The Rapid Return of Israel’s Disastrous Policy

T. Belman. Read it and weep.

by Daniel Pipes, Middle East Quarterly,  Winter 2024

Judging by the way Netanyahu has managed Gaza in the last 13 years, it is not certain that there will be a clear policy going forward.— Tal Schneider, Times of Israel

“Everything changed” in Israel on Oct. 7. But did it? Understanding the mistakes that led up to the Hamas massacre provides a basis to evaluate Israel’s long-term response to that day. Contrary to general opinion, I shall argue that the presumptions behind those mistakes remain in place and will not change unless Israelis adopt a radically different attitude toward the Palestinians.

The Road to Oct. 7

Israeli military planners coined a Hebrew term, conceptzia, “the concept,” in the late 1960s. It held that Egypt’s Anwar el-Sadat would not go to war until 1974, when his military had acquired advanced Soviet fighter jets that permitted it to take on the Jewish state’s air force. Israel’s Agranat Commission, which investigated how the Egyptians and Syrians surprised Israel in the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, largely blamed the conceptzia for a blindness to the preparations taking place before its very eyes.


The conceptzia misled Moshe Dayan (L) and Golda Meir.

The future commission inevitably analyzing Israel’s unpreparedness on Oct. 7, 2023, will surely blame that surprise on a second erroneous conceptzia. It held that, David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy explains,

under the heavy burden of governing the Gaza Strip, Hamas would feel the need to prove itself through economic performance. Specifically, economic inducements towards Hamas would moderate its foundational belief that Israel is an illegitimate entity whose very existence must be extinguished and its citizens killed. This Israeli conceptzia was driven by many factors, but at its core, it was based on the idea that Hamas was undergoing an organizational evolution in which it would now value even modest increases in living standards in Gaza. Economic advancement would bring calm, as it gave Hamas something to lose.

Note the words “something to lose”: this phrase summarizes the new conceptzia, a belief that Hamas could be bought off or tempered through economic benefits. A headline published days before Oct. 7 captured the depth of this misunderstanding: “IDF and Shin Bet call on government to continue economic activities with Gaza. Senior security officials ask political echelon to increase work permits for Gazans to maintain calm on the border.”[1] Maintain calm. As Col. (res.) Eran Lerman explained just ahead of Oct. 7:

The ruling center-right in Israel takes a “conflict management” approach to the Palestinian issue. They prefer to leave open the prospect that resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may yet be possible one day, as the region changes and new leaders emerge. But until then, they believe, what Israel should do is ease tensions and improve living conditions for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, while reserving the right to hit back at terrorist activity in a selective and intelligence-driven manner.

The conceptzia transformed blood-curdling threats by Hamas into empty words. The security establishment ignored Fathi Hammad announcing in 2019: “We are sharpening the knives. … If we die it will be when we are killing you [Jews], and we will cut off your heads, Allah willing… We must attack every Jew on the planet – slaughter and kill. … I will die as I blow up and cut – what? The throats of the Jews and their legs. We will tear them to shreds, Allah willing.” Only by completely disregarding such statements could Aryeh Deri, a senior Haredi politician, admit after Oct. 7 that he “never imagined that we were dealing with such murderers who are capable of acting with such cruelty.”

Conversely, those rejecting the conceptzia met with exclusion and scorn. National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir complained that his calls for the assassination of Hamas leaders caused him to be barred from cabinet discussions. Itai Hoffman, the chairman of a security organization near the Gaza border, accused the government, “We warned you about the situation. How can it be that you all sat here and kept silent? … You have abandoned us.” A kibbutz member pointed out that his community had only four rifles, adding “We have been screaming for years.” Yehiel Zohar, the mayor of a town near Gaza, complained that senior security officials belittled his warnings, with maps, infiltration routes, and defense plans, about hundreds of murderers entering his town and killing its residents: “Forget about it, it won’t happen.”

Avichai Brodetz, whose family was taken hostage by Hamas, vented bitter frustration at a Likud member of parliament about Hamas.

The army could easily have destroyed them, but the entire conceptzia of the IDF collapsed [i.e., was wrong]. Hamas understood this, and they were far more clever than we were. They carried out an exceptional operation, raped our women, and killed our children because the IDF was not there. This did not happen because of Hamas but because of the conceptzia you used. It would have been so easy to destroy Hamas with tanks and planes – but they simply weren’t there.

When Hamas drilled in plain sight, holding a live-fire exercise of blasting through a mock wall and raiding a mock town, then posted a video of this, Israelis ignored it. As the Jerusalem Post reports, “IDF lookouts who had warned that they were concerned about the situation along the Gaza border in the months before the Oct. 7 attack were told to stop bothering their commanders and even threatened with a court-martial.” A noncommissioned officer specializing in Hamas military doctrine wrote three documents warning about Hamas’ plans, emphasizing its exercises simulating an invasion across the border into Israeli residences and even reporting that senior Hamas officials came to watch the exercises. Her warnings went up the hierarchy, only to be met with the response, “You are imagining it.” A senior IDF officer scorned such warnings as “fantasies” and refused to act on them. Just a day before the attack, a lookout reported seeing suspicious activities but commanders “discounted” her concerns, telling her “Hamas is just a bunch of punks, they won’t do anything.”

