Israel: Quietly Fraying?

Many commentators on the war in Gaza have described, often with some dismay, of the unanimity of the Israeli public behind pursuing the conflict vigorously, along with the openly expressed belief that Palestinians are subhman and deserving of brutality and death. And if anything, opinion is becoming more hard line. The right wing just did well in local elections. I am also told that an MIT researcher developing ideas for how to resolve the conflict has found the the young in Israel are more conservative than older cohorts.

This lack of concern about treating life with respect by a nominally civilized people is disturbing, given that in many advanced countries, laws against animal abuse would protect Palestinians better than Muslim states and the UN have.

But despite the apparent consensus on Palestine extermination, there are also growing stresses, particularly economic. Israel is a small open economy, with trade accounting for nearly 32% of GDP. Some sectors are vulnerable to the effects of war. For instance, tourism, using broader measures, contributes 5% to 6% of GDP.

There are signs that Israel is taking more damage below the water line than Anglosphere media reports reveal. The 20% rate of decline for fourth quarter GDP was a shock. And there is not likely to be a big bounceback. Even if the conflict were to end soon, Israel will be faced by hostile and far more economically and militarily powerful neighbors.

Forgive me for being overly reliant on former British diplomat Alastair Crooke for key points of our analysis, but he brings up critical issues that I have not seen stated in other English language reports.

Crooke, who follows the Hebrew press, has repeatedly pointed out that October 7 shattered the sense of security in Israel and that that is fundamentally important. He contends that the premise that Jews would be free from danger anywhere in Israel is deeply internalized. I recall after 9/11 (recall that I was in New York City) that how unhinged individuals were depended on how much “towers falling down” porn they watched and/or whether they had believed the world was safe.

Crooke has also argued that the sense of violation is so severe that the public needs Israel to restore the perception that it has a potent, formidable military by achieving a visible victory. That has not happened in Gaza. Israelis know that the war is not going all that well in Gaza. Crooke says Israelis believe the military death count is much higher than the IDF reports, particularly since news stories along those lines are quickly yanked by the censors. Hence (as we’ll discuss more below) the pressure to take on Lebanon.

A final observation by Crooke: Iran, Hezbollah, and other members of the Resistance have studied how the US and Israel wage war and planned in light of that. Both countries rely on airpower-dominated, intended to be overwhelming campaigns. Their Middle Eastern opponents have also observed that neither country has planned to sustain a long war. That is confirmed by Mark Sleboda, who in a recent show on Syriana Analysis with Andrei Martyanov, who said Western military academies do not even study wars of attrition (at 13:50). They consider them to be too primitive.1

Unfortunately, in the same way that the reports on the Israeli economy didn’t give much hint of the magnitude of the damage shown in the final quarter GDP decline, so to continuing signs of economic and social pressures are likely to be underplayed or simply not covered by the media. So please pipe up with further sightings and anecdata in comments.

The media has covered the weak public support for Netanyahu, the protests over the failure to secure a hostage release, and the spectacle of the US openly meddling in Israeli politics by trying to play kingmaker via inviting a mere minister, Benny Gantz to Washington.2 So we will skip over the backdrop of the top level jousting in Israel intensifying. Pundits generally express the view that whether and when Netanyahu goes is not going to make a difference in policy; if anything, his successors are very likely to be more right wing, which also means more bloody-minded.

One festering issue is the status of the settlers displaced from the Lebanon border. Wikipedia estimates the total at 96,000. To give a sense of the significance, that level, a bit over 1%, scaled up to the US population, would be over 3.5 million. The Israeli government is providing housing for them (not clear if for all or only those directed to evacuate).

Aside from the cost of this social support (which some contend is not sustainable long-term), there is also the loss of income and jobs from businesses operating in those border towns. If they continued to be depopulated for too long, it will be impossible to revive them. Customer and employees will have moved on.

The border town residents have been agitating to return to their homes, and have demanded that Israel push “Hezbollah” back to the Litani River in Lebanon so as to provide them with a buffer zone. This demand is tantamount to implementing a de-militarized zone in Lebanon at the expense of very long-standing Lebanese residents there, or alternatively, Israeli occupation. The government has promised to these settlers that it will clear the threat at the border. Yet many military experts (Scott Ritter, who has a great deal of personal experience with the IDF, had been the most vocal and detailed, but others come to the same conclusion) say if Israel were to attempt to invade Lebanon, the likely result would not be just a defeat but also Hezbollah occupying Israel up to Galilee.

A morale-sapper is that it is hard to hide that the Gaza campaign has not resulted in a win, which also does not bode well for taking action against the much more powerful Hezbollah. From Middle East Monitor on March 6:

The continuation of the Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip deepens Tel Aviv’s losses at the political and military levels, Israeli newspaper, Maariv, said in a report on Tuesday…

The paper said the Israeli army drags its feet in slow motion along the Gaza Strip and rarely launches new operations, except when it tries to comb some of the small areas it left behind…adding that the political leadership is also dragging its feet, waiting for external intervention and trying to reach a prisoner exchange agreement.

According to the paper, that is why the political leadership does not issue many statements, does not order the army to occupy the camps in central Gaza or the rural areas surrounding Rafah and does not attempt to evacuate the refugees in Rafah.

It claimed that taking such steps would put pressure on Hamas and improve the terms of the exchange agreement, while preparing the ground for occupying Rafah.

However, according to the report, Hamas’s chief in Gaza, Sinwar, has succeeded in besieging Israel within the place he wanted it, that is, under international pressure due to the refugee issue and the shortage of food and water in the Gaza Strip, which has made it reluctant to reach an agreement….

“It is clear that the military wing of Hamas does not want to conclude an agreement, in the first place, which means the refugees will not return, the army will not withdraw from the cities and the Gaza Strip will not be allowed to be reconstructed,” it said.

This delay allows Hamas to drag Israel out until after the month of Ramadan, which will extend the war for at least two additional months, while the Israeli army could have ended its military operation and occupied central Gaza and the Rafah camps a month ago, if the political leadership allowed it, the paper added in its report.

Notice the implicit impatience to end the war. It is not clear if this is the result of financial costs and possible further military losses, or political stresses due to continuing uncertainty.

The protracted war is producing manpower stains. From the Cradle on March 4, Israel’s manpower crisis worsens as wave of resignations hits army:

The Israeli Army Spokesperson’s Unit, led by Lt Col Daniel Hagari, has witnessed a large wave of resignations.

Among those who resigned are Hagari’s second in command, Colonel Butbol, as well Colonel Moran Katz and the army’s International Spokesman Lieutenant Richard Hecht.

“A large number of officers recently announced their retirement from the unit responsible for the military’s information system,” Hebrew news outlet Channel 14 reported on 3 March.

This does not seem all that significant in and of itself, but the piece later focuses on an issue we’ve mentioned in Links, that Israel is moving to recruit Haredim, the ultra-devout who have been exempted from military service:

The resignations come as significant tension has overtaken Israel’s military establishment.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has been calling for an end to draft exemptions for Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, citing a severe manpower crisis in the army…

“The army is in need of manpower now. It’s not a matter of politics, it’s a matter of mathematics,” the defense minister said on Sunday….

Israel is taking severe losses from its genocidal war in Gaza and its attempt to eradicate the Palestinian resistance.

We’ve pointed to the fact that the draft legislation to draft the Haredim, who are normally exempt from military service,3 has generated protests, including blocking a major road for eight hours. Even the New York Times has seen fit to recognize the schism. From an article early this week:

Unlike most Israelis, for whom military service is mandatory, Haredim are exempt from conscription to focus on religious study. They also receive substantial state subsidies to maintain an independent education system that eschews math and science for the study of Scripture.

As the number of ultra-Orthodox Jews has exploded — to more than one million people today, roughly 13 percent of Israel’s population, from about 40,000 in 1948 — those privileges and exemptions have led to resentment from secular Israelis. Many Israelis feel that their own military service and taxes provide both physical protection and financial reward to an underemployed community that gives little in return. Secular efforts to draw the ultra-Orthodox into the army and the work force have angered many Haredim, who see army service as a threat to their lives of religious devotion….

Polling shows that the Israeli mainstream is keener than ever to force Haredim to enlist, particularly with a growing number of soldiers returning from battle in Gaza and questioning the absence of ultra-Orthodox on the front lines.

The article tries to put a positive spin saying that now nearly 30% of Haredi poll as saying they are on board with conscription. That’s still a minority. What happens when drafted Haredi refuse orders and are put in military jails? I can see this being a pretty common outcome.

Another source of stress is ongoing economic damage is emigration in the wake of October 7. Many English language outlets in Muslim world, such as Anadolu Agency and Middle East Monitor, reported that
Israel’s Zman magazine had stated, based on an analysis of official data, that about 470,000 Israelis had emigrated, and that immigration had fallen by 70% in November. Naked Capitalism reader were unable to confirm the information; perhaps it was scrubbed by official censors? A couple of days after that flurry of stories, Jordan News put the total at 370,000 through the end of November, but argued it could be higher:

Since October 7, data from the Population and Immigration Authority reveals that Israelis that approximately 370,000 Israelis have left the country with the latest update spanning to the end of November. According to the statistics, Israelis are increasingly seeking refuge abroad, particularly in Europe, with a growing interest in purchasing real estate across several European countries.

Israeli economic newspaper, “The Marker” highlighted that Isreali families have been showing keen interest in buying real estate and homes abroad since October 7. By the end of October, about 230,309 Israelis immigrated, while an additional 139,839 left during November, according to the data and in tandem with Israel’s Ministry of Interior, Jo24 reported.

Meanwhile, estimates from the website “Zaman Yisrael” suggest that this number could be higher, with reports indicating that over 500,000 Israelis have left the country, surpassing the number of returnees and new immigrants. The website anticipates a potential increase in departures, particularly among Israelis who were already residing abroad or traveling during the Jewish holidays in September.

