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MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

‘Revenge is not a strategy’ — experts warn of dire consequences if Israel launches ground invasion of Gaza

‘Revenge is not a strategy’ — experts warn of dire consequences if Israel launches ground invasion of Gaza
Israeli troops with a variety of military vehicles at a gathering site at an undisclosed location along the Israel-Gaza border, in southern Israel, 17 October 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Hannibal Hanschke)

The expected Israeli ground attack on Gaza would be ‘diabolically difficult’, say experts, and could drag Israel into a war with Hezbollah and other Hamas allies — including Iran — engulfing the region and beyond.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been poised for more than a week to enter Gaza to destroy Hamas for the attack it launched into southern Israel on 7 October, killing about 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 200 hostages.

“The potential for this to become a broader war that would envelop the Middle East in conflagration and that could ultimately even end Israel is real in a way that the war on terror could not have threatened the US existentially,” Ian Bremmer, the president of Eurasia Group, replied when asked on TED if this was Israel’s 9/11 moment. 

The feared scenario is that if Israel enters Gaza to annihilate Hamas, the latter’s close ally, Hezbollah, could attack from Lebanon in the north. Fighting a war on two fronts could overwhelm the IDF. Israel’s strongest ally, the US, which already has two aircraft carrier strike groups in the eastern Mediterranean, could intervene. Iran might then enter the fray to help its ally Hezbollah, bringing it into direct combat with the US.

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza over the past two weeks had by Thursday reportedly killed more than 3,500 people, but a ground attack would greatly increase civilian deaths. It would further inflame regional hatred, which is already running very high, especially after the explosion at the al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital in Gaza which killed hundreds on Tuesday. Both sides have blamed each other for the incident but, clearly, the Middle East mostly suspects Israel.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Middle East Crisis News Hub

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has engaged in frantic shuttle diplomacy in the region for the past fortnight and US President Joe Biden met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Wednesday. Biden pledged full US support, but he also tried to talk the Israeli leader down from overreaction. 

“I caution this: while you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it,” Biden said, calling for “clarity” about Israel’s war objectives and whether it was on course to achieve them. 

“After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. When we sought justice and got justice; we also made mistakes,” he said.

Biden has been reported as having said he discussed with the Israelis “alternatives” to the expected ground invasion.

‘Diabolically difficult’

General David Petraeus, former commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and former CIA director, has warned that a ground invasion of Gaza would be “diabolically difficult” militarily and perhaps even more dangerous geopolitically. 

He told Foreign Policy magazine that the Israeli military’s mission to destroy Hamas would be very difficult to accomplish, first because there would be “terrible civilian losses and staggering damage and destruction of civilian infrastructure”.

But also because Hamas would be fully prepared. “So, there will be improvised explosive devices, rooms that blow up, suicide bombs, car bombs, everything. 

“And you have high-rises, not just small buildings, and you have to clear every building, every floor, every room, every basement, every tunnel. I can’t imagine a more diabolically difficult context for the Israeli soldiers.”

The task would be further complicated by Hamas militants hiding among the population.

“Its headquarters, bases and facilities, all of which have to be destroyed if you are to destroy Hamas … are positioned underneath hospitals; they’re in tunnels, they’re in mosques. 

“This is an enemy that doesn’t observe the Geneva Conventions, to put it mildly.”

But Petraeus warned that “revenge is not a strategy” and that if the Israeli military destroyed Hamas, it needed to offer the Palestinians a vision of what would happen next. He noted that Biden had already cautioned Israel not to reoccupy Gaza, which it withdrew from in 2005.

Israel also needed a plan about who would run the Gaza Strip, and restore governance and services. He warned that Israel should not make the same mistakes as the US had made after the 9/11 attacks.

After it toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the US had implemented “some seriously bad big ideas, such as firing the Iraqi military without telling them how they were going to provide for their families and then firing the Ba’ath party, which included all the bureaucrats, to run the country”.

Petraeus’ predecessor as US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, told CNN — in a 2021 interview rebroadcast this week — that if he had been in charge of the US after 9/11 he would have taken no action for a year, but instead would have gone around the world building a global coalition against al-Qaeda.

Petraeus said the US had deployed two aircraft carrier strike groups and 2,000 extra troops, and beefed up anti-ballistic forces in the region mainly to deter any retaliation from Iranian-supported Shi’a militias or Iran itself. 

“So, we want to warn the Iranians, we want to dissuade them and deter them from taking action against our soldiers and others. But then also to be prepared for what might be necessary in response to some kind of Iranian action. 

“We’re also, of course, trying to stop this from becoming regional. Obviously, it would be terrible if Hezbollah were to enter this. They have 150,000 rockets they could rain down on Israel and overwhelm the Iron Dome system.”