Many observers held Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally responsible for the conceptzia. Thus, Israeli defense analyst Yoav Limor finds that he

promised to eliminate Hamas and claimed that Hamas is the same as ISIS, yet continued to effectively allow the organization to build up through various means, including money, supply trucks, fuel, electricity, labor, and more. He, who saw Hamas as a devil, should have destroyed it, but during his long rule, he did the opposite: It thrived and became a monster. Netanyahu effectively legitimized Hamas, and that allowed a misconception to form around it.

Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai agrees, holding Netanyahu “responsible for the misconception and its outcomes. He is its father, mother, and guardian.” But to be fair, Shragai adds,

it must be noted that almost all of Israel’s highest political and military officials, right and left, and most of the media, too, lined up behind the separation policy, either as a systematic worldview or by acquiescing in it. Almost all of them backed Netanyahu when he refrained from crushing Hamas by land; almost all of them belittled the Hamas threat.

Along those lines, Ben Gvir speaks of a “conceptzia camp” that included former prime minister Naftali Bennett and former IDF chiefs of staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot. The conceptzia even had followers among those living closest to Gaza. Hanan Dann, a member of a kibbutz devasted on Oct. 7, explains:

We were glad that workers from Gaza were coming to Israel with work permits to have jobs to meet Israelis, to see that we’re not all “those devils.” We all really believed that things are changing, that Hamas has maybe matured from being this terrorist group to be the grown-up taking responsibility for its people, worrying for its welfare. And that concept really blew up in our face.

To summarize: Israel’s leadership hardly paid attention to the Islamist and jihadi nature of Hamas, believing that Israel’s economic strength, military superiority, and technical advancement moderated Hamas, rendering it less dangerous.

Apparent Changes

The post-Oct. 7 reckoning was brutal. “So many policies and paradigms,” David M. Weinberg of the Misgav Institute writes, “have been proven faulty, phantastic, illusory, and grotesque.” The idea of a Hamas-governed Gaza placated by economic well-being, Martin Sherman of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies concludes, is but “a hallucinatory pipe dream.”

In reaction to such criticisms, politicians abruptly and radically changed their tune. Netanyahu spoke at least fourteen times of victory and winning. “Victory will take time. … now we are focusing on one goal, and that is to unite our forces and storm ahead to complete victory.” He told soldiers “The entire people of Israel are behind you and we will deal harsh blows to our enemies to achieve victory. To victory!” And: “We will emerge victorious.”

Many others in government followed suit. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant quoted himself informing President Joe Biden that Israel’s victory “is essential for us and for the United States.” To his soldiers, Gallant declared, “I am responsible for bringing victory.” Bezalel Smotrich, the minister of finance, announced the halt “of all budgetary outlays and redirected them to one thing only: Israel’s victory.” He called the goal of Israel’s war with Hamas to be “a crushing victory.” Benny Gantz, a member of the War Cabinet, deemed it “the time for resilience and victory.” The deputy parliamentary speaker called on Israel to “burn Gaza.” An unnamed defense official announced that “Gaza will eventually turn into a city of tents. There will be no buildings.” The minister for heritage endorsed attacking Gaza with nuclear weapons.

Legions of other Israelis also called for victory and the destruction of Hamas:

  • Naftali Bennett, former prime minister: “It’s time to destroy Hamas.”
  • Yaakov Amidror, former national security advisor: Hamas “should be killed and destroyed.”
  • Meir Ben Shabbat, former national security advisor: “Israel should destroy everything connected to Hamas.”
  • Chuck Freilich, former deputy national security advisor (in Ha’aretz): “Israel must now deal Hamas an unequivocal defeat.”
  • Tamir Heyman, former IDF intelligence chief: “We have to win.”
  • Amos Yadlin, former IDF intelligence chief: “We are going to destroy Hamas.”
  • Yossi Cohen, former head of Mossad: “Eliminating Hamas officials is a decision which needs to be made.”

Public figures expressed unprecedented verbal aggressiveness. Gallant called Hamas “human animals” and Bennett called them “Nazis.” Television news anchor Shay Golden went off-script to unload a tirade.

We will destroy you. We keep telling you every day – we are coming. We are coming to Gaza, we are coming to Lebanon, we will come to Iran. We will come everywhere. You must take this into account. Can you imagine how many of you we are going to kill for every one of the 1,300 Israelis that you massacred? The death toll will reach numbers that you have never seen in the history of the Arab nations. … You will see numbers that you never imagined were possible.

A hip-hop anthem promising to rain hell on Israel’s enemies jumped to the #1 spot. A pop singer called for Israel to “Erase Gaza. Don’t leave a single person there.”

And Israel’s voters? The Middle East Forum commissioned poll on Oct. 17[2] found extraordinary support for the destruction of Hamas and for a ground operation to achieve this. When asked “What should be Israel’s primary objective?” in the current war, 70 percent of the public answered to “eliminate Hamas.” In contrast, only 15 percent answered to “secure the unconditional release of captives held by Hamas” and 13 percent “disarm Hamas completely.” Remarkably, 54 percent of those Israeli Arabs (or, more technically, voters who supported the Joint List, a radical anti-Zionist Arab party), made “eliminate Hamas” their preferred objective.

Given the option of a ground operation in Gaza to eradicate Hamas or avoiding a ground operation in favor of another way to deal with Hamas, 68 percent chose the former and 25 percent the latter. This time, 52 percent of Israeli Arabs concurred with the majority.