The economic impact of these departures is likely to be disproportionate to their numbers. People who can relocate on short notice, which means having or being able to rent housing abroad, are likely to be on average affluent. You can impose on relatives and friends only for so long.

On March 6, Middle East Monitor provided an update on economic damage. I am not clear on the nature of these compensation claims, since it is inconceivable that 700,000 soldiers were killed or injured. Readers?

From the text of the story:

The Israeli damages recorded during the war on the besieged Gaza Strip is six times greater than the damages recorded during the 2006 Lebanon War, the Director of the Israeli Tax Authority, Shai Aharonovitz, revealed on Tuesday, local media reported.

The Israeli Walla website said Aharonovitz has revealed disturbing data regarding the extent of the Israeli damages due to the Gaza war and the recorded compensation claims.

Speaking at an event, he said, “The war has posed a very complex challenge to dealing with direct damages, which we have never seen before.”

“The damage is now six times greater than the Second Lebanon War (2006), and about half a million [compensation] claims have been filed, so far.”

The Israeli official estimated that requests for compensation for indirect damages would exceed 700,000, and urged army recruits to file them, adding: “We have never been in a situation like this before.”

For his part, Ilan Pelto, CEO of the Federation of Public Enterprises, has criticised expanding the military budget during war time, saying, “If we get into a state of hysteria and give in to pressure from the army and the budgetary framework is breached beyond what is needed once, it will have serious consequences, both in taxation and in the field of welfare.”

None of these trajectories are good, nor do they look likely to reverse any time soon. And critically, Israel has never been tested like this. Unlike Russia, it does not have a history of extreme suffering and sacrifice in war, and myth-making around the severity of the pain and the eventual victory. Are too many Israelis unwilling to give what it takes for their nation?


.1 That fits tidily with the official position that Russians are cavemen with nukes. But I am reminded of the great Muhammed Ali-George Forman fight. If you watched the documentary, When We Were Kings, Ali’s team was despondent right before Ali went into the ring. They were worried that the younger and extremely powerful Forman would not just beat Ali, but land such a hard punch that it would kill him.

Ali started by using a risky, amateur punch, the right-hand lead. But even with Foreman seeming not having trained for it and initially taking some blows, he started responding successfully. Ali then employed his famed and novel rope-a-dope, tiring Foreman out so much that Ali finished him off in the 8th round.

2 The media in Israel widely depicted the White House as having invited Gantz (see here and here). It is hard to think Gantz would be cheeky enough to seek unsolicited high level meetings. Spokescritter John Kirby nevertheless depicted Gantz as having solicited the meetings.

3 Oddly this is via legislation, and the last bill exempting Haredim expired at the end of June 2023. The Israel government has repeatedly made excuses to the High Court about not drafting Haredim and tried prettying that up via temporary regulations. It has conceded that if a military draft bill is not passed by April 1, the government will have to conscript yeshiva students.

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  1. Louis Fyne

    Yes, it is important to remember that Israel is essentially equal to the US state of New Jersey (from a population and territory standpoint).

    The Jewish and secular-Jewish population of Israel is less than the population of the 5 boroughs of New York City.

    the public IDF casualty figures sound *relatively* manageable, but these numbers need to be multiplied by 40 to scale up to the US or continental European scale.

    The Israeli coalition government is slow-boiling the population in a war on a scale, in per capita terms, that hasn’t been seen since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War—and certainly exceed the scope of any US war since 1945.

    1. Carolinian

      And the Jewish population of Israel is only around 7.5 million so it’s as though South Carolina (pop roughly 5.5 million) plopped itself down on the shores of the Mediterranean and aspired to be dominant over the hundreds of millions in surrounding countries. How many divisions does Israel have? Not nearly enough.

      Their success so far has always depended on the ambivalence of Arab autocrats and the US politician love of campaign contributions.

      Zionism is a hangover from a period when some tens of millions of British held sway over much of the planet so it may have made sense back in Balfour times but times have changed. “Supremacy” is increasingly out of step whether we do it or they do it.

      1. JTMcPhee

        But looking around at the global state of play, “supremacy” seems to be both a political and a business-model goal. Comity and commensalism? Notions for losers and the weak! I wonder what will become of that once and future great notion, “multipolarity?”

        1. Daniil Adamov

          The world was multipolar when “tens of millions of British held sway over much of the planet”, since multiple other poles held down the rest. I don’t think it’s at odds with “supremacy”, it’s just who is supreme that changes.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              I’m afraid that is what multipolar means. It doesn’t mean “all nations will be equal”, it means “there are several powerful nations rather than one”.

      2. Jon Cloke

        Zionism is just one form of religious nationalism growing on a global basis. The reason India is so keen on Israel is because Hindutva allocates special privileges to Hindus and invites hostile policies towards other religions, as the Muslims all over India and Sikhs in Panjab have been finding out. Modi and his RSS allies would just *love* to be able to fulfill harder, Apartheid forms of pro-Hindu policies, imitating what Israel has done for the Jewish population.

        The 969 movement in Myanmar allocates special privileges to Buddhists, which is one reason why the Rohingya were effectively denied human status. It can also reasonably be argued that the widespread hostility of the European hard-right against Muslims is based on a fundamentalism that has displaced open antisemitism with open islamophobia. These parties, cynical abusers of Islamophobia that they are, appear to be growing in strength, not diminishing.

        From at least one angle, Zionism is less a hang-over than a harbinger of future disaster in a world whose elites are giving in to uncontrollable islamophobia….

    2. vao

      Regarding casualties, and noting that Israel is moving to recruit Haredim, the ultra-devout who have been exempted from military service, I just wonder what those recruited Haredim will be used for.

      As Haredim, they never had any kind of military training.

      If they shun math and science, they are pretty useless for any kind of technical role in the IDF (no mechanics, no driving tanks, no artillery calculations…)

      At least in the short to medium term, it does not make sense to send them to the front lines as replacements for the troops fighting there — except, of course, if Israel starts relying upon “meat assaults” as in Ukraine.

      1. BeliTsari

        Lots of pretty tough shiksa survived the utter insanity this winter, would just LOVE rotation to police-up weak, dying, unarmed non-Aryan civilians; simply to frolic on warm, sunny Mediterranean beaches; tanning tattooed flesh for online dating? I’m pretty sure all those luxury seaside retirement casinos, condos & offshore platform crews would welcome, eager veterans to serve
        & protect Western Democracy?

      2. Em

        I suspect it’s for less to do with immediate military needs and is more about redressing long simmering anger against the Hareidm for being a drain on state coffers and not carrying the weight of the Zionist settler colonial project. Nevermind that the weight during “peacetime” is just being brutal occupying police force beating up kids, terrorizing civilians at checkpoints, and backing up terrorist settlers burning up olive groves in the West Bank.

        But I guess with their sights set on genociding the Gazans and then expelling the West Bank into Jordan, maybe the less religious Zionists are planning on their next stage of getting rid of undesirables in their midst. After all, most of them don’t even believe in God but they’re very sure God gave them Israel. Truly the most terrible people in the world outside of DC.

  2. CA

    March 6, 2024

    How the U.S. Arms Pipeline to Israel Avoids Public Disclosure
    Weapons transfers underscore Biden administration’s balancing act amid some lawmakers’ concerns about Gaza war
    By Jared Malsin and Nancy A. Youssef – Wall Street Journal

    The U.S. has sent tens of thousands of weapons including bombs and precision guided munitions to Israel since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks using procedures that have largely masked the scale of the administration’s military support for its closest Middle East ally, according to current and former U.S. officials.

    The administration has organized more than 100 individual transfers of arms to Israel, but has only officially notified Congress of two shipments made under the major foreign weapons sales process, which are usually submitted to lawmakers for review and then publicly disclosed, U.S. officials said. In both cases, the administration used an emergency rule that avoids the review process.

    The rest of the transfers have been approved using less public mechanisms available to the White House. Those include drawing from U.S. stockpiles, accelerating previously approved deliveries and sending weapons in smaller batches that fall below a dollar threshold that requires the administration to notify Congress, according to current and former U.S. officials…

    1. JTMcPhee

      Which ratline delivered the white phosphorus shells, the riot gas, the vomit chemicals and so forth?

    2. Oh

      Genocide Joe acts like the US is interested in a cease fire while all the time he’s sending more arms to the rogues in Israel. It’s possible that if a cease fire happens Genocide Joe will use it as an opportunity to send deadlier weapons to the murdering Israelis.

      I watched the protests to block GJ’s drive to the Capitol. So many young people. They get it but the general population is so stupid.

  3. Alex

    It is easy to explain 700,000 compensation claims. Basically any business whose sales fell significantly in October 2023 is eligible for a compensation, and many others are eligible for other reasons

    As for the half million who left, Jordan News rehashes the same Zman article, so it’s not a new source. I still find it hard to believe since that would mean 1 out of 20 people leaving, and I just don’t see it. But I dunno, I can’t find any other figures easily

    1. Lefty Godot

      How many independent businesses are based in Israel? I was wondering if the Israelis (the Jewish ones) displaced from their homes by the hostilities could be among those putting in claims for compensation. It does seem like a lot of claims for just a 5 month period.

      1. Alex

        There are more than 600 thousand businesses and more than 300 thousand reservists who are also eligible (not sure about the precise criteria, but they are pretty broad), so the numbers make sense

    2. GreekCommunist

      This article by Jerusalem Post describes the different categories of compensations: they stretch from companies experiencing severe reduction in sales to reservists unable to return in their former jobs when their reserve duty ends.

      With around 160.000 soldiers and 300.000 reservists (called to join the army after October 7th) Israel mobilizes around 15%-20% of its military service eligible pool (~2,8 million men and women fit for military service).

      This is a huge number and the closest that we have seen to levy en mass in a “western” army, after WWII.

      The financial burden is huge, not just in military budget terms, but also in reimbursements to everyone affected by the war (directly or indirectly).

      Israel operates under a semi-war economy mode right now.

