Col. Richard Kemp: Gaza op. too complex for Hamas, Iran and Russia behind it


Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of the British military forces in Afghanistan, spoke to Israel National News – Arutz Sheva on Sunday about the Hamas-launched war on Israel in which over 350 people have been murdered so far and stated that Russia’s hand can be seen in the attack in addition to the hand of Iran.

The attack began with a coordinated breach of the Gaza border fence at multiple locations accompanied by the firing of thousands of rockets into southern Israel, allowing squads of terrorists to penetrate into Israel and attack numerous communities and cities in southern Israel in the early morning. Israel was caught completely off-guard by the assault, representing a massive intelligence failure.

“I have no doubt that questions about this intelligence failure are being addressed now in the Israeli government,” Col. Kemp said of the failure to predict and stop the deadly Hamas onslaught. “I am sure there will be a full inquiry when the current situation is stabilized. Until then we can only speculate. This attack has been called Israel’s 9/11 by some people, or Israel’s Pearl Harbor, both of which were also accompanied by tragic intelligence failure.”

He stated that Iran and Russia were behind the attack which was, according to him, “too complex for Gaza terrorists to pull off on their own.”

“The specific date was chosen by the Palestinian terrorists to take advantage of the Israeli holiday period, very much like the Yom Kippur War that began around the same time in 1973. But the strategic context is threefold. First, Iran’s hand was behind this attack. They fund, arm, and direct Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Iran is dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish State as their leaders have repeated again and again.

He explained: “Second, Russia would have also been behind this attack. Moscow and Tehran are close allies who have cooperated over the mass murder of civilians in the Ukraine war, for which Iran has supplied killer drones. Leaders of Islamic Jihad and Hamas have visited Moscow in the last few months meeting senior Russian government officials. Russia’s motivation here is to foment instability in the Middle East to distract US political bandwidth as well as resources away from Ukraine.”

“Third, in their pursuit of chaos and Iranian hegemony in the Middle East, both Russia and Iran want to disrupt the normalization negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel,” he said. “It is hard to assess the impact this will have [on the negotiations with Saudi Arabia], but it will certainly complicate negotiations and may even lead to their temporary abandonment.”

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To the question of how Israel should respond to such a brazen and deadly attack, he responded that “the laws of war on proportionality have no bearing on strategic objectives, only on the conduct of operations where civilian life might be endangered. Israel is well known for its proportionate use of force in defense of its citizens despite the propaganda campaign that suggests otherwise. I think this attack will have changed Israel’s strategic calculus and it will have to inflict unprecedented damage on Hamas’s and Islamic Jihad’s leadership. That may mean a ground operation into Gaza that leads to a long or medium-term military presence on the ground. I think the immediate goal will be to destroy Hamas and Islamic Jihad as viable terrorist bodies.”

“As to the hostages, this is perhaps the most difficult challenge Israel faces. Rescuing large numbers of people no doubt dispersed in secure locations around Gaza may well be impossible but I have no doubt the Israeli government, intelligence, and IDF will make every conceivable effort to do so. Perhaps the best hope would be international pressure on the terrorists but these hostages are a prize they will be most unwilling to give up,” he said.

“The West must recognize Iran’s and Russia’s hand in this. The US in particular should stop appeasing Iran. Western governments should treat Hamas and Islamic Jihad as their enemies and support Israel in its efforts to destroy them as well as applying their own punitive action against them. Western leaders should speak loudly in support of Israeli military defensive action now and for the long term, working to counter the anti-Israel narrative that will be boosted by Israel’s necessary actions to defend its population, Col. Kemp concluded.

October 8, 2023 | 28 Comments »

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  1. Thank you, Bear

    My wife and I have been listening to Christian prophetic messages:

    Robin D. Bullock PROPHETIC WORD ?? [DIVINE INTERVENTION] Israel Confronts An Approaching Storm

    Robin seems to have been prophesying virutally nonstop for the past couple of days.

    I just hung our Israeli flag from the balcony, about 15 min. ago. It’s been raining, but now it’s dry enough. You know that here in the Pacific Northwest, this is not exactly politically correct; but what did Hillel say?

    “If not I, who? If not now, when?”