In short, a ferociously anti-Hamas and anti-PA mood came to dominate Israeli politics, with only the two left-wing parties (Labor and Meretz) somewhat in opposition. Even a majority of Israeli Arabs recognized the danger that Hamas and the PA pose to their safety and well-being. Victory had become a matter of consensus, or so it appeared.

Quick Reversion

But did that ferocity signify a fundamental shift in outlook or just a passing surge in emotions? Mounting evidence suggests the latter. American novelist Jack Engelhard noted in late November about the mood in Israel: “I am so damn depressed. … I hardly hear any talk of victory anymore.” Indeed, the robust rhetoric of victory following Oct. 7 ended as abruptly as it began, replaced by negotiating with Hamas over terms for the release of just some of the hostages. More profoundly, Israeli officialdom and public alike showed signs of hastily reverting to the attitudes and policies that had led to Oct. 7.

Those policies rest on two main assumptions: that economic benefits – more work permits in Israel, a larger fishing zone, outside funding – gives Palestinians something to lose, taming them and making them less inclined to aggress; and that an Israel so much mightier and more advanced than its Palestinian enemy can afford to make concessions.

Symptoms of the reversion include the following:

The security establishment approved the entry of 8,000 West Bank workers to Israel, mostly to engage in agricultural work. It did so in response to Israel’s agriculture minister assuring his colleagues that the workers had been vetted and posed no danger. That thousands of workers from Gaza had spied on Israel and made themselves complicit in the Oct. 7 massacre seemed blithely to be forgotten.

On the West Bank itself, Israel’s commanding general there issued oxymoronic orders limiting Arab access that appeared tough but changed very little. As explained by the Binyamin Regional Council, “There is no entry into Israeli towns for Arab workers. They will be permitted to enter industrial areas at night only.” Do marauders and murderers carry out their crimes only in daylight?

The Palestinian Authority that nominally governs part of the West Bank not only offered full-throated support for the Hamas massacre but PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement boasted of having a role in it. The PA also required mosques in its jurisdiction to instruct congregants that exterminating Jews constitutes an Islamic duty. Despite this, the Israeli cabinet continues to send tax monies to the PA. Gallant endorsed this decision, saying that “It is appropriate to transfer, and transfer immediately, the funds to the Palestinian Authority so that they will be used by its forces who help prevent terrorism.” (That theme of economic benefits never seems to die.)

Ben-Gvir tried to loosen the rules of engagement for police officers, permitting them in emergencies to shoot at the legs of aggressors but Gantz managed to deflect the vote, thereby keeping the more restrictive regulations in place.

Five days after Oct. 7, Israel shuttered its Public Diplomacy Ministry, providing a perfect symbol of Israel’s historically hapless information efforts.

Contrarily, Israel’s communications minister called Al Jazeera, the Qatari television channel, a “propaganda mouthpiece” that incites against Israel and attempted to close down its office in Israel. The government rejected his recommendation, wanting not to upset the Qatari government, which had helped with the release of several hostages, thereby ignoring its role in perpetrating Oct. 7. Yossi Cohen, the former head of Mossad, went further; he favored “refraining from criticizing Qatar.”

Before the massacre; Israel supplied Gaza with 49 million liters of water, or 9 percent of the territory’s daily consumption, through three pipelines. It cut all supplies after the massacre. But that lasted just twenty days, after which Israel reinstated 28.5 million liters through two pipelines. Why not all three? Because Hamas had damaged the third on Oct. 7, necessitating repairs. Not to fear: IDF Col. Elad Goren announced his office had “assembled a team of experts who assess the humanitarian situation in Gaza on a daily basis.” Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, called this “simple idiocy.” Fuel supplies also resumed.

Talk of victory did not stop negativism from quickly rearing its head. “I don’t see any kind of victory going out of this mess,” comments Fauda creator Avi Issacharoff. Orly Noy of B’Tselem cries out to her Israeli conationals, “I have no interest in the victory you’re offering me. … I’m ready to admit defeat.”

The principal of a public high school in Tel Aviv devoted 45 minutes to talking to three students who had come to school wrapped in Israeli flags. During the conversation, one student reported, the principal pointed out that other students objected to such a display of patriotism, adding that “if a large number of students came to school wrapped in Israeli flags, he would end this immediately.” So extreme had things become that even the far-left Ha’aretz newspaper ran a story under the headline, “Stop Applauding Hamas for Its ‘Humanity’.”

The Regavim organization warned that the Palestinian Authority has built close to 20,000 structures close by the Green Line, its border with the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control (Area C); it called this phenomenon “frightening and threatening … a real danger; a ticking bomb.” When presented with this information, the security establishment responds now as it did previously to the comparable threat from Gaza: it would rather ignore this topic or dismiss the buildings as organic construction by individuals.

If mid-October polling showed 70 percent wanting to “eliminate Hamas,” in mid-November polling by The Jewish People Policy Institute,[3] a mere 38 percent defined victory as “Gaza is no longer under Hamas control,” a roughly 50 percent drop. Asked about the war’s most important objective, a November poll of Israeli Jews by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers found that 34 percent say incapacitating Hamas (and 46 percent the hostages’ return). Asked about making “painful concessions” to secure the hostages’ release, 61 percent expressed a readiness, a near-tripling of the 21 percent ready to do so six weeks earlier. A poll by Israel’s Channel 14 reported a 52-32 percent approval of the hostage agreement. The numbers – 38, 34, 32 – are impressively consistent.



