The Hamas terrorist deluge; the long planed slaughter, assault and kidnapping which was focused not on the IDF, not on IDF outposts, not on militant and illegal setter outposts but on huge numbers of defenseless civilians and a music festival for peace was rooted less in broader failure by the IDF and Israeli intelligence and much more in the self serving narcissistic All-About-Bibi grotesque incompetence shown — again — by Benjamin Netanyahu. A singular job of Israel’s PM is Israel’s strength, the effective response to threats and neutralizing the threat of war. Part of that job must also be honest, competent attention to Palestinian citizens; justice and economic justice for Palestinian citizens.
On every single item, Israel’s longest serving PM, has failed miserably over and over again. To argue that Netanyahu’s regional and foreign policy expertise is a strength is not dissimilar from the myth that America’s GOP is good for the American economy.
Or that America’s GOP presents strength even as it wants to defund national law enforcement to allow it’s own christian terrorists more latitude. Or while the GOP actively works to degrade US military morale and defense planning in the face of such real theatres as Ukraine and, now, Israel combined with immediate threats to include China/Taiwan and North Korea.
Much of Netanyahu’s current term in office has been spent pursuing the extremist Right’s agenda of judicial ‘reform’ or overhaul. It doesn’t matter if Bibi has even believed his own defense of these illiberal, anti-governance, and anti-Israel demands. He has continued to pursue them as ‘conditions’ to keep his coalition. And we’ve already seen how making such bargains with the Devil has worked out in the US; for Kevin McCarthy, for Congress, for the House GOP, for the American people, and the American military.
But Netanyahu has continued on this path despite massive sustained protests. Despite being repeatedly told by the IDF and Israeli intelligence that this attempted and sustained extremist Right judicial coup was actively compromising Israel and the IDF’s strength and readiness. But Netanyahu continued to pull their attention inward rather than to the Gazan border fence and what the hell was going on in Gaza by Hamas for so very many months. The Hamas terror deluge was a massive intelligence failure but not necessarily as it has constantly been referenced. It was a massive failure from the self indulgent indifference by Netanyahu and his extremist/Jewish Supremacist Right coalition.
Netanyahu has gone from one time strength to be the poorest and most at risk PM in Israel’s history.
As I and others have written, Netanyahu and the Israeli hard Right even before he collected Jewish extremists and terrorists, has had a long standing symbiotic relationship with Hamas and the Gazan militant Right. In this, Netanyahu has substantially misled Israel into thinking Hamas had turned into an annoyance but as part of a stable and manageable relationship. That all just blew up in Netanyahu, Israel and Southern Israel’s face.
Netanyahu did this as he sold out the Palestinian question to his Faustian government coalition which include such high profile Jewish extremists/Supremacists as Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. Bibi assured Israel and the Diaspora he’d keep the Supremacists reigned in.
But he lied. And the majority of us knew he was not only lying but that he was heading Israel into Hell. We hadn’t, however, even considered the degree to which that terrorist Hell would descend. Netanyahu never had any authority or control and was beholden to making his Supremacist government happy at risk of losing his coalition and pretend immunity from his own legal accountability and prosecution.
Hamas Still and Only has Primary Blame
A ‘unity’ government with Smotrich and Ben Gvir seems unlikely. Neither understands ‘unity’ and are grossly irresponsible as each continues their own provocation in the face of this new Hell. Ben Gvir is abusing his own Ministry budget to purchase up to 10,000 rifles — I read these to be M-16s the other day — with intent to distribute these weapons among the very same violent and unstable settler groups who also share primary responsibility for10/8.
No, they are not the reason. Netanyahu is not the reason. Hamas has the only primary blame. But Israel has long been very hard itself with careful investigations and accountability with past military failures while coming out stronger each time. But these rogue players from Netanyahu, the free reign given to Jewish extremists and terrorists to tolerance of escalating and dramatic settler violence in the West Bank will be all part of the culpability.
Israel’s ‘Covenant’ Broken as Retired Senior Officers Come Out of Retirement to Fight
The Israeli government long ago believed that having Kibbutzim and other towns directly on the border with the occupied territories and up in the North were integral to keeping the country safe.
And though in place and maintained for many decades, that covenant of promised protection has now, in an instant, been destroyed by Netanyahu whose current government has so been fractured and self indulgent to the exclusion of the State of Israel that these Kibbutzim and border towns to include Sderot were simply overrun by Hamas terrorists looking to kill and brutalize citizens; men, women, children, babies…the elderly…purely for effect and optics.
The IDF; security failed to come for hours. Local police, and armed citizens, became a primary defense and they all fought strong and valiantly. A large number of police officers, to include police commanders, died in this massive opening battle. Local police were also significantly outmanned and outgunned by the well organized, well enabled Hamas terrorist attackers.
Civilians who lived across this deadly region were absolutely failed by Netanyahu and their government. This failure was evident to the degree that retired IDF generals and other senior officers put on their uniforms and voluntarily drove directly into the carnage. They effectively helped to fight Hamas terrorists and lead very willing but, in some cases, very disoriented, IDF soldiers.
