It’s been two weeks to the day when the world turned upside down.
I am writing this on Saturday the 21th of October from a nice cafe in Tel Aviv, Israel where the world has a way of turning itself back into place at a pace that does not seem natural. The specter of recent horrors is still everywhere.
Relatively close to here there is a war going on. Both in the north, and in the south people have been displaced as the security zones are established.
Everyone is on edge, but living as normally as we can under the circumstances. When we meet people and ask each other “ how are you?” the common answer is “…under the circumstances“.
There are the daily rockets from Gaza, we hear of the rockets hitting the north, and the attempted infiltrations.
A ground invasion of Gaza is imminent, the possibility of a wider war with Hezbollah is more than a 50% possibility. So we grab our lattes with oat milk now, who knows what is coming.
After the initial horrors of the attack, we have now entered another phase. The phase of the experts.
Pro Palestinian voices will say things like “what Hamas did was unacceptable, but you have to understand, “the occupation”, then proceed to explain 75 years of history from the Palestinian Arab perspective, with very little nuance. Where in the end their obvious conclusion is that Israel and Israelis had it coming.
Israeli experts will talk about the Palestinian rejectionism, the constant terror attacks and barbarity, and the lack of choice by Israel other than having strict security measures. Neither side budging an inch.
It reminds me of a story my dad used to tell me, where two Jewish men go to a rabbi to voice their complaints.
The first complainant tells his story and the rabbi nods and says, you are right.
The second complainant explains his side of the story, the rabbi nods and says, you are also right.
The rabbi’s son turns to his father and says, you told this man he was right, and you told that man he was right. They cannot both be right at the same time.
The rabbi turns to his son and says. You are also right.
But, this is not a story of two sides.
We can spend, and have spent a lot of time discussing the rights and the wrongs in this history.
A majority of Israelis will not care about a few acres of land more or less. But they do want to know that their neighbours will not kill them in their sleep.
I believe, most Palestinians will agree to a life of dignity and self determination, side by side with their Israeli neighbours, even if their real and perceived grievances are not all fully vindicated even if the land they see as their own is divided.
I believe the last two years will demonstrate beyond any other evidence that can be given, the intent of the parties involved.
For two years, Hamas lulled Israel into believing that they had switched their focus.
Jihad was secondary, the economic welfare of the Gaza strip the priority.
Israel responded by expanding fishing territories, grew the numbers of workers from the Gaza strip allowed to come work inside Israel, allowing the money from Qatar to enter.
Israelis foolishly, some would say, believed that Hamas had become a governing party that they could work with. They believed that improving the lives of ordinary citizens in Gaza would give them something to lose, disincentivizing Hamas from attacking them.
Still stirring up hundreds of terror attacks in the west bank, still inspiring Hamas in Lebanon to shoot some rockets. But Gaza was relatively peaceful.
So while Israel thought about how to grow the economy of Gaza, Hamas planned how to kill the maximum number of Israelis, and succeeded to a degree that surprised even them. 1,400 mostly civilians and counting. Some so badly disfigured and mutilated that they can not yet be identified. Not to mention the injured and the kidnapped.
For Israelis the 7th of October is a day that will forever live in infamy.
But I would argue that even more so for the Palestinians in Gaza.
In a moment Hamas ruined the last two years of improvements for the people of Gaza.
It should have been clear that no nation, and Israel less so, could accept what happened without a devastating response.
Hamas must have known that they were signing their own death warrant.
We are after all in the middle east, the societies are tribal. The only way Israel will regain any amount of deterrence is by completely destroying Hamas. Otherwise we are basically just on a countdown to next time.
Hezbollah in the north and their partners in Syria and Iran, are chomping at the bit to add to the destruction of their sworn enemy. They are gaging our reactions as well.
Although some are saying Hamas ruined the big master plan by acting too soon, and acting alone we have yet to understand the reasoning for the suicidal attack..We failed to understand the reasoning even though they have told us again and again.Yahya Sinwar in his speeches called on Palestinians to “carry out lone wolf attacks and on Israeli Arabs to prepare their guns, cleavers, axes, and knives for the defense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque”
Anyone who sympathizes with the Palestinian people, and is rightfully horrified with the destruction taking place in Gaza., should want the dismantlement of Hamas.
If Hamas is allowed to survive this, it will only be a matter of time before the next attack comes.
Bigger, deadlier. The time in between, more oppressive.
As long as Hamas runs Gaza Israel cannot and should not again allow workers from Gaza back into Israel. Especially after many of those workers took part in the attacks and massacres of the 7th of October.
As long as Hamas controls Gaza the blockade of Gaza will have no hope of being lifted. Even if a ceasefire was agreed on today we know that all resources flowing in will be used in the eventual goal of destroying Israel and killing Jews.
Hamas has proven that all its resources are aimed at that one goal. Destroying Israel, today, tomorrow, forever, and it’s only getting better and stronger. No nation would keep feeding the monster, knowing that all it desires is to kill you.
This is not about vengeance, though after what was done on the 7th of October, vengeance would be a natural inclination.
This is about self preservation.
The 7th of October has been compared to America’s 9/11. People are warning Israel of making those same hasty mistakes that the U.S made in the aftermath of that tragedy. The big difference is that America had to go around the world to fight their enemy. For Israel in some cases, it is only a stone throw away.
The thought of entering the quagmire of Gaza is daunting.
If there is a way to avoid it, If there is a better realistic solution to this dilemma, I would love to hear it.