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Is there a realist case for Palestine? Morality can't be divorced from rational calculation

Gaza (YAHYA HASSOUNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Gaza (YAHYA HASSOUNA/AFP via Getty Images)


January 26, 2024   8 mins

Since October 7, foreign policy realists who were united in opposing escalation in Ukraine have split into two opposing camps. One side has taken a generally forgiving view of Israel’s response to Hamas’s terror assault. The other has been more critical, siding more or less openly with the Palestinian cause. I belong squarely in the latter group.

Several of my fellow realists have reacted to our support for Palestine with dismay, arguing that this represents a betrayal of realism. The international relations scholar Philip Cunliffe, for example, last year took aim against what he described as “a distinctive strain of Leftist foreign-policy realism” — an apt description of my worldview — averring that “commentators, analysts, and streamers who managed to preserve their equanimity in the face of the war in Ukraine and indulge in open dissent are abdicating their intellectual independence along with their critical faculties in the face of the war in Gaza”.

I would like to explain why I disagree, and why I consider support for Palestine to be fully in keeping with a realist understanding of international relations.

Let’s start with the basics. Realism invites us to look for root causes — not for the sake of “truth”, or for picking sides, but because it is a fundamental precondition for resolving existing conflicts and avoiding future ones. It is, at heart, a rational attempt to seek solutions to conflict (even though most realists are pessimists about the possibility of actually achieving that). In this sense, I would argue that realism is a far cry from the cynical theory that it is often purported to be; on the contrary, there is a deeply moral element to realism — one that is ultimately born of a profound awareness of the horror of war.

However, realism is also premised on the idea that no war was ever ended by appealing to the warring factions’ good feelings; they are either ended by the triumph of one of the two sides, or via a political settlement. In order to achieve the latter, addressing the root cause of conflicts is fundamental.

It is no coincidence that realists have a healthy track record in predicting wars. A decade ago, for example, John Mearsheimer, perhaps the world’s most prominent realist scholar, foresaw that if the West insisted on bringing Ukraine into the Western sphere of influence, and especially into Nato, even if just de facto, the final outcome would be war.

From a realist standpoint, it is apparent that Ukraine provoked Russia’s invasion by entangling itself with a military alliance that Moscow views as a threat to its vital security — hence the realist insistence on taking Russia’s security needs into consideration. By the same token, it should be equally apparent that Israel’s occupation regime, not least the 16-year blockade of Gaza, is at the root of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and is ultimately what provoked Hamas’s October 7 attack.

Saying this shouldn’t be controversial. Many prominent Israeli Left-wing voices acknowledge as much. On October 8, Haaretz’s lead editorial laid the blame for the attack squarely on Benjamin Netanyahu for “embracing a foreign policy that openly ignored the existence and rights of Palestinians”. As the Israeli historian Omer Bartov wrote: “The attack by Hamas, horrifying and barbarous as it was, must be seen as a response to Israel’s policies of occupation and siege, and to the utter refusal for the last couple of decades by Netanyahu’s governments to find a political solution to the conflict.” It is no surprise, then, that a realist such as Mearsheimer has been a long-time critic of Israel — and, ever since the October 7 attack, has insisted on the need to place the latter within the wider context of Israel’s actions.

To be clear: this is not a moral argument — that the occupation is wrong and that Palestinians have a right to resist, though one could make that case. It is a political-strategic argument. Simply put, under certain circumstances, states — or quasi-state actors, such as Hamas — will act violently to defend or assert their fundamental interests: survival, security, and sovereignty.

Thus, saying that Palestinians should avoid violently resisting the occupation — which is equivalent to saying they should simply submit to Israeli domination — is as naive, from a political standpoint, as saying that the Russians should have simply acquiesced to Nato’s provocations along its western frontier. So long as the occupation persists, Palestinians will keep resisting; no amount of violence on Israel’s behalf, short of the expulsion or annihilation of the Palestinian population, will change that reality — indeed, it will only exacerbate it.

In this sense, one might argue that Israel’s decades-long occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza aren’t just morally questionable — they are also, from a realist perspective, strategically self-defeating. Israel’s policy has definitely succeeded in massively boosting its relative power, but at the expense of its security — as the October 7 attack made clear.

Following the realist school, it would, therefore, be in Israel’s interest to pursue a diplomatic solution. The problem is that there are ideological and religious — and, therefore, somewhat irrational — dimensions to Israel’s policy, which have become increasingly radicalised in recent years, that realist theory cannot fully account for. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the Jewish state’s security would not necessarily be threatened by the creation of a Palestinian state. You could argue that it would actually be improved by it.