However, even though Hezbollah has fired several rockets into northern Israel over the past two weeks, Petraeus thought they would be reluctant to mount a full-blown incursion after the pounding they took from Israel in 2006 when they entered Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers.

“But Hezbollah could come under pressure from Iran and their own members to attack Israel, depending on how Israel’s military operation in Gaza turned out. 

“There’s a possibility of proxy Iranian Shi’a militia coming through Syria as well. There has to be a worry again about the Palestinians on the West Bank and even, to a degree, the Palestinians inside Israel proper. So, there’s a huge number of issues. The US having these forces available provides you [with] options if they are necessary.”

Yet he thought the most important thing now was the conversation that Biden and Blinken were having with Israel about its next steps. 

Potential for escalation

The US risk analysis company Rane said this week that diplomatic sources had reported that Iran had “sent a backchannel communication through the United Nations to Israel saying that it does not seek escalation in the current Israel-Hamas war, but would be forced to intervene if Israel moves forward with its expected ground invasion of the Gaza Strip”.

It said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had publicly warned Israel against invading Gaza, with Iranian state media quoting him as saying that “Iran cannot remain a spectator” if Israeli troops go into the enclave and that the US would also face “significant damages” in the wake of such an incursion. 

Ahmed Abdul-Hadi, the head of Hamas’ political bureau in Beirut, told Politico that Hamas and Hezbollah were in close coordination and that Hezbollah would not shy away from attacking Israel. The trigger would probably be an Israeli ground attack on Gaza. 

Bremmer said it was understandable that Israel would feel the need to react in the harshest way to the Hamas attack, but hopefully Biden and Blinken would restrain “the worst impulses”.

He worried what a ground attack would mean for the people of Gaza, already suffering dire poverty and largely cut off from food, electricity and water.

And he said he worried what this would mean for Israel in the long term. “Ultimately, the population of Israel is most threatened by what the terrorists of Hamas unleash from Israel,” he said. 

If Israel killed huge numbers of Palestinians, that would radicalise Palestinians not just in Gaza but also in the West Bank, while also radicalising the Arab street, Bremmer said.

“They want people in the region to be in uproar against Israel and in solidarity with the Hamas cause and in solidarity with the destruction of Israel … for what Iran’s leaders were saying on social media, essentially calling for a genocide against the Zionist regime.

“And Israel must do everything in its power not to allow Hamas to drag them there.”

However, Bremmer said he thought Tehran’s recent diplomatic behaviour suggested it was not seeking confrontation. This included reconciliation with Saudi Arabia; its engagement with the US, which unfroze $6-billion of Iranian assets and led to the freeing of five US hostages; and a reduction in the top limits of its uranium enrichment. 

He noted that the US was very publicly saying it did not have any evidence that Iran had been directly involved in the Hamas attack on 7 October.

“The message from the US is very clear; do not expand this war to Iran because the consequences of that are $150 [a barrel of] crude at a minimum. The consequence of that are the world goes back into global recession. The consequences of that are conflagration in the region. And I do believe the Israeli government is quite aligned with the US in not wanting to go there.” DM

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  • virginia crawford says:

    Petraeus: this is an enemy that doesn’t respect the Geneva Conventions. And Israel does?

    • Denise Smit says:

      Hamas is Palestinian Isis. What would you do if it was your family who have been brutally beheaded , dismembered, shot, burned and the other half of YOUR family have been taken hostage by Palestinian Isis. We know they are tortured and two have already been murdered. There are 203 hostages left in the terror hands. As far as has been said Hamas has not been in negotiation about the hostages lives. They will soon be doing something with them for everyone in the world to see. Denise Smit

      • virginia crawford says:

        As a South African, think of what would have happened if the relatives of the people who had been had murdered at Sayreville, Soweto 76, by the security police, the people who had been brutally killed at Vlakplas, John Vorster Square and the many more, had sought revenge. How would you feel if your home was bombed and your family killed for what another white man had done. Think about what would have happened if Soweto had been walled in and bombed because of MK. Think what did happen when stone throwing kids got shot by the police – international outrage, rightfully. But over 60 Palestinian kids have been shot dead in the West Bank since August, and silence. Remember the justifications for all the evil committed under apartheid. A war is between states, not a state and an organization, however heinous.

        • Ben Harper says:

          Hahahahahahahahaha

          • Enver Klein says:

            Ben, you can laugh all you want, you will never know how close SA was to a revolution and the killing of thousands of “white” people.

          • virginia crawford says:

            Your ha ha ha’ s in this situation say a lot about you. Ha ha ha.

        • Louise Panton says:

          It has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do with the religion of Islam.

          • Enver Klein says:

            … And what about the suffering Christian Palestinians. It’s not about Islam, it’s about Zionists wanting all of the land. Listen to the interview with Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss and you will know who the real terrorists are.

