The Israel – Hamas War: an interim assessment


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What seems to be forgotten by many is that the Israel Hamas war started with a slaughter of civilians inside Israel on 7 October 2023. Civilians, women, children, men, old, young, middle aged were ruthlessly killed, often tortured before being killed.



Why? Because according to Hamas doctrine, every Israeli child, woman and man is a potential soldier so should be eliminated a first sight. That is what why Hamas fighters went into the private homes of Israelis and shot at every car on the road they encountered.

An organised response of the Israeli authorities took a long time. It was a holiday, and it was shabbat, in general the military, police and security forces work at minimum staffing at these times to grant as much as possible personnel to enjoy the holiday.

It was reported that, on the evening before the Hamas incursion, the heads of Shin Bet and Israeli Military Intelligence had an emergency meeting with the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces as there were indications that something was going to happen. They decided to not raise the emergency level at that moment. In hindsight this was a costly mistake that led to more than 1,400 Israelis killed.


Hamas leadership – a part of the problem

Hamas itself had not expected the ‘success’ of their operation. At least according to Mousa Abu Marzuk it was. Marzuk said that “If Hamas leaders had known that the Israeli was so weak, they could have sent thousands of resistance fighters to Tel Aviv.” Abu Marzuk also said that the tunnels are for Hamas and that the safety of the citizens is the task of the United Nations and Israel.

Warmongering language is still coming from Hamas leaders who are safely hiding in Lebanon or Qatar. The Hamas leaders are responding like being drunk with success. Ghazi Hamad said, from Lebanon, that Hamas will be executing operations like al-Aqsa Flood ‘time and again until Israel is annihilated.’ He went on that ‘we are victims. Everything we do is justified.’ It is the same Hamad who had said that Hamas did not kill a single civilian on 7 October.

Khaled Mashal took it a step further. He said that ‘October 7 paved a wide highway towards the removal of Israel.” Mashal also said that he wanted Islamic scholars to issue a fatwa in support of Hamas: ‘Today, the Islamic scholars should issue a fatwa, incite the Islamic nation, take action, and exert pressure on the regimes and rulers to stop the massacre and, send aid, and open the Rafah border crossing.’ He expects Russia and China to exert pressure in support of Hamas.

Ismail Haniyeh said from the comfort of his office in Doha on 26 October: “I have said this before, and I say it time again: The blood of the women, children, and elderly… I am not saying that this blood is calling for your [help]. We are the ones who need this blood, so it awakens within us the revolutionary spirit, so it awakens within us resolve, so it awakens within us the spirit of challenge, and [pushes us]to move forward.”

Not one of the Hamas leaders regrets the actions of 7 October, but that is not expected. What Hamas needs is a ceasefire, to get some of its leaders that stayed behind, out of the country. In 2009 it was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who said that Hamas was hiding under the domes of mosques. That the Hamas leaders fled to the Sinai in ambulances, leaving their people behind to get slaughtered. That is happening now again.

Arab journalists see the problem that is Hamas

These facts do not get unnoticed in the Arab world. Saudi journalist Abdulaziz al-Khamis called it as he sees it:  the destruction of Gaza ‘was caused by the stupidity of Hamas, their leaders, and their policy.’ ‘This is an Iranian – Israeli war whose victims are the children of Gaza,’ ‘Hamas is just a tool.’

Other observations from al-Khamis included: ‘If the Hamas leaders were real men, and if they had a modicum of humanity, they would not use their women and children as fuel for a war in which they themselves are mere tools.’ ‘In addition, they entered the kibbutzim and rural areas, captured old ladies and (young) women, slaughtered people, burned bodies, and raped (women), and they call this “Al-Aqsa Flood?” Al-Aqsa is too pure and honorable to be used in such operations.’

In Egypt, journalist Hesham al-Naggar wrote “The Palestinian Hamas movement did not fail in management and governance the way [other]branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab countries failed. However, it suffered from stupidity and disconnection from reality, an affliction shared by all other jihadist groups when they wage their battles but ignore the question of the legitimacy or significance of this fighting.”

Al-Naggar notes that the action of Hamas on 7 October was close to that of al-Qa’ida on 9/11 and has prompted Israel to start and continue its counter attack until Hamas will be eliminated.

‘Hamas was praised for the courage and bravery of the perpetrators of its great military operation’ al-Naggar writes, but adds that this brings Hamas closer, ‘in terms of its decision-making and conduct, to the classic jihadi fighters, who are not remotely interested in the suffering they cause to peoples and the devastation that they bring to the regions and countries they themselves control, or co-rule.’

“As is typical of the jihadists, Hamas did not invest in infrastructure, rehabilitation or building shelters for the residents, and at the same time made clear its intention to carry out plans that would lead to retaliation and the destruction of everything that had been built.” Hamas does care about consequences and will keep pushing ill-advised military adventures, ‘for it understands that the burden of reconstruction will be borne by Arab countries, international organizations and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.’