  4. Morongobill

    You are forgiven for relying on Alistair Crooke for part of your analysis. He seems to have been spot on so far. Decades of experience goes a long way in today’s instant gratification world.

  5. gcw919

    “This lack of concern about treating life with respect by a nominally civilized people is disturbing, given that in many advanced countries, laws against animal abuse would protect Palestinians better than Muslim states and the UN have.”

    Indeed, I wonder how the American (or any other) public would react if 30,000 pets had been slaughtered in 5 months.

    1. CA

      “This lack of concern about treating life with respect by a nominally civilized people is disturbing, given that in many advanced countries, laws against animal abuse would protect Palestinians better than Muslim states…”

      There is of course Yemen, which for protesting for, then trying to protect, Palestinians, has been repeatedly bombed by the US and UK.  The prospect of being attacked by the US and UK is fearful.  Syria has long been beset and is regularly attacked by Israel and has long had an unwanted US military presence to contend with.  Indonesia and Bangladesh are not about to intervene, but there has to be a deep disturbance about what is happening; a disturbance which will last.

      Even a mixed religion South Africa has been deeply disturbed, and acted where there was thought to be a possibility. Even a Brazil…

      1. hemeantwell

        Thanks for the backgrounder, Yves. I only wish there were more commentators out there producing work of similar quality.

        From MoA’s most recent post. I’d like to know more about how people holding these beliefs are distributed through the IOF, their ranks, whether they are concentrated in certain units, whether there’s any attempt to keep them reined in. My sense is that we’re well beyond a “few bad apples” situation, and that a modulated genocide is official policy, but it seems like this ilk that would be more likely to go full SS and run tanks over food seekers, as reportedly happened during the Flour Massacre.

        Head of Yeshiva Seder in Jaffa: According to the Halakhic Principle-Kill everyone in Gaza, even babies –, Mar 8 2024 (machine translation)

        The head of the Seder yeshiva in Jaffa, whose students serve in the IDF after their studies there, said at a conference of Seder yeshiva held yesterday (Thursday) that according to the halakhic principle, all residents of Gaza should be killed. When asked specifically about the elderly and babies, he replied: “Same thing.”

        “It’s either you – or them,” Rabbi Maley added. “No soul shall live on the basis of ‘Bring to kill you – bring to kill you’. Not just the 14-year-old, 16–year-old, 20-year-old, 30-year-old man holding up arms – but the future generation as well. And also for those who produce the future generation. Because there really is no difference.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Thanks for the kind words.

          Crooke has said the IDF is now a significantly a settler army. And he depicts the settlers as rabid. His word, not mine.

    2. clarky90

      The very fact that the IDF, Israel and Zionism are, finally, allowed (!) to be criticised/interrogated by the UN ……. and others….

      Is A Tell;

      A clear indication that our World, and it’s power structures, are changing profoundly, as we speak….

  6. IronForge

    Typing with my Thumb on a Phone Screen…

    Growing Pains:

    Israel (and their Diaspora) are about on course for a massive surge in their Population Headcounts.

    There were recent Articles mentioning that ISR were about to Double their Population around 2050; but there’s more to it than that. With Secular Israeli Women bearing an average of 3 Children and with the Women of the UltraOrthodox/Haredim Factions bearing an average of 6.6 Children – you’re talking about the UltraOrthodox/Haredim becoming the Majority soon thereafter, with the possibilities of Israel (presuming similar Birth Rates and Immigration to the “Eretz” by the Diaspora) Hextupling~Nonuping their present Headcounts by the turn of the Century.

    Obviously, there will be some Residential Real Estate Issues ahead.

    I’ve previously suggested for the “Greater Israel Collective” (ISR+Diaspora) to buy up the Sinai (as EGY once offered parts thereof to the Hamas/PA/PLO Collective; but were declined by them) and portion a Section where to relocate Gaza/West Bank Residents to; but these latest Events scratched those Relocation Options.

    However, “Buying Out” the Sinai for the Israeli Population Increases still sounds reasonable.

    Plenty of “Christian Zionists” and Diaspora able to buy Israel Bonds. Add the Present+Future Conflicts – as a 2ndGen Navy Veteran and a former Naval Officer, I’d rather see Israel Fund and Fight their Own Warfronts rather than rely on Murica’s Congressional Funding. As part of the same Masonic-Zionist Hegemony, Murica+NATOceania Vassals have positioned plenty of Troops+Ships in the Region to support Israel and protect Jordan (e.g., Stepping on/Checkmating Erdogan – all he can do is complain and not send in Troops). I’d be content if Murica would make Israel Bonds “Tax Free” like U$Treasuries for Muricans, open Social Security/VA Offices in Israel and facilitate US_Military_to_IDF Transfers with PensionCredits available to make it easier for Murica Based Diaspora to Work/Live/Defend/Retire in Israel.

    Like it or not, 07Oct Incursions Crossed some Israeli “Red Lines” and Set Off a Series of Regional GeoPolitical Schemes for Israel and the Western Hegemony. Hamas have ruined Gaza by making Gaza into a Dug-In Maze to conduct their “River to the Sea” Attempted Ethnocidal Removal of Israel. Gaza now have to be gutted out and cleared of Militant Entities. No turning back.

    IIRC, Hamas/PA/PLO have been rejecting Statehood Offers since 1936(?), with at least 3 attempts at overthrowing the King of Jordan (under Murican Protectorship), heckled/egged on Saddam Hussein’s Invasion of Kuwait (under Murican Protectorship since 1987 with the Earnest Will Naval Convoys where “Yours Truly” Deployed in) which had them Deported from Gulf States after Desert Storm.

    Their Non-Participant Civilians who couldn’t evacuate and/or were made into Human Shields are the Victims here.

    I’m not condoning Illegal Acts by any Party.

    This Region have been a heavily contested one for Centuries, being part of a “Land Bridge” to 3 Continents.

    After this Conflict – there will always be more. This time, Israel’s Population Increases drastically at around 2050 onwards.

    Not my Fight, won’t have my nor any of my Descendants’ Skin in this Game.

    Tall Fences make for Good Neighbors.

    Best Wishes,

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Not my Fight’

      It already is. The US is emptying out its armouries so that Israel can bomb civilians to the point that the Ukraine is now gasping for air for weapons. US special forces are reputedly on the ground fighting in Gaza because reasons. Thousands of so-called Americans have gone to Israel to fight. The US is providing total cover for Israel at the UN to stop any measures against them. Fleets of US Navy ships were sent to this region top overawe other countries so that they did not hinder the Israelis. Not working in the Red Sea obviously. The US has destroyed what is left of their reputation with their part in this ongoing genocide. And pretty sure the Israelis will be knocking on Uncle Sam’s door for hundreds of billions of dollars in reconstruction money pretty soon. So yeah, it already is your fight. Just wait till you get the bill for it.

    2. Em

      That’s repeating lies about Hamas and the Palestinian people, who have repeatedly accepted the unfair two state solution and have the absolute right to armed resistance under international law. It is the Zionists and their Western backers who repeatedly acted in bad faith, failed to fulfill their promises, and has been enabling genocide (usually slower through illegal settlements and an illegal siege, but currently in a fast and acute phase).

      And if you’re a Westerner, you’re absolutely complicit in this genocide through the actions of your government and media, and in your case personally by spreading demonstrably false hasbara.

  7. ADB

    Indeed, close to 500,000 dual citizens, mostly relatively recent immigrants to Israel and employed largely in the high-tech sectors have left the country…..apparently, many of them back to Russia. For an already highly militarized economy this kind of an adverse shock to the civilian labor force can be paralyzing to the economy.
    Imports of goods and services have fallen 42 per cent (partly due to the Red Sea blockade), while exports have dropped 18 per cent, and foreign trade is also going to be severely impacted because of incipient boycotts in many parts of the world. These factors together with the lack of natural resources and a crushing dependence on the west, especially the United States, both of which are some distance away, will likely result in supply chain impediments and significant uptick in inflation, in addition to a shock to the GDP. As a wag noted – the problem with the Israeli economy is that it wants to be European while being located in the Middle East.

    In addition to the high tech sector, the diamond industry, one of the mainstays of the economy, has taken a double hit, partly because of a global downturn in the last couple of years and the uncertainties and disruptions caused by Russians war on Ukraine, the former being among the largest global producers of diamonds.

    1. Em

      I really hope this largely kills off the global diamond jewelry industry, which has always been a marketing driven scam and should be boycotted on so many grounds.

  8. ciroc

    It is clear that Washington does not want Israel to be defeated, so Israel is on a self-inflicted wound, seeking further aid and military intervention from the United States.

    1. Feral Finster

      I wouldn’t say “self-inflicted wound” but Israel has been behaving recklessly, knowing full well that their American attack dog will back them to the full, no matter what they do.

  9. zagonostra

    Crooke has also argued that the sense of violation is so severe that the public needs Israel to restore the perception that it has a potent, formidable military by achieving a visible victory.

    I don’t see how killing >35K civilians, bombing hospitals, schools, UN, journalist does much to bolster the reputation of their “formidable military.”

    What this genocide in Gaza has done for me is to educate/sensitize into Israel the history of the Middle East and Zionism in particular. Also, I’m looking closely at everything I buy to make sure I’m not supporting Israel in anyway – though I can’t do much about my tax dollars being spent on bombing children and women, and that makes me sick.

    1. Em

      Yes. It did the same for me. And I learned to despise “liberal” Zionists every bit as much as the most extreme genocidal fanatics. The whole Zionist project is a massive crime scene starting with the Balfour Declaration. There was never an Israel that was capable of living peacefully with its neighbors or in relatively equitable terms with the indigenous population. It was always collaborating with Fascist governments in Latin America and Africa even during the period when it was marketing itself as a socialist project. The few times when American governments tried to restrain it under JFK and GHWB, the Zionists almost certainly had a hand in terminating their governments.

    2. GS

      James Bamford’s recent book Spyfail from the middle on turns into an encyclopedia of the history of Israel nastiness. I’d just finished it before October. I was aware of some of it but had never seen it all detailed in one place before.