In response, one might say that Hamas is an Islamist organisation committed to the destruction of Israel and the struggle against all Jews, as stated in its 1988 founding charter — and that, therefore, it is not an actor that can be negotiated with, and even less one that Israel could ever allow to create a state along its borders. However, this would be to ignore two facts: not only does Hamas not represent an existential threat to Israel from a military standpoint, but more importantly Hamas’s ideological and political stance has evolved significantly since the publication of its original charter. In 2011, it even semi-officially committed to a two-state solution.

Over the years, Hamas has proposed numerous long-term truces or ceasefires to Israel in exchange for the realisation of an independent Palestinian state. These were all rejected by Israel, arguing that Hamas could not be trusted to adhere to any long-term ceasefire, and that these were only ploys to buy time in preparation for future attacks. In this sense, as argued in Foreign Policy by Tareq Baconi, president of the transnational Palestinian think tank, Al-Shabaka, Hamas’s increased use of violence over the years should be understood as a means rather than an end — as a way to force Israel to sit at the negotiating table.

Ultimately, despite the October 7 attack, and the aggressive rhetoric employed by some of its representatives since, there are still reasons to believe that Hamas would accept a conclusion to the conflict. Just last week, Hamas made a proposal to end the war and release the remaining hostages held by the group in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli forces, the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the recognition of Hamas’s governance over Gaza. Netanyahu, once again, rejected the offer.

The question, thus, is whether Israel would ever agree to a reasonable deal that ends the conflict via the establishment of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu recently boasted at a press conference that he has spent decades thwarting the formation of a Palestinian state, and that he is “proud” of doing so. But even if that were not the case, it shouldn’t be controversial from a realist perspective to say that the lion’s share of the responsibility for the conflict lies with Israel — if only because of the power asymmetry between the two sides. Because it is Israel, as the occupying power, which has the power to end the conflict; the same cannot be expected of the Palestinians — because no one would passively accept to live under permanent siege and military occupation.

This is what makes Israel’s military response to October 7 so frustrating: ethical and moral considerations notwithstanding, it is futile from a military-strategic perspective. According to US intelligence, Israeli forces have killed 20% to 30% of Hamas’s fighters — a number that falls very short of Israel’s stated goal of destroying the group and shows the latter’s resilience after three months of war that have laid waste to large parts of Gaza. Indeed, all previous Israeli attacks on Gaza had the effect of bolstering Hamas, and there is no reason to believe the current assault will be any different. As the political scientist Robert Pape noted in Foreign Affairs: “Even judged purely in strategic terms, Israel’s approach is doomed to failure — and indeed, it is already failing. Mass civilian punishment has not convinced Gaza’s residents to stop supporting Hamas. To the contrary, it has only heightened resentment among Palestinians.”

Proposals by Netanyahu’s two far-Right coalition partners, and even by Netanyahu himself, to expel a significant portion of the Gazan population, moral considerations notwithstanding, appear equally self-defeating from a strategic perspective: not only are they likely bound to fail, because no country is willing to take in hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, but even if they were to succeed, they would only exacerbate anti-Israeli sentiments in the region, at a high cost for Israel — as testified by the Houthi’s ongoing blockade of Israeli-bound ships in the Red Sea.

Of course, it would be a mistake to consider Israel’s policy in Gaza totally irrational. Most obviously, Netanyahu himself has a lot to benefit from the continuation of the hostilities: prior to October 7, he was facing massive opposition from Israeli civil society; today, he’s presiding over a war that enjoys equally massive support among citizens. So long as it rages, his political survival is likely to continue. But Bibi’s private interests are not the same as Israel’s national interests.

Military-strategic considerations aside, Israel’s standing in the world will also suffer incalculable damage from the violence wrought on Gaza. As will that of its allies and enablers — first and foremost, the United States. This brings us to another crucial tenet of the realist doctrine: that other countries should base their response to Israel’s actions on their own national interest, not Israel’s. This a logic that the US regularly, even ruthlessly, employs in the conduct of its foreign policy — except when it comes to Israel.

Almost two decades ago, Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt blamed this anomaly on the power of a pro-Israel lobby, which had “managed to divert US foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US and Israeli interests are essentially identical”. This had caused lasting damage to the US national interest, they argued, fuelling anti-American terrorism and poisoning relations between the US and the Arab and Islamic worlds. Today, this appears truer than ever.

In November, for instance, The Washington Post reported, based on the statements of Arab leaders and analysts, that US support for Israel’s actions “risks lasting damage to Washington’s standing in the region and beyond”. As one senior G7 diplomat told the Financial Times: “We have definitely lost the battle in the Global South… Forget about rules, forget about world order. They won’t ever listen to us again.” And this isn’t even considering the risk of the United States of being dragged into a wider regional conflict — one that, in light of recent events in the Red Sea and Iraq, might already be said to be unfolding. Overall, from a hard-nosed realist perspective, it’s hard to see a case for US and Western support for Israel.