Politicians and the security establishment drove previous flights from strategic reality (e.g., the Oslo Accords, the retreat from Gaza) but not this one. Here, the public pushed the destruction of Hamas aside in favor of rescuing the hostages. In the words of one survivor, Nadav Peretz, “We want two things. To see Hamas destroyed and to free the hostages. And right now, the latter outweighs the former.” A mid-November Maariv poll found that the National Unity party headed by Gantz, a former chief of staff and the personification of the security establishment, jumped from 12 seats in the prior election to 43 seats in the next one. According to Nimrod Nir, a psychologist who led the Hebrew University survey research, “Our polling shows that the Israeli people were consistently ahead of the decision makers on this. As they learned about who Hamas was holding and under what conditions, the pressure to do something grew.”

Politicians began seeking ways to square the circle. Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren suggested changing the war goal “from annihilating Hamas to securing Hamas’s unconditional surrender,” thereby allowing Hamas to continue to exist. More specifically, he advocated offering Hamas “free passage from Gaza … in return for the hostages’ release.” The talk about destroying Hamas had nearly vaporized.

The Hostage Deal

Speaking of hostages, the biggest reversion concerned them. Israel’s President Isaac Herzog called Hamas “absolute evil” and then-Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott offered advice to the Israelis, referring to Hamas: “You cannot negotiate with evil. You have to destroy it.” But just 1½ months after the massacre and weeks after the avalanche of calls for the destruction of Hamas, the Government of Israel reached a deal with the jihadi group, thereby undercutting its moral position and relapsing to the negotiating policy that brought about Oct. 7 in the first place.

The contents of the deal only made matters worse, for a desperate Israel made a majority of the concessions. In return for fewer than one-quarter of Israeli hostages being freed, all of them females and children, Israel agreed to: free 150 female and minor security prisoners (i.e., prisoners arrested in connection with offenses bearing on national security); permit an increase in water, food, medicine, and fuel to Gaza; and for four days not send warplanes over southern Gaza, engage in drone aerial surveillance during six hours each day, and not attack Hamas.

Consider some implications of these terms:

1. Just a fraction of the hostages implies that the bargaining process will continue indefinitely, with multiple breaks. This suits Hamas’ needs while disrupting the Israeli military campaign. As Col. (res.) Shai Shabtai explains, Hamas’ “continued hold on the hostages has one object: to use endless negotiation in order to undermine the dismantling of its political and military power.”

2. Interrupting surveillance permits Hamas fighters to escape their besieged tunnels or bring supplies into the tunnels.

3. Trading Palestinian security prisoners for Oct. 7 victims confirms Hamas’ argument that a moral equivalency exists between criminals and innocent civilians violently abducted.

In retrospect, that the same leadership team which brought on Oct. 7 also went on to sign the hostage deal hardly surprises: responsibility for the first made it vulnerable to the appeals of hostage families and foreign states. That Netanyahu and others – for example, the commander of the Unit 8200 that gathers about 80 percent of Israeli intelligence[4] – refused to take responsibility only compounded the problem. For Brodetz, the hostage family relative quoted above addressing a Likud member of parliament, the conceptzia still reigns: “You are living in a fantasy and blaming Hamas when it is you yourselves who are to blame. The problem was you. Get that into your heads, and perhaps then you will be able to solve the problem.”

It gets worse. On Nov. 22, Netanyahu very unusually publicly announced that he had instructed Mossad to kill Hamas leaders “wherever they are,” by implication including those in Qatar. When pressed whether the ceasefire agreement with Hamas grants immunity to its leaders, he replied in the negative: “there is no commitment in the agreement to not act in a truce against the leaders of Hamas, whoever they are.” He further added that “such a clause does not exist.” Two days later, however, Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper reported that a “generally well-informed source” informed him that Netanyahu assured Qatar at the start of the hostage negotiations that “Mossad would not go to the emirate to kill Hamas political leaders.” The Jerusalem Post then “indirectly confirmed that Israel made commitments to Qatar on this issue.”

Le Qatar a reçu l’assurance d’Israël que le Mossad ne viendrait pas tuer dans l’émirat des chefs de la branche politique du Hamas, confie une source généralement bien informée. Cette assurance aurait été donnée par l’Etat hébreu lorsque Doha a entamé sa médiation sur les otages. pic.twitter.com/VVE1Bta4yp

— Georges Malbrunot (@Malbrunot) November 24, 2023

It bears noting that not all Israelis place personal concerns over the national interest. Eliahu Liebman, father of the hostage Elyakim Liebman, summed up the dilemma in his valorous protest against the proposed deal: “We want all of our hostages released, and the only way to do that is by attacking the enemy with all of our strength, without interruption and without surrendering to their demands, as if they are the victors.” Tikvah, an organization of families related to hostages, concurs: “The most correct and effective way of retrieving the hostages is by applying uncompromising pressure on Hamas, until the hostages become a liability for Hamas instead of an asset.” But the wailing drowned out such voices.

Conclusion

I observed in a late October article that “the inflamed Israeli mood of the moment will likely fade with time, as old patterns reassert themselves and business-as-usual returns.” I was wrong in one respect; it did not take time. Rather, it occurred almost right away, within two weeks. Contrary to the initial impression that “everything changed,” at the time of writing – late November – almost nothing has changed.

