The UN Secretary General’s remarks were entirely misplaced, but if that’s the path he wishes to choose, then let’s examine that vacuum. It is actually better described as an abyss because it is so much bigger than the lazy, immoral yet convenient ‘blame it all on Israel’ typical attitude.
Regarding the UN, the massacre didn’t happen in a vacuum. It happened in an environment of demonization of Israel in the UN. For example the endless obsession with Israel, Iran calling for the eradication of Israel, the constant othering of the Jewish state, applying a different definition only to Palestinian ‘refugees’ in order to maintain the conflict and many more examples. According to the database of UNWatch, which is dedicated to calling out the scapegoating of Israel at the UN, there have been 140 UN General Assembly Resolutions against Israel between 2015 to the present compared to 64 against the entire rest of the world during the same period. The UN Human Rights Council and the World Health Organisation also have a demonstrable unhealthy obsession with Israel.
What might have been the issues causing the vacuum he refers to?
Was it the lack of a Palestinian state? Well, there isn’t a Palestinian state because it has been rejected repeatedly by the Arabs and Palestinians, not by the Jews or Israel. (Palestinian answers to peace initiatives: 1897: No; 1917: No; 1947: No; 1948: War; 1949: No; 1956: War; 1967: War; 1973: War; 1978: No; 1982: No; 1991: Probably not; 1995: We’ll agree to wait to say no later; 1999: No, Intifada; 2005: No; 2009: We’re not even gonna answer; 2015: No…summary courtesy of Noah Roth.) It is very clear that the conflict is not about the lack of a Palestinian state but the existence of a Jewish one. Israel’s enemies have made that fact very clear time and time again, but its an uncomfortable fact that the world, particularly the UN, has not cared to address. So no, the vacuum wasn’t a lack of Palestine.
Maybe it was occupation then? Well, the occupation of Gaza ended in 2005 and look how well ending that occupation turned out…. And of course, the occupation actually came into being directly from the repeated Arab wars upon Israel. There was no peace before occupation began – it simply isn’t the root cause of the conflict nor the issue. So no, the vacuum isn’t about occupation.
So, how about the existence of Israel? Was that was the issue that he was complaining of? Again, no. In 1929, some two decades before the reestablishment of Israel, there was a massacre of Jews in Hebron not dissimilar to the massacre of October 7th. The Arabs went door to door torturing and murdering families in Hebron. The scale of the massacre was less than October 7th but the same antisemitism motivation was there. Plenty of other examples of Arabs massacring Jews too. The root cause of the conflict is not the existence of Israel, so that’s not the vacuum either. However, this historical fact gives a clue to the root cause of the conflict – Islamist intolerance of the other. That is evidenced by the many indigenous Middle Eastern peoples under grave threat such as Yazidis, Assyrians, Copts, Kurds, Berbers and more as well as Jews; and of course evidenced the Islamist terrorism the world over.
Was it the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel that was the issue he was complaining of? Every single instance of poor treatment that he could possibly complain of results directly from some atrocity by the Palestinians and is a perfectly legitimate and reasonable response from Israel. The security barrier in Judea and Samaria resulted directly from the endless suicide bombers that killed and maimed thousands of Israelis, but yes, it might block Palestinian farmers from their fields. The blockade of Gaza, which began in 2007 (notably not immediately upon the end of the occupation of Gaza) resulted directly from Hamas’ choice to import tools of war instead of tools for infrastructure, and thus the blockade negatively affects the quality of life in Gaza. You name the ‘poor treatment’ and ultimately it is not Israel to blame for it. The treatment of the Palestinians by Israel is not the vacuum he referred to.
The current global rise in antisemitism did not occur in a vacuum but it an abyss of darkness. While it is lazy politics to blame the current wave of antisemitism on the actions of Israel, it should be pointed out that the latest wave of global antisemitism began when Jews were massacred, BEFORE Israel even responded to the genocidal attrocity. There simply were no innocent Palestinian deaths to try to explain away the antisemitism. And if deaths were a legitimate excuse for violent racism, how comes there weren’t gangs of marauding Jews attacking people in mosques the world over after 1,400 Jews were killed by Islamists? The abyss of darkness of antisemitism does not stem from a plausible cause. It’s the same antisemitism no matter what Israel actually does – whether it responds or not. A point in case – when the Aston Villa Football Club posted Happy Passover to its Jewish fans it was met with a tsunami of hatred. They hate Israel because they hate Jews, not vice versa.
As for the Western world, again it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Despite the endless Islamist terrorist attacks all over the world, the west othered Islamic terrorist attacks upon Israelis and differentiated between them and other Islamist terrorism, not daring to acknowledge the Muslim antisemitism motivation behind it. However, its not just the Muslim antisemitism that the West was/is afraid to confront. There is a culture of political correctness, wokeness, self-defeating uberliberalism (Queers for Palestine springs to mind), the celebration of multiculturalism without looking at its issues, and the general dumbing down of society. The very essence of Western culture from the BBC, endless NGOs and charities, unions, educational facilities to the not-so-far-left wing have all joined in the demonization of Israel for decades. The British police, who basically stood by while Islamists hunted for Jewish blood, called for raping Jewish girls, and openly advocated for Jihad against Jews for years, now play dumb with the ‘Jihad can mean struggle’ excuse. Well, Kampf also means struggle. The antisemitic hatred is an abyss of darkness.