These journalists who are allowed to publish and speak their views are but a few in the Arab world. In Saudi Arabia crown prince and prime-minister Mohamed bin Salman tasked scholars to Islamically inform the population that citizens  should stop discussing Gaza. ‘Leaders know the issue better than you’ and ‘you are not qualified and have nothing to offer.’

The West has a Problem

The first pro-Gaza pro-Hamas demonstrations in the West were on 8 October where hundreds of Islamists chanted in support of Hamas. In the days following the number of demonstrations in western cities grew. Especially after Israeli retaliation bombings started. Most of the demonstrations were concocted by the pro-Gaza pro-Hamas organisations, who have a wide network in Europe. They were joined by pro-Iran pro-Hizballah organisations and leftist groups (including left leaning Christian and Jewish groups.) It was what Khalid Mashal said: ‘We have friends among the Christians, even among the Jews, as well as the global left. We have friends in the world.’

In the U.S. many student organisations who organized pro-Hamas pro-Gaza marches are linked to the extreme left and the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.  Many of the demonstrations turned into anti-Jewish shouting marches which proclaimed the Hamas chant ‘from the river to the sea Palestine will be free’, which is now becoming a banned slogan in many countries. In Denmark Arabic chants declared ‘we are the men of Mohammed Deif.’

Most of the demonstrators take all the information coming out of Gaza for granted. They see videos and statements and accept it for truth on the other hand they totally distrust the statements from the Israeli side. It is interesting that everything the Ministry of Health in Gaza tells is taken for the truth, hook, line and sinker, while it run by Hamas and as such is a party in the conflict. I am sure large number of civilians especially women and children are being killed in the bombings but is all the information shared on social media that upsets many, actually what we believe it is?

It is easy to imagine that a homemade rocket from a waterpipe fired by Hamas fails and drops on the head of civilians. It has been reported that up to 30 percent of Hamas and PIJ rockets misfire and land inside Gaza. It has also been reported that Hamas fighters shoot on people who try to flee south. Instead of waiting some time before judging, we run with our emotions, and know for sure that it must have been the Israelis. This mistake is not only made in the Arab and Muslim countries but even by the Western media (New York Times, Wall Street Journal), the UN and even government leaders like Justin Trudeau of Canada.

They all strongly condemned the Israeli aerial bombing of al-Ahli Arab Hospital. The Ministry of Health held a press conference stating that at least 500 persons were killed. The next morning showed that it was not an aerial bomb, but a small rocket fired from inside Gaza. It also showed that contrary to reports that buildings were scattered all the buildings were still there. It shows one more time that the fog of war is fought in the press and on social media.

Hamas knows that inciting the Arab street is good for the cause, and during war everything is permitted. Although the information on the hospital attack was false, at that moment it was clear that Hamas had won the influence and information war. The Arab street is enraged and reacted emotional. Nobody, remembers the more than 1,400 deaths of 7 October.

Inconvenient truths

It was Mahmoud Abbas who already stated in the 2009 that Hamas was using mosques as cover. Earlier Israeli incursions have proven that mosques were used by Hamas to stash weapons and ammunitions. Mosques were also used as entrees for tunnels. Hamas also used ambulances to transport fighters and its leaders to safety. So, why is it so difficult to accept that Hamas might use hospitals and schools for its protection?

Children and the sick are the weakest in society who need protection and Hamas shows clearly by bringing them into danger that they really don’t care about their own people. It is also clear from the recent statements of its leader, who are safely in their mansions abroad. That does not mean that I agree with leveling hospitals or schools, but the current Israeli approach is to take care once and for all with Hamas, whatever it takes.

Contrary to other wars and conflicts Israel still informs hospitals that they should evacuate because they might become a target soon. Did that ever happen in Ukraine, the DRC, Bosnia or Rwanda?

Israeli policy paper on how to move ahead in Gaza

An Israeli government policy paper dated 13 October 2023 was leaked to the media. The paper written and distributed by the Ministry of Intelligence show that the thinking within Israel’s security apparatus is to use the attack of 7 October to empty Gaza and push the people to Sinai in Egypt.

Presented as ‘alternative C’ this alternative, the resettlement of the civilian population, is seen as yielding positive and long-term strategic results for Israel and as a workable alternative. The document states that ‘determination of the political echelon is required in the face of international pressure with an emphasis on harnessing the US and other pro-Israeli countries to the move.’

The days following the release of this paper Israeli responses are all in line with the goals of the policy paper and it looks that the resettlement is becoming an overt political goal of Israel, next to eliminating Hamas. Some commentators mentioned that in the Middle East one does business  only with the powerful, and Israel must jump on this opportunity to project power. It will change the Middle East for generations.