  2. Not that no disinformation or fake news is going on. Examples of Fake News:

    Pictures of kidnapped Children in Cages (old pictures before war)

    Reports of Specific High Level IDF Officers Captured. Proved false as they are working and functioning in their defense jobs.

  3. @Michael currently Israeli news about the war is very straight forward and accurate. Israel is very small and most people have a network of friends that adds to or confirms what the news stations are saying. The Hebrew news interviews all sorts of people from citizens, to ex-military and reporters. It is very high caliber.

    There is a military censor so not to allow sensitive and specific troop movements to be broadcast. Foreign News have reported large amounts of Israel troops on the Gaza border and an unprecedented call up of 300,000 reservists.

    Over 100,000 Israelis who were abroad returned to Israel since Saturday. The government and El Al are trying to get reservists who are stuck overseas flights back to Israel.

    Left right-divides among the citizens are gone for now and everyone called up is reporting. Only divisions are with some Arabs.

    There were Israeli- Arabs killed by the terrorists also besides for foreign workers.
    They list the names and show pictures if they have them on Israeli TV of the killed by the terrorists.

    Israel and what happens to its enemies is my primary focus and interest currently as it is for all Israelis and Jews that are close to the state of Israel.

    Ukrainians I am sure feel the same way about Ukraine it is their primary concern and Israel is a foreign land.

    Israel is now in the process of destroying Hamas and Islamic Jihad Gaza. There also have been some small attacks from Lebanon and one border infiltration with a few terrorists who were killed. It is quite possible this war expands to Lebanon and Syria shortly. Not for sure but quite possible. The signs now are pointing to that and have been for a while. Israel killed a few Hezbollah soldiers now in Lebanon also during retaliatory strikes.

  4. Hi, Bear. I just got up for the day.

    Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky thanks Ukraine and Ukrainians for their recent support

    My wife and I have been praying for the hostages. I don’t expect much straight news about Israel just now — that is the norm for wars like this. Godspeed Israel!

    I’ll try to catch up on the news, then eat breakfast… It seems our oil supplies are diminishing, and gas prices should shoot up again. Biden is continuing his anti-American energy policies. It should be easy to see whose side he is on. I understand that he’s already turned in for the day (3 PM EDT).

  5. @Bear
    Well Said!:

    I know who the enemy is and they need to be destroyed starting with those in Gaza.
    No half measures. No excuses for supporting or rationalizing the actions of any allies
    of the enemies of Israel.

    Thank you for stating this so succinctly!

  6. Do any commentator’s here support Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah or their allies who are enabling attacks against Jews in Israel?

    I know who the enemy is and they need to be destroyed starting with those in Gaza.
    No half measures. No excuses for supporting or rationalizing the actions of any allies
    of the enemies of Israel.

  7. @Michael

    Israeli flags are lining the streets of Kjiv

    I am curious if the Israeli flags are lining Bandera Street. Of course in Ukraine, it would be necessary to inquire of which Bandera Street we are actually referencing, since there are a good number of them.

    I am also curious if Ukrainians are also lining flags along the streets approaching the recent Ukrainian memorial laid in memory of the Nazi’s which killed the Ukrainian Jews with a similar sense of dedication as they are condemning in this recent Arab attack. Indeed, how ironic is it that these Nazi celebrating Ukrainian profligates should send us condolences on the recent Nazi-like attacks made by the Arabs, when the goals of both those memorialized in Ukraine and those killing Jews in Israel were each motivated by a desire to annihilate us all.

    Of course, it is right and proper that all should look upon the horror which has struck Israel and act with resolve to condemn these unspeakable crimes as being both inhuman and unnatural. Such statements of solidarity, however, do test the limit of credulity when multiple memorials stand erected by Ukraine to those who perpetrated similar crimes of genocide against our people. Personally, I can not reconcile the disparity present in the motivations of a govt which celebrate the perpetrators of the Holocaust while voicing solidarity in condemning the recent Arab attempt to emulate the same tragedy in Israel. Such disparity of celebrating one group of Jew-Killers while condemning another group of Jew-Killers should draw the attention of everyone as being motivated by a clearly duplicitous intent.