          • George 007 says:

            And Zionism. Both are problems.

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            Enver Klein this is the umpteenth post of yours about this Weiss character. His videos pop up every time Israel is in the news, and it’s no surprise what the agenda is. Here is some info that can be verified by anyone wanting more than a little click-bait:
            He is an American Haredi Jew, activist, and spokesman for a minority branch of small fringe group called “Neturei Karta”, literally “Guardians of the City”. They believe that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Jewish Messiah and that the state of Israel is a rebellion against Gd, selectively quoting from the Torah and the Talmud to justify this. Globally, the Neturei Karta sect number around 5,000, while the most conservative estimate of the global Jewish population comes out at approximately 14.3 million. This means that Neturei Karta make up just 0.03% of the entire Jewish population. Most are based in Israel, despite their bizarre refusal to recognise the state. Yet there is no “fatwa” on any of them, none have ever been killed by other Jews, just because we know exactly who and what they are – total meshuggenas!!!

        • Ben Harper says:

          You do know the and and MK killed more of its own people than the security forces did don’t you

        • g k says:

          That is the problem why the world has been repulsed by Hamas, is that they slaughtered civilians in the most disgusting way. If the ANC had done that to whites would there have been peace.

          Hamas wants war and death not peace. That is what you are supporting.

          • Enver Klein says:

            And Israel wants all of the land, search for pictures of “disappearing Palestine” and you will see the truth. If Israel “flatten” Gaza and get rid of every so-called militant, do you think it will be returned to Palestinians? No, it will be annexed into Israel.
            A pre-cursor to America’s attack on Iraq was the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter telling the senate that Iraqi soldiers had removed babies from incubators and tossed them on the hospital floor; this was denied years later.
            The IRA was accused of killing babies, hence why Irish prisoners were slaughtered, read about Cromwell.
            Controlling the narrative and using babies being killed, has been used to garner more sympathy and justification for slaughtering “the enemy”; this makes me wonder how true it really is

      • Max Ozinsky says:

        Your understanding of the forces in Palestine is defective. There is no link between Hamas and Isis. Hamas is a product of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, carefully supported by the Israeli state as an third force alternative to the PLO in the 1980s. Now the zionist favourite has turned on its master. Another example of how the zionists have made tactical deals with Nazi’s and fundamentalists to build their power.

  • Ben Harper says:

    Hezbollah is already attacking form the north

  • ilike homophones says:

    why did the experts not warn the hamas also?

  • Cornay Bester says:

    Arab this, Arab that …. I feel for Israel.
    Whatever she does it wil be wrong somewhere. If she does nothing she wil be seen as weak and vulnerable, a position her autocratic neighbours desires.

    • Max Ozinsky says:

      As you seem to be a non-Jew, maybe you should go live in Israel for a while. You will also be subject to apartheid laws like all who are not jewish in Israel. Israel will always be wrong until the fundamental issues of its formation and history since 1948 are resolved.

      • Ben Harper says:

        what utter cr@p

      • John Stephens says:

        You are absolutely correct.

      • Errol T says:

        I fully agree with ozinsky. Israel colonized Palestine in 1948, when UK gave Palestine to Israel, after UK just annexed Palestine from the Palestinians. UK showed no regard as to what is going to happen to the people already living there, ie the Palestinians…

        Palestine belonged to the Palestinians, till the whole Palestine was “re-appropriated without compensation” in 1948.

        • virginia crawford says:

          Invaded might be more appropriate than colonized. Remember Irgun? Killing British soldiers, bombing hotels etc.

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            One would think that Israel is the only sovereign state in the history of the world to have ever been settled / conquered / won in war (many times over). Times like this is when we see who drops their masks to reveal “the oldest hatred in the world”

        • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

          Please look at a map and see the size of Israel and the size of the Arab world that surround it. If there was so much concern for the welfare of palestinians from their brothers and sisters (sorry for sounding cynical), there’s whole hemisphere to house them. They will have all the womens rights and gay rights and democracy they have in Israel (not).

          • virginia crawford says:

            It’s mostly desert. Europeans are no more an homogenous lump than Arabs.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        The “fundamental issues” of Israel’s formation and history since 1948 are resolved as follows. Please feel free to independently verify the following:

        On 15 May 1948 the State of Israel was formed. Fact (like it or not). The next day Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon (the Arab League) attacked. They were defeated. Fact (like it or not). Since that time Israel has unfortunately been attacked by one or more of these, and they have successfully fought them off and defeated them. Fact (like it or not). Israel has won vast land in many of these battles, and in almost all instances has returned it with assurances of an elusive peace, that has unfortunately never happened. Fact (like it or not).