  10. Afro

    It isn’t clear to me what benefit ultra Orthodox soldiers could provide to a military. They grow up extremely sheltered. Best case scenario is that time in the military might reverse some of that sheltering and they might be more level headed on the way out. But that can go multiple ways.

    1. Louis Fyne

      A military still needs HR personnel, prison guards, prison intake processors, cooks, toilet cleaners, ditch diggers, etc.

      All those roles can be theoretically filled by the ultra Orthodox.

      Right now the IDF needs warm bodies to truly scale up to the task at hand…and that means finding everyone who is secular and Jewish of any persuasion.

      1. JTMcPhee

        How many of those menial tasks will be deemed non-kosher by the Rabbinate that insists the Torah excuses the observant from, you know, working for a living? Guys in white shirts sporting dangling sidelock payots, and tzitzts from the corners of their clothes, are not going to suddenly accept cleaning toilets. Too busy praying, procreating and deep-diving into the special texts.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The ultra Orthodox are violently resisting being made to serve in the IDF. But on the other hand, it will be the ultra Orthodox who will go in and take all those lands in Gaza if all ends well for thm. You would think that secular IDF would be riled up by this two faced standard. But I suspect that the ultra Orthodox has little respect for secular Israelis. They just want them to pay for everything. As an example, the ultra Orthodox were setting up a settlement so the government located them right next door to a regular town so that the taxes from that town’s inhabitants could be used to support that ultra Orthodox settlement. As the population in the coming years consists more of ultra Orthodox than secular Israelis and they completely own the government, I would expect to see punitive taxes being levied more and more on secular Israelis and the private sector to pay for them. it will not be sustainable.

  11. Altandmain

    Alistair Crooke has been spot on in this whole conflict.

    The reality is that Israeli society has been on the decline well before this conflict. Inequality had been rising and the leadership is of remarkably bad quality. Shortly before, Netanyahu was facing criminal prosecutions that would have landed him in jail over corruption. He essentially was trying to override the Israeli judicial system so that he could remain in power. He is still facing legal charges.

    Scott Ritter and a few others have argued that part of the reason why Netanyahu wants the war to continue is that it serves as a distraction for what would otherwise be a public that would turn against him. Under such a case, he would spend the rest of his life in prison. Netanyahu may know that he can’t win against Hezbollah, but his main goal is to widen the conflict and force the US to join the war on Israel’s behalf.

    There’s another matter – the Israeli military, the IDF, has the same problem that has affected Western military across all of the West. It’s become a colonial police force that specializes in brutalizing civilians. It’s like the bully that can’t stand up to enemies that fight back and needlessly makes enemies by bullying others.

    The training, doctrine, and everything else was never designed for facing a conventional war or for that matter, fighting a war against Hamas, which had fortified Gaza to the best of its ability. Just like how the US is losing in its proxy war against Ukraine due to the failings of its military establishment, Israel is also doing so against Hamas. America’s deficiencies in industrial war have been documented here and on other sides, which means that its ability to supply both Israel and Ukraine at the same time is severely constrained. The ammunition is in short supply, which has forced limits on operations for the IDF.

    One could argue that the war against Hamas has elements of counterinsurgency more so than a conventional industrial war, but then again, the US was unable to win its wars in Afghanistan nor against the Iraqi insurgency either. If one were to go further back in history, one could argue that the British army has had this problem in the past and was not prepared for World War as it was a British Empire police force, having to learn many painful lessons over in WW2 (let’s keep in mind that the role of the USSR in winning WW2 is vastly understated in the Western world, so the UK had the US and USSR to lean back on for WW2).

    Ultimately, an army can either specialize in being a neocolonial force that brutalizes the locals, but is poor at conventional war and also ineffective against insurgents who can fight back, or an army can specialize at conventional war. The Western armies are a neocolonial force and not very good at fighting wars against enemies that can fight back, conventional or insurgent.

    1. ISL

      Neither the US, nor especially Israel, have the industrial capacity to wage industrial warfare (or attrition warfare), and in that regards it is different from say the US war in Vietnam or Iraq, where the US stocks and capacity were sufficient.

      Somewhere I heard Israel bragging they had hit 60,000 targets – if one assumes 3 munitions per target (300,000), and they are using expensive 2000 pound bombs, not simple shells – meanwhile the US is scrounging about for a few hundred thousand shells for Ukraine.

      Electronic Intifada has been showing Hamas video of the IDF using troop transfers from the 60s, supporting estimates that the IDF armor is now inadequate (armor is needed on four fronts, especially in the North). Again, unprepared for attrition war. And a neoliberal economy does not spend money on weapons maintenance leading to low readiness levels (before the war).

  12. XXYY

    Yves, thank you so much for the good, detailed coverage of Gaza that NC is putting out. I know very well how much work this kind of thing is and I think we all appreciate the effort and growing expertise that your organization is displaying.

    NC continues to be a fabulous and valuable resource to its readership.

  13. ChrisFromGA

    The 20% drop in GDP sounds very close to what the US (and most of the world) experienced during the 2020 pandemic panic quarter of Q2.

    The US “solved” that by essentially building a gigantic confetti-money printer/cannon. Fake money was blasted out indiscriminately in all directions, to try and fill the gigantic output hole the lockdowns caused.

    Of course, we know the result (maybe side-effect is a better term) was to generate the inflation that hit in 2022. Israel being a small country likely cannot get away with such brazen tactics. But, not being close to the situation, I wonder if they’re trying on some smaller scale to just print their way out of recession.

    Perhaps some other readers have better insights into the situation.

    1. JonnyJames

      In short, the recent consumer price inflation was primarily caused by oligopoly/monopoly price-gouging.

      Corporate profits are at record or near-record levels. BigOil posted RECORD “profits”. The term “greedflation” entered the public lexicon. Of course, the politicians want you to blame govt. assistance for the inflation, not the oligarchy. We are NOT supposed to look behind the curtain.

      Years of QE and ZIRP, pre-pandemic, caused massive asset-price inflation (stocks, bonds, real estate markets). But not consumer price inflation.

      This topic has been well-covered here at NC. Michael Hudson has outlined this for years as well.

      The MassMedia cartel would have us believe it was govt. assistance money that caused the inflation, not rent-extracting, financialized extortion. You want food? Fuel? Electricity? Whaddya gonna do starve and freeze in the dark? No, you gonna pay the money (but it’s even worse than the Mafia)

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I don’t think there was only one cause of the inflation “episode” that looks to have begun around late 2021 and continued up to now. Certainly, corporate greed was part of it – once the inflation really took hold in the spring and summer of ’22, those wascally wabbits in corporate America took over and started profiteering. And never stopped, as we see with grocery prices that “ratchet” up but never go down.

        But the initial root cause, IMO, and certainly I am not an economist, was the output gap caused by paying people to stay home, and I’m not talking about working-class people. Remember, they kept working. Nurses, doctors, etc. did not stop. It was the laptop class that got paid to sit around and do nothing, including multiple rounds of checks for people who never lost a job. Oh, maybe a Zoom call or two.

        Supply chains broke down because many overseas places took COVID a lot more seriously than we did. The whole “just-in-time” delivery that Wall Street bean counters love broke down. That led to the shortages of chips and other key parts that meant Chucky the Consumer couldn’t get his appliance for large parts of 2021-22.

        I believe most of the pandemic government programs (CARES act, PPP) were massive frauds. Other than the extended UE and gig worker unemployment money, a lot of it was directed to bail out corporate America. The PPP was meant for small businesses but spawned massive fraud by bad actors. An entire cottage industry of prosecutors has sprung up to go after PPP fraud, which continues as I still heard commercials on CNBC as recently as a few months ago for tax refund schemes to get PPP money.

        And don’t forget the Fed backstopping corporate credit. That was likely illegal. Nobody other than Rand Paul even says anything about it.

        1. CA


          October 15, 2023

          Inflation Rate for Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States, 2007-2023


          Brazil ( 9.3)
          China ( 1.9)
          France ( 5.9)
          Germany ( 8.7)
          India ( 6.7)

          Indonesia ( 4.2)
          Japan ( 2.5)
          Turkey ( 72.3)
          United Kingdom ( 9.1)
          United States ( 8.0)


          Brazil ( 4.7)
          China ( 0.7)
          France ( 5.6)
          Germany ( 6.3)
          India ( 5.5)

          Indonesia ( 3.6)
          Japan ( 3.2)
          Turkey ( 51.2)
          United Kingdom ( 7.7)
          United States ( 4.1)

          1. Jamie

            Off topic – Inflation Rate for Turkey is terrifying. I read Erdogan cut rates like US with trade imbalances etc. But those numbers seem absurdly high. Wonder why.

            1. The Rev Kev

              In part, it is because Turkiye has been under financial pressure by the west in the hope that Erdogan will be toppled and a more pliant leader found. Also, Erdogan knows bugger all about economics but wants things done his way.

      2. CA

        What is often useful is comparison, and I would suggest that looking to a prime economy that grew relatively strongly but experienced almost no inflation from 2020 through January 2024 could be useful. James Galbraith and Isabella Weber suggested looking to the approach of China, Paul Krugman strongly disagreed and the comparison was since neglected.

        Why not look again?

  14. TimmyB

    “Yet many military experts (Scott Ritter, who has a great deal of personal experience with the IDF, had been the most vocal and detailed, but others come to the same conclusion) say if Israel were to attempt to invade Lebanon, the likely result would not be just a defeat but also Hezbollah occupying Israel up to Galilee.”

    The claim that Hezbollah would invade and occupy Israel up to Galilee is completely unfounded and frankly ridiculous.

    Hezbollah spent decades building strong fortifications in Southern Lebanon. Israel could not penetrate them in 2006, the last time Israel invaded. The death toll in that war was 121 IDF killed and an Israeli estimate of 400 – 600 Hezbollah fighters killed. Hezbollah claims only 250 of its fighters were killed. No other opponent has fought the IDF so successfully.