    Hence, in response, we should all demand that as Ukraine condemns the present murderers of our people that they should remove the memorials which they have erected to their past murders of our people. There can simply be no excuse for not doing so.

    So please forward the following message from me to Denys to hand off to his totalitarian leader;

    President Zelensky, tear down your Nazi memorials. Doing so would be a far more significant statement of solidarity than the empty gestures of flag planting our beautiful flag upon your soil which has been tilled with the murdered corpses of our past dead and which currently supports your memorials to those who carried out these murders. You credit yourself as a Jew to the world, but no Jew, no Jew anywhere, would tolerate the memorials erected to the murderers of our people, particularly a Jew which has the executive authority to erase his entire political opposition and silence the press opposing his rule. You have the ability to do bring down these memorials of monsters. Doing this would be seen as a mark of solidarity with the people which you claim to be part, and to the nation whose tragedy you claim to condemn. Make these claim credible and fell the Ukrainian tributes to these Ukrainian Nazi war criminals, and do it today.

  8. @Michael

    Peloni, I will restrain myself from commenting on your pro-Russian, pro-Hamas comments.

    Michael, please refrain from characterizing my statements as you have done here. I for instance nave not suggest that your comments are pro-Nazi. Despite the fact that your perspective supports the goals of the Nazi element in Ukraine, characterizing your comments as such ignores the reality that neither you nor I should be the subject under discussion. Therefore, if you have no interest in commenting on what I did state, do not characterize my commentary with such personal attacks as you have done here. It is beneath us both to do so, and simply distracts from the conversation, which I suspect is likely your purpose since you have no better response to make.

  9. Israeli flags are lining the streets of Kjiv, Ukraine.
    Denys Davydov again sends his support and condolences.

    Peloni, I will restrain myself from commenting on your pro-Russian, pro-Hamas comments. Anyone who thinks the Russians have not been supporting Iran and Hamas, needs only look at their weaponry.

    PS Notice the pictures and articles on Davydov’s page. One of the
    “Merkavas” claimed by Russian military bloggers to be a HAMAS trophy, is actually a Russian T-90 destroyed yesterday by Ukrainian artillery.

  10. Hamas has confirmed that Iran and Hezbollah helped them plan the operation they executed that killed in excess of 700 people and kidnapped a 100 or more.

    They did not mention the Iranians ally Russia.

  11. Michael

    Do you seriously believe, along with Putin, that Israel’s dealings with the Gazans represents an existential threat to Russia?

    I believe that Putin sees instability in the region to be an existential threat to Russia, not Israel and not Hamas.

    if you are interested in hearing about Putin and the Russian mindset…

    No offense, but I have heard innumerable interviews of these Neocon mentalists devining the Putin mindset, and not one of them makes any sense when considering what Putin has done rather than what people like to pretend he did. I am not convinced of any of the scenarios you have listed, not even slightly.

    Putin believes in negotiating settlements rather than fighting wars, and then using war to press towards negotiations when the negotiations turn out to be little more than a charade. If Putin wanted Israel to cave to Hamas, for instance, he surely would have made as much of a push towards negotiating that outcome as he did with regards to his own border situation before doing as the various Putin mentalists have suggested in secretly devising an all out destabilization of the region which would only disadvantage his border issues.

    Have a good nap.

  12. @Michael

    Russia (as the backbone of the USSR) has been involved in the ME and South Asia since the days of the “Great Game” of competition for global dominance with Great Britain.

    This implies that Russia has had a continued involvement from well before the 20th century to today, and this is not at all accurate. To be certain, Russia returned to the Middle East due to the failure of Obama to stop blowing up the region and subjecting Russia and Europe to volley after volley of the Arabs whose foreign culture and primitive political techniques were quite destabilizing to the countries to which they ventured. This is why Russia made its great return to the region in 2015.

    That has put it in the anti-Israel camp since before the modern State of Israel came into being in 1948.

