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Is Israel prepared for war? Netanyahu's complacency has been violently shattered

Why wasn't Israel prepared? (Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Why wasn't Israel prepared? (Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


October 7, 2023   5 mins

The images beggared belief. Palestinian gunmen driving through an Israeli city, firing at passers-by from the bed of a pickup truck. The body of a dead Israeli soldier, his green uniform stained red, being dragged from a car inside Gaza and trampled. An elderly woman, seemingly in shock, taken hostage and paraded through the streets in a golf cart.

It is hard to make sense of the day’s events — because they are unprecedented. What should have been a quiet holiday-weekend Shabbat began with Hamas firing more than 2,200 rockets at Israel. The massive barrage seems to have been cover for an even bigger operation: infiltrating dozens of militants into Israel. Some went to Sderot, the biggest city near Gaza; others fanned out to the small kibbutzim that run the length of the border.

By evening the death toll stood at 150, with at least 1,100 Israelis wounded. Both numbers will almost certainly rise, and the Israeli army says it is still fighting in 22 locations. Hamas also claims to have abducted 35 Israelis and brought them to Gaza. While the exact number is unconfirmed, footage shared on social media suggests they do indeed have captives, both civilians and soldiers.

The most obvious question is what went wrong: this is Israel’s biggest intelligence failure in half a century, since the surprise Arab invasion on Yom Kippur in 1973. Its security services have a network of informants in Gaza. Every call from a mobile phone in the territory is routed through an Israeli network.

Hamas must have needed many months to plan such a complex operation — and Israel knew the group wanted to conduct one like this. During its 2014 war with Israel, Hamas smuggled commandos through a tunnel and landed a group of frogmen on an Israeli beach. The Israeli army has warned for years that the group would try more such infiltrations. Yet when it finally happened, the army seems to have been caught entirely unaware.

Nor was this just an intelligence failure. Israel has kept Gaza under a tight blockade for a decade and a half. Heavy restrictions on the flow of goods and people have crushed its economy: two-thirds of Gazans live below the poverty line, and three in five are unemployed. But the blockade has not unseated Hamas — nor, apparently, stopped it from planning sophisticated attacks.

The Israeli government has spent billions of shekels to build a barrier on its border with Gaza, a mix of concrete slabs and metal fencing studded with high-tech sensors. Yet the militants simply cut through it and zipped across on motorbikes, or flew over it in paragliders.

Once they crossed over, they enjoyed freedom of action for hours. All morning long, residents of border towns called Israeli journalists to ask where the army was. In recent months it has mostly been deployed on other fronts: the occupied West Bank, where tensions are at a boil, and the north, where it is worried about Hezbollah. The south seemed quiet — until it wasn’t.

A full accounting will probably have to wait until the inevitable commission of inquiry finishes its work. For now, the focus will be on a response. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said Israel is “at war”; the defence ministry has approved a wide call-up of army reservists; the air force has already begun air strikes on Gaza, which will continue for days.

During the 2014 war, which dragged on for 50 days, some of Netanyahu’s Right-wing coalition partners pushed for a full ground invasion of Gaza. Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister at the time, wanted Israel to reoccupy the territory (Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005). But the army feared that a ground offensive would lead to weeks of bloody urban combat. Netanyahu listened to the generals and ignored the politicians.

Such demands, however, will be harder to ignore this time. The cause for war is much bigger. And Netanyahu’s coalition is different: where in 2014 it was a broad mix of parties, from the centre-left to the Right, today it runs only from the Right to the far-Right.

The presence of Israeli hostages in Gaza — probably distributed across a number of far-flung hiding places — may make some officials reluctant to green-light a ground offensive, in case they are executed. But they are also worth more to Hamas alive than dead. The group would prefer to exchange them for prisoners held by Israel, as it did in 2011 with Gilad Shalit, a soldier swapped for 1,027 Palestinians.

So, how will Israel respond? This has been a turbulent year for the country, largely due to Netanyahu’s efforts to overhaul its judiciary. Yet after Hamas’s latest attack, political divisions have been temporarily set aside. Activists have suspended their weekly demonstrations against the government. They also urged reservists — some of whom vowed to boycott their mandatory service in protest over Netanyahu’s reforms — to report for duty if called. Israelis have a saying in times like this: “There is no coalition and no opposition.”

