Thursday, October 19, 2023

Netanyahu's broken concept of defence

 "Israel has a right to defend itself" has become the mantra that Sunak uses at all media opportunities.

But what does "defence" mean?  Does "defence" give Netanyahu permission to reduce the northern half of Gaza city to rubble along with any people in the area in order to bring about the annihilation of all members of Hamas? Is that what "defence" means?

No, defence in this context means anticipating the terrorist attack mounted by Hamas on October 7th, using the world famed intelligence skills of Mossad. Defence means realising that Hamas was going to react to the perceived outrage at what was happening at the Al-Aqsa mosque. Defence means listening to and acting upon the advice given by Egyptian intelligence agency three days before the attack. Defence means closely monitoring the physical fence between Gaza and Israel, and reacting swiftly to repel any invasion. In all of these defensive moves, Netanyahu failed.

Instead, Netanyahu believes that he has a right to operate a definitive solution for Hamas: he wants to annihilate them by bombing their buildings and - presumably - gas them in their tunnels (because how else can he get them out?). He is trying first to clear the human shield used by Hamas, which is why he has ordered the civilians in northern Gaza to leave their homes before he flattens them.

Netanyahu believes that this is a fine solution to his problems. His calculations are simple. If Hamas has 10,000 members, and he kills all 10,00 of them, then Hamas has zero members, and the Hamas problem is solved. 

The reality is not so simple. Not only will many Hamas members will have moved out of North Gaza City with the civilians, but also for every Hamas member killed, another Hamas member will be created because of the grief and hatred caused by the killing. "He that is killed will always kill again". Hamas, or another hate-motivated anti-Israeli movement will arise from the ashes and rubble of Netenyahu’s “solution”.

Netanyahu's actions are not defensive, they are designed to relieve emotions of anger and hatred and express the desire for retribution, but they are not going to solve the problems of Israel in the long term. Defence means long term planning to reduce hatred on both sides, for instance, collaboration in meeting the needs of both communities in Israel-Palestine for water. Defence means working with peace-loving citizens with both communities. There are at least nine cross community citizens’ organisations in Israel Palestine – The One Voice Movement, the Parents Circle family forum, Hand in Hand – Centre for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel,
Peace Now, Combatants for Peace, The Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation, EcoPeace Middle East, The Palestinian-Israeli Journal, and Women Wage Peace. If these organisations were given a louder voice in broadcast and written media, hope might be a slightly stronger emotion.

There is more, much more, to defence than bombing people and houses to smithereens.


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