    Given the success it had in defending its fortifications, there is no logical military reason for Hezbollah to abandon them, and its previously successful defensive tactics, to go on the offensive and invade Israel.

    Moreover, Hezbollah has no armor and no air force. Any invasion force it sent into Israel would end up little different than the Hamas fighters on October 7. They were quickly annihilated by IDF helicopter and tank fire. A large scale infantry invasion by Hezbollah into Israel, with no tanks, helicopters or other aircraft for support, similarly armed as the Hamas fighters, would meet the same fate.

    And if we assume that Hezbollah’s “meat assault” was initially successful, it would be impossible for Hezbollah to hold Israeli territory. Look at Ukraine. Russia has been using its air power, armor, and superior artillery fire to destroy Ukrainian defenses in a war of attrition. Israel is as well armed as Russia. And Hezbollah is much worse armed than Ukraine.

    And unlike Ukrainian, Hezbollah would have no built up defensive positions in Israel. It would also have great difficulty in keeping its troops in Israel supplied. Hezbollah, in the highly unlikely event it invaded Israel, would not be able to hold captured territory and successfully fight a war of attrition against Israel. No thinking person can believe otherwise.

    Frankly, it borders on insanity to think Hezbollah is so stupid that it would abandon its well-built, fortified positions in Souther Lebanon, discard its previously successful defensive tactics, and march across open Israeli territory where it would be slaughtered by IDF armor and air power.

    I know I can’t believe it.

    1. JonnyJames

      You raise some very valid points. I don’t want to find out as it would be another bloodbath and would likely escalate the conflict to another level. And what would the US do if Israel was genuinely threatened? The US/UK/Israel axis would also likely use disproportionate “asymmetrical” force in retaliation if Hezbollah crossed into N. Israel. US (and Israeli) foreign policy has become more and more reckless, and it might sound hyperbolic, but “tactical” nuclear weapons are always in the background.

      Hezbollah undoubtedly know this and have been reluctant to escalate the conflict, despite the rhetoric and despite Israel’s less-than-invincible military. Iran, despite flagrant provocations and clandestine attacks by Israel/US, assassinating Gen. Soleimani etc, has not significantly retaliated either, apparently for good reason.

    2. ambrit

      The difference between Hamas and Hezbollah, as I read it, is that Hezbollah is a much more “professional” fighting force. They have well trained foot soldiers, many of whom have had live fire experience in Syria, equipped with effective anti-armour and anti-air missiles.
      Secondly, Hezbollah has medium and long range “smart” weapons to target and degrade Israeli assets, air bases especially. Hezbollah has indirect links to Russia, through Iran. They can even now have ‘specialists’ learning from the Russians the lessons learnt in the Russo Ukrainian War.
      Thirdly, Hezbollah does not need to commit all of it’s available troops to “invading” North Israel. An “Arab Expeditionary Force” will do nicely. Think here a better armed and capable Glubb Pasha Campaign.
      This may well be a turning point in the Post Colonial era; the time that the West finally loses big.

      1. TimmyB

        The most well trained light infantry in the world isn’t going to, in open terrain, be able to invade and defeat a military that has armor and an air force, along with heavy and light infantry. Especially when the invading force would be outnumbered 4 to 1.

        Small shoulder fired anti aircraft missiles are not going to stop the Israeli Air Force from dropping tons of bombs on them. Anti tank weapons aren’t going to stop Israeli artillery from slaughtering them.

        Certainly Hezbollah has plenty of missiles. But missiles are not going to keep and hold Galilee, and Ritter talks of Hezbollah “occupying” Galilee.

        Why Hezbollah should come out of their well-fortified positions in Lebanon and attempt that fool’s errand is beyond me.

        1. redleg

          Small shoulder fired anti aircraft missiles are not going to stop the Israeli Air Force from dropping tons of bombs on them. Anti tank weapons aren’t going to stop Israeli artillery from slaughtering them.

          True, but when the ammunition runs out, which is starting to happen already, the trained and experienced light infantry will have the upper hand. It’s only a matter of time. Wars are won through logistics, not tactics. The above article explains that the US/NATO doesn’t plan or train for attritional warfare, which includes maintaining industrial capacity to produce munitions in bulk.

          1. TimmyB

            The assumption that Hezbollah can produce more ammunition than Israel or would have a better logistical supply line in Galilee than Israel is misplaced.

        2. ISL

          Hezbollah has enough missiles to take IDF airfields off line, which would neutralize the main IDF advantage. Add in neutralizing the Israeli electrical grid, and refineries, water treatment plants, and the playing field will be leveled, except the IDF has no ability to fight that kind of war – Hezbollah does.

          Scott Ritter warning is that the IDF will collapse as a military force (its experience is baby murdering). Hezbollah has operated in Syria, taking territory under US airforce operations.

          To imagine that a war the axis of resistance has been planning for a decade (whilst Israel planned genocide) would fail from the outset due to a lack of imagination by Hezbollah, neglects how the IDF-Hamas war has proceeded to date – Israel and the US (Ukraine, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.) have repeatedly exhibited a lack of imagination.

          And this assumes Hezbollah has no ability to disrupt IDF comms, which they could easily have acquired from supporting states.

          Sure the US could carpet bomb Israel (with what bombs, though), but with its carriers in the west med, it cannot be the substitute air force.

    3. Aurelien

      I agree. As I understand it, Hezbollah has been getting the worse of the conflict since October, because it’s being fought with weapons (drones, artillery, helicopters, aircraft) where the Israelis have an advantage. Hezbollah clearly didn’t expect the conflict to last as long as it has (not many people did) and so long as the Israelis don’t try a ground assault they will have the advantage. But this applies even more the other way around: any incursion by Hezbollah into Israel would quickly be defeated.

      There are also signs that tolerance for the conflict among the Shia community in Lebanon is sharing to fray. People may be generally sympathetic to the Palestinians in the present circumstances, but neither the Palestinians nor Hamas have been especially popular in themselves, and the Palestinians in Lebanon are generally regarded as a nuisance and even a threat: their arrival in Lebanon was at one of the major factors in the outbreak of the civil war in 1975.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I’ve been hearing about that fraying tolerance ever since 2006. Has there ever been the least sign of it constraining Hezbollah’s freedom of action regarding Israel?

        In any case Hezbollah’s obvious gambit in case of serious domestic troubles would be to put boots on the ground in Shebaa farms, no?

      2. CA

        “There are also signs that tolerance for the conflict among the Shia community in Lebanon is sharing to fray…. Palestinians in Lebanon are generally regarded as a nuisance and even a threat: their arrival in Lebanon was at one of the major factors in the outbreak of the civil war in 1975.”

        Please document these assertions, when possible.

        1. hk

          Wrt how Palestinian refugees upset the delicate ethno religious balance in Lebanon, I’d read quite a bit from multiple sources. Wikipedia page on this is not so bad:.

          In context of the ethno religious conflict in the Levant, the relationship between Hamas and other MB-type Sunni factions and Shi’ites like Hizb’ullah has been messy: they know Hamas supported Sunni factions in Lebanon itself and in Syria during the civil war there and are still aligned with their rivals and enemies–although no one really knows how relationships work out among various Lebanese factions. Not exactly an enemy Hamas is to Hizb’ullah, but not someone that the latter will jump off the cliff for. Hizb’ullah will not act too aggressively.

          1. Em

            Not sure Wikipedia could be trusted for such a contentious topic.

            Hezbollah and its arsenal of missiles is the only thing keeping Israel out of southern Lebanon and preventing the murderous Israel allied Lebanese Christians militias from repeating Sabra and Shatilla massacres.

            Aurelian always goes back to the “it’s complicated” argument when there’s a very clear pattern of Western colonizing powers playing the local factions off against each other and typically supporting the very worst people on the board.

            Sometimes it’s not complicated. It’s genocide, a crime against humanity under recognized international law.

            1. hk

              Fair point about wikipedia’s unreliability: I couldn’t remember specific sources (I think they were stuff by Patrick Searle) and the wiki content looked close enough to my recollection.

              I’m not suggesting Hizb’ullah would not defend its home territory if Israelis come for them, but that they are not going to jump into a fight unless they are forced to. There are popular sentiments then there are calculations of interests, and it does not serve Hizb’ullah’s interest to have their actions dictated by others on a schedule not of their choosing.

              It serves Hizb’ullah’s interest to keep things simmering without blowing up in the north. They have assets and skills to quietly degrade Israel’s operational capabilities and goad them to attack, confident that they can make Israel pay a heavy price. Aside from whether they can invade and occupy parts of northern Israel, it seems to pose a lot of risk for little gain compared to the status quo, when just the potential of Hizb’ullah rocket arsenal is already exerting a ton of pressure, and I doubt they’ll take it unless they are forced to.

              So I think we are truly at a stalemate: less because of ability than willingness. I don’t think anyone really wants to stick their own neck out to force a resolution: even the Israelis. They are talking big and making threatening gestures, but it’s really theatrics to get the Americans to do something. As I mentioned earlier, Hizb’ullah will not jump just for Palestinians’ sake: they’ll just use this as an opportunity to advance their interests in Lebanon.

              In a way, Israel could actually make its problems a lot simpler: they could give up Shebaa Farms and the Golan Heights and settle their differences with Lebanon and Syria, while playing hardball in negotiations with the Palestinians. In a sense, this is what Israel did with Jordan from 1970 onward, exploiting the not exactly cordial relationship between the Hashemite monarchy and Palestinians and that, by then, there was no real dispute between Jordan and Israel any more. (And how Israel made peace with Egypt)

              Of course, it’s silly to think, at this stage, Israel would give up its ambitions in the area–water resources, esp–just to squeeze the Palestinians. The problem is that israel is too greedy and wants to grab more from too many of its neighbors–one might wonder how things would have turned if Begin insisted on keeping the Sinai and demanded a piece of the Suez Canal….