When the fighting ends, though, the recriminations will start. The opposition will have a compelling argument: it will say that Netanyahu has been preoccupied, and that he has surrounded himself with a coterie of inexperienced ministers, such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, the hard-Right ideologue appointed to run the police. And they will have a point. Netanyahu’s pitch to voters has always rested on his handling of Israeli security. Yet “Mr Security” has a habit of falling out with his security chiefs. Ehud Barak, who served him as defence minister, later described his old boss as “reckless”; Meir Dagan, a storied Mossad director, called him “destructive”. True to form, he will try to pin blame for this weekend’s catastrophe on the army and security services.

While the intelligence failure resembled 1973, in other ways the closest analogue for the day’s events was Israel’s war of independence in 1948. During the 1973 war, after all, Egypt and Syria only advanced as far as the occupied Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights. This time, Palestinian militants stormed Israel proper, raiding towns that are within its internationally recognised borders.

The resulting images — of gunmen on the streets and dead bodies piled at bus stops —will not soon be forgotten. The second intifada, the campaign of Palestinian suicide bombings that killed more than 1,000 Israelis between 2000 and 2005, was a death knell for the peace talks that followed the Oslo Accords in 1993. A generation of Israelis gave up on the prospect of a settlement with the Palestinians. Today’s attack, perhaps the worst in Israel’s history, will similarly harden public opinion.

But Israel will have to weigh the consequences of its response. Hezbollah, the Shia militant group-cum-political party in Lebanon, said it was “conducting a continuous assessment of events”, a verbose way of saying it plans to sit on the side-lines — at least for now. Mired in a four-year economic crisis, Lebanon is in no position to endure a war. But a harsh Israeli counterattack on Gaza may draw it in anyway, lest its leaders be seen as ignoring the Palestinian cause.

Hamas will also use the attack to boost its popularity in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority, the nominal self-governing body, is widely loathed. Mahmoud Abbas, the president, is 87; Hamas no doubt has an eye on an eventual succession struggle.

Further afield, until this morning, diplomatic parlour talk in the Middle East was obsessed with the possibility that Saudi Arabia might normalize ties with Israel. The Biden administration has spent the year pushing for a three-way deal: America would offer a defence pact to the kingdom, which would offer full recognition to Israel.

What Israel might give was always unclear. The Americans and Saudis hoped to extract some concessions that would make the occupation marginally less painful for Palestinians. That idea was never realistic, given Netanyahu’s hard-Right coalition; now it is impossible. Nor will the Saudis be eager to recognise Israel against the backdrop of a war in Gaza.

After 15 years of almost-uninterrupted Netanyahu rule, many people inside Israel and out have internalised his view of the conflict: that the status quo is indefinitely sustainable. Today’s events should shake that view. Hamas is more capable and less quiescent than Israel thought; in the West Bank, meanwhile, the PA is rapidly losing control. Yet an Israel united in grief and anger will be in no mood for talks or concessions. The status quo has never looked so fragile — and what comes next will be bloody.


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Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
9 months ago

Could the intelligence failure be as the Israeli democracy has increasingly turned Woke and takes NGO activism on the streets more seriously? With significant sections of judiciary, civil services and even the armed forces more concerned about human rights than taking on terrorists?
Of course it would be difficult to get such clarity from an Economist writer since all that the venerable journal does is to look for villains in the ” Far Right” and “populists” while alternatively celebrating every form of globalist and borderless identity politics.

Last edited 9 months ago by Sayantani Gupta
D Walsh
D Walsh
9 months ago

Who owns the Economist ?

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
9 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Certainly not the ” Far Right”. It’s spin shows it to be Guardianista with great dollops of WEF, at least in my humble reading.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago

Your humble reading is utterly nonsensical.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago

No, they just took their eye off the ball. You are disingenuously exploiting this tragedy to discredit “woke” ideas, which could be more honestly and constructively achieved on its own terms. The fact that you make your point as a rhetorical question, not backed up by any facts or references, exposes your weak arguments.

Sadly now, many innocent people on both sides will lose their lives. A new concerted effort to solve the Palestinian problem needs to be found, although for now, the immediate problem is to stop the violence.