This reversion also fits a much larger pattern. From 1882 until the present, the two feuding parties to this conflict have compiled extraordinary records of sterile continuity. The Palestinians maintain a mentality of rejectionism (no, no, and never to everything Jewish and Israeli), while Zionists stick to conciliation (accept us and we will enrich you). The two go around and around, hardly evolving or making progress. Change will only come when Israelis break with the traditional Zionist mentality and seek Israel Victory.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum and author of the just-published Islamism vs. The West: 35 Years of Geopolitical Struggle (Wicked Son). © 2023 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


[1] IDF refers to the Israel Defense Forces; Shin Bet (or Shabak) is Israel’s internal security service.

[2] Shlomo Filber and Zuriel Sharon of Direct Polls Ltd. carried out the poll with 1,086 adult Israelis; it has a statistical sampling error of 4 percent.

[3] By theMadad.com with 666 respondents on Nov. 15-18.

[4] According to one account, that commander neglected his intelligence duties in favor of helping the disadvantaged, dealing with climate change, and various social issues.

December 3, 2023 | 41 Comments »

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41 Comments / 41 Comments

  1. Edgar

    Of course your advice is very wise. If you notice I stay off the personal and try to pierce through with logic.

    This relates to the Hirsi article. I was trying to get my mind in gear to deal with Hirsi putting forward this thesis that there is Islam and Islamism. I thought the root was the Koran and Hadiths. That’s what Ted said in his introduction and I agreed with him. Then he attacked me. Ah well Edgar c’est la vie.

    I explained all that and by rights Sebastien should have been backing me up. And Ted needed to explain. I need no apologies from anyone.

    I do not follow everything here but there must be no censorship of which by far the worst kind is the silent treatment especially on a Jewish site.

  2. @Edgar Felix Talk about the pot calling the kettle black and if that’s your description of Dayan, Edgar, you need glasses. google pictures of him in the Bedford Incident, in particular, and compare with photo in article.

  3. I sent in a response to Felix just below about 10 mins ago, which has not appeared …so far

    Am I being “censored”??

  4. ISRAEL 770-

    Where is the link which shows that Netanyahu “statement that he has the US in his back pocket”.

    I don’t believe it, and neither should you.

    He has much more sense than that, especially to voice it aloud for public consumption.

    Perhaps you are one of his Lefty attempted coup, haters. It smells like it.

    HAS to be a lie.

  5. FELIX-

    Sebastien sometimes goes “off the rails”, makes enigmatic, ambiguous or meaningless short quips, But his heart in in the right place, except for his superiority attitude. He’s addicted to movies and videos, often giving them as links for his nonsense, which can segue into Groucho Marx.
    A quirky sense of humour.

    For instance the other day he seemed “amazed” that no one had noticed, that Moshe Ddayan strongly “resembled” Richard Widmark. Only in a drugged state of mind could this be taken seriously.

    Dayan, short, bald, round faced, curly lips, small mouth,,, Widmark, tall lean, wide straight lipped mouth, sharpish features, etc. an almost classic opposite.

    Maybe he’s trying to trail a red herring between you, Michael (whom Ted reproved the other day, -Michael apologised and Ted thanked him) and Ted.
    Ignore him, except for his serious posts, which are very often both interesting and informative. Give him a “pat on the back”. He likes those.

  6. FELIX-

    Sebastien sometimes goes “off the rails”, makes enigmatic ambiguous or meaningless short quips, But his heart in in the right place, except for his superiority attitude. He’s addicted to movies and videos, often giving them as links for his nonsense, which can segue into Groucho Marx.

    For instance the other day he seemed “amazed” that Moshe Ddayan “resembled” Richard Widmark. Only in a drugged state of mind could this be taken seriously.

    Dayan, short, bald, round faced, curly lips small mouth,,, Widmark, tall lean, wide mouth sharp features, etc. and almost classic opposite.

    But Seb is one of “ours” a good guy.

    Maybe he’s trying to trail a red herring between you, Michael (whom Ted reproved the other day, -Michael apologised and Ted thanked him) and Ted.

  7. @SebastienZorn

    What are you talking about? You don’t know what you’re talking about. Explain what the hell you’re getting at. I have just noticed this and need an explanation. I was not even on this thread.

    @Michael You and Felix seem to have a talent for getting on Ted’s last nerve, I’ve noticed. Peloni is unflappable as usual. I’m somewhere in between.

  8. Procrastination is never a winning policy for it gives the opponent the opportunity to regroup and take the initiative and attack. Israel has been caught time and again on the back foot and is following conflict after conflict the US policy of never defeating thoroughly the enemy once and for all. Israel cannot afford this kind of insanity.

  9. @Adam
    @Reader
    It seems that the West is currently intent upon buying the guns/rope themselves and shooting themselves/hanging themselves without the need of involving, sadly enough. Hopefully this will change at some point, but I still think that this point is nowhere in sight at the moment.

  10. @Michael

    He [Pipes] has his own, often unique, views;

    Yes, such as stating his continued support for the TSS one week after the Simchat Torah massacre, albeit he stated it would have to wait til after the war. His challenged views also include being a Never Trumper though he has since come out and stated that he was pleased with Trump’s policies despite the fact that he still thinks he is not qualified to be president. I would say that I was surprised, but sadly that would not be true. Just FYI

    Also, India has been a unique character with regards to its relationship with the East and the West over the years. It is not entirely aligned with anybody as a truly independent nation should be, and whereas this has its advantages, it also gains them a perception of being an unreliable partner, but this should be qualified to the limit that it actually fills Indian needs. Among its needs is in the area of agriculture and defense which it is has been cooperating with Israel in recent years, and which also has the possibility of being expanded. That being stated, I agree with Sebastien’s well made observation that Israel needs to be focus on reinvigorating its own MIC and filling its own defensive needs as soon and as best as she can. It was quite telling that she did not even have the capacity to arm her own army with rifles at the outset of this war.