              1. Em

                Just like the Neocons, I didn’t think Zionists have a reverse gear. Their solution to losing to Hamas is to threaten the 10x better equipped and prepared Hezbollah and stage terrorist attacks in 100x better prepared Iran, so I don’t think they will make any kind of rational concessions that could have enhanced Israel’s long term security and viability.

                I think the Axis of Resistance has studied Lenin, Mao, Castro, and other anti-imperialist revolutionaries rather closely. That means understanding your strength and your enemy’s strength intimately, and shaping the battleground, including the opinions of the masses and the elites, to be most favorable to when you do act. As you say, right now they’re letting Israel and the West unmask themselves as genocidal baby murdering maniacs despised by a majority of the Western populace, while degrading the opposition through lower intensity war. Great shaping of the battlefield to their favor.

                The Axis of Resistance call themselves “Al Quds…”. When Hezbollah announces their martyrs they always speak of their martyrdom on the path to Al Quds. Al Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem. Liberation of Jerusalem and the Levant from Western imperialism is always the final goal of all their actions.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                The point Ritter has argued is:

                1. Hezbollah will not initiate a meaningfully bigger conflict with Israel

                2. BUT if Israel tries to impose its buffer zone in Lebanon, as in take Lebanese territory, Hezbollah will treat that as war. And Hezbollah learned from 2006 the cost (as in material damage) of having that take place in Lebanon.

                So they will take the area of battle and resulting destruction into Israel.

                1. TimmyB

                  Ritter is mistaken if he believes that Hezbollah will leave its fortifications in Lebanon to invade Israel.

                  He is triply mistaken if he believes that Hezbollah, after it leaves its fortifications and invades Israel, it will defeat the IDF and then have the ability to occupy Galilee. That’s a chain of one highly improbable event after another.

                  Same as Russia was during the Ukraine offensive, Hezbollah’s best chance for victory would be if the IDF attempted to take Hezbollah’s fortifications via direct assault. Russia didn’t abandon its fortifications to meet the Ukrainian offensive on open ground and Hezbollah won’t do it either.

                  I would expect Israel would, as it almost always does, attempt to collectively punish civilians by bombing civilian infrastructure. However, if it tried this tactic in Lebanon, Hezbollah I suspect would use its rocket arsenal to do the same to Israel. Thats the only “taking the fight to Israel” I see Hezbollah doing.

                  Simply put, Ritter’s claim that Hezbollah will occupy Galilee makes no sense.

                  1. Beau Rivers

                    Scott Ritter has set himself up as another in the long line of sagacious truth-tellers. And now he has a little show of his own where he looks into the tiny camera eye and is broadcast out to the entire world. This only serves to increase a person’s ‘blind spots’ as they preach from their little corner of the universe and won’t allow any divergent voices to gain any foothold whatsoever.

                    Beware the gatekeepers. They are everywhere among us.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Hezbollah has been holding back and has not released their full forces. Just like with Russia at the beginning of the NATO-Russia war. And they have managed escalations very well. The Israelis kill some of them and Hezbollah kills some of the Israelis though you will never hear of the actual number of the later as that is secret. Then you have to remember that over a billion dollars of surveillance gear has been turned to ash by Hezbollah. And also the fact that 100,000 to 200,000 people have had to flee the border ares and who now have to be supported by the Israeli State at an enormous cost to the economy. Israel feeling free to bomb parts of Lebanon will not be going down well as it will be a reminder as this is what the Israelis want to do anyway as they want the southern half of their country. You have to look at the bigger picture.

        1. JTMcPhee

          The bigger picture being Eretz Israel, which is the Zionist plan to expand the boundaries of Israel along all points of the compass. A very long-game goal, but it seems to attract a lot of believers.

          They’re gonna need a bigger industrial base and armed forces. Though the somewhere between 200 and 600 nuclear weapons they have are a significant fundament.

          One wonders whether Uncle Sam will continue to be Uncle Sucker, going forward.

          1. jan

            One wonders whether Uncle Sam will continue to be Uncle Sucker, going forward.

            Any change expected with either Biden2 or Trump2? I think not.

            1. Paul Art

              You can say that again. Haim Saban, Miriam Adelson, Bill Ackman, Marc Rowan and Hagee’s Evangelical army will make sure of that. I really am convinced that the unleashing of the crooks of Wall Street circa 1988-1999 of whom unfortunately many were dual Israel-US citizens has started a precipitous slide in America. Many of these dual citizens again have more of a vested interest in ‘Greater’ Israel having completely squeezed dry the American middle class and everything they could plunder and are still plundering. I would argue that these dual citizens care more about Israel because they view it more as their real home, something to go home to after the carcass of America is only whitened bones drying in the sun.

              1. Raymond Sim

                I would argue that the people you speak of are likely to prove no more attached to Israel than they are to any other useful tool – and they have a track record of ruining the things they use and then profiting from the ruination.

                For Jewish-American oligarchs Israel has been almost unbelievably valuable as a tool for acheiving and maintaining preeminence among, and control over Jewish Americans. That value will, I think, be slower to disappear than Israel itself may be.

        2. Em

          And like Russia’s patience 2014 to 2022, the seeming muted response may be interpreted as weakness by the West, but actually important for building up consensus within their own society when they do act. They’ve shown that they’ve been measured and responsible, and yet Israel continues to make completely unreasonable demands and break rules of war with impunity. It weakens their domestic opponent’s (the Christian supremacists last seen perpetrating the Sabra and Shatilla massacres under the Dahyia Doctrine) and build resolve within their own community when they do act.

          Lebanon is going to continue to be a basket case under its current ridiculously constituted government form. Sooner or later, whether through a new larger Arab state or a constitutional process, it needs to be reconstituted and purged of it’s Zionist allied Christian fascist elements.

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        I beg to differ. Every military expert who has commented on this matter has said that in a hot conflict, Hezbollah will win. They have been pretty adamant. Multiple Israel war games also show that.

        Hezbollah also has tunnel networks that make the Hamas ones in Gaza look puny, so they are not that vulnerable to air assault.

        The issue is political: Lebanon is a mess and a war would greatly damage the country. That is a big reason, as Ritter has maintained, that Hezbollah would quickly take it into Israel. But for political reasons, Hezbollah can’t initiate a bigger war. It needs Israel to provide the justification.

        1. Arkady Bogdanov

          I would add to this- all of the war games that have included US INTERVENTION at varying levels have also illustrated that Hezbollah will prevail. To those discussing the problem of Hezbollah moving into Israeli territory- Yes, there are logistical and air defense issues they need to worry about, but consider:
          Hezbollah has been systematically destroying Israeli ISR capabilities, which are necessary for high altitude air cover. Someone has to see the Hezbollah to hit them. Hezbollah air defense is weakest against high altitude air, so they are destroying the eyes of high altitude air. If serious war breaks out, Hezbollah can also target runways. Looks pretty clear to me that Hezbollah can take high altitude air off the table. That leaves low altitude air, such as drones and rotary wing, and Hezbollah DOES have AD that can deal with that.
          As to logistics- there has been talk for some time claiming that Hezbollah has tunnels that penetrate a good distance into Israel. People also seem to assume that Hezbollah would move into northern Israel and take fixed positions. This would indeed make them easy targets. So this is easy to counter by utilizing small units that are nearly constantly on the move. These would be far easier to supply, and difficult to keep track of. Given degraded Israeli ISR, they could move back and forth across the border nearly at will for recuperation and resupply. They do not need to hold territory at all- they just need to be a nuisance and force Israël to chase them as they run around and target infrastructure and military equipment/personnel. Israel would not be able to advance into Lebanon with such chaos in their rear.

          1. Raymond Sim

            And if this were to take place in the aftermath of of a failed Israeli offensive …

        2. TimmyB

          Hezbollah won in 2006 by stating on the defensive and fighting off the IDF when it attempted to take their fortified positions. Hezbollah is in a much stronger position today, with improved fortifications and many, many more guided missiles.

          If it employs the same tactics of fighting from its fortifications in 2024 as it did in 2006, I expect the same result. However, if Hezbollah leaves its fortifications and invades Israel with the intention of occupying Galilee as Ritter predicts, they will suffer a horrible defeat. Why Ritter predicts that is beyond me.

          1. Raymond Sim

            Haven’t read Ritter’s piece, but the obvious reason for anticipating this would be that back in 2006 the recoiling Israeli forces looked to have been appallingly vulnerable to a counteroffensive, had one materialized.

            Hezbollah appears to be in a position to provoke an Israeli offensive if they choose to, and to wreck one if it comes. The question is really what sort of defense the IDF is competent to mount in the wreckage of a failed offensive.

    4. Raymond Sim

      Wresting control of Shebaa farms in the name of Lebanon isn’t motive enough in your book?

      Hezbollah has artillery, modern communications, and competent light infantry. This combination should not be discounted.

      Meanwhile the IDF has run up a record of battlefield incompetence that might embolden even a timid enemy.

    5. Altandmain

      I’d have to disagree about Hezbollah. Although not facing its challenges, it’s also a far more professional military. Since Israel’s defeat in 2006, Hezbollah has fought in Syria.

      Nor is a victory with conventional weapons assured. To give an example, the Taliban had none of those things, yet they still prevailed, sometimes even advancing into US controlled territory in Afghanistan in offensives. The US also failed to win in Vietnam as well.

      I would also not be confident that Israel will have an air force, given the volume of missiles that Hezbollah has. The level of poor performance that they have shown versus Hamas would be cause for deep concern for the IDF.

      Hezbollah does not need to commit all of its forces for an all out offensive the way the Ukrainians did in the fall of 2023 – they just need to create a small and limited force to wear down the IDF. Northern Israel has already been evacuated and even with a small force of Hezbollah, the local citizens will be unable to return.

      It’s important to keep in mind that the IDF has taken heavy losses against Hamas. A fight with Hezbollah would be even worse from a loss standpoint, perhaps even unsustainable for Israel.