Margie Murphy
Margie Murphy
9 months ago

There is no solving that problem. Hamas, Hezbollah, most Arabs in general live in a world of hate and venom inspired by their book. There is no amount of negotiating or money or nation building in the world that will fix that embedded hate. It has nothing to do with “oppression” (through this lie is fed to the gullible leftists world-wide) and everything to do with religion. Its in their DNA . And they don’t hide it. Annihilating Israel off the face of the world isnthe objective and there’s no changing that. How do you talk with people who hate you that much.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Margie Murphy

It’s both Islam and oppression, not either or.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
9 months ago

I agree with you about the terrible loss of life, but the idea that you can ‘solve this problem’ seems laughably unrealistic.

Some situations (like our own ‘bĂȘte noire’ in Northern Ireland, or the smorgasbord in Kosovo) are like perpetual sores that just have to be managed and endured by everyone involved.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

The Good Friday agreement has largely worked, at least in keeping violence away. It doesn’t mean that the NI problem is solved, but things were far worse in the decades preceding.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

Col Tim Collins said the people of Northern Ireland were handed over to the PIRA and Protestant Gangs.
The terrorist groups were being degraded rapidly from 1990 to 1997 and then Blair threw in the white towel. Roy Mason came within three weeks of destroying the PIRA according to M McGuiness in 1979. Blair should hve appointed Roya Mason to run N Ireland.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Exactly.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
9 months ago

” Woke ideas can be honestly achieved”? Startling conclusions.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago

Discrediting them. You didn’t read my post properly.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
9 months ago

I did, and it seems you are foisting rather garbled conclusions when you were not calling me names.
It’s tedious to recount what is easily available in the public domain about the activist protests in Israel since Netanyahu came back to power.
I presume you are the type to only acknowledge ‘facts and references ” when it is cherry picked from the ideological stable you propound.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago

You clearly didn’t read my post properly if you conflated “discredit ‘woke’ ideas, which could be more honestly and constructively achieved on its own terms”, with ”woke ideas can be honestly achieved”

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
9 months ago

What a word salad! Even if I read your constructions a thousand times I confess that gobbledygook is not my cuppa!

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago

Try harder to keep up.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
9 months ago

….if they took their eye off the ball what were they looking at then? Mr Gupta is correct, like the rest of the western democracies they were distracted by woke trivia.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
9 months ago

The Economist indeed selected a leaderless Italy as one of its favoured European nations before Meloni when and precisely because it had dispensed with messy democracy in favour of a globalist technocrat.

They are sometimes forced to make appropriate noises about the lives of the people the economies are meant to exist to serve, but it’s merely a distraction from the bottom line.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Frankly I haven’t seen any political analysis in the recent past from the Economist which is not steeped in pre- judged tropes fused in the ideologies I describe. Other than some columns on lifestyle ( notably Bartleby) , obituaries and an occasional unbiased book review, everything else is majorly filtered through a globalist, mostly Woke lens.
It’s a sad journey as I still recall better editorial stances it took many moons ago.

Last edited 9 months ago by Sayantani Gupta
William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago

The Economist’s position on most things is laissez-faire, globalist, small state and economically liberal, hardly woke. You should cancel your subscription if that’s not your thing.

Last edited 9 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

What is Liberal today? Henry Ford said ” People can have any colour they want provided it is black “. Liberal today means you can have any opinion you like provided I agree with it.
The Economist stopped being laissez- faire when it came to opinions, decades ago. In reality it is modern Butskellism.

michael harris
michael harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

It was Butskellist long ago pre-Thatcher. Always looking for the middle way in the out and out power struggle between Moscow backed unions and milquetoast governments.

Michael Marron
Michael Marron
9 months ago

If you are right it has changed a lot since I cancelled my subscription of forty years two years ago.

Sudo Nim
Sudo Nim
9 months ago

The Economist is quite economical on actual economics topics or discussion. Better is the very dry but at least technical Rand Journal of Economics.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

Congratulations on your century SGJ.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
9 months ago

My team too?! Pulled it off well despite Kohli missing 100.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

What happened to the subject matter of the article?