    You use a broad brush to obsure the significant nuances of the recent past. The Russian motive in returning to the Middle East was not anti-Israeli in nature, but rather to stabilize a region which had received too much help from the West to become more unstable, in addition to their Syrian port as you suggest. To demonstrate the most obvious proof of the lack of ill intent between Russia’s 2015 return to the region and the Jewish state, however, it should be recalled that Israel and Russia cooperated and came to an agreement related to Israel’s continued strikes on Iranian forces in Syria, which would contrast with your above stated conclusion. It should also be noted that Putin coordinated the return of the remains of Zachary Baumel from Syria who had died in the Lebanon war and whose body had been presumed lost. Far from holding an anti-Israeli perspective in its outlook in the region, Russia’s positio was anti-Western, to the extent to which it disadvantaged the advance upon the Russia border of refugees fleeing from failed states overthrown by the West, and more specifically, the US.

    And again, this motivation would be well defeated by Russia partaking a role in destabilizing the already well destabilized situation which the West has laid between the Israelis and their unruly neighbors.

  13. Hello, Peloni.

    As with Putin current critique of the current situation, his concern is the impact on Russia

    Do you seriously believe, along with Putin, that Israel’s dealings with the Gazans represents an existential threat to Russia? That’s what he means by “directly affects our security interests”.

    BTW, if you are interested in hearing about Putin and the Russian mindset, I recommend the interview with Brig. Gen. (Retd) Peter Zwack Former Defence Attache to Moscow.

    Maybe he DOES believe this. Maybe he is such a megalomaniac, he cannot feel safe, if there’s a free, undivided Jewish state in his part of the world. He just MAY, and I don’t fault him for this — he is simply mad.

    That is one possibility I put forth. The other is that he is being disingenuous; he really doesn’t fear the existence of Israel; he simply greedy for more and more land, and more and more power.

    That is the second possibility I put forth. Both possibilities explain his immediate support for HAMAS against Israel, while the Arabs were attacking Jews who were still celebrating Simchat Torah, as well as his refusal to surrender his ill-gotten (whether he imagined them so or no) gains in Ukraine.

    That’s the sum of it; nothing beyond that. As for me, I am about to take a nap.

  14. @Michael
    I am curious if you actually read the article you cited or if you simply limited your investigation to the headline instead.

    Here is the crux of Putin’s statement cited in that article:

    “I would like to ask my colleagues to comment on the current situation in the Middle East, I mean the escalated Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This is happening in the immediate vicinity of our borders and directly affects our security interests,”

    As with Putin current critique of the current situation, his concern is the impact on Russia, which, to be honest, is the least which should be expected from the Russian premiere. His remedy is to call a bunch of foreign pie-cutters to help re-devise or re-divide the situation in Israel, which should of course be emphatically resisted to the utmost, but it is at least a reasonable action to be expected by a nation which has invested itself in the region to reduce the instability injected into the Middle East by the Westerners and their Arab Spring policies.

    In any event, though, it should be clarified for those who seem to have not read the article, that the concern which Russia had in making the above statement was due to the instability which US policy had incurred into Israel, rather than Israel herself.

    As the article notes:

    On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Larov pushed for an international effort to diffuse the conflict, calling for a “quartet” to meet on the situation.

    The purpose of the objection raised at the UN was due to the instability, ie the May War of Riots and Rockets, which was a result of the US signalling an empowering message to the Arabs, to which the Arab Islamists responded with their usual barbarity and uncouth nature to make war on Israel. There is no comparison to be made between that objection of Russia before the UN and the CREATION of instability which was the result of the Hamas invasion. None at all.

    I really do suggest that you read the article you cited, and if you still think what you thought before, explain how Russia’s position in that article might make you think Russia has a vested interest in setting the Middle East on fire. I believe in all fairness that you will have a difficult time doing so.

  15. @Felix

    Jews must live alone to live an unmolested life

    This may therefore be the time for the ideas of Edgar to be operative

    And step up Ted and a new Jordan

    It is not far at all for those sick of Fatah to walk right out of Gaza into a new home and that is indeed creative thinking

    A very well made statement to be certain.

    And for those that are not tired of being mastered by their Hamas overlords, well, let their fate be tied to the butchers whom they serve. This war shall see the end of Hamas, and their supporters should in the same moment share this end.

  16. EvRe,

    You also made the comment,

    That makes it almost ridiculous to my way of thinking that Putin has a “need” for the “assistance” of Hamas and Iran to help him win.

