For days now I've wanted to write something about the events in Israel. But I knew that the first thing I needed to do was listen and learn. As I did so, I got mired in the complexities of the situation and fearful about the consequences. Nevertheless, I'd like to share a few thoughts.
More than anything else, the image above captured my sentiments. That is because my sympathies lie with the people of Israel and Gaza, not their leaders - both of whom have shared a similar goal. Let's start with Hamas.
I encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to the interview Christiane Amanpour conducted with Yuval Noah Harari.
At about the 2:00 mark, he begins to explain why this attack from Hamas is different. He noted that they targeted civilians and wanted people to see the atrocities. Why? "It was psychological warfare not only to spread terror, but to sow seeds of hatred that will ensure this terrible conflict will go on for generations...Hamas, since its foundation, never accepted the existence of Israel and never accepted any attempt at peace. The aim was not just to destroy Jewish communities, but to assassinate any chance for peace."
To discuss the atrocities committed by Hamas, the long-term implications, and lessons from history, I spoke with author and historian Yuval Noah Harari @harari_yuval, who offered some powerful reflections. Watch our conversation here. pic.twitter.com/qxH9B53hTy— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) October 12, 2023
For years, the various governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu took an approach that divided power between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank — bringing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to his knees while making moves that propped up the Hamas terror group.
The idea was to prevent Abbas — or anyone else in the Palestinian Authority’s West Bank government — from advancing toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.
I highly recommend reading a piece by Zach Beauchamp titled "Benjamin Netanyahu Failed Israel" that outlines the Prime Minister's approach.
...Netanyahu has intentionally propped up Hamas rule in Gaza — seeing Palestinian extremism as a bulwark against a two-state solution to the conflict.
“Anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state has to support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas,” the prime minister reportedly said at a 2019 meeting of his Likud party. “This is part of our strategy — to isolate the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the West Bank.”
For those skeptical that this was actually Netanyahu's plan, at least one of his confidants said it publicly.
Because qualifiers in these kinds complex situations are important, I agree with how Beauchamp ended his piece.
2/— Daniel Seidemann (@DanielSeidemann) October 8, 2023
There has been some questions re this Tweet.
That Netanyahu was soft on Hamas and did everything to undermine the PA has been common knowledge for years.
Hacohen just said the quiet part out loud. Knowing him for 40 years. Many dispute his ideas, but not his honesty
To be clear: I am not...saying that Netanyahu, in place of Hamas, bears moral responsibility for Hamas’s horrifying atrocities against civilians.
What I am saying is that Netanyahu’s policy...is a terrible one. It is both morally indefensible and strategically counterproductive. It is no concession to Hamas, nor legitimation of its violence, to recognize this reality.
What we CAN say is that Hamas and Netanyahu shared a similar goal: to assassinate any chance for peace. Now we seem headed for war, with neither side having an actual end-game in sight.
God help us!