        Prior to 1948 there were more than 900,000 Jews living peacefully in the various Arab states of the Middle East, many of them in communities that had existed for thousands of years. As Egypt’s delegate to the UN in 1947 chillingly told the General Assembly: “The lives of one million Jews in Muslim countries will be jeopardized by partition.” Jews were uprooted from their countries of birth, fled and had their properties confiscated by the Arab states of their birth. Please check this fact independently. Today there are only about 5,000 Jews remaining in Arab lands.

        Never mind Jews arriving in Israel from Israel who had survived the Holocaust.

        • Enver Klein says:

          I’ve posted this before, Jews “lost” the land because they went against God’s Law and why did they want Jesus “gotten rid of”? Because Jesus exposed their contradictions to and abuse of God’s law, not the 0.03%, but the 99.97%

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            Oh it’s all so clear now. Thanks for the enlightened response. Looking forward to your next episode.

      • Ed Rybicki says:

        Perfectly true: you know that children of an Israeli Jewish mother married outside of Israel to a non-Israeli cannot be registered under their father’s name in Israel, because their marriage laws require both parents to be Jewish? Meaning they can’t have his surname, and he has no rights to them in Israel? Religious apartheid, alive and well.

  • Bruce Sobey says:

    Today is the 20th and Israel would do well to heed the reading from Proverbs 20 today: “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord and he will deliver you” (verse 22).

  • Alan Geld says:

    I guess the reason they leveling the place is so all the tunnel entrances are blocked

  • Andre Louw says:

    As disgusting and horrifying Hamas’ attack The time has come for cool and rational thought. Revenge is not a strategy. An ill considered knee jerk reaction called for by many of our commentators and populist politicians will have serious consequences with the certainty of innocence’s loss of life .

  • Louise Panton says:

    What did Hamas think Israel was going to do as a result of their attack…just sit on their hands. The aim of the Middle East Islamic/Muslim states is to take over the entire middle east and that means annihilate Israel.

  • As usual, speculations of the kind you base on so-called experts have no place in this discussion. As most news agencies failed by assuming the hospital attack was done by the IDF, it later was proven that Hamas shot themselves in the foot. Don’t trust what Americans are saying, warning about and assuming could happen. Israel will do what is has to do and that is a fact, nobody in this false and fake news world will deter them from erasing Hamas and Hitzbollah from the face of earth, if necessary to do so. Terrorists don’t care about people or humanity, terrorism (and I quote) is the use of intentional violence and fear to achieve political or ideological aims. The term is used in this regard primarily to refer to intentional violence during peacetime or in the context of war against non-combatants. We are talking of rape, kidnapping, abduction, murder and beheading of babies and mothers in front of their loved ones. Ever heard that done by the IDF?

    • Anon i Mouse says:

      Exa try and well stated. You’re in a dreamworld if you think Hamas has no link to ISIS. Has anyone questioned how they have run out of water, food, electricity and all the other stuff the media are telling us but they neverseem to run oouut of rockets and ammunition.

    • Enver Klein says:

      Your statement is really amusing, gondwana. Who proved that Hamas shot themselves in the “foot”, because Israel used the media to say so?
      Zionists control the formal media and therefore the narrative. Social media will be their downfall. I’ve posted this so many times, understand who the real terrorists are, listen to Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        “Zionists control the formal media and therefore the narrative.”
        This is antisemitic. You need to be reported and removed.

        • Werner Wilding says:

          Just because you do not like it? There is nothing antisemitic in his posting.

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            “Accusing “Zionists,” or anyone who supports the existence of the State of Israel, of behavior commonly associated with age-old tropes about Jews (such as greed, bloodthirstiness and power) is antisemitic.”
            Several antisemitic themes percolate in some anti-Israel spaces, including: Zionists are disloyal to the state; Zionists control the media …”
            Check these definitions independently if you like …

          • Enver Klein says:

            Al Jazeerah have proof and have published it. At 8.23pm the Israeli Prime Minister’s Social Media Advisor Hananya Naftali celebrated the bombing by saying “Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas terrorist base inside a hospital in Gaza and a multiple number of terrorists are dead”. The post was removed but not before it was intercepted.

        • Enver Klein says:

          Marc, a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a semitic language, including in particular, the Jews and the Arabs. Antisemitism cannot be equated with Jews and Zionists only. An Arab who speaks out against Israel is called antisemitic. How can that be, unless you manipulate the narrative???