    The word “need” doesn’t appear in the OP, so you must be referring to something said by one of the commenters. My own take on Putin’s meddling in the Middle East is that his chief need is to have secure warm-water naval facilities, close to Russia. The Syrian base at Tartus

    meets this need.

    Russia (as the backbone of the USSR) has been involved in the ME and South Asia since the days of the “Great Game” of competition for global dominance with Great Britain.

    The political situation has changed over the years, but the geography does not: In order for Russia to effectively project naval power, she needs to be on the good side of its Muslim neighbors. That has put it in the anti-Israel camp since before the modern State of Israel came into being in 1948.

  17. Hi, EvRe. You mentioned my name:

    Michael S, the article you cited is in Newsweek, which publishes many biased articles, but the date of the “threat” felt by Putin was in May of 2021.

    Some of the Putinphiles here have made a great deal about how Vladimir Putin has felt “threatened” by NATO expansion since 1992. Other bloggers, like Steve Bannon, and Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy also give an ear to this greivance. When I came across the Newsweek article, I saw that this was an old tactic (if disingenuous) or mindset (if genuine) of Vladimir. The fact that the ones purportedly striking fear in him were the Israelis, as well, of course, as NATO and the Ukrainians, puts things in a different perspective than what has been discussed here. The date of the article, 2021, is well within the range discussed (1992-2023). The problem is Putin, not NATO nor Israel; and I don’t think the date matters much.

  18. Evri1

    It would be useful if Michael speaks to the date issue. We are trying to understand what he is up to, ditto others too

  19. PS

    I have made my arguments and based actually what Trotsky originally said especially 1937

    Jews must live alone to live an unmolested life

    This may therefore be the time for the ideas of Edgar to be operative

    And step up Ted and a new Jordan

    It is not far at all for those sick of Fatah to walk right out of Gaza into a new home and that is indeed creative thinking

  20. Peloni

    You ask Kemp for real evidence, or any evidence at all. I have the answer he has none for reasons you stated so well

    Put on your best coat and tie to meet the lady you woo

    Israel is too gullible or rather its lamentable elites are gullible

    There is in the British a deep racism and elitism. I do not have to remind that Kemp works to revise Jewish dearly paid for history at the hands of Stepan Bandera in Ukraine

    British ideology is just racist ideology

    V Russia

    It grieves me that Jews do not know that very well.

    So thank you.

    There is one other thing. Kemp was up to his nasty eyeballs from Palace Barracks Belfast in repression of my people

    And anyway what can he tell us. Both Edgar and Martin Sherman are light years ahead of this paid media croc.

  21. Second, Russia would have also been behind this attack.

    But was it? Russia is Russia, and Russia only acts in her own interest. This is particularly true since Russia has been severed from direct trade with the West due to the US economic war on them. Hence, we are to believe that Russia planned an operation where a war was specifically targetted against civilians, where human slaves were dragged back to be used as human shields, and where there was no hope of the attack having anything more than a disruptive and inciting effect upon the enemy. These are far from tactics which are known to be employed by Russia, and if Russia was involved in the planning, there is no possibility that they would not recognize that this would have been the result of such involvement. As the entire world is finding it difficult to apply their antisemitic tendencies to hold Israel responsible for the barbarity which has been place on full view, Russia would be placing herself in such a position of infamy that it must be considered. So what would Russia gain by supporting such villainy in Israel which she has not employed in Ukraine.

    Iran is led by a gaggle of religious fanatics who are intent upon creating the chaos needed to draw forth their mythical bogey man, but Russia has no such religious need to turn the Middle East into a war zone, just the opposite actually.

    Kemp is a friend to Israel, a good friend, but he has more than once critiqued Israel as having isolating herself due to her refusal to enter the Ukraine war, something which Kemp and others have requested Israel to reconsider in her own interests, which was not actually true, at least not at that time.

    Kemp’s purpose in presupposing Russia’s hand in the Hamas attack is no doubt colored by his own perspective on Russia, and, in fact, perhaps he is correct in the conclusion he draws here. But if he is correct, there needs to be a better explanation provided to explain why Russia would pursue a policy to destabilize the Middle East when stabilizing the Middle East was the only reason Russia entered the region. Iranian supplies of weapons to Russia and meetings with regional leaders is quite thin ice to base such wild accusations as he is making, and if there is more to be considered, well, we should consider it, but this spontaneous reaction to include Israel in a brewing world war with Russia should be pursued only if Israel’s interests are truly involved.

