Nowhere Man

He’s a real Nowhere Man
Living in his Nowhere Land
Making all his Nowhere Plans for Nobody…

These lines from a song recorded by the Beatles nearly 60 years ago, prophetically describe Bibi Netanyahu- Israel’s esteemed (no comment) Prime Minister.

After the horrendous events of October 7th, 2023, it would have been difficult to find a person in Israel – across the political spectrum- who would not have justified the war against Hamas and a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. In the early days of the war, there was a heated debate throughout Israel as to the aims of the conflict. What was more important – destroying Hamas or returning the hostages? As many commentators pointed out, this question was irrelevant and what we and our Nowhere Man should have been asking was…. which aim was more urgent! There can be only one answer to this dichotomy – the return of the hostages. In early May, 2024, a poll from the Israel Democracy Institute found that 62% of Israelis believed that the national interest was for the release of the hostages in preference to further military action.

Since the first (and only) mass release of Hostages in November, 2023, every month or so another family of the remaining hostages joins the ranks of the bereaved, with evidence found of the death of their loved ones. Time is running out.

Doesn’t have a point of view.
Knows not where he’s going to…

This is not entirely true, as Bibi does have a “point of view” – whatever “point of view” or spin, at a particular point of time, will enable him to maintain his far-right extremist coalition and allow his political survival and personal freedom.

As for “where he’s going to”, Mr Security has a brilliant long term strategy – “total victory”. But what is “total victory”? Is it the removal of Hamas’s leaders? Is it the killing of every single Hamas terrorist? Is it the destruction of every tunnel? Nobody in Israel knows! “Total victory” is a great populist catch cry – up there with Trumps “Make America Great Again” – but it is not a strategic plan. The correct use of the adjective “totally” should be reserved to describe our “totally” incompetent government.

He’s as blind as he can be.
Just sees what he wants to see…

A game plan for a war consists of two basic elements – tactics & strategy. “Strategy “refers to the long-term outcome of the war. How does one envision what one’s endgame will look like. (Easy to get into a war…much harder to end it.) Since the early months of this war, the people of Israel, political and military commentators, as well as our international allies have all been asking – “what is the day-after scenario?”

Successful achievement of one’s strategy depends on how you carry out the war – the tactics. No army in the world has had to ever face an enemy that had embedded itself within a densely populated urban population and that had developed over 15 years a highly sophisticated underground tunnel system to evade conventional forces. Despite these obstacles, the Israeli military has effectively developed a tactical protocol to dismantle and destroy the Hamas terrorist network in northern and central Gaza.

Having achieved this objective, Israel withdrew the majority of its forces from these areas, only to be replaced a short time later, by Hamas personnel, who are once again taking brutal control over the civilian Gazan population-whether it be by the corrupt distribution of humanitarian aid or taking over local security. With Hamas self-interest overriding those of its own civilian population, Israel is being forced to re-enter those areas that it had only recently controlled.

Regarding the possible full offensive in Rafiach, many commentators are questioning whether wiping out the remaining Hamas forces in Rafiach will achieve “total victory”. After we have dismantled the Hamas battalions, what then? With no “day after” strategy, we will have a repeat performance of what is happening in the previously conquered areas of Gaza. We leave Rafiach… Hamas moves in again…then we move in again…a never-ending cycle of death and destruction on both sides. There is no such thing as a “total victory” without a “day-after” strategy – which our “illustrious” (again, no comment) leader refuses to provide.

So, what are the options regarding the day after?

On the one hand, the Likud’s extremist coalition partners (and even some Likud Knesset members themselves) have already held celebratory preparations for the complete Israeli takeover of the Gaza Strip and have drawn up plans for the reestablishment of Israeli civilian settlements throughout the Strip. Hopefully, this is a non-starter proposal.

Another option is for some sort of Pan-Arab force (? Egypt, ?UAE) taking control of civilian daily life in the Gaza Strip. So far, I have not heard of any country volunteering their services.

Nowhere Man, don’t worry.
Take your time, don’t hurry…

Mr “Nowhere Man” Netanyahu, has not given a green light to any day-after scenario. But he is very quick to say “NO” to what many see as the only viable alternative. Mr Security has vowed “no HamasLand and No FatachLand “ – with Fatach referring to the established Palestinian Authority who at present, control part of the West Bank.

Israel is faced with choosing the “least bad option” of numerous bad options. The Palestinian authority is a corrupt body, which is known for its anti-Israel incitement within its educational system and amongst other things, financial support of Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons. Not in any way the ideal partner…but it’s the only practical game in town.

On entering this war (Israels longest war since the 1948 War of Independence) the feeling was that only military force would compel Hamas to agree to a deal for the return of ALL the hostages they hold. Now after eight months of military successes, we appear no closer to any sort of hostage deal. Today, many people wonder whether the day-after scenario of Hamas being replaced by another ruling body is a greater threat to Hamas than a further Israeli military offensive.

Mr Nowhere Man, it’s decision-making time. On October 7th we abandoned those in Sderot, Ofakim and the Gaza Envelope settlements. Morally and for the soul of Israel, there is only one choice to be made….BRING THEM HOME NOW.

About the Author
Mike Benn is a family doctor. Born in Australia, he has lived in Israel for over 40 years. From being a kibbutznik to a city slicker; married to a Yemenite Israeli; having survived parenthood and now grandfather to eight grandchildren; getting through the trials and tribulations of daily life in Israel - all this has provided Mike with a treasure trove of personal stories on which his blog is based.