The current war between Israel and Hamas will have consequences far outside Israel, the Palestinian territories and the neighboring countries. In Israel itself some of the cabinet members are showing their real emotions in posts on social media, that are not only distasteful but show they are cheerleaders for death and destruction.

The attacks on and killings of unarmed civilians in the West Bank by armed radical Jewish fanatics show that they are part of the problem as much as Hamas is. Like Hamas wants to eradicate the Jewish state these settlers want to eradicate Palestinians. It is not a one sides problem, both sides created the situation where we are right now.

The consequences of the crisis within Western culture are clear. The weak leadership in the U.S. and the even weaker European Union has given the opportunity to Russia, China and the developing world to get out from under the Western dictate. Israel is firmly supported by the Western bloc, but the rest of the world is firmly in the camp of the Palestinians, even without the knowledge that Hamas is not the same as the Palestinians.

Within the West the mediocre media has shown that it is less free than one would expect, and that the media has become an integral part of government influence operations. Also, (formerly) renowned media outlets don’t check their information and just put unverified information as established facts in their papers or online websites. When they are corrected, they are often to full of themselves to even acknowledge that they are wrong, undermining journalism as a whole.

A culture war within the West is brewing. Many pro-Hamas pro-Gaza demonstrations in Western capitals were organized by the Hamas infrastructure in the West. These demonstrations were not only joined by the useful leftwing radicals but also by many leftwing students, who seem to have no problem chanting antisemitic, genocidal and pro-Jihadi slogans.

It was a rude awakening for the Jewish communities in these countries as well as for the political elite, who let this happen. The politics of allowing millions of Muslim refugees from countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Libya combined with economic opportunists from Pakistan, with a backward way of thinking into a progressive secular society is asking for problems.

These problems are now coming out in full force, but still the useful idiots within the progressive liberal site don’t see it. Hamas, was able to strengthen its infrastructure in Europe by getting many young and well-educated activists Palestinians out of the semi-permanent Yarmuk Camp into Europe. These refugees, used the opportunity to become citizens of European countries, and are now the driving force behind the Hamas infrastructure in Europe.

The Western governments have been stunned by the outrage and the outburst of hate against Jews that they really don’t know to act and reign in this hate, then to forbid the use of the Palestinian flag in demonstrations (in the UK), the use of the slogan ‘from the river to the sea Palestine will be free’ led other countries to ban demonstrations (Austria) and in Germany everything linked to Hamas has been banned.

Also in Germany, it is now acknowledged that massive influx of Muslims has not been a success, as many have not been assimilated in German society, the way it was hoped for. Prior to coming to Germany many Syrians had become more religious and they arrived in a Germany where many Muslims, including a large part of Turkish Muslims, were becoming more religious. The current outbursts of antisemitism has urged the German government to enforce a more stringent deportation policy.

In the Middle East countries with a strong Muslim Brotherhood presence like Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia and Libya were quick to go on the streets and first cheer the Hamas operation and then to vent their anger against Israel when retaliationary bombing in Gaza started. In most of the Arab countries the streets exploded after seeing the bombing of Gaza, but the governments reacted measured. Behind the scenes some Arab governments support the elimination of Hamas.

For now, the Arab capitals have to operate with caution as the emotions on the street rule. In the short run winners are Iran, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar not only houses the leadership of Hamas, but it also used al-Jazeera to stir up the Arab street to vent its support for Hamas. When bombs explode in Doha that potentially kill Ismail Haniyeh or Khalid Meshaal it will show a clear weakness in Doha’s security.

The same goes for Iran. Iran trained, funded, armed and supported Hamas with intelligence. The Iranian regime is ecstatic about the Hamas attack but is already backtracking. The fact that Hizballah stays within its boundaries of engagement with Israel, is a sign that Iran received a clear warning from the U.S. and Israel, that there will be retaliatory attacks directed against Iran if Hizballah enters the fighting with Israel.

Recently Keyhan Newspaper, which is seen as the mouthpiece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated ‘Iran does not go to war with others for any nation’. This is the strongest indication till now that Iran will stay out militarily from the Israel-Hamas war. That does not mean that Iran will not deliver arms, training and guidance to its proxies. For Iran to enter the war it must have a casus belli that will be a direct attack on Iranian soil by Israel or the US.

It is difficult not to see that the civilian population will be crushed in this war. They might lose everything they have, while the leadership of Hamas has offered them for their jihadi fantasies of eradicating Israel. Iran and Qatar should pay a price for this and the aftermath of this war, might be totally different than we expected, but it will be impossible if radical forces within the Muslim world, Palestinians and Israel are still having a sizeable influence, and can create havoc.

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