Daniel Ben Abraham
The opposite of war is nuance

The true reason we’re not getting hostages back

Who is winning this war?

The IDF said they killed over 12,000 Hamas members. That sure sounds like Israel is winning, no?

Despite these numbers, after months of no new hostage deals, on March 25th, Israel recalled its negotiators from Qatar saying Hamas is not interested in making a deal, not even 20 hostages for 1000 Palestinian prisoners. American negotiators reached the same conclusions – that Hamas does not want any deal that does not let them claim victory, survive, and reconstitute.

If Israel were winning, Hamas would quickly make a deal to release the hostages.

If Hamas gained from such a deal, Hamas would quickly make a deal to release the hostages.

But they’re not.

Hamas is not releasing the hostages because they believe they are winning.

They believe they are gaining by not releasing the hostages.

The strategic problem is, Israel’s definition of “winning” and Hamas’ definition of “winning” are different.

Why the discrepancy? What don’t we understand?

Israel spent 35 years fighting Hamas, like Hezbollah, because even removing their top leaderships is only temporary. As soon as the fighting is done in Gaza, Hamas will declare victory and reconstitute from the Palestinian population. The US similarly failed in Afghanistan, not understanding the Taliban ideology is more deeply embedded in the Afghan psyche than Jeffersonian democracy. American generals mistakenly viewed the Afghan War like World War II, where we fought to regain territory in Europe, and that territory was wrongly equated with progress and victory.

Israel hoped to turn the Palestinian people against Hamas, but it largely didn’t work. According to a poll released March 20, 2024 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 70% of Palestinians are satisfied with the role Hamas has played during the war, and in an election, Hamas would today defeat Fatah 2 to 1.

Our fundamental misunderstanding is the belief that we are fighting an army. That is wrong. Hamas is not an army. Hamas is not a group. Hamas is not a person. Hamas is not even every single Hamas member. Hamas is not even the leadership.

Hamas is an idea.

The reason we are not getting the hostages back is because our true enemy is not Hamas fighters or leaders, but the ideology, which is a separate entity from these, happy to sacrifice human followers or “adherents”, both Hamas members and Palestinians, in order to continue growing the broader ideology and its support globally.

While Palestinians are suffering and Hamas is losing members, the support for the Hamas-led Palestinian “cause” and the broader ideology is growing globally. Translation: Individual Hamas members are losing, but their ideology is winning.

And if the ideology is winning from the conflict continuing, they won’t release the hostages.

Then why did Hamas make the first deal? Because the first deal apparently came with assurances from Netanyahu that Israel would not attack Hamas leadership in Qatar. Netanyahu should have put a 60-day time limit on that promise. He gave up being able to fully pressure Qatar, demand Qatar arrest Hamas, or hold the Qatari government complicit. Those benefits are why Qatar stepped in to negotiate the first hostage release, not out of the kindness of their hearts.

Dear Golda Meir was right in saying, “If we have to have a choice between being dead and pitied, and being alive with a bad image, we’d rather be alive and have the bad image.”

But soon, that bad image will unite the world against Israel.

Now, 143 nations in the General Assembly just voted to recognize a Palestinian state, so it can bring in more armies and weapons to better attack Israel with. Even the United States is increasingly joining the global descent into antisemitic lunacy by cutting off weapons shipments to Israel, and increasingly opposing Israel in the United Nations. To reiterate, the world wants to welcome into the community of “peace-loving nations” [UN Charter Article 4] a group led by Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, and Iran, that by 72% supports October 7th, and largely wants genocide of all Israelis. And by the way, that UN draft resolution called for a “contiguous” Palestinian state.

The anti-Israel ideology is gaining globally as protests in the streets and college campuses signal the future. Meanwhile, Israel fights a war with her hands tied behind her back. Supposedly, Israel is not allowed to attack Hamas leaders in Qatar, nor hold Qatar responsible for hosting Hamas nor for over a billion dollars sent to American universities for Hamas ideological support. Supposedly, Israel must give Palestinians food and water and medical care during the war, and is responsible for their safety. Israel obeys the Arabs’ prohibition against allowing Palestinians to leave permanently or even temporarily, or even opening the border with Egypt. Israel also does not annex land used to attack her from in Lebanon or Gaza. Israel faces an increasingly global weapons embargo, accepts the restrictions on attacking Lebanon, and on only attacking Iran symbolically.