  11. @Adam Dalgliesh

    Lenin didn’t say that “the capitalists of the West would sell him the guns that he would use to destroy them”.

    There is a quotation (different versions of it) of unknown origin by Lenin which states (from memory) that “If we were to announce that we are going to hang all the capitalists, the capitalists would line up to sell us the rope (or to compete for the sales contract for the rope)”.

    He didn’t say anything about any guns and he wasn’t boasting.

  12. Sebastien,

    Let me rearrange your list of top arms exporters:

    U.S.: 38.6%
    Major US Allies: 24.0%
    Russia & China: 23.2%
    All Other: 14.2%

    The best option for Israel, of course, would be for Israel to be as powerful as the US. The next best option, would be for the US to be a reliable ally (which it does not appear to be, under Biden). I doubt that Putin and Xi want to be seen much in public with Israeli leaders, so Israel needs to keep the Samson option viable.

    India has been a close Russian ally since 1962, when China invaded her. I don’t think she is a staff one can lean on, at the moment.

  13. EvRe,

    Daniel Pipes is on Israel’s side. He has his own, often unique, views; but he is a Zionist through and through. His best credentials are that the Leftist and Islamist radicals absolutely hate him, and Turkey’s Muslim Brotherhood President Erdogan personally despises him.

  14. @Israel770etc.

    Russia, India discussing joint production of aircraft weapons -RIA news agency
    Reuters
    November 13, 20238:22 PM ESTUpdated 20 days ago

    https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/russia-india-discussing-joint-production-aircraft-weapons-ria-news-agency-2023-11-14/

    The World’s biggest Arms exporters

    https://www.statista.com/chart/18417/global-weapons-exports/

    U.S. 38.6%
    Russia 18.6 percent
    France 10.7 percent
    China 4.6 percent
    Germany 4.5 percent
    Italy 3.1 percent
    U.K. 2.9 percent
    S. Korea 2.8 percent

    Frenemies all. The only country that didn’t vote against Israel every time in the U.N. was the U.S.

    Israel needs to manufacture her own stuff and keep the patents for Israeli inventions.

  15. excellent article, we need new leaders, in particular netanyahu has to go, his entire theory of life is that he can charm everyone, his stated belief that he has the usa in his back pocket has been proven wrong, wrong,wrong. we need to make our own weapons and buy others from somebody other than the us and a.

  16. This article from Daniel Pipes is depressing. No wonder the comments reflect the emotional pain of watching your country torn asunder by forces both from inside and from outside of the land.

    Jews will always argue and present differing opinions, but this can also be strength for a nation. The US government is at present a very hurtful ally to Israel, and puts Israel in mortal danger by prioritizing support for Iranian hegemony in the Middle East at Israel’s expense.

    This is why I think Israeli military independence from the US government will benefit Israel. Israel has won wars without US governmental military aid, and can do so again.

    What Israel cannot afford is to stop short of military victory against Hamas, however long that takes. Israel may have to win despite Washington’s warnings and lack of “credit.” Israel has no choice. To allow Hamas any kind of win would constitute a welcome mat to all of Israel’s enemies.

    The Biden Administration from the beginning wanted Netanyahu defeated. But that should not be up to Washington DC. The Israeli people will decide his political fate.

    While it is depressing to think that Israelis are backing away from complete destruction of Hamas as a war goal, I find it difficult to believe that a majority of Israelis really are ready to give up and give in to Hamas.

    Yes the progressives in the defense and security establishment have made a mess of Israel’s national security, and I think that needs to be brought out, and clarified for all the Israeli people to see. All who contributed through their progressive vision to the destruction of the homeland instead of its security need to pay a price.

    To whatever degree Netanyahu bought into the conceptzia, that too must be faced and his reasons for it need to be evaluated, because he has otherwise been focused on protecting the national security for Israelis. (Maybe I am naive in this opinion, living in the US and not in Israel, and so not exposed to Israeli media 24/7).

    We all want Israel to survive and become stronger as a result of this war, not to go limping into the sunset hand in hand with a suicidal US government. Sometimes friends have to tell friends the truth, even when it is painful. It is time for Israel to tell the US government the painful truth that Israel can manage without her military help. Biden has earned it, by the way. There are other countries with conservative leaders that Israel can turn to and there are other countries with weapons for sale that Israel can turn to. Perhaps Israel can form a new alliance with conservative governments around the world. That might shake them up in DC!

  17. Ted,

    I’m sorry I blew up at you at 10:45 AM. You didn’t deserve that. I keep praying for the hostages, and for success and safety for the IDF.

  18. I do not recall you being critical of the US regarding its treatment of Israel.

    You’re damned right, Ted! ISRAEL IS AT WAR!!! This is not the time to go around criticizing the IDF, the Israeli government, Israel’s closest allies and everything else you and others here have been trashing here, while the Bibas family and others are still suffering under horriffic conditions. This is a time to SUPPORT all the above and let the rest lie.