    6. Yves Smith Post author

      The entire foundation of your analysis is flawed.

      The Hezbollah of today is not even remotely that of 2006.

      Ritter has reported that in the last 2 Israeli war games, which simulated a war with Hezbollah, Israel lost bigly. You are supposed to win your own war games, or at least if you lose the first one, win the next one.

      1. TimmyB

        I strongly doubt that any war game has Hezbollah invading Israel and successfully occupying Galilee as Ritter predicts. Attempting to do seems suicidal. On the other hand, Israel trying to remove Hezbollah from its fortifications seems equally suicidal.

        I cannot see anyone in Hezbollah arguing “By fighting from our fortified positions during Israel’s 2006 incursion, we were able to drive off and defeat the Zionist entity. During the 18-years since then, we have greatly expanded, improved and strengthened these fortifications. We have stockpiled tens of thousands of missile too. Our position in Southern Lebanon is stronger than ever.

        So let’s abandon the fortifications that served us so well in 2006 so we can invade Israel, defeat the IDF in open territory, and then occupy Galilee.”

        That isn’t happening. If it does, then Hezbollah deserves the disaster that would await it.

        1. Margie

          Thank you for your comments and your clear and rational thought process on this situation.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Did those War Games include the use by Disrael of their 200-600 “unacknowledged” nuclear weapons? Hey, if the Disraeli meteorologists foresee a persistent weather system featuring wind from any of the souththerly directions, why not flash the Lebanese terrain with a couple? I’m betting some are penetrating shells, to collapse underground structures. And fallout over Arab and Persian and Slavic lands to the north would be a great feature! They’ve got half a dozen pretty silent submarines with nukes cruise missiles in addition to their ballistic missiles and jet-delivered nukes, so post-strike, all the fainting-couch Arabs and Europeans would just eat the latest scheissburger served up by the psychopaths ruling the Kingdom of Impunity.

  15. elissa3

    For this reader, with a deep interest and education in the Israeli-Palestinian issue for many decades, the situation today does indeed seem to be at a critical turning point. The mask is now off. For likely a majority of Americans and Europeans, the favorable image and narrative of Israel is now in the trash can. Astonishing to this ardent activist during the Vietnam era is the passion and depth of the demonstrations against the Gaza genocide. And finally there is a willingness to differentiate between Judaism and Zionism without the fear of being called out as an “antisemite”. Without the complete support of the USA government, Israel is simply a small country in a volatile region with some technically advanced and “Western” features, but ultimately one of several Tribes with Flags (courtesy of Charles Glass). Nukes? Yes, use them and multiply by 10 the disgust and hatred of the rest of the world that exists today.

    How it will go from here is anybody’s guess. But by the end of 2024, I expect the path to be evident.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Just as the saying goes “science advances one funeral at a time,” US support for Israel is shrinking one funeral at a time.

      Israel has lost the majority under-40. Whatever goodwill Israel had on October 8 was burned to the ground by November 8—permanently.

      Fascinating how a nation-state is collectively committing diplomatic suicide. It’s like post-9/11 USA but on a speed run.

    2. Feral Finster

      “For this reader, with a deep interest and education in the Israeli-Palestinian issue for many decades, the situation today does indeed seem to be at a critical turning point. The mask is now off. For likely a majority of Americans and Europeans, the favorable image and narrative of Israel is now in the trash can.”
      Neither Israel, nor its enablers care, as long as they can bully any dissent into silence.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>as long as they can bully any dissent into silence.

        Yes, but that ability seems to be fading. What happens when it disappears?

        1. ChrisPacific

          I agree Israel seems as absolutist as ever on this point. The difference is that instead of being able to portray protesters as vicious anti-Semites and marginalize them, now it’s everyone (except the far right types who are perfectly OK with wiping Palestinians off the map).

          So Israel will have to either back off or double down, which amounts to portraying the majority of the world as anti-Semites and enemies of Israel. If everyone in the world is an anti-Semite, do you rethink your definition? Or do you declare war on the entire world? That way lies rogue statehood.

          1. hollow cause

            If everyone in the world is an anti-Semite, do you rethink your definition?

            No, because it’s not simply a definition, it’s a deeply-felt identity. This is what people in Israel are taught from birth.

            The diaspora is taught this to a large degree too, though it’s harder to maintain when you’re among gentiles and it’s plainly obvious the vast majority of us do not have any animus towards anyone Jewish.

            This is why you will find in the Jewish literature many instances of powerful Jews themselves saying that “antisemitism” is ‘our best friend’ and actually ‘feeds’ us. I am here paraphrasing, but this is the general thrust of the arguments you will read. As such, it is in the interest of those who think and exist this way to foment “antisemitism” wherever they can.

            Thus the Jewish students who paint swastikas on their own dorm doors, and all the alleged incidents of online “antisemitism” that are in actuality traced back to computer farms in Israel where Jews sit at terminals and write things the worst Nazi or racist wouldn’t dream of writing.

            They don’t do this from a place of deep hatred per se. At least not initially They do it smiling, as a fun and happy Jewish creative endeavor, because it is defining who they are.

            But if you call them out on it, well, then they get mad and their just-beneath-the-surface, deep-seated hatred pours out in all its wonderful glory. They really don’t want to have to hide it at all to begin with. But, as Costanza said, “We’re living in a society here!”

            Well, at least we gentiles are trying.

            Or do you declare war on the entire world? That way lies rogue statehood.

            Frankly, the seed of this profound otherness and rogue relationship to everything non-Jewish is found in the Judaic canon itself.

        2. Feral Finster

          “Yes, but that ability seems to be fading.”

          You sure? That is an honest question, BTW, as Israel doesn’t seem to think so.

          1. Em

            Considering that the West can’t even produce enough warheads to support a limited war in Ukraine and Israel can’t even successfully manufacture a proper Hamas rape story after 5 months, or stop Hamas from posting tank kill videos every week. Or pacify a tiny sliver of sieged territory after 5 months of absolute air superiority and full Western support…

            Israel thinks God gave it a deed to all of the Levant, even though the Torah Jews have clearly argued using scripture that their G-d forbade them from returning to the Holy Land en mass. Israel thinks it’s great to kill all Palestinian including the ones born after October 7. Delving into what Israel thinks seems like an exercise in madness on par with trying to figure out what a BlueAnon cultist thinks about Russiagate and Trump.

            1. surreal

              So obviously the dragged-out war benefits the Russian deep state and its own war munitions manufacturers too. Because Russia began its operation in Feb 2022 and here we are more than two years later and the war drags on.

              Why hasn’t the vaunted, time-tested and historically battle-tested, war-hardened Russia ended this monstrous western invasion by a West that, in your own words, “can’t even produce enough warheads to support a limited war in Ukraine.”

              You see, if your statement be true, then it looks really bad for Russia and its allies, not the US, Israel or the west who, as you and others have correctly pointed out, don’t give a flying fu*k about anyone or anything in their way anyway.

              To repeat: If the US and ‘the west’ don’t have enough munitions to support what you refer to as a”limited war” in Ukraine (tell that to the people on the ground), then why hasn’t Russia ended it and why does it continue to send the Russian people to be killed in a war that the west, according to your own statements, shouldn’t even be able to fight to any serious degree anyway?

              Any and all thoughts welcome.

              1. shagggz

                Russia is methodically grinding the regime down. Time is on their side and they have no need to rush. Unlike the Western neofeudalists who are more than happy to “move fast and break things,” Russians have to have an eye towards actually living with these people.

      2. Kouros

        When the decissions from ICJ will be pronounced, that Israel has committed genocide in Gaza and that Israel’s occupation is a crima and that UNGA should recognize Palestine, and Israel should pull all its settlements from the West Bank and pay compensations for all its occupation, and the lawfare within each western nation will start against their own governments, then we can start talking.

        The fact that these processes got a hearing and are going to proceed along is the real victory so far and I don’t know why people don’t talk more about it.

        1. Em

          Agreed. I think China’s very strong statements about Palestinian sovereignty and right to self defense are significant. They usually are very careful with their public statements and anything that could be interpreted as interference in the affairs of the other states, so it’s significant that they’ve weighed in so clearly on the side of the Palestinians. Just imagine if the Chinese actually enforced a sanction against all Israel goods including diamonds and refused any sale (direct or indirect) of Chinese steel and solar panels to Israel.

          I keep hearing Crooke and others claiming that it’s impossible to force withdraw of the settlements but is it really? What if you just tear down all the walls, then cut off all utility services, then freeze bank accounts of all illegal squatters and their confederates. That should drive enough of them out in a few years while a judicial eviction process handles the rest. Sure a few die hard will cling on. For those, you can bring in the bulldozers.

          That’s the thing, we have seen a lot of willingness by Israelis to kill for their settler colony but not a lot of willingness to die for it. How many of these murderous cowards will really stick around when the myth of Jewish safety is well and truly shattered?

          1. Paul Art

            I have thought the same myself. It is puzzling why the entire cohort of the reasonable and sensible keep discounting the possibility of retaking the settlements by force via international consensus of some sort stemming from the ICC/ICJ hearings.

            1. Oh

              The land grab has been possible only because the US has supported it. We have a shameful foreign policy.

          2. doesn't make sense

            Just imagine if the Chinese actually enforced a sanction against all Israel goods including diamonds and refused any sale (direct or indirect) of Chinese steel and solar panels to Israel.

            Why hasn’t China done this to date? Why doesn’t China do this right now?

            People are sick of having to “just imagine” based on “strong statements” by seemingly concerned entities with the power to in fact do something about it if they really wanted to.

            Does China have an Israel Lobby it must defer to?

  16. Joe Well

    Is it possible that many Israelis are leaving because they are unhappy about Israel’s actions toward Palestine and in general the rightwing extremism?

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Last year was not Year One of the nakba, if those people who left had been concerned about the whole Israeli project in the first place, they would never have come to Israel in the first place. It’s pretty simple, they were very worried and most of them presumably did not want to get called up to join the fighting. Fair weather friends might be a better description, every country has them including Ukraine and Russia, quite a few people also left those countries to avoid conscription.