In the international sphere, the International Court of Justice, the United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council, the Human Rights Commission, and the International Criminal Court are all hearing arguments against Israel, and even the US is increasingly opposing Israel in the UN.

To Hamas, this is not a war of territory or soldiers lost. (Of course, as Israel promised not to annex Gaza.) This is a war for the world’s moral perspective changing from thinking Hamas are the “bad guys” to thinking Israel is the “bad guy”.

The world’s moral compass, the very lens through which the world sees what is right and what is wrong, is increasingly skewed to see Israel as the “bad guy”. So why wouldn’t Hamas continue? Soon, to them, international law will require an arms embargo and isolation of Israel, and recognition and arming of a “Palestinian state,” so the real war can begin.

Netanyahu complains that “the world is ganging up on us”, as if it’s inexplicable, unstoppable, mysterious antisemitism.

Jewish teachings that antisemitism is “irrational” are correct, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do. Antisemitism is irrational in the sense that antisemitism does not benefit the lives of its human adherents infected with it. In fact, they will suffer just to have Jews suffer. Antisemitism is also irrational in the sense that most people protesting on American college campuses are illogical, many unable to even name which river or which sea they are screaming about.

But “irrational” doesn’t mean working by no rules – just a set of rules we don’t understand.

Imagine we understood those rules.

We try to convince the Palestinians they have a better life in peace like the US tried to convince the Afghan people they would have a better life without the Taliban, but it doesn’t work. We try to convince the world it is being antisemitic, but it doesn’t work. Because, logic doesn’t work on people who are ideologically-driven. The ideology spreads like a virus, and you can’t very well rationalize with a person to not be infected with a virus.

Hamas is an idea, and the only thing that can defeat an idea is a better idea.

But what?

The growing global ideologies fighting Israel work by a set of rules Israel does not understand, but must learn.

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson talks about Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung as having said, “People don’t have ideas. Ideas possess people.”

Hamas is an ideological mindset hosted in the collective psyche of its members and supporters, but which supersedes and transcends any, and even every member. You cannot destroy Hamas by killing its members. Not even all its members, but certainly not its low-level members. That’s why the Jews were not just required by God to destroy all the Amalek, but all memory of them. If the IDF took out every Hamas member, Hamas’ memory would still live on in the Palestinian mindset, and reconstitute.

Wars are not caused by individuals. Wars are not caused by soldiers. Wars are not even caused by leaders. Wars are caused by ideological hive minds that live in the subconscious collectives of their adherents. And it makes sense, as primitive man faced most mortal threats as a group. These ideologies commandeer the rational thinking of their adherents, make each side believe they are morally right and defending themselves from a bigger threat in the other, increasingly polarize one in-group against another out-group, and break down the systems that maintain peace until war is increasingly the only option left.

What if our best experts’ thinking thus far is two-dimensional? What if there is a vastly-superior, even divine understanding of human nature, terrorism, group psychology, global antisemitism, and how to alter their course, just waiting for us to grasp and apply it?

First to know, logic and reason can’t convince most idealogues. Such ideologies don’t spread randomly nor by sneezing like viruses. There are very specific reasons, rules, or “dynamics”, by which ideologies grow, spread, change or mutate, control the rational thinking of their human adherents, turn antisemitic, unite with even contradictory ideologies, and compel their human adherents to unite against an “out-group” like Israel, and attack, whether with rockets and bombs, or legally in the UN, diplomatically, or politically. This is a force that far transcends even our nation-state system, so we can make peace with a nation’s leadership, but not its people, as 94% of Arabs still do not recognize Israel.

Second, ideologies do not behave according to their proclaimed values and goals. This is why they align with parties with completely contradictory values, and want more whenever they receive what they previously claimed to want.