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            Thanks Basil Fawlty. Getting late on a Friday afternoon and we can see you’re a good few G and T’s in, so we’ll leave you to it …

  • Eddie B says:

    Maybe it is not such a bad idea to refrain from a ground offence – for now. Rather start by just controlling literarily everything that goes in and don’t allow anything or anybody* to come out.
    Then start mass propaganda campaigns. Let the world know that the water, electricity, etc you cut, was supplied for free to an unthankful group for x number of years. Day in and day out, year after year. The very same unthankful group which wants to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.
    Carry on normalization with surrounding countries (btw none of the neighboring countries want the terrorist group back in their own country).
    Consider and implement incentive scheme for information of terrorist activity. Speak to the 25% who does not support Hamas. (I don’t know if the 75% of the population supports Hamas figure is accurate or not). Drive the message that their dire situation was caused by Hamas.

    * The only exception should be UN and affiliated personnel.

  • Fuad XXX says:

    Cry the Palestinians!
    Biden: “we sought justice & got justice” where has this guy been. They could not even get the guilty country right. Justice for who? It is well documented, mostly easy innocents were targeted & tortured. Incidentally Dick Cheney admitted as much but the world has conveniently forgotten. The narrative has been panel beaten.

  • Ron Singh says:

    Thank u Virginia, for context and perspective.

  • Sara Gon says:

    It’s not revenge. It’s the strategic response to destroying a terrorist organisation.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    But this is precisely what Bibi wanted. Why do you think he’s been stirring things up by desecrating the Al Aqsa mosque? Why has he been attacking the West Bank? Why didn’t the so-clever Israeli intelligence not detect so many missiles entering Gaza? Why did it take seven hours for the so-wonderful IDF to get to Southern Israel?
    Because he wanted enough excuses to take over Gaza and kill as many Palestinians as he could, or at least make them like their fellow 2 million refugees in Jordan but in Egypt. He is a war criminal but of course the Zionists won’t let you know that.

    • Enver Klein says:

      So true, Steve.
      In December 2021, Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced the completion of the “enhanced” security barrier around the Gaza Strip. It was designed to prevent militants from sneaking into the country. Given the design and construction, how did it get breached?
      The 65-kilometre barrier includes radar systems, maritime sensors, and a network of underground sensors to detect militant tunnels. Existing fencing was replaced with a 6-metre high “smart fence” with sensors and cameras. Israel has fought four wars with Hamas since the militant group seized power in Gaza nearly 15 years ago. During a 2014 war, Palestinian militants tunneled into Israel and clashed with Israeli troops. Gantz announced the completion of the barrier after more than three years of construction, saying it places an “iron wall” between Hamas and residents of southern Israel.

  • Carl Metelerkamp says:

    I worked in Israel during the 2nd Intifada. What I think most people don’t realise is just how small Israel is, it can be completely overrun in a just couple of hours, that’s why they react so strongly to any threat. How they go caught sleeping on 7 October is almost unbelievable.

    I never really took to the Israelis and probably will never go back there again, but I really do feel for them during these terrible times. The crimes that have been committed there by Hamas are almost unbelievable.

    The only solution in Israel and Palestine is a political solution and that is where the problem is. There is a serous lack of political leadership amongst the Palestinians and the Israelis could do a lot more to help as well. The stance Hamas takes is utterly ridiculous, 9 million Israelis have nowhere to go.

  • Mark Parker says:

    The article and experts views within, would seem to suggest the Israeli’s should stop the bombing Gaza, send in all the aid needed, cancel their ground offensive…and then what? Build a ring of moderate states of mostly “Sunni Arab” states around Israel (ie. Abraham Accords, which the Biden Administration failed to capitalise on from where the Trump Administration left off), and hope that Iran will not be peeved anymore at the Saudi control in the Middle East? The Israelis and West then propose a 2-state solution for the 7th time to the Palestinian Authority, and withdraw completely from the West Bank, recognise Gaza and West Bank, who will need visas to visit Israel and vice versa for Jews and Christians to visit holy sites in the West Bank and everything will be “okey-dokey”. “Palestinians” should not be entitled to work in Israel as I am not entitled to work in any country of my choosing. Palestine is now a country of “Samaria & Gaza”. They get their own water and electricity independently. So this is what our anti-liberal leftists in the West think is needed, and to a somewhat lesser degree what liberal Israeli Jews demonstrate about consistently and I would agree. BUT Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran want the ANNIHILATION of the Israeli State and all Jews, so how does Israel offer the solution above for the 7th time since 1948? Anti-liberal lefties should stop thinking that islamic fundamentalists think just like them and will simply now accept the offer to have a “safe space”.

  • Wayne Kitimoto says:

    Winston Churchill said it best concerning fanatics.
    “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

    The Palestinians have been indoctrinated to only have hate in their hearts for Isreal. If you are unable to understand the absolute evil power of hatred, you have a mighty lot to learn.

    There is no reasoning with this mindset. There simply is not. Liberals will do well to accept the fact that the point of no return has come and gone. Hamas has made that ubundently clear. And the media is holding on for dear life the the narrative that peace is an option. The extreme left are delusional past the point of sanity and are a menace to society at large!