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
9 months ago

This is just demagoguery, you don’t think that Netanyahu’s policies and actions amount to terrorism? The Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed and thrown out of their lands, and they are terrorists? You mention ‘woke’ on here and you get 138 up votes, how embarrassing…

Saul D
Saul D
9 months ago

The “intelligence failure” is a strange line to lead on. Like it’s Israel’s fault. If only they’d done even more surveillance than one of the most highly monitored states in the world, so more surveillance was called for. Instead of questioning the morals of attacking and kidnapping civilians for political aims, not least because of the repercussions that will follow.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Maybe the overestimation of surveillance’s value is the point. What surveillance provides is information at best?
Along the lines of information is more than data, knowledge is more than information and wisdom is more than knowledge.

Phil Re
Phil Re
9 months ago

To understand the backdrop, we need to look at the wealthy and powerful pro-Iran NGOs and think tanks in the US. Robert Malley was head of the International Crisis Group. First-term Obama had to distance himself from Malley because of Malley’s prior relationship with Hamas, but second-term Obama put Malley in charge of the Iran nuclear deal. Now Malley is under a hushed investigation over his handling of classified information, and we’ve learned in the last week that some of his closest associates in the Biden Administration are high-level moles for Iran who were somehow approved for their sensitive positions despite their past contacts.
And guess what?
The same Americans who fund the pro-Iran International Crisis Group also fund far-left NGOs inside Israel. It’s no surprise at all, then, that Iran felt emboldened to activate its proxy in Gaza in an unprecedented invasion of Israel. What remains to be seen is whether the Israeli left will snap back into reality or whether they will remain captive to the NGO reality distortion field.

David Mayes
David Mayes
9 months ago
Reply to  Phil Re

Phil Can you identify those far-left NGOs inside Israel?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago

Interstitial article. NGOs are a pernicious threat across the west.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

We need to examine charities and NGOs; namely where they obtain funds and their political objectives. Charities used to mean people giving up their time freely and money to help the less fortunate. Now many charities employs people on salaries of ÂŁ100K plus, claim tax exempt status and spend money on lobbying;
In some ways they are more secure than unions and companies.
The Roman Catholic Church saved Western Civilisation 410 AD but by 1400 AD had become corrupt and needed reform. The desire for power corrupts all.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Church effectively DESTROYED Classical Civilisation after circa 390 AD/1143AUC.
Only a feeble imitation survived.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago

Here, here! This is well explained in detail in the recent “The Darkening Age” by Catherine Nixey.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
9 months ago

You’ve been around awhile

Waffles
Waffles
9 months ago

Cultures stuck in the 9th century just cannot be integrated into peaceful modern society.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Waffles

How did they pull this off though?
I keep writing about crime tech going to the highest bidders irrespective of purpose based on my ongoing experience with what Australia’s bikies keep showing off – having government insiders like police and cyber-experts on their payrolls.
Are there tech sabotage capabilities, or information poisoning capabilities provided to terrorists? If yes, by whom and why?
This would be a hell of a distraction if any entity on planet Earth ever needed one.

Last edited 9 months ago by Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

I am pleased with Australia’s bikies and their government insiders signing up to UnHerd 🙂
Keep it up hunies!
I just lost Internet connection typing this too – in a part of Melbourne, Australia, where no one has Internet disconnection issues 🙂

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
9 months ago
Reply to  Waffles

7th century.
Not that it makes a difference!

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
9 months ago
Reply to  Waffles

The justification for Zionism goes back to the 9th century BC. The irony.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jim Bocho
John Austin
John Austin
9 months ago

We are watching events closely… Jewish wife and children, my eldest may yet fly to TA and volunteer for the IVF. It’s an existential crisis.
Never again.

Last edited 9 months ago by John Austin
Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
9 months ago
Reply to  John Austin

Palestine belongs to Palestinians not New Yorkers.

james elliott
james elliott
9 months ago

First priority should be expelling all Jihadis still on Israeli territory – preferably killing them.

Next up, an operation to free all hostages possible.

After that, the entire West Bank and Gaza strip should be razed to the ground and the inhabitants sent home to Syria and Jordan.

