The chickens, as Malcolm X once said, “have come home to roost.” After Israeli forces murdered nearly 300 Palestinian civilians, including 40 children so far in 2023; after settler terrorists mounted a Palestinian Kristallnacht in Huwara yesterday, murdering two teenage boys; after enduring 20 years of Israeli siege…finally Hamas decided it had had enough.
In an operation it must have planned for months, its fighters invaded southern Israel. They have named their attack, Operation Al Aqsa Storm. The assault came by land, sea and air. They used explosives to breach Israel’s security fence, flew paragliders and piloted speedboats in the assault. They murdered civilians in the streets. 1,000 at last count with 1,200 injured. 700 Palestinians have been killed. With 100,000 IDF reserved called for service and tens of thousands of ground troops massing near Gaza, the resulting invasion will be a bloodbath. Far more than the 2,300 who died in the last Gaza invasion in 2014, will die during this one.
Israel has already used its bunker buster bombs to destroy Hamas defensive tunnels. If, as Hamas claims, hostages are held in them, then Israel is killing its own citizens. Netanyahu has made a horrible calculation that the families of hostages will understand why he had to kill them to destroy Hamas.
Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant has called Hamas “human animals.” While Hamas has threatended to kill a hostage for every Palestinian killed. It is descending into hellish chaos.
ABC News reports that two IDF colonels have been killed by the qiestinian invaders. This is the rank just below general. It has been decades since such senior officers have died in combat. Col. Jonathan Steinberg, commander of the Nahal Brigade, and Col. Roi Levy , commander of multi- dimensional warfare, were killed. Such deaths are especially painful to the average Israeli.
Palestinian attackers captured an unspecified number of IDF soldiers and 100 civilians, whom they managed to spirit back to Gaza. They fired a Kornet anti tank missile, disabling a Merkava tank. Video of its armed fighters roaming the streets of Sderot unmolested will strike Israelis with consternation. Time reported:
Hamas gunmen rolled into as many as 22 locations outside the Gaza Strip, including towns and other communities as far as 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the Gaza border
Not to mention the hundreds of Palestinian rockets fired at Israel. They reached as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Al Jazeera reports that there are still firefights in the streets of Sderot and other southern Israeli towns between fighters and IDF soldiers. Israeli forces even plan to bulldoze a local police station to which Palestinians have retreated.
Hostage-taking by Israel and Hamas
Historically, Hamas insurgents have captured individual soldiers during past combat. There have been prisoner exchanges that resulted. But in this mass kidnapping, Hamas is changing the game entirely. It knows Israel will retaliate massively. But by upping the ante, they are daring Israeli forces to kill their fellow Israelis. In fact, Bibi Netanyahu hasn’t once said he will negotiate for the freedom of the hostages. In fact, he is prepared for all to die. He realizes if he mounts all-out war that Hamas will kill them. This is a price he’s willing to pay.
The Hannibal Directive is an IDF policy calling for killing any Israeli soldier taken captive by Hamas. The army prefers killing its own to negotiating for their freedom in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Netanyahu is prepared to execute the Hannibal Directive regarding the hundreds of Israelis now hostage in Gaza.
Like Hamas, Israel also holds hostages: the bodies of every Palestinian it has murdered in the West Bank. There are hundreds of corpses lying in Israel’s morgue. Intended for the same purpose as Hanas’s kidnap victims: to exchange for prisoners.
Let there be no suggestion that the Palestinians have done anything worse than Israel. Let no one claim that Palestinians don’t have the exact same right to defend themselves and exact revenge, when their sons and daughters are murdered before their eyes.
Hamas says the hostages are being held in some of the underground tunnels Palestinian defenders dug earlier, from which they mounted defensive operations against Israeli invaders. This makes Israel’s anticipated retaliatory invasion infinitely more complex. It seems almost certain they will kill some of the Israeli hostages. Even if they don’t, the Palestinian fighters will not hesitate to kill them if the IDF attacks.
While the scope and scale of the Palestinian assault is astonishing, one must admit it was an act of ultimate desperation. The world has abandoned Palestine. The Israelis are mounting genocide virtually unopposed. Netanyahu has cobbled together an extremist government not only epic in its corruption, but genocidal in its conception of the Palestine issue.
Finally, Saudi Arabia is about to sell Palestine down the river in exchange for a nuclear reactor and US defense pact. There is nothing left for the Palestinians.
Hamas has watched the slaughter of Palestinian civilians and determined that it would do the same to Israelis. It would insure the latter would never be immune to the suffering they have inflicted on Palestinians.
Yom Kippur War redux
It is an eerie reminder of the surprise Egyptian attack which commenced the Yom Kippur War. Hamas timed its attack for the same day Egypt attacked in 1973. To increase the horror for Israelis, this assault began on the Simchat Torah holiday, a joyous commemoration of God’s bestowing the Torah on the Children of Israel. Hamas sought to ensure that there would no joy for Israel.
