the “Supernova” festival as their target for “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.”

      As usual, this targeted “message” is being used by the Netanyahu regime and their enablers as an excuse to inflict suffering and death on Gaza — although ironically this festival was probably seen as a provocation by the ultra-orthodox as much as by the Muslims.

    3. JonnyJames

      On the other hand.. religion could be seen as a front for politics. Occupied peoples of whatever religion (or even non-religious USSR during WWII) tend to fight back against the occupiers, if possible. The cycle of revenge just escalates, religion or not

      1. Polar Socialist

        Technically PLO was and is non-denominational organization. Israel and USA did everything they could to undermine PLO’s authority (as did many PLO leaders, too) and eventually it lost ground to Islamic groups.

        There are Christian and Druze Palestinians, and I guess even a few very hard core Jewish Palestinians left. It’s not that many generations ago that Palestinian just referred to people living in Palestine, regardless of their religion. And they mostly got along, looking the same, dressing the same, speaking the same, eating the same and pretty much having a mix of religious rituals the same regardless of the religion – it was all Abrahamic anyway.

        1. David in Friday Harbor

          This isn’t about beliefs. They were all “People of the Book” under Ottoman rule before the Brits took over the mandate 100 years back, FFS.

          In a world where at the time of the Nakba 400K Palestinians lived among 2.3 Billion humans, but where today 14.3 Million Palestinians count themselves against 7.2 Million Israeli Jews, among 8 Billion humans — it’s all about the real estate.

  21. redleg

    A nitpick regarding white phosphorous (WP) munitions:
    1. They are extremely useful in combat, I’ll argue essential, as a smoke screen and as an incendiary.
    2. They can be effective when fired through small caliber artillery and mortars. Every NATO infantry company has 81 mm mortars (Soviets used 82mm IIRC). The only smoke or incendiary round that works for these systems is WP.
    3. This is a chemical munition in the same way that a high explosive is a chemical munition, not something like mustard, sarin, etc. It’s a separate moral/ethical argument. War is cruel as a rule, and these munitions are used the same way as HE, unlike chemical or biological munitions.
    4. Finally and most importantly, given the shortage of 155mm HE rounds, WP (and ICM aka cluster) munitions will be used to help husband the stocks of HE.

    People should be most concerned with the morality war in general, not the morality of using WP. Shelling or bombing civilians is a war crime, whether using WP or not.

  22. Polar Socialist

    Elijah Magnier has non-pay-walled his latest article about how things can evolve from here.

    It seems events are already taking over some of his predictions, with Israeli killing one Hezbollah member in Lebanon and now people of southern Lebanon starting to move away, while Israel is telling citizens to prepare to spend next 72 hours in shelters.

    And Hamas announced they will execute one civilian hostage for each civilian building IDF destroys (without warning).

    And Saudi-Arabia told Blinken that negotiations on normalizing relations with Israel have now ended.

    1. Old Sovietologist

      There are reports that Hezbollah units are moving to the south.

      Israel seems to be doing all it can do to bring Hezbollah into the conflict.

      You would think having a second front in the north is much more dangerous and important for Israel than dealing with Gaza.

  23. John k

    Per wiki, from 1990 thru 2000 Palestine pop growth was 4.2%/year, though slowing to 2.5% over past 9 years. So the 20-30 cohort is pretty large (larger than the younger cohorts) and the elder cohorts might not be large because of crappy healthcare. So lots of potential fighters, all of which have little to lose and likely many have lost relatives or friends.
    Initial success might bring in many more fighters. What if the younger West Bankers want to help/join in spite of their leadership?
    I’ve heard Hezbollah is already engaging.
    If nobody in Israel goosed this the idf and Israel intelligence is far less competent than I thought.
    Imo the israel pop that would consider a 2-state solution has declined to insignificance.
    I wonder how influential the Palestinians in Jordan are. If this lasts huge pressure on Jordan/Egypt.