Plenty of time after all that is accomplished to ask how this happened.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
9 months ago
Reply to  james elliott

What have you been smoking?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly!!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
9 months ago

He’s in the Israeli cabinet

james elliott
james elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

What would be your response to the massacre of several hundred Israeli civilians?

Sanctions on Israel?

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
9 months ago
Reply to  james elliott

The world has become too woke to accept that solution.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
9 months ago
Reply to  james elliott

A 1 day war

P Branagan
P Branagan
9 months ago
Reply to  james elliott

Elliot, you’re a racist abomination – an evil monster.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
9 months ago

It took Ghandhi a little over 30 years to win India’s independence from Great Britain using non-violent resistance. It has been 75 years since the Palestinians have resisted Israel using violence and they are no closer to an independent state now than in 1948. We can only wonder where they would be if they chose non-violence or if they just sought civil rights inside Israel.
The people of Gaza and the West Bank will pay a horrible price for Hamas’ actions. Palestinians will gain nothing through violence but violence and oppression. They have brought it on themselves, and they deserve it.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

“We can only wonder where they would be if they chose non-violence”
Expropriated. A few of the early zionists were honest about it: they would capture the entirety of the Promised Land one way or another. It might happen sooner or it might happen later but there was never any doubt what the final outcome would be.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Not a particularly fair comparison.

By 1948 the UK had effectively bankrupted itself TWICE in pursuing two Pyrrhic victories in the previous 30 years, and was no longer in a position to resist even Ghandhi.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago

You keep pushing these alternative histories but never explaining how Germany dominated Europe would be in long term British interest?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

It wouldn’t have been, but 1914-18 was NOT the answer.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
9 months ago

So they caved when he threatened to remove his loin cloth.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago

We don’t know if it was an intelligence failure, or whether the Israeli government just chose to ignore warnings because Bibi thought it would never happen.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Love an overly complicated conspiracy

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Maybe they did have the warnings and let it happen because it would provide the perfect justification for cracking down?

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago

“Israel’s biggest intelligence failure in half a century” – can the assumed benefit of tech used in intelligence gathering erode value?

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
9 months ago

Hamas will never, ever agree to Israel’s existence. They want the complete removal of all Jew’s from the land. Palestinian leadership over many decades has never conceded anything from the initial offer to form an Arab state alongside Israel before modern Israel came to be, to recent initiatives like Camp David and Oslo where Israel gave up many things. All this with the added background of the surrounding states attacking Israel. The continuing existence of modern Israel is a miracle. And despite its many weaknesses and problems it’s a beacon in a region dominated by another religion and culture that is not known for its forward thinking.

John Taylor
John Taylor
9 months ago

What is striking and repellent about Hamas’s actions is how brutal and inhuman they are, a continuing expression of Palestine nationalism’s violent anti-Semitism. You can look back at other intensely fought wars of national liberation, from India to Ireland, and not find similar levels of barbarism. No Ira member would have have smashed a baby’s head against a rock, as a PLO leader once did to a Jewish infant nor propose poisoning the drinking water in Haifa. These are tactics more appropriate to the Palestinian’s real inspiration, the German Nazi party. After all, it was Arafat’s uncle, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who eager planned a “Final Solution” in collaboration with Hitler that would have been implemented if Rommel has headed east.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
9 months ago

Indeed. These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary leaders who are in short supply.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago

The IDF will kill all of Israel’s enemies. But this looks like the end for Netanyahu.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

One hopes it will be the end of Netanyahu.

Robert Harris
Robert Harris
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You may well be right about Netantahu, but can you think of anyone better? I can’t because most of his peers look like lightweights to me.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
9 months ago

It’s hard to look away from the atrocities but at some stage an agreement must be reached that provides for a stable and enduring Israel as well as a stable and enduring Palestine.

Steven Somsen
Steven Somsen
9 months ago

absolutely; and Israel as the strongest party must start the process, however difficult; they don’t seem to be willing

m pathy
m pathy
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

The well behaved kid must bend to the bully. No wonder the UK is in such a mess.