    “War is a place where the young kill one another without knowing or hating each other, because of the decision of old people who know and hate each other, without killing each other.” – Erich Hartmann.

    Thats the reality. Deal with it or get out of the kitchen!

    • B M says:

      Agree with the reality. However, Israel can control their response. If they react as they are planning to do, they have ceded control to their enemy. Their enemy has dictated their actions. And when your enemy dictates your actions, you have lost.

    • virginia crawford says:

      As opposed to the Zionist extremists descended from Irgun, a terrorist organization. Maybe you should stay in the kitchen.

      • Mark Parker says:

        I have read your myriad of posts and replies and you have managed to use all the “favourites” of the anti-liberal leftist brigade when airing your views, words such as “Zionist extremists” and “terrorist Jews (Irgun), and even managed to throw in “Geneva Convention” (now that was a real stretch). You even constructed a nonsensical and rather tiresome analogy about the families of the Sharpeville Massacre and Vlakplaas so as to conflate Apartheid and Israel in a feeble defense of your non-existent argument. At the end you obviously thought that it would be prudent to come up with “A war is between states, and not a state and an organisation, however heinous”… so glad you added “heinous”, but after reading your diatribes of piffle and bluster, I think you may have been referring to Israel. I can now only deduce that you either watch your “Middle East history” lessons in some Tiktok / Instagram / YouTube echo chamber of like-minded ignoramuses or you studied in a Madrasah, Tomaito – Tomato.

        • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

          “I can now only deduce that you either watch your “Middle East history” lessons in some Tiktok / Instagram / YouTube echo chamber of like-minded ignoramuses”
          Absolutely brilliant!!!!Permission to copy and paste this response to use elsewhere please?

        • virginia crawford says:

          I do love a personal attack along with childish insults: it is so revealing. Pray tell, what is Tik-tok?

  • willie bouwer says:

    One has ask oneself why Hamas attacked and slaughtered innocent Israelis. The knew that retaliation for thrir disgusting attack would be forthcoming, so that is obviously what they wanted. They fled and hid behind women and children again. They want retaliation so that they can play the victim and pull other countries into their foul, cowardly game. Israel should not attack and give them what they want. They must continue to cut them off. If the ‘innocent’ civilians want to continue hiding them they must face the consequences.

  • Roger Munitich says:

    Perhaps a way to de-escalate the tensions is for Israel / IDF to again request/ propose that all civilians leave Southern Gaza and then to ‘invite’ all Hamas militants, sympathizers, apparatchiks, leaders et al to remain for a fair ‘gunfight’! Only man portable weapons permitted. No tanks, no APC’s, no AFV’s, just man to man combat, face to face, building to building, hand to hand! Obviously, there will be horrible casualties on both sides, but it will be so-called ‘honorable’ to fight each other without risking civilian lives. When the dust settles, a victor will be left standing (or not) but neither side should bemoan the outcome. Two boxers who hate each other, who want to destroy each other in the ring slugging it out! To the VICTOR, the spoils!

    • Enver Klein says:

      Zionists don’t know how or don’t what to “fight” fair. If you come barehanded, they will bring guns, if you come with stones, they’ll come with sophisticated long-range rifles. If you come with guns, they will come with tanks …

  • Jeff Robinson says:

    Justice and revenge are two very separate things. Justice for the victims of Hamas’ incursion into Israel could only be achieved if those directly to blame were dealt with and that seems a near impossibility to pull off. The hunger for vengeance is such that Israel is willing to sacrifice thousands of innocents in its attempts to satisfy it. As this cogent article points out, that almost certainly is going to lead to consequences where everyone loses. If Israel fails to act with restraint, Hamas will only gain support. What I wish everyone would keep in mind is that what we have here are children of Abraham killing children of Abraham, both thinking that their cause has divine sanction. And of course, both subscribe to ancient texts which glorify a genocidal, misogynistic, jealous, capricious and megalomaniacal god. How else is it possible for someone to shout ‘Allahu akbar’ while shooting a child or ‘God is Great’ while sending a missile into a residential area in Gaza?

    • Wayne Kitimoto says:

      In the old testament…
      Proverbs 20:22 – We Are Avenged In God’s Time.

      In the new testament…

      The Apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 12, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

      So what exactly is your point, becuase you sound decidedly part of the atheist religion. Or do I have it all wrong?

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Does the whole concept, and the word itself “Shalom” – not come from the “Old Testament”?