Third, ideologies have interests separate from their adherents, even ALL their adherents, especially as they approach conflict. Ideologies will have adherents to do things in the disinterest of the individual, and even the whole group. The growing ideology will act against the interests of Palestinians, all Arabs, and even all Islam eventually.

Fourth, ideologies have interests superior to their adherents. Ideologies will compel adherents to behave as to override their own individual interests.

Fifth, ideologies supersede the rational thinking of their adherents. The driving force is a primal, emotional compulsion through the amygdala infinitely stronger than reasoning of the pre-frontal cortex. And, which will look and feel like reason and wisdom and morality to its adherents.

Sixth, the behavior of an ideology is organized, and has structure.

In other words, separate and superior interests to their adherents overriding rational thought in sum translates to… ideologies behave less like a belief system or set of rules, and more like a living organism, with a host/parasite relationship over their adherents. I call these understandings and their progeny “PeaceMatrix™ living organism” theory and “PeaceMatrix™ Entitavitity Theory”, and I have been researching and developing them for years.

Understanding the ideology is a separate and independent invisible party to the dispute, means it must be addressed separately from all the other parties to the conflict. An analogy I use is, instead of looking at the pieces on the chess board, now you see the real player sitting at the table.

This understanding is a next-level game-changer for the first time in human history in understanding how to defeat every terrorist and antisemitic nation, group, nation, and ideology growing worldwide, now, and forever.

I call such ideologies the puppet-masters of humanity’s wars. They seek to grow, spread, survive, and become more powerful like any other living organism. Ideologies in conflict are the superior and sovereign being, and individual human adherents are the mindless drones sacrificing their lives to strengthen the ideology. In fact, what is suicide bombing, if not the ideology saying it is the sovereign entity, and the individual adherent is just the drone sacrificing his life to strengthen the collective hive mind’s grip on the emotional psyche of the adherents.

Thus, knowing how to neutralize the ideology is completely different from, and far more important than neutralizing the individuals.

Hamas can’t make peace, because then the ideology would die, and it doesn’t want to die. It behaves as a living organism controlling the subconscious collective minds of its adherents. The ideology strengthens itself from compelling individual Hamas members to war and the global ramifications, so Hamas causes war.

Of course, it makes perfect sense now. Antisemitism didn’t increase after October 7th by 1000% before Israel even responded because people rationally thought the terrorist cause was moral. It increased because the ideologies opposed to Israel appeared more powerful. The biased perspective that Israel is morally or legally the “bad guy” is only purported justification in hindsight of the primal subconscious alliance with what they feel is the stronger ideology. South Africa isn’t bringing Israel before the International Court of Justice because of an objective moral position, but compelled by the power gain of joining the anti-Israel ideological collective.

If the global political, legal, and media landscape are such that the broader ideology gains from more conflict with Israel, Israel will be attacked again.

But when we understand the dynamics of such ideologies, we can change their course on a macro-level, and their human adherents will change their behavior to follow suit. Then, we will finally be dealing with the chess player sitting at the table, not the pieces on the board distracting us. Then, we will be able to stop wars strategically, like how we metaphorically fight fires by cutting off fuel sources and oxygen instead of one bucket of water at a time.

Imagine Qatar were turned against Hamas. Imagine Russia turned against Iran, Iran against Hamas, Egypt against Hamas, and even the Palestinians genuinely against Hamas. It’s a far superior way of neutralizing conflicts, rather than bombing low-level Hamas henchmen while the leaders are safe and the ideology is strengthening.

If Israel understood how to actually destroy the Hamas ideology, they would release the hostages overnight.

The understanding of the dynamics of ideologies in conflict is the beginning of peace for Israel, and all mankind.

And that understanding is coming.

About the Author
Daniel was born in Budapest, Hungary, to the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and grew up in New York City. Daniel obtained his Bachelor's degree from Penn State University, has a Juris Doctorate with a specialization in public international law. He is the author of several books and articles, including The PeaceMatrix™, about a theoretical new system for solving all human conflicts. Daniel's approaches to the challenges of anti-Semitism, terrorism, and Israeli and international peace and security combine understandings of psychology, philosophy, law, Judaism and spirituality, and metaphysics.
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