‘We’re Going to Die Here;’ the Story of journalist Amir Tibon and Kibbutz Nahal Oz
Amir, his wife and two very young daughters were trapped in a dark safe concreted room of their home for about 10 hours without food. After Amir and his wife realized early on that nobody was coming, he called his father, a recently retired IDF General. Has father said he and his wife were on their way from Tel Aviv to drive directly into the Hamas terrorist assault. They both immediately left their home to rescue their son and his family. And they did.
The story of General Tibon and his wife’s well over 90 minute journey from Tel Aviv to Nahal Oz is remarkable in itself. Amir’s father also came across another, bit older, retired General and friend with whom he paired to finally reach Nahal Oz where, with an IDF special forces unit which finally had gotten to the kibbutz, had to engage a second firefight to reach his son’s home.
I realize I’ve given some of it away but it is a read I highly recommend. It also speaks into a bullhorn the abject failure of Netanyahu and his government to keep their eye on Israel; to use the feedback they were getting from the IDF and Mossad. I follow Israel closely and I knew of at least some of this feedback; of its urgency. Why didn’t Netanyahu? But it was all lost on Netanyahu who minimized and disregarded what he was being told driven by his self indulgence and weakness.
Netanyahu’s Hyperbole and Continuing to Kill Gazan Citizens will not Stop Hamas
Netanyahu is a failure and that he has started this war just by pounding Gazan civilians from the air must stop. Hamas must never again be able to mount any military action; not even small cross border incursions. But Netanyahu continues the same hyperbolic threats and useless revenge oriented strategies which only can assure Hamas’ structure maintains.
Continuing to add to Gaza’s death and misery is to no purpose. It is horrifically unnecessary optics. It doesn’t degrade Hamas or their capacity. It doesn’t get us closer to the hostages. Hamas’ planning was remarkable. They expected Netanyahu’s response and certainly are underground with their hostages. They just threated Ashkelon.
The IDF; IDF special forces with air support must explicitly go in, target and destroy Hamas. A massive ground incursion will also be useless and insanely bloody to IDF and Gazans alike. The Israeli hostages have no chance otherwise. Find Haniyeh. And stop randomly killing Gazans
The international media is already losing focus on carnage by Hamas’ Nazi death squads for destroyed Gazan apartment blocks. Bibi shares responsibility. The strategy must change. It must be more targeted and deliberate. Israel must also block its own provocateurs as Ben Gvir, Smotrich, and it’s violent settler factions. All are long time coming.
PA Leadership is the Most Longstanding Threat to Palestinian Citizens
Hamas fears any possibility of true independence since it would instantly threaten its power base. It would also threaten its ability to recruit large numbers of angry, hopeless young Palestinian men and women. People with hope and opportunity are typically less interested in risking their own otherwise unnecessary death.
That Hamas is routinely more brutal to their own citizens than Israel on a daily basis is also rarely reported. And the PA’s dictator, the violent antisemite and Holocaust denier, Mahmoud Abbas, is no more interested in ‘independence’ than is Hamas.
The reality is that there is no ‘Palestine’ but an internecine war between Hamas and the PA for power far distant from the needs of its citizens. To their leaders, Palestinian citizens are primarily there for international photo ops. The fact that the Palestinian ‘leadership’ is the most deadly risk to Palestinian citizens is also not recognized. This means there is no unified ‘Palestine’ even if statehood were to be made available today. Who would we call?
The Palestinian Question Still Matters; Palestinian Justice Still Matters
Despite all of this, without bringing in the Palestinian question honestly and progressively; with justice, there cannot be peace. Not ever. There are many reasons but among the first is that the genocidal Hamas and its primary enablers as Iran will otherwise become far less able to find and recruit so many willing foot soldiers. The young of Gaza, especially, but the West Bank as well now see no future and no opportunity. They are easy targets for the master propagandists of militant Islam, Hamas and Iran.
But another key element is increasing global empathy for and understanding of Israel. Gazans have nowhere to go, that is true. But neither do Israelis. There is nowhere else to go and that may be a calculus for which Hamas has not fully prepared. Israel is our strength exactly because it became — must fully become — a safe location for all under Jewish control. But Jewish control is now the face of Netanyahu and Ben Gvir; of Haredi extremism.
That the savagery of and wholesale slaughter for effect of the Hamas terrorist attack is already starting to be crowded out by pictures of destroyed Gazan apartment blocks must be acknowledged. Israel needs Palestinian citizens to have a reason to live and have hope. Israel needs the global community to stop prioritizing its destruction; stop routinely chanting Hamas’ genocidal slogan of ‘river to sea.’ Watching Palestinian Americans near Chicago doing so a couple days ago in fairly large numbers made me sick.
Purpose, less Revenge, Must be Prioritized by Israel. Netanyahu must Resign.
The start of a war is not typically when the leader of state should change. But Netanyahu is picking up where he’s left off time and time again. It only assures little will change — but for the Death and to keep Hamas strong. For the outcome to change, primary casual factors and variables must change first. A deliberate purpose, less revenge, must become elements of Israel’s strategy.
And Netanyahu must resign. He is neither a reliable, trustworthy, or stable presence.