  19. @Michael You and Felix seem to have a talent for getting on Ted’s last nerve, I’ve noticed. Peloni is unflappable as usual. I’m somewhere in between.

  20. @Michael

    I said that if Netanyahu doesn’t tell Traitor Joe to “go f*ck himself”, he will be the only leader in recent world history not to do so.

    Great to hear it. This is not something which I recall you stating previously either. And again, I am not Manchurian.

  21. @Michael

    I think it’s becoming clear, that opposing Hamas means opposing Qatar and Turkey.

    Wrong. Opposing Hamas means opposing Iran, who is supported by the US who also supports Qatar who provided Hamas a safe harbor at the behest of the US. The puzzle is complicated, but it is also quite simple. The US is backing all of Israel’s most serious enemies, and is pressuring Israel to submit to conditions which kills Jews to benefit Iran. This is nothing new, even as it is intolerable to accept, and yet you still see the US as Israel’s ally.

    One thing more to consider. In 1973, Israel submitted to US demands and the result was the Yom Kippur war. This was based on a strategy to move Egypt away from Russia and towards the US. The greater game for the US was related to their ongoing Cold War strategy to move a major player from the Soviet’s camp into the camp of the US while forcing Israel to exert an absurd degree of self restraint which cost her dearly.

    In the current moves by the US to empower Iran with terrorist vassal states and a full membership in the nuclear club, there is no greater strategy for which Israel is being sacrificed. Iran is as much America’s enemy as they are Israel’s. So supporting Iran is contrary to any stratagem which even benefits US interests while the sacrifice Israel is being forced to accept is constantly rising to new heights of absurdity. Israel needs to find a way to address the Stockholm syndrome relationship which has developed between herself and the US and focusing upon strengthening her ties with the rising powers in the East would not be a bad place to start. If nothing else, it might demonstrate Israel’s commitment to its own survival and draw the US to do the same, something which neither nation has done in a very long time, for which October 7 was the result.

    Is it really your position that Israel should just buck up, be held in restraint, accept the terrorist nation being forced upon her as well as a nuclear Iran? If so, I would suggest that your glasses are so well tinted with love of the US as to blind you to the fact that their goal is to destroy Israel. I am personally quite found of the US for many reasons, but my fondness for her does not blind me to the destruction which they intend for Israel and the Jewish people. I hope someday you could say the same.

  22. I said what I wanted and you ignored it and said I wanted something else. I do not recall you being critical of the US regarding its treatment of Israel. You essentially argue “Take it or leave it.”
    I want the US to recognize and accept what we want rather than to impose what it wants on us. We have never called for a “clean break with the US”. We want the US to support us in what we want.
    We want a partnership of equals. I know that we are not equal in many ways just as a wife is not equal to her husband in size of strength. Nevertheless the wife can demand equlity.
    It is Israel whose blood is being spentfollowing American dictate regarding the Palestinians in general and specifically in the Gaza War. It is Israel who should decide how to prosecute the war and what is to happen on the day after..
    \
    Accordingly the US should take a back seat in how we should conduct ouselves. In this respect, their interests are not equal to ours. The US should take its boot off our neck. It should acknowledge that we have more at risk in the conflict than they do.

  23. Ted

    You find me “subversive”? Is that a response to my (correctly) saying Peloni every day more resembles a Manchurian Candidate? Imperfect as it may be, the US and Israel have a partnership; and it is not I who keep suggesting that Israel betray that partnership and go seeking other lovers?

    You entirely mischaracterize me, insinuating that I support a two-state solution, which I unequivocally do not — unless Israel itself chooses that course. Some poison has gotten into you, and I have no idea what it is; but it is very toxic.

    To put the record straight, I support faithfulness in dealing. If you want to stay an ally of the US, fine. If you want a divorce, fine. Just don’t go around saying my country is unfaithful, when it is you that is taking your love to town. I hate dishonesty.

    It’s pretty obvious that both you and Peloni want Israel to partner with some other power. Very well, then! I cannot stop you. There are some problems with this, however:

    1. Your own government is not with you. As fragmented as the knesset is, there is not a majority that wants a clean break with the US. In international affairs, the US and Israel nearly always represent their own diplomatic bloc, together with little states like Micronesia. If Israel wanted to convince, say, Russia or China, that they really want to be partners with them, they have a pathetically bad history of friendship.

    2. Choose your partner. Have you noticed that ALL the potential alternatives to your current “bride” are totalitarian regimes? Do you honestly think Putin, Xi, the Ayatollah or Kim Jong Un would treat Israel better than they do their own people? Where is your head in this!!

    I think you’re using projection, in calling me “subversive”. You speak openly, about wanting to overthrow friendly governments.; I don’t. I have objected, when large countries have attacked their neighbors. When Israel’s 23 Islamic neighbors have ganged up on her, I have come to her defense. I wholeheartedly support Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel US President of all time; yet you call me a subversive. Where the hell (literally) does that kind of thinking come from?

    BTW. You talk about “my thesis” that Israel should do whatever Biden says. Have I said that? I said that if Netanyahu doesn’t tell Traitor Joe to “go f*ck himself”, he will be the only leader in recent world history not to do so.

    Please be honest!