I do appreciate the good intentions of some leaders in the west now that they’ve comprehended the enormity of the problem that they’ve let fester. But still they’re harking on about the two-state solution. The last thing the world needs is another failed Islamist state – no-one contemplated recognizing Islamic State in order to solve the problem of ISIS. A solution that doesn’t address the actual root cause of the problem simply isn’t going to solve it. Not to mention that it is rewarding terrorism to even mention the two-state solution right now.
The west’s short memories are also on display. It was in September 2023 that the world was shocked by the unashamed Holocaust denial of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and he is the one they are now turning to as a moderate when he is anything but. He is a dictator currently serving his 18th year of his 4-year term. The PA is the one (funded ‘blindly’ by the western world) that has been richly rewarding terrorism, including Hamas terrorism, under the Martyrs Fund, aka the Pay for Slay Scheme. In September 2001, there was the first ‘World Conference “Against” Racism’ (Against in inverted commas because it was actually an antisemitic hatefest), which would have been an eye opener for the scale of the problem had 911 not happened days after. The point is that the signs have been there for a long, long time but cannot be overlooked anymore. Or at least the western world cannot continue to deny that Israel’s problems are their own problems too, or that they too will face the consequences if they don’t address those problems or morally abandon Israel again.
As for the Arab world, it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Look at Egypt not wanting to accept innocent civilians from Gaza – a long standing tradition practiced over decades by the wider Arab world. Tiny Israel has managed to warmly welcome tens of thousands of evacuees from the South due to Gaza and from the Northern border due to Hezbollah, but the Arabs can’t find room for the Gazans?! It’s ridiculous. It’s the racism of low expectations of Arabs and Muslims that the world doesn’t expect them to actually help their brethren who they profess to care about so strongly.
The Arab world has consistently both treated the Palestinians appallingly (actual Apartheid in Lebanon, mass murders in Syria and Jordan for example) and used them as pawns in their sick game of scapegoating Israel and the Jewish people to avoid having to be held accountable for, or deal with, the problems in their societies.
And then there’s the wider Muslim world – where again it didn’t happen in a vacuum. From Iran with its open calls for eradicating Israel to the global Muslim population that has never quite mustered up the same enthusiasm for their brethren when half a million were killed in Syria or for the treatment of the Uighurs in China as to when they can attribute blame to the Jews. (This excellent video from Pat Condell a few Gaza wars ago calls out both the Muslim and western world. It could have been from this war and all the same truths would apply.)
And finally, there are the Palestinians and Israelis – where again it didn’t happen in a vacuum.
Now I appreciate that the Palestinians are paying a price that not every single Palestinian owes, but it was ordinary Palestinians who worked in the targeted kibbutzes and staked out each home, recorded the number of inhabitants, car locations and even pets in order to assist Hamas and the other Islamic terrorist groups involved in planning the massacre. It is ordinary Palestinians who have celebrated the murder of Jews for decades, who elected the leadership that treats them and others poorly, and who’ve failed to stand up to their own elected leadership if they didn’t actually serve their purposes. While not all Palestinians are Hamas, all Hamas are Palestinians.
If innocent Palestinian civilians have to pay the price when Israel responds to eradicate Hamas which uses them as human shields then so be it. International law recognizes that the responsibility is on Hamas when they use human shields, all the while capitalizing on the propaganda from the suffering of its own civilians. War is ugly and violent. Israel did not choose this war or want this war but it is a war that Israel must fight and win. Good will prevail over evil. And life will actually be better for the Palestinians without Hamas.
As for Israel, again it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Islamic terrorists have infiltrated Israel countless times and murdered Jews but obviously not on this scale. Civilians have expressed fears of the sound of tunnels being dug under their homes for years. The threat from the enemies of the Jewish people were either underestimated or not taken seriously enough and intelligence was missed. Obviously, there are those in the military and government who missed the warning signs and this reckoning will come when the war is won.
While Israel is not perfect nor infallible, I can safely say with 100% certainty that there is no other country that would have behaved more morally than Israel given the challenges Israel faces. Israel has grappled with issues and challenges that others cannot even begin to contemplate for decades, and has retained its western democratic values in its responses. But the kid gloves are off this time – while the laws of armed conflict are being honored. Hamas must go.
I have yet to see any of the countless armchair critics of Israel ignorantly crying ‘war crimes’ and ‘genocide’ explaining how they would eradicate Hamas without harming any innocent civilians, or offering their own countries’ armies to do a more aesthetically pleasing job of what must be done. Not one country has ever offered to do what must be done. If it’s that easy to do cleanly then it is cruelty from the world to simply watch again as innocent Palestinians pay the price for the wars without helping get rid of the terrorists themselves in a more moral manner. How many wars can they profess to care for the innocent Palestinian civilians while they don’t lift a finger against the cause of the problem?
Before the massacre Israel had a huge divide between her citizens focused on judicial reforms. Since the massacre happened every sector has come together to unite. From volunteering to serve in the IDF, to standing in line for many hours to give blood, from donating breast milk for babies of murdered or injured mothers, to helping feed, clothe and house those seeking refuge from the areas near Gaza and much, much, much more. Despite the indescribable trauma, Israelis shone their light so brightly it is dazzling. Israel is truly the light unto nations. And what can fill an abyss? Light.