        1. War is a Racket

          Smedley Butler said they weren’t in fact being sent to die as patriots for their country; rather, he said all wars are in fact “a racket” and TPTB force (conscript) people to fight and die for bankers and other larger interests, not their own.

      1. Em

        I doubt its their humanity. Max Blumenthal, Ilan Pappe, and Miko Peled have all talked about the Israeli “left” being nonentities. There used to be a movement 30 years ago but they’ve pretty much all emigrated or become assimilated. We can see how rare they are based on the treatment of the very few Israeli Jews who merely speak for Palestinian humanity – death threats to them and their families, harassment by students, physical harassment by protesters outside their homes, imprisonment, and getting fired from their jobs.

        The brutality of the occupation has long been apparent to anyone paying attention. Apparently most of them have developed ways to deal with the brutality in ways similar to how pre-1950s southern whites dealt with blacks, but more exterminationist. The “Arabs” didn’t exist except as a threatening subhuman race who are treated as vermin, nevermind that Palestinians have higher educational accomplishments as a population than the Jews.

        I think the people who left did so because they are cowards with no deep commitment to Israel. They were there because it was a nice place to live and they made a good living there. But it’s not worth disrupting their nice life over, nevermind potentially getting killed over. I have seen chatters of people who left who would be on the more “left” part of the spectrum. I don’t see any condemnation for brutality against Palestinians, just that they feel there is no future in Israel, resentment towards Netanyahu for not keeping them safe, and anger towards the “Arabs” for attacking. These are not nice people. I hope I never have anything to do with them. The American Zionists are bad enough.

  17. JonnyJames

    The Gantz visit is interesting. Netanyahu did not authorize the visit and instructed embassy personnel not to accompany him. Does this signal a split within the Israel “war cabinet” coalition?

  18. Alan Roxdale

    I give all this very little credence. The notion that a country conducting one of the largest ethnic cleansing campaigns since WW2 is militarily or diplomatically weak is does not stand up to scrutiny, and appealing to domestic neuroses about security inside an apartheid state is entirely unconvincing.
    The economic damage is more credible, but as Netenyahu likes to point out, before his promotion of high tech investment the Israeli economy was historically insipid, so the idea of GDP reductions being any kind of serious threat is again not convincing. In any case, Americans pay for most for he Israeli arsenal and will likely pay for all the Palestinian refugees and probably the reconstruction of the Gaza condominiums too.

    The only thing ‘fraying’ in Israel is probably democracy, to be swiftly replaced by some kind of settler-oriented Irredentist ethnocracy/theocracy/Gvirocracy, bent on constant war and expansion, which again Americans will probably end up paying for.

    1. The Rev Kev

      How well will it play in America where there are more and more homeless Americans while the US government builds modern condominiums for Israeli settlers for free?

    2. Kouros

      How will it pay when ICJ will declare Israel guilty of genocide and UNGA, based on the other ruling on the legal consequences of Israel occupation, will recognize the state of Palestine with the 1967 borders and Israel conducting a war of aggression, with Hamas being the resistance?

      How the US will justify to the rest of the world such support? And moreover, how it will justify it to its own population? When it will be clear that the support is not for Israel survival but for outright expansion and apartheid?

  19. 4paul

    Methinks much of this is hubris, “resting on one’s laurels” … the capture of Adolf Eichmann (1960) and the Entebbe Raid (1976) and 1967/1973 wars are the stuff of legend …

    But Israel since 9\11 has become the IT malware/spyware king, and apparently has forgotten low-tech physical warfare. And forgotten how to “protect the homeland”.

    In contrast, Russia, in its invasion of Ukraine, clearly planned for a long, slow, controlled campaign. I am not enough of a military historian or well-read enough to say whether casualties and infrastructure damage is less in Ukraine than Gaza; remember the breathless MainStreamMedia at the outset of the war in Ukraine “but this is happening in a rich white country, not a third world country!” …

    Israel didn’t have this gamed out already??? As much as I despise the Military-Industrial Complex, the military’s JOB is to have defense and invasions planned for every country on earth … Israel MUST have had some plan for a Hamas/Hezbollah attack, yet here they are are, “slogging it out”, like the US in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Syria … in the category “what have you done for me lately”, I can’t think of anything Israel’s physical military has done since Entebbe … Stuxnet and spyware for Saudi/Chinese/Italian/Uzbek governments, yes …

    The US/Israel etc orbit seems enamored with Blitzkrieg, but no concept of “mop-up Operations”. Or “winning hearts and minds” LOL.

    I am stunned at

    Western military academies do not even study wars of attrition (at 13:50)

    – that is a great pull Yves, I will go back and listen to the whole thing.

    Roman Legions two millenia ago were broken apart by asymmetric warfare techniques, wars of attrition….

    1. Feral Finster

      Yup, and according to the people I spoke with yesterday, it doesn’t matter since America will underwrite any shortfalls.

      Sales of luxury autos are booming. Ukraine is fabulously corrupt, and has only become more some since February, 2022 flooded the country with free western money and no accountability. Nobody of influence and authority in the West cares, and yes, they all know the score, at least those who even bother to look in the first place.

  20. Willow

    Economic impact less of an issue compared to human capital impact. Vast bulk of 370k leaving will be Israel’s smartest. Money can be found from various Western pockets (US, IMF, etc.) but you can’t replace people as easily. Especially the very people you need to rebuild the economy.

  21. WendyS

    Could they move the people in Gaza to the evacuated border towns?

    They could have a state, and Israel could have a buffer zone between themselves and Hezbollah.

    1. furnace

      Is this supposed to be sarcasm? That’s still ethnic cleansing, and doubly so, since it’ll be done to the Lebanese and the Palestinians. Also, Palestinians don’t want “a state”, they want their state, the lands from which their grandparents and great-grandparents were expelled from.

        1. Em

          Yes. Those living under Israel can surrender or fight, but surrendering doesn’t mean you get to live. They’ve killed a lot of people in the last 5 months who did exactly what they were instructed to do and got killed anyways.

          The comprador Palestinian Authority abetted all of Israel’s actions in brutalizing the population and clearing land for settlements, but still get tax revenues withheld and plans to drive all of them into Jordan.

          There’s no choice but to fight. The alternative is some of kind of death, or at best a forever exile while having your history and identity strip mined by Jewish celebrity chef/cookbook authors.

      1. WendyS

        No, I just want the killing to stop. Gaza is in ruins I just thought that the evacuated towns are not in ruins and they would have a place to live.

        1. MaryF

          The point is you haven’t thought this through and clearly have no deep knowledge of the history of Palestine. I do suggest some serious reading.
          Do you not realize how dehumanizing your comment was to Palestinians – moving them around like a cattle herd?

  22. Not Moses

    Presumably Israel can hire mercenaries? US tax payer money can roll out the costs, as usual.

  23. Bill R

    What I find incredible is people have long wondered why a civilized country like Germany ended up treating people like Romany, Jews and others as subhuman leading to a holocaust. Now we have the same thing happening with the apparently civilized Israeli state calling Palestinians subhuman and doing their own holocaust against the descendant’s of the original occupants of Gaza and Palestine.
    Is this a case of history repeating itself?

  24. caucus99percenter

    There’s no sign that the mainstream voices of the American Jewish community are in the least disturbed by what Israel is doing. On the contrary, any criticism is covered in “Jewish insider” media as just another instance of antisemitism.

    Few things in Western society are as politically and sociologically monolithic in behavior as the culturally-dominant pro-Israel front.

    1. Raymond Sim

      I guess I’d adduce the increasingly ridiculous assertions of antisemitism as evidence that the mainstream is in fact experiencing disturbance. And a lot of the “mainstream voices” are sounding truly disturbed.

      I have no idea how it’s going to play out as things fall apart. but it strikes me as a situation ripe for exploitation by the worst sort of people.

  25. WMG

    – I would like to point out that, like in the US, interest rates in Israel have risen sharply in the year 2022 from about 1% to over 4% today. Just imagine what that means for someone in Israel who has a mortgage.
    – Like in the US the cost of living has also risen sharply making A LOT OF israelis very unhappy. think; war in Russia.
    – What A LOT OF people fail to see is that the ENTIRE Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is (heavily) overpopulated. And that includes Israel. There is only ONE country that has recognize the problem of a population growing at a too high a rate. That country is called Iran and has changed its population policy already in the early 1990s. that’s why I consider Iran to be the most stable country in the Middle East (population wise).
    – Do combine a sharp rise in population in MENA and the fact that MENA has A LOT OF deserts and one can deduce that the strains in the Middle East are enormous. As long as governments in MENA don’t take serious measures to curb population growth MENA will continue to see “unrest” every few years.
    – In this regard the influence fo the US in MENA is waning because the population of MENA is growing, making US influence more and more obsolete. As long as the US fails to recognize that the US will make the same mistakes again and again and continue to lose more and more influence over there.

  26. steppenwolf fetchit

    ” Are too many Israelis unwilling to give what it takes for their nation?”

    I have to wonder how many Israelis think it isn’t their nation anymore. They might be willing to have given what it would have taken for their nation of Israel. But if they feel that Israel has disappeared and Likudistan has taken its place, they might be unwilling to give what it takes for what it not their nation anymore.

    But that is just something I wonder, not something I firmly suspect yet. If the numbers of Israelis emigrating out of Israel go over a million and then keep on rising, that would be a signal that the “legacy Israelis” have decided their nation no longer exists anyway, and that they will let the Likudistanis give what it takes for their nation of Likudistan all by themselves, with no Israeli help at all.

  27. WMG

    – Another reason that the Middle East + North Africa (MENA) are guaranteed to see “more unrest” every few years in the future, is the subject of “Water”.
    – A growing population means that DEMAND for water also will increase while at the same time the SUPPLY remains flat. This is a recipe for more “problems” in the future in MENA.

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