        • Enver Klein says:

          @marc36, forgot to thank you about your post of 20 October 2023 at 15:58, it proved my point of who controls the narrative. The Semitic people are the descendants of the sons of Abraham, Ismail and Isaac. If I am against Arabs and Jews, then I am anti-semitic. Semitic tribes were around more than 4000 years before 1948. This begs the question: “Who created the narrative, that you posted, about what anti-semitism is?”
          Incidentally, I have a great-grandfather that was a German Jew, I regard myself as being Semetic.

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            Enver I have reported your post. This will be our last engagement from my end, and let me leave with this thought:

            There was a small man with a narrow, dark moustache in Germany about 70 years ago. He also had many misinformed supporters. The streets were full of them. Many may be crawling back out of the woodwork now, but most never admitted to supporting him once he, and his kind, were wiped from the face the earth. As they needed to have been. He had decided that a “Jew” was someone who had a Jewish mother, or father, or grandmother, or grandfather, or great grandmother, or great grandfather. He decided if you were 1/8th Jewish (just as you purport to be) that you would be a victim of his Final Solution. Therefore Enver, the exposed and self-proclaimed antisemite that you are, the sad thing is that 70 years ago both you and I would have both been consigned to the same fate, for the same reason. Amongst everything you comment on, think about that irony.

      • Jeff Robinson says:

        I have never been provided with any credible evidence that would make me believe in God or prophecy. I am 100% convinced that Jehovah/Yahweh/Allah is/are product(s) of human imagination. Atheism is a lack of belief and such, by definition, cannot be a religion. I wish people could get hip to this bit of common sense.
        A point I didn’t make is that most Palestinians and most Jews have a common genetic ancestry which does point to the likelihood that religion plays a big role in their mutual antipathy. I wonder what percentage of the 1400 Palestinian children who have been killed in this conflict are Hamas?

      • Dietmar Horn says:

        Unfortunately, the New Testament does not belong to the canon of holy writings of Islam and Judaism, nor does it belong to Marxism, fascism, etc. Many Christian rulers also never made it the maxim of their actions. The problem is not whether you believe in God or not, but whether you consider ancient texts to be God’s word or for what they are: the work of man. God gave us reason to use it.

        • Jeff Robinson says:

          Ostensibly, ‘God’ underwent anger management between the old and new testaments. But ‘he’ (she/they?) remained misogynistic and OK with slavery. But in one key respect, the NT God is a real narcissistic monster in prescribing eternal damnation (fire and brimstone) to naysayers and unbelievers.

          • Dietmar Horn says:

            That’s why it’s dangerous when religious doctrines determine politics.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Israel is a secular state so your religion against religion argument doesn’t fly. The Hamas ‘statelet’ by contrast is an explicitly Islamist one and the ruling ‘parties’ founding statement makes both that and it’s intention to annihilate Israel quite plain. Where have you seen reference to someone shouting ‘God is Great while sending a missile into a residential area in Gaza’? My spidey sense says you may have made that up for dramatic effect.

      • Jeff Robinson says:

        If Israel is genuinely a secular state then why do they guarantee citizenship to Jews to the exclusion of others?

        • virginia crawford says:

          Good point. And then proving that you are a ‘real ‘ Jew. Having a Jewish father wouldn’t count etc. Very secular indeed.

        • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

          Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. It can’t be described as either “secular” or “religious” (the recent internal issues regarding judicial reform highlighted this diversity), with a Jewish majority. Contextually the 46 countries in the world with majority Muslim populations, 23 declare Islam to be the state religion in their constitutions. The rest either proclaim the state to be secular or make no pronouncement concerning an official religion. The 23 countries where Islam is declared the state religion are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Currently 3 states proclaim themselves to be “Islam Republics” — the Islamic Republics of Iran, Pakistan, and Mauritania.
          In such gentrified company, only a singular state can be accused of practicing apartheid …

  • B M says:

    There is truth to the fact that Hamas seeks the annihilation of the Jewish state. There is another truism, don’t argue with a fool. What Isreal needs to do is respond in a thoughtful, considered manner. Respond, not react. The natural reaction here is playing into the hand of your enemy.

    The solution? I don’t know. I don’t think there is a simple solution here. But an aggressive reaction is not one. There is always a wise, just solution, behind the emotionally driven ones.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Your comment is one with all of the those that advise restraint or a proportional response in that it fails to provide any guidance on what form either of those things may take nor to hint at any examples from the past that may be used as a model. The proportion of the Israeli population slaughtered in 48 hours is equivalent to the US losing over 55000, Germany over 12 500 and the UK over 10 000. What sort of reaction would you expect from those countries other than a crushing military response in similar circumstances?