An Israeli security source told me that the attack on southern Israel is the “Shin Bet’s Yom Kippur War.” A failure of epic proportions.
In American terms, it is Israel’s 9/11. The catastrophic national tragedy that proved just how vulnerable a country it was; an attack that humbled both the US and Israel, who had hitherto believed they were invulnerable and invincible.
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the 1973 War, a bloody event which took the lives of 3,000 Israeli soldiers. Just as Israel complacently assumed it was impregnable then, so the IDF and Shin Bet were caught flat-footed now.
Haaretz security correspondent, Yossi Melman, noted that this invasion was an even worse failure than 1973. Then the army of a formidable nation launched a surprise attack that shocked Israel. But this invasion was carried out by an insurgent militia with infinitely less sophisticated weaponry than Israel possesses.
Hamas was planning this operation right under their noses and they had no clue. So much for the security fence, surveillance technology, drones monitoring Gaza and thousands of troops defending from such an attack. It was all for naught.
I do not want to hear the mock horror of a single Israel apologist or Biden official about Hamas’ “shameful” “indiscriminate” attack on Israeli civilians. Please. Israel murders 6 Palestinians for every Israeli killed. No weeping for them. No gnashing of teeth for them. Instead, abject silence.
There have already been expressions of outrage and a requisite call for “lessening tensions.” Not to mention a tired warning that hopes for a two state solution were fast fading. To paraphrase Golda Meir’s repugnant saying: perhaps when the world cares half as much about dead Palestinian children as it does about dead Israelis, then there can be peace.
Israel and Hamas: terror for terror
Do not complain about booodthirsty Palestinian terrorists attacking innocent civilians. These are resistance fighters taking up arms against a foreign army illegally occupying their land. Stealing their land and resources, expelling them from their villages, murdering them indiscriminately, defiling their holy sites. Not to mention that a United Nations General Assembly resolution declared such armed resistance legitimate.
Blame belongs, as Haaretz’s editorial declares, with one man: Bibi Netanyahu. He has engineered, or acquiesced to a massive ongoing Israeli assault on Palestinians. Yet he never contemplated they would fight back. Certainly it is a massive security-intelligence failure. But it is even more a political failure, because he believed he could snuff out the Palestinian nation, and manage things without having to pay a price.
His response has been to swear vengeance. He vows to “turn Gaza hideouts into rumble” and warns Gazans to “leave” while they can. Where would they go? Into the sea? Into the air? Underground? Perhaps Israel will be magnanimous and provide all 1.5-million of them with buses and drop them in the Sinai or Arabian desert?
As for turning the tunnels into rubble: will that be with the Israeli hostages inside them? Will he, like Samson, bring down the Philistine temple along with the king and his courtiers?
Nevertheless, Hamas has handed Netanyahu a huge gift. Instead of facing a year’s worth of protests and a massive campaign to dislodge him from power; and four corruption counts which could topple him as prime miniter–he takes up the mantle of the warrior-leader taking vengeance on the nation’s foes. The people will rally round. They will forget their grievances. By the time this war ends, there will likely no longer be a pro-democracy movement.
War is imminent
The defence minister has summoned the IDF reserves, a sure sign that war is imminent. Israel will invade Gaza. It has naked the assault, Operation Sword of Iron, as if this is an apocalyptic battle between the forces of Good and Evil.
Hamas has many surprises in store for the invaders. Israeli soldiers will die. How many thousands of innocent Palestinians will die as well? How many widows, how many orphans? How many tens of thousands of homes destroyed? How many schools? Who will mourn? Who will call Israel to account for these war crimes? When will nations and international bodies demand that it stop, and impose a solution with or without Israeli acceptance? When?
Benny Gantz, leader of the Opposition expressed his readiness to join an emergency government. No surprise that the former chief of staff and Butcher of Gaza in 2014, would be willing to join in the carnage once more.
The US, in particular, is deeply implicated in this tragedy. It substituted platitudes for substantive policy. It believed that a sham normalization process would paper over Palestinian disenchanment. Further, the Biden administration is paralyzed into submission by the Israel Lobby. Note that he has pledged “unwavering support to Israel.” He might as well have pledged unwavering support for war crimes.
How many times has the US stood by and done nothing in the face of genocide? the Holocaust, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia, Myanmar, Cambodia. This is Biden’s chance to join the ranks of the worst US foreign policy failures.
There is no doubt that Israeli plans to obliterate Gaza constitute war crimes. We stand on the precipice of tragedy of massive proportions. In effect, to paraphrase Garcia Marques, this is a chronicle of a war crime foretold.
Will the ICC finally agree to commence the formal investigation of such crimes, going back to the last major Gaza invasion in 2014?
The world has the power to stop this. Now. Before thousands die. Will Biden use it? Or will he permit political calculations to determine his course? I’m afraid we all know the answer.