    So to our friend, Col. Kemp, I would simply ask, with the deepest respect and courtesy requisite of close friends, what is the real basis of your conclusion that

    Russia would have also been behind this attack.

  22. Michael S, the article you cited is in Newsweek, which publishes many biased articles, but the date of the “threat” felt by Putin was in May of 2021.

    It may be that Putin is involved, as Colonel Kemp stated, but that Newsweek article does not constitute evidence for it.

    I realize it is difficult to find any legacy news media in the United States which publishes information on Russia that is fact-based.

    The only information I could find about Russia’s response to the war was that yesterday Russia called for an end to the fighting and negotiations for peace to begin. In addition, I read that Putin was in touch with Israeli’s leaders.

    There are a few websites that suggest that the war in Israel will benefit the Russians as it requires the US to divide its interest between Ukraine and Israel. That might be true, it might not be true. I don’t see evidence that this is in fact Putin’s calculation.

    If Putin is behind this war, he deserves no less opprobrium than does Biden, Hamas and Iran. But Palestinians going to Moscow before this war started doesn’t in itself constitute evidence.

    In addition, If Putin was behind this war purposely in order to make it harder for Ukraine to win, I would consider this a direct result of the Biden administration’s devastating miscalculation in trying to destroy Putin in the first place. Putin would have his own responsibility, but there can be no denying that we would not have a war in Ukraine at this time if Biden did not decide to undertake a war in order to remove Putin from office.

    In addition, there is no question that Putin has already won the war in Ukraine. There is just no way that Ukraine can win, no matter what lies the American legacy news media print.

    That makes it almost ridiculous to my way of thinking that Putin has a “need” for the “assistance” of Hamas and Iran to help him win.

    I don’t know what the people in the Biden Administration are smoking, but they have some people involved in either the military or in PR for the military whose mental contact with reality seems to be shaky, including the President himself. Some of these people were saying just about a month or two ago that they thought the US could win a war with China. So frankly, anything that comes out of this administration or the news media that shills for it is questionable.

    From what I understand Colonel Kemp has great respect for Israel and the IDF and has had for some time.

    What is needed now is concrete help for Israel from the world outside of Israel. I understand the US is sending some military support

    Austin said he sent, “USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sear, or closer to the Israeli coast. That includes the USS Gerald R. Ford Navy aircraft carrier, a guided missile cruiser, guided-missile destroyers, and a range of different fighter jets.

    “We have also taken steps to augment U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region,” the Pentagon chief’s statement said.”

    This attack on Israel comes after several years of rapidly building antisemitism world wide, for which the leaders of the Jewish community in the United States have abdicated total responsibility. Instead of marshaling greater support for Israel through their religious communities, they have done the opposite.

    I belonged to a temple where the rabbi (who is still chief rabbi) supported J Street, and set the tone for the community, which was more concerned about the survival of Palestinians than about the survival of Israelis. I could not continue there.

    The largest Jewish community outside of Israel has been turned into unenthusiastic if not non-supporters of Israel. It has been devastating for me to watch.

    At the same time, Trump was the most pro- Zionist US President in history, and he made improvements in the US Israel relationship via his moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, proclaiming the Golan Heights to be Israeli territory, helping Bibi Netanyahu with the Abraham Accords, cancelling the Iran nuclear deal, withdrawing funds from UNRWA, etc.

    The huge numbers of Americans who are Trump supporters are all Israel supporters. There are millions of Americans who support both Trump and Israel.

    I expect them to step up and help Israel in whatever ways they can as this war unfolds.

  23. Assuming the premise that both Russia and Iran are coordinating this conflict, Israeli intelligence must be aware of that. If these countries have a presence on the ground, it should be eliminated immediately. There is no need to go public…

  24. The Ukrainian soldiers expressions of solidarity with Ukrain, as relayed to us by Michael S., are very moving

  25. Colonel Kemp’s ana;ysis is brilliant as usual. I did not know that Russia had invited leaders of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Moscow for consultations before the outbreak odf the war. This a (to me) new face on this war.