  • Paul Mathias says:

    Suggesting that Hamas, a terrorist organisation, represents the people of Gaza is tantamount to saying that the Irish Republican Army represented all Irish people. What Israel is doing to Gaza equates to the British army blockading Ireland and bombing civilians because of an IRA atrocity, which, while the British treatment of the Irish was abominable, never happened.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      It’s their democratically elected government installed by an electorate who knew exactly what was in the tin because it was explicitly stated on the label. That may be a tough pill to swallow but that’s how democracy works. I didn’t vote for either the nats or the anc but here I am having lived long enough to endure the shame brought by being governed by both of them against my wishes.

  • DONALD MOORE says:

    Peter Fabricius I am shocked. By now, as an aware journalist, you should have become aware that the al-Ahli Arab Hospital is not a Baptist hospital but an Anglican Hospital. All information needs to be checked before it is published.

  • Graham Howard says:

    Terrorist Islamic groups have attacked the so-called infidel Western world and the State of Israel (their enemies) for a number of years and each time left wing groups fall into their hands because their strategy is always to involve “innocent” civilians. This turns events into a humanitarian crisis and now all pressure is on Israel and western countries to back the humanitarian issue rather that the Hamas unprovoked attack on innocent civilians. How come there is no pressure on Hamas to return all hostages, this should be the number one issue before there is any response to whether the follow up hunt and destroy strategy should or should not be instituted. Unfortunately we are so dependent on the Arab Muslim world for oil that we now have to tip toe against this evil world force who has the Western world by the proverbial shorts. The major western countries back Ukraine 100% against the unprovoked Russian attack, despite massive humanitarian casualties for the Russian (and Ukraine) people and yet in the Middle East it becomes a different story, only because the “enemy” is Israel. When you start a fight against another nation you must be prepared to accept the consequences, as painful as it is. Israel has the right to defend itself and decide to take a short term solution to appease the world, or take the longer, tougher option and eradicate the evil which is what Hamas (means violence) represents. Either way but I don’t think the people of Israel are looking for popularity.

  • Vas K says:

    Firstly, let me assure everyone that I have no agenda. I watch the developments in the Middle East and Ukraine with utmost concern. And I treat the appeals to warring parties to honour the Geneva convention as honest efforts of equally concerned people for a fair play. Unfortunately it is an excercise in futility. My observation is that from the beginning of the 20th century up to now the Geneva convention principles (and their post WWI predecessors) have not been even considered by the warring parties. Nobody will admit it nowadays, but it is a horrendous fact that by destroying the enemy’s civilian morale and infrastructure will gain you a major advantage in any conflict. The US forces have demostrated this many times and their calls for other countries to protect civilians during wars are disingenuous.
    Probably the best known examples are from the WWII: carpet bombings by US and British forces of civilian targets in Germany and German occupied contries, and more than a year long napalm fire bombings by US in Japan with 2 nukes thrown in for a good measure. Maybe it is thanks to these attrocities that not all of us are speaking German or Japanese. All I am saying is that I would not hold my breath for a sudden change of military mindset. In this time and age I must stress that my observations do not amount to condoning the practice, so there is no need to denounce and cancel me.

  • The kids that are being killed are part of the propaganda that Hamas uses against Israel. Hamas deliberately puts the children in the firing line. Then claims they are victims of Israel. Diabolical.

  • Johann Olivier says:

    A pox on both houses: Hamas & the extremist, fascist government of Israel. Both groups are merciless killers. The first, more visually & intimately. The latter, via hi-tech, almost ‘invisible’ means. Caught in the middle are innocents & people of good faith.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      There is no moral equivalence. One is a sovereign state with a democratically elected government and an army (like South Africa), the other breached its sovereign border, massacred its civilians en-masse (equivalent to 7 times 9/11’s) and currently holds more than 200 of its innocent civilians’ hostage. Time to recalibrate your moral compass.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The US has become part of the Israeli war on Gaza and the Palestinians given the comments by Biden that is in addition to military assets in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and weapons that they have sent the strong Israeli military. We need also to put into perspective the dishonesty of the US who are threatening all and sundry when they have chosen the Israeli side. When you have a country attacking civilians with jets, precision weapons and high calibre weapons it is not war but murder and it must be called the murder of Palestinians by Israel with the support of the United States, Britain and the European Union. We must not call it any other thing otherwise we exculpate the US and Israel on their criminality against the Palestinians. Calling Hamas a terrorist organization does not help because without engaging Hamas, you are not going to end that conflict. The Americans who are complicit in the murder of the Palestinians bear equal responsibility for the atrocities committed over the years by Israel we must not have any confusion. Hamas lives and leads amongst Palestinians and the people of Palestine have a right to refuse that Americans and the Western countries should choose who must represent them. Abbas has lost legitimacy and the 2006 elections speak for themselves. If Hamas are terrorists so is Israel a terrorist state that has been terrorising the Palestinians through murders, torture, destruction of their homes, civilian infrastructure and bombing of hospitals.

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