  24. @Michael.
    I find you to be very subversive. Your thesis is that the US is Israel’s best friend so Israel has to do their bidding. Therein lies the problem. The US does not have Israel’s best interests at heart. It exploits Israel to suit its own interests.
    What we want is a partnership rather than a servitude. A partnership should be beneficial to both sides. The US does not have our interests at heart when she pushes for a TSS and when she protects the Palestinians. The US is not capable of delivering peace. No one is. The TSS would exacerbate the situation not ameliorate it. The US never explains how the TSS will lead to peace. They don’t care about the terrorism of the Palestinians or their goal to replace Israel. They don’t care. They just want to control Israel.

    This conceptia is imposed on Israel by the US. The best way to achieve peace is to empty Gaza of Gazans and allow Israel to annex it. The TSS is not the answer. It cannot achieve peace.

  25. @Adam
    You are right about the profit motive but it didn’t displace the conceptia. The latter born out of Oslo reqauired that we work toward the autonomy of the Palestinians. But where is it written that the responsibility is ours? Its not. Its up to the Palestinians to show they are capable of managing their autonomy. Unfortunately the conceptia says its in our best interest to help them.

  26. Sebastien,

    https://imgs.search.brave.com/_F0HLKQAXdUvv5eUpDcWCTeOUj-0RV0B77_n_aqtWpM/rs:fit:500:0:0/g:ce/aHR0cHM6Ly9pLnBp/bmltZy5jb20vb3Jp/Z2luYWxzLzZlL2Yx/LzgxLzZlZjE4MTYx/MmFjNWZkOTFhNzI2/NWQ0NmQ2MDVjYmFi/LmpwZw

    Close.

    Peloni

    Should Israel join the “Commonwealth of Independent States”, or go full bore and join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization? Or maybe a side deal with North Korea, competing with the Russians for artillery shells? Maybe Modi will help Israel — a rather distant possibility, but possible. Do you think he’s in a mood to cross the US?

    I think it’s becoming clear, that opposing Hamas means opposing Qatar and Turkey. Have you considered how they fit in with things?

  27. Ironically, everything changed after October 7 except Israel’s dependence upon the USA, which was actually the cause of the policy failures leading to October 7, and which are now leading Israel again to pretend that everything did not change on October 7. Ignoring the greater interests of the state is a dangerous task to perform, like living with a terrorist entity within the state which is simultaneously trying to implode the nation and slaughter the people in it, as was the the case under the old conception.

    The old Conception was based upon the belief that Israel could not survive without acting in accord with the desires of the Great Power USA. It required tolerance for the fact that the US has been acting to support existential threats within Israel as well as without, just as it required Israel to surrender its foreign policy as well as its domestic policy to the demands of the US.

    The New Conception must be something different. Israel must find a way to act independently of the USA or it will lead to the nation’s destruction while failing to pursue a Conception which did not parallel the follies of the old one.

  28. Lenin once boasted that the capitalists of the West would sell him the guns that he would use to destroy them. This boast was not fullfilled for Lenin and his successors in the Soviet Union, until World War II when the Soviets received massive arms shipments from the West, mainly the United States .

    When the Oslo accords were first signed, Israel transferred large quantities of arms to the PLO, and even lobbied Congress to supply them to the so-called “Palestinian Authority.” I wonder whether there were any Israeli arms dealers who received a cut of the profits.

  29. There was a rational motive behind the policy of supplying the Arabs of Gaza, Judea and Samaria with goods, and importing workers from the “territories” into Israel. But it had nothing to do with national security. Rather these policies were enormously profitable to certain Israeli business interests. Israeli producers of goods sold their wares to the “Palestinians” at substantial profits. Israeli importers acted as middlemen for goods imported for the purchase of the “Palestinians.” But the Israeli businesses that profited most were the importers of cheap labor from the “territories.” They could pay these laborers less than if they employed Israeli citizens for these jobs. And even when they employed Israeli citizens, they were Israeli Arabs whose loyalty to the state was dubious. Most Israeli Jews feel themselves to be “above” manual labor.

    While the “concepzia” severely compromised Israel’s national security, it has made lots of shekels for some very influential Israeli businessmen, This, I believe, is the true motive behind Israel’s appeasement “consepzia,” not pure idiocy.

  30. Oh danny boy the pipes the pipes are calling …but don’t listen.
    Historically Pipes presents biased data and always gets the conclusion wrong.
    What’s happening on the ground is all you have to know. The IDF is
    doing their job – that’s all that counts. Rhetoric does not win wars –
    Carry on and don’t make stupid (emotional) errors again – Victory and only Victory is the goal.

  31. I have been asked who caused the riots and the killing in L. A. My answer has been direct and simple. Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame

    Dan Quayle

  32. Israel has been run politically by the Left since 1948 or by every institution becoming Leftist.

    When will we see change? One clue will be when all Jews in Israel, without a serious criminal record, are allowed to have a military rifle at home and plenty of ammo. Right now only 2% of non IDF Jews have guns and they have a pistol with 100 rounds. That is a country that is not remotely serious about the threat it faces and there is no change on the horizon.

    The Left Wing Extremists who run the IDF were warned hundreds of times and very specifically about what Hamas was up to and they did nothing. They were too busy defending Israel’s utterly corrupt judicial system that exists only to thwart the will of the people in electing non Leftist politicians when they pass needed reforms and new laws.

    So, don’t blame Netanyahu. This is the Israeli Left’s doing and that should be pointed out repeatedly until there is change.

    Hamas watched all this division caused by the Israeli Left and made it work for them. The Israeli Left has learned absolutely nothing as they hate and fear their own people.