Margie Murphy
Margie Murphy
9 months ago

There is no talking to 7th century religious fanatics who have a pathological hatred of Jews and would, if they could, annihilate every man woman and child in Israel. That I’d all they want. There will be no peace u till that happens. So there will be no peace. For Israel it is existential and they should do whatever it takes to protect their people. Everything.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
9 months ago
Reply to  Margie Murphy

Exactly – KILL ALL ARABS. Even the kids. As a well-known Israeli once remarked, shrugging his shoulders while excusing the killings of Palestinian kids by the IDF, “nits make lice”. Kill ’em all, total war etc. Yet I bet you’d be first in the queue to urge “peace” on the Ukrainians. 

Julie Coates
Julie Coates
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Frank, I think the irony went over the head of whoever downvoted your comment. Some people are just too literal. Your comment reminded me of Johnathan Swift.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Julie Coates

That’s because on this site it’s hard to tell what might be ironic because there are extreme leftists.

Steven Somsen
Steven Somsen
9 months ago
Reply to  Margie Murphy

Margie, if that is the only thing you can see, not that they are also and mainly men and women and children like you and me, then indeed there will not be peace. It is difficult but responsible leadership from both sides is needed.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

Decisions are not made by the men, women and children though, who are like you and me. Agreements may or may not be adhered to either, may give a false sense of security to the weaker party.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

In the dyings days of WW2, Hitler Youth were fighting; they had been completely indoctrinated by the Nazis. Hamas control over the youth of Gaza is even greater than the Nazis.
The Camp David Accord under Clinton was supported by Israel but Arafat walked away. The Saudis created the Jeddah Accord but the Palestinians walked away.
The reality is most Arab countries have stopped supporting the Palestinians and Pakistanies have said to me they stopped supporting them because of Arafat.
The one country prepared to support Hamas is Iran which only reduces their support from the GCC countries.
The actions of Palestinians in Kuwait in mid 1950s, Jordan 1970, Lebanon in mid 1970s and support for Hussein in invasion of Iraq in 1990 reduced support and money for Palestinians from Arab countries.
At present most GCC countries consider Iran their biggest threat so Hamas acting as their proxy may provided them short term gains but not long term ones.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

They cheer the murder of women and children in the streets. they send their sons to be suicide attackers. They are NOT just like you and me.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Exactly.

Claire M
Claire M
9 months ago
Reply to  Margie Murphy

Netanyahu said he would like to throw all the Arabs into the sea. Sounds like a n—- to me!

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

The Palestinians don’t want a two state solution. They want a one state solution with all the Israelis dead. Any concessions to them just strengthens their hands for the next round of violence.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Palestine belongs to Palestinians not New Yorkers.

Sudo Nim
Sudo Nim
9 months ago

Who thinks this will happen after this weeks events? I’d say this is off the table for decades now, until much more blood is spilled.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
9 months ago

Guess it’s existential for both sides, so we just have to see who exists at the end of it.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
9 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

The Saudis are onboard. The Palestinians are doomed.

Charlie Dibsdale
Charlie Dibsdale
9 months ago

People who set out to cold bloodedly slaughter and kidnap civilians are not militants they are terrorists. Your use of BBC apologist language disgusts me.

Daniel P
Daniel P
9 months ago

How long will it take for AOC, Omar and the rest of the squad to be out making statement saying Israel brought this on itself and the Palestinians are just venting?

Biden is in another bind. The far left and the college crowd are all anti Israel. He already reversed on the border wall, he backs Israel too much or if Israel pushes into Gaze with lots of troops and he will have these people turning on him even more.

Trump is gonna take another lap too. He was a big supporter of Israel. Even moved the embassy.

Not a comfortable place to be if you are on the left justifying these attacks as images of grandmas in wheelchairs being taken hostage and womens bodies stripped naked and dragged through the street show up on TVs and social media.

Michael Layman
Michael Layman
9 months ago

Could international pressure(looking at you U.S) have played a hand in Israel’s approach to date? In 2001, the US was also compacent and exacting revenge cost billions(trilions?) in tracking terrosists and security measures world-wide.
Israel on the other hand, has a focused mission, to eliminate terrosists in their “backyard”. Personally, I would like to see a full scale attack on Hamas murderers in Gaza and Palestine. Israel has justification to reach beyond its borders to obliterate the enemy.
Remember this, Hamas is only interested in death and chaos. They do not represent a viable peaceful and should be treated as ‘ISIS” extremists. I am hopeful that conventional forces and the Mossad will eliminate all Hamas leaders as well as those who celebrated the death of innocent Israeli citizens. Death to Hamas.

