Symbiotic atrocities

Israel knew Hamas’ battle plan for the October 7 terrorist attack more than a year before it happened; this is shown by documents, emails and interviews obtained by Israel’s Channel 12 and then the Guardian1  and the New York Times2. However, Israeli intelligence dismissed the plan as aspirational, considering it too difficult for Hamas to carry out. The document did not set a date for the attack, but described an assault designed to overwhelm fortifications around the Gaza Strip, take over Israeli kibbutzim and storm key military bases, including a divisional headquarters. Hamas followed the blueprint, codenamed ‘Jericho Wall’, with precision: a barrage of rockets launched at the outset of the attack, knocking out security cameras, with gunmen moving into Israel in large numbers by paragliders, motorcycles, vehicles and on foot2.

On the surface, this dismissing of the plan as beyond Hamas’ capability is understandable given the much smaller previous attacks. However, months before the attacks, a veteran analyst with Israel’s signals intelligence agency, warned that Hamas had conducted an intense, day-long training exercise that mimicked what was outlined in the plan obtained by Israel. Despite this, her analysis was dismissed2. Not only was an intelligence analysis dismissed, but Israeli civilians in the communities next to Gaza heard Hamas training; the army disregarded their warnings too, and cut surveillance capabilities. Even the army’s spotters detected suspicious activity, but their superiors claimed it was for farm-work3. This was despite an intercepted message from Hamas after one of the training exercises which stated: “We have completed the murder of all of those on the kibbutz”1. It is not known if any intelligence briefing about this plan was provided to Prime Minister Netanyahu2.

This Hamas attack was carried out by up to 1,000 gunmen, and killed about 1,200 Israelis, both civilians and armed forces personnel, as well as some foreign workers1,2. It was initially thought that 1,400 people had been killed in the raid, but that was revised down because some of the unidentified bodies turned out to be Hamas gunmen4. In addition to the those killed by Hamas, it is estimated that about 240 people were taken hostage by the gunmen 5.

These October 7th attacks by Hamas precipitated an Israeli response, and that has been even more terrible than the Hamas attacks, with initial retaliatory strikes by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Video has surfaced of a residential building and the Al-Sousi Mosque in Gaza City being destroyed. By October 9th, the IAF had struck 130 targets and the IDF had cut off access to the territory, preventing fuel and food from entering. By October 13th, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) called for all residents of Gaza City to evacuate and move to the southern part of the Gaza strip for their protection, in preparation for the ground invasion by the IDF6.

By October 15th, according to Human Rights Watch “People are being forced to drink brackish, untreated water because the price of bottled water has gone up beyond what most people can afford. “Food is short, there is no electricity. Even emergency generators that hospitals have, are running low on fuel, and supplies are dwindling”6. During the night of October 17th, Israeli air raids killed over 70 people, and by October 23rdover 5,000 Palestinians had been killed6. By October 28th, the ground invasion had expanded. On November 1st, Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp, the most populous refugee camp in the region, was hit by a second airstrike, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. On the night of November 5th, the IAF struck some 450 targets, and killed several Hamas terrorists. By this time over 10,000 people had died in Gaza6. On November 9th Israel started implementing four hour pauses and that a second humanitarian corridor would be opened but, the following day, fighting around Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza effectively destroyed its functioning as a hospital. On November 15th the first fuel truck entered Gaza since the blockade began. Five days later more than two dozen premature low-birthweight babies were evacuated to Egypt for specialised care6.

On November 22, Israel approved a deal to allow for the exchange of hostages. The Israelis will try to tell you that those Palestinians in Israeli gaols are not hostages, but prisoners. However, Israel imprisons people under ‘administrative detention’ indefinitely, and without presenting any evidence against them. Not only that, but the person imprisoned is not told why they are being imprisoned. At the time of the murderous Hamas attack on October 7th, the number of people in administrative detention was at 1,300. It is now at about 2,8007. While this timeline above is the tip of a very large iceberg of events, much more can be found on Wikipedia8.

When the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza reports the number of dead in this invasion, the Israelis usually state that they are exaggerated. The Health Ministry not only gives the number of dead, but gives a breakdown of the number of women, children and the elderly who have been killed. It also gives figures for the injured and the missing. Health Ministry officials say deaths are recorded by medical professionals before being passed on to them and the figures only include people recorded dead in hospital and do not distinguish between military and civilian dead. Because they do not take into account those who have died at the scene of blasts, whose bodies have not been found, or have been buried immediately, the figures of the dead may be an undercount. This was amplified by the Biden administration last week, when Barbara Leaf, assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs said the death toll was likely to be greater than the numbers being reported9. The estimates of the number of Palestinian dead since the October 7th attack range from about 17,00010  to 18,200 (as at December 12), 70% of which were women and children11.

Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres said, in part, “I have condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel. Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians – or the launching of rockets against civilian targets. All hostages must be treated humanely and released immediately and without conditions. … It is important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing. But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”12. Although this is stating the bleeding obvious, it was the cause of much anger from Netanyahu’s government.