  24. Carolinian

    Juan Cole:

    Israel has violated all of these provisions of international law, in a concerted and deliberate manner for over half a century. It has been actively and consistently aided in doing so by the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Canada and other industrialized democracies, under the cover of a phony “peace process” supposedly working toward a “two-state solution,” which has never amounted to more than weasel words and ways of avoiding any confrontation with Israel over its lawlessness. An undertone of white nationalist racism toward the brown Palestinians tinged this outrageous insouciance toward international law, this profound betrayal of post-war ideals.

    The same impulse to avoid further crimes of the sort the Axis made infamous also led to legislation on laws of war and the specification of war crimes. Hence, the principle of proportionality — you can’t launch a full-scale war because of a minor skirmish for instance. You may not deliberately target or recklessly endanger the lives of innocent noncombatants. These are war crimes.

    He’s saying that what happened in the last few days is not about a Mossad mistake. Rather it’s the fruit of the poisoned tree of European colonialism. And unless there’s some “truth and reconciliation” it will never end and may end all of us [my view]. Kissinger put US nukes on full alert during the 1973 war.

  25. Nevermore

    “We are putting a complete siege on Gaza…No electricity, no food, no water, no gas – it’s all closed, we are fighting animals and are acting accordingly” said Israeli Minister Gallant in Hebrew.
    This kind of disgusting racist language has always preceded genocides in history. The animal is always the other. The gradual and slow annihilation of a martyrized people is about to accelerate; we are fighting animals and are acting accordingly – cant make this stuff up and not a peep from our woke elite in the US and EU.

  26. Freethinker

    Some people are saying this incident is proof that Israel is weak now, but what has really changed?
    Their politicians will reap benefits from the situation, escapees from the Gaza concentration camp will be shot on sight like safari game animals, the camp prisoners will continue to be starved/sickened slowly to death. The mainstream media will not care – as ordered by their various billionaire owners – palestinians have no valuable resources, so nobody cares what happens to them. The Egyptian govt. has been bought off by US bribes to work as concentration camp guards on the southern fence & the other Arab countries have their own poor restless masses to oppress so their elites can enjoy most of the resources available.

    The West doesn’t care about people who look different, with a religion that scares them …..& as the US poodle pack, have to follow their master’s orders anyway. Israelis in the homeland are drifting ever more rightwing, so they will always support their politicians (who just reflect the society they represent) whatever the alleged security mistakes. Israel could eliminate all their arabs tomorrow & if anyone noticed, they wouldn’t care anyway – the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from their ancient territory in soviet-drawn modern Azerbaijan this year was a chilling reminder of what happens to the friendless who are powerless & Armenia has already survived one genocide the world ignored.

    The neutral world, mostly in the global south, may have sympathy, but are not in a position to help, so the only thing that would make a difference is if the US ran out of money to send to Israel & that is unlikely…..

  27. MarkT

    As terrible as this is for all the people involved, my belief is that violence begets violence. I grew up in South Africa during apartheid and what I am seeing looks very much like what was happening there in the 1980s. Where are the peacemakers? The same question could also be asked of the war in Ukraine.

    1. Polar Socialist

      It was Cold War v.1, when the duopoly forced states to do this thing called diplomacy, and there were many countries in The West that tried very hard to tone down all kinds of extremists to keep the war Cold. 30 years of hegemony has led to a complete loss of all that – the West now has only ideologues actually inciting all the extremists instead.

      They can’t let somebody else win: it would be the end of their hegemony, if somebody sets limits to it.

      1. MarkT

        It seems to me there is now a tri-opoly, since the sanctions from hell really were not at all. More like a slap in the face with a feather.

    2. MarkT

      (Forgot to mention that I narrowly missed (by 60 minutes) being massacred by automatic weapons in a student tavern in Cape Town. It was shocking but thankfully I was already on the road to understanding things and so was able to put things in perspective)

    3. Allison

      Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela went to Palestine and both said the conditions they witnessed under Israeli occupation were every bit as horrific as in South Africa. i think after Tutu’s final visit he said things were worse.

      Alan Dershowitz called Tutu a “racist and a bigot.” Just something to think about.