Daniel P
Daniel P
9 months ago

Thinking that Israel is gonna need to purge Gaza. They are gonna need to go in in force and basically engage in ethnic cleansing. Push all the Palestinians to the West Bank.

But now Hamas is talking about attacking Arab countries that have made peace with Israel or done business with it.

That happens, and my guess is Iran gets involved. That happens and the whole middle east goes up in flames.

Max Rottersman
Max Rottersman
9 months ago

Yesterday, when Netanyahu said he wouldn’t “let this happen again” or something like that I almost laughed out loud. Many who follow him have been expecting this day for quite some time.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago

“Yet when it finally happened, the army seems to have been caught entirely unaware.”
Maybe not. Perhaps Bibi wants a casus belli for his plans to reconquer Gaza. True, a few hundred Israelis had to die, OTOH he’ll now feel free to kill ten times as many Palestinians and steal their land to boot.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
9 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

It’s hard to believe Bibi had no intelligence about such a massive attack.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
9 months ago

My thoughts on this are that Hamas targeted this event on this day because there were so many young women in attendance. The parading of young women, dragged by their hair, through the streets, the dead body of the young woman in the back of the truck – animals did this. I know the conflict itself has blame on both sides, blood as well. But the things done in this attack were specifically done to women by men who regard them as less than human. I try to be open-minded and respect all cultures, but I have a hard time stomaching cultures where women are property, not human beings, to be abused and disposed of with no mercy. Those images hardened something in me, as I am sure they did many other people. Civilized nations don’t fight wars this way.

Richard Huw Morris
Richard Huw Morris
9 months ago

This is going to kick off an aggressive Israeli response. Iran who at the moment is an ally of Russia in the Ukraine war also supports Hamas and Hezbollah in Palestine. Let’s drag Iran into a direct conflict with Israel? Let’s muddy the waters. Let’s stir it up. All the while innocent people are being killed for the sake of power and greed. All wars are bankers wars.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago

Israel has the best spies in the world, and anyone could have foreseen that this would have been attempted over this Yom Kippur, the fiftieth anniversary of that Yom Kippur. But even by his standards, Netanyahu needs a lot of political cover both at home and abroad. So here we are.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Lindsay
james elliott
james elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

Anyone could have forseen it?

Did you? Why didn’t you warn us?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago
Reply to  james elliott

Well, of course, this was going to happen. Israel provides a forecast of what will Europe will be like in about thirty years. Consider yourselves warned.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

Except that Yom Kippur was a little less than two weeks ago (24th-25th September this year). It’s quite possible that the security services were geared up to counter an attack then, and relaxed when nothing much happened.

Dov Kaiser
Dov Kaiser
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

The attacks occurred on another holiday, Simhat Torah. I was in synagogue celebrating when young men (including my son) were summoned to report for duty. But I agree that the fiftieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War is not a coincidence.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago

Already, we see the same split as over Ukraine, between an “international community” that agrees with the United States, and the huge global majority that does not. Interestingly, Israel is in the latter camp on Ukraine. It was not all that keen on the Iraq War, either.

The media are still peddling the hallucination that this attack “came as a surprise”. That is the “weapons of mass destruction” of this war, with the nuance that it was particularly surprising on Yom Kippur. When it has happened before. Netanyahu has told the two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip to leave, but he has not lifted the 16-year blockade, so they cannot do so. Does he think that they have remained there voluntarily hitherto?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus or Pompey the Great, captured Jerusalem in 63 BC thus ending the independence of the Jewish state.
It remained under Roman control for approximately 700 years, until 637/8 AD, when it was reconquered by fellow Semites under the the command of of one Caliph Umar.
Nearly another 1300 years would pass before Israel finally achieved independence in 1948.
The Palestinians have a very LONG wait ahead of them.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
9 months ago

Israel did not ‘finally achieve independence’. It did not exist, even as an idea. It was because of many centuries of vicious persecution of Jewish people by Europeans that Zionism arose.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jim Bocho
Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
9 months ago