The Germans called the taking of land by one people from another for the resources of that land ‘lebensraum’. It was a familiar term in the 1930s, but long before the Nazis used it, many Germans looked to eastern Europe as the natural source of their ‘lebensraum’. As long ago as the Middle Ages, perceived overpopulation in the German states had led to a steady colonisation by Germanic peoples of parts of eastern Europe. By the First World War, however, scholars and the public alike began to view eastern Europe as a region whose vast natural resources were wasted on racially “inferior” peoples like Slavs and Jews, whom they called untermenschen13. In this respect, it is ironic that Jewish settlers, with government assistance, have “devoured” Palestinian lands for ‘lebensraum’. 

Israeli scholar Adir Cohen, analysed about 1700 Hebrew-language children’s books published in Israel between 1967 and 1985, and found that almost a third of them (520) contained humiliating, negative descriptions of the Palestinians. 66% of these 520 books refer to Arabs as violent; 52 percent as evil; 37 percent as liars; 31 percent as greedy; 28 percent as two-faced and 27 percent as traitors. Such persistent negative descriptions dehumanised Palestinians in the eyes of generations of Israelis, established them as dangerous ‘others’, and paved the way for a recent video produced by the state broadcaster in which children celebrate the genocide of Palestinians. Many in Israel look upon Palestinians as subhuman or inferior; just as the Slavs and Jews were referred to in the 1930s: as ‘untermenschen’14. More irony.

Why is this happening now? When the October 7th massacre occurred, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial on numerous corruption (fraud, bribery, breach of trust) charges was suspended because of an emergency order from the Justice Minister. In true Trump fashion, Netanyahu claims to be the victim of a politically orchestrated “witch-hunt” by rivals and the media to remove him from office15. Netanyahu’s trial recommenced on December 4th and, if convicted, he runs the risk of up to 10 years in gaol. In an interesting sidelight, Netanyahu is charged with accepting lavish gifts from prominent Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire businessman (and Israeli citizen) James Packer in return for political favours16. Netanyahu’s government passed a law to limit the supreme court’s ability to rein in government actions; part of a broader proposal by his  government to strengthen the power of the country’s executive branch of government17. In addition, wars help hide political scandals such as Netanyahu faces in court, by sidelining popular anger at his government’s numerous failings. The massive protests against Netanyahu’s authoritarian attempts to weaken the courts dwindled after the October 7 attack, but they may be about to recommence18.

What many don’t seem to realise is that Netanyahu has had a longstanding policy of bolstering Hamas’ rule in Gaza including encouraging Qatar to fund them. However, this has been largely ignored by the international media. This policy is seen by some as driving a wedge between Gaza (Hamas) and the West Bank (Palestinian Authority) as a way of decreasing the likelihood of a two-state solution by thus dividing Palestinians. It is a typical divide and rule ploy. Netanyahu even admitted this as far back as December 2012, when he told prominent Israeli journalist, Dan Margalit, that it was important to keep Hamas strong, as a counterweight to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Indeed, it was in 2015 when Netanyahu’s current finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, summed up the strategy by stating, “The Palestinian Authority is a burden. Hamas is an asset”18.

Cartoonist Glen LeLievre expressed it best when he drew a hand operated rotary mincer, with bombs going into the top, and terrorists coming out the other end19. The invasion of Gaza will end up being a recruiting tool for Hamas. It is also in Netanyahu’s interests to keep the Israeli nation in a state of unease at the possibility of appalling attacks like that of October 7, happening again. War provides more temptation for left wing supporters to defect to the incumbent right wing government than for a right wing supporter to defect to an incumbent left wing government20.

Perhaps the most disgusting thing to come out of this invasion of Gaza is a new abbreviation: WCNSF. It stands for ‘wounded child, no surviving family’. I thought about that today as I had one of my grandsons sitting on my lap counting his fingers and toes. The opprobrium heaped on these malevolent, murderous bastards of Hamas and the IDF will never be enough. They should face trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity, but we all know they won’t.




  • Jim says:

    The whole situation is basically a disaster for all concerned. The problems go way back. A good introduction to the situation in the area is given in a book by James Parkes, “Whose Land? A history of the Peoples of Palestine” first published in 1949 with a revised edition in 1970. I would not trust either side one little bit. Another more recent book is by John Lyons, who is a regular on the ABC news, published in 2017 entitled “Balcony Over Jerusalem”. This book essentially predicts a pretty grim future for Israel. Lyons has also written a more recent book, “Dateline Jerusalem: Journalism’s Toughest Assignment”, that I am yet to read, but I suspect it is also critical of the Israeli government.

    • admin says:

      We have a copy of John Lyons’ book somewhere in the house. I’ll read it one day. I was reading somewhere that Netanyahu will take Israel down with him. Sounds a bit 1945, and is typical of malignant narcissists.

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