      1. MarkT

        During the worst of the “unrest” Tutu was portrayed by state media as helping “the communists” who were under every bed.

    4. Freethinker

      I was in SA close to that time & remember the feelings there well, I personally thought there was no way peace had a chance so just left, I thought that if the rest couldn’t compromise I shouldn’t die because of their decision I didn’t agree with. [2 years after I left, the Heidelberg was hit & I was continuing my studies in another country instead] With the wisdom of hindsight, peace shockingly won out in the end because most of the world was against the elite settler minority, so they were done for in the long run as isolation would impoverish them – but this gave them a reason to negotiate a deal. The indigenous majority also had more to gain with peace because they wanted to improve their lives & that was best achieved by not wrecking the country in a war & by learning to co-exist with their enemy for the country to be in better shape. It actually worked because both sides believed they had something to gain & weren’t sure endless war would rest in their victory in their lifetimes.

      In Israel, those in power know they can hold out for ever so have no reason to compromise, while the Palestinians have no hope, nothing to gain, but nothing to lose either because death is better than the life they have now, so they might as well fight to die if it’s not worth living & pointless fighting to live.

      That’s why apartheid ended in SA.

      1. MarkT

        Apartheid ended in SA for several reasons. The National government (aka National Party) was defeated by the Cuban army in southern Angola. And internal uprisings within South Africa, which look to me to be very similar to what is going on in Israel. The CIA played a role in all of these things, in my humble opinion.

        1. DJ Forestree

          [Resply to MarkT at 6:47 pm]
          Glad you mention the often ignored contribution of Cuba to the end of apartheid. There are many reasons why, during Castro’s visit to South Africa, Mandela called him “My president” while Castro replied calling him “my brother”.

          1. MarkT

            The first thing Cuba did after the end of apartheid was to send doctors to work in state hospitals in South Africa. The commercial media ridiculed it .

  28. les online

    “9/11” – occurred due to US ‘intelligence failure’…
    Pearl Harbour – a failure to anticipate…
    “Failures” by the authorities made the ‘covid’ pandemic worse…
    Palestinian Invasion – due to Israeli ‘intelligence failure’…

    “9/11” gave us The Patriot Act which gutted many rights…
    Pearl Harbour – gave us The American Empire and it’s many, many wars…
    ‘The Pandemic’ – there’s now draconian lockdown etc laws on the books in many countries..
    Intelligence failure by Israel intelligence joins a long list of “Failures”…

    “There’s no success like Failure…” sung that 1960s folksinger…

  29. Willow

    There is a scene in ‘Men Behind the Sun’ (Japanese atrocities in China) where mice attack and eat a cat. Idea being that no matter how capable a predator, enough prey can overwhelm and destroy the attacker. This is the problem with West’s obsession with high/cost/low volume high tech (overly complex) military equipment. Ideal for overwhelmingly lethal attacks vs small forces but susceptible to being overwhelmed by mass attacks by low cost/high volume forces. The mice are also able to resupply their low tech equipment much more quickly in a sustained conflict. War is as much a numbers game as a tech game as the German’s learnt with the Russians.

  30. juno mas

    Wasn’t MSM in the US complaining about the treatment (“genocide’) of the Armenians last week? Hmmm, seems the folks in Gaza are the ones facing genocide.

    Somehow all these new conflagrations are improving Russia’s standing and prospects in Ukraine?

  31. Reggie's Diner

    Chuck Shumer is trying to get China to issue a stronger statement in support of Israel. He claims he did, but as far as I can tell the statement isn’t any stronger. China is taking the high road and not allowing itself to be dictated to by Israel and its partisans.

    Israel will have to get to work on its lobbying efforts inside China.

    They’ve been there before:

    According to The Forward, upwards of ninety percent of the foreigners helping the Chinese at the time of the Communist takeover were Jews, including “the daughter of the founder of the brokerage firm Goldman Sachs, who left the comfort of her Park Avenue home to assist the Chinese.”

    “…left the comfort of her Park Avenue Home to assist the Chinese.”

    How unselfinvolved of her.

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