It’s amazing that Israel had no forewarning of this considering it has the best Spyware on the planet, Pegasus/NSO included.
Sivan Kurzberg of the Urban MovingSystems said, “We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The other Israelis in the van who cheered the bombing of the World Trade Center were his brother Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari formerly of Mossad.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
9 months ago

Up to last week, since 2008, 6,407 Palestinians killed; and 308 Israelis killed. 167 Palestinians killed in 2023 so far, v limited / no media reaction. 150 Israelis killed, world media goes nuts. Very obviously, a dead Israeli is worth far more than a dead Arab.  How come the Americans who are hostile to supporting far away Ukraine are so enthusiastic about pumping billions into supporting a statelet in the Middle East which is even further way than Ukraine?

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Did you see the young woman’s naked, dead body in the back of the truck, like a dead deer, a hunting trophy? Did you see the young women being dragged by their hair to certain rape and death? I try to respect all cultures, but is it a “culture” that regards women as subhuman and treats them like property, disposed of when no longer of use? Child brides, honor killings, murdered for trying to be educated in Afghanistan, for not wearing a hijab in Iran. Do you think it was an accident that this event, a concert full of free young women dancing in shorts and tank tops, was chosen for this attack?
I pray for the women and children of Palestine, but this “culture” has not evolved over thousands of years. How do you possibly negotiate with them? There is killing and blame on both sides, but not naked dead girls in trucks paraded about like big game trophies. That’s the stuff of psychopaths.

Last edited 9 months ago by Samantha Stevens
A Reno
A Reno
9 months ago

.

Last edited 8 months ago by A Reno
Simon S
Simon S
9 months ago

“Netanyahu’s efforts to overhaul its judiciary”… overhaul?? Is the Economist’s Middle East correspondent just another craven courtier anxious to protect his access? The corrupt Netanyahu is intent on crippling the judiciary’s independence in order both to acquire more powere and to protect himself from bribery amd other charges. Oh, but it’s just an overhaul, folks.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
9 months ago

When you invade someone else’s country, ethnically cleanse them and steal their land, you better be ‘prepared for war’.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jim Bocho
Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Jews and Arabs (mainly Muslims) co-existed for many centuries in and near what is now Israel.
Jews did not “invade” or “steal” anyone’s country before 1948. The early Zionists bought land, piece by piece, from the owners–not local Arabs, unfortunately, but absentee landowners in Constantinople (because this region was a province of the Ottoman Empire before World War I).
Nor did the Israelis do so in 1948. On the contrary, they accepted the United Nations’ partition plan (giving Jews the smaller and least fertile part of Britain’s mandated territory). The Arabs demanded all of the mandated territory, not part of it, and refused the partition plan. To back up that demand, several Arab countries–Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Iraq —invaded the Jewish territory (with fervent support from many other Islamic countries).
I can’t argue that the Israelis have never succumbed to hatred or always refrained from terrorism, but I can argue not only that the peaceful and secure co-existence of two states would have been eagerly accepted by most Israelis at any time since 1948–and there have been several proposals–but also that the Palestinians (and their allies) have consistently rejected that solution (doing everything possible to sabotage every proposal).

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
9 months ago

Yippee, let’s go kill some rag heads

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago

This what you get when you elect a crook and grifter to lead a coalition of religious maniacs.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
9 months ago

I think Hamas has a dislike of Israel whoever the PM is. It’s not as if Hamas would have said:
“No we can’t attack – this Israeli PM is too honest and has too much integrity. Best leave it.”

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

You have missed the point entirely. No great surprise there.
A competent leadership would never have allowed this to happen.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
9 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

I would let this thread drop Samuel. This anonymous troll never offers insight.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
9 months ago

The stated goal of Hamas and Iran is to wipe Israel off the map of the world regardless of its internal politics. Do come out of your champagne induced delusion.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
9 months ago

Well said, although they are not all maniacs, just a lot of them, they are the ‘chosen people’ though, right?

Reginald Duquesnoy
Reginald Duquesnoy
9 months ago

A ray of hope for all the oppressed people in the world. Hope springs eternal!

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
9 months ago

Ignorance and violence deserve to be oppressed!