That said, there’s also a moral and ethical dimension to the conflict that is impossible to ignore, even for a hard-nosed realist. Critics claim that it is hypocritical for realists to play the moral card over Gaza when they refused to do the same for the Russia-Ukraine war. However, the two conflicts are manifestly different. Strategic considerations aside, the latter is essentially an old-fashioned conventional war between two more or less equivalent armies; accordingly, the overwhelming majority of casualties are soldiers, not civilians. In Gaza it’s the opposite.

Over the past three months, Israel has waged one of the heaviest bombing campaigns in history on Gaza, razing to the ground entire neighbourhoods; turning hundreds of thousands of buildings to rubble; killing thousands of women and children; destroying the enclave’s healthcare system; displacing almost 90% of the population; and then herding those displaced civilians into ever-smaller areas.

In the face of all this, I think even the most calculating realist can be forgiven for abandoning their usual poise and equanimity. Some tragedies urge us to put aside all strategic considerations and appeal to basic human morality. The attack on Gaza is one of these.

In this regard, it is telling that the first written intervention that the arch-realist Mearsheimer felt compelled to write on Gaza was not an analysis of the conflict from the political-strategic standpoint, but a simple denunciation of the “moral calamity” unfolding in Gaza. “I do not believe that anything I say about what is happening in Gaza will affect Israeli or American policy in that conflict,” he wrote. “But I want to be on record so that when historians look back on this moral calamity, they will see that some Americans were on the right side of history.” Sometimes, as realists, that’s as much as we can hope for.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Chris Carter
CC
Chris Carter
2 months ago

“Just last week, Hamas made a proposal to end the war and release the remaining hostages held by the group in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli forces, the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the recognition of Hamas’s governance over Gaza.”
LOLOLOL
Just last week Hamas proposed that Israel forget October 7 ever happened while releasing all jailed Palestinian criminals.
Bargain!!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris Carter

Are Hamas supposed to forget the 20k dead Palestinian civilians? If there’s ever going to be peace in the region then both sides will have to accept the other and all that has gone on before it

Arthur G
AG
Arthur G
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Don’t start a war you can’t win. Japan and Germany had to forget hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths after 1945. That’s the price of launching aggressive war, and getting your rear end kicked. Deal.
If Israel had the same morality as Hamas, there would be 500,000 dead Palestinians.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Touché

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

So it’s might has right then? You’d have no complaints if a stronger nation eventually defeated and occupied Israel?

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Depends who starts it.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
2 months ago

‘Lesley van retard?

denz
denz
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There’s been a few who tried. Not a peep from them now.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“God is NOT on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”

(*V.)

Ian_S
Ian_S
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Israel is a democracy, with quite a large Arab demographic alongside the Jewish population, and liberal attitudes to, say, homosexuality. Commendable, no? But you seem peeved that anyone would support its right to exist in the face of Hamas, a crazed islamofascist dictatorship over a mono ethnic population (strangely lacking in gay people) who mostly ullulate along to the tune “death to the Jews”. Which bit of them do you most like? The fascism? The purity of their quasi ethnostate? Or their promise to the Jews?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Best comment so far.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

That sums it up pretty well.

One side, though imperfect, wants to live and let live. The other, also imperfect, does not.

This article seems like it’s making moral equivalencies and calling it realism.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I don’t see much evidence of Israel’s live and let live policy towards Palestinians in the West Bank, where farmers have been forcible ejected from their land by Jewish settlers. You all talk as if Hamas exists in a vacuum, and that Israeli policy has had no effect

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It seems to me that the lovely unherd readers are just racist, Israel is ‘western and ‘white’ while Palestine is ‘arab and ‘coloured’ hence the white rage we are witnessing from the unherds’ herd mentality. Humans suck sadly, and never learn…

Peter B
Peter B
2 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

What demented whataboutery is this ? No one mentioned skin colour. Only you.
You do know there are dark-skinned Ethiopian Jews ? And little difference in skin tone between many Israelis and Palestinians. Not that any of that matters. Except, apparently, to you.

Jane Anderson
JA
Jane Anderson
2 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Most Israelis are actually Sephardic or Mizrahi. I think you might look a little closer to home if you on the hunt for racism.

Paul MacDonnell
PM
Paul MacDonnell
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The very essence of the ‘realist’ argument is that might is right.

Liam F
Liam F
2 months ago

succinctly put.

Andrew Morgan
Andrew Morgan
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Moral superiority is right.

Rafi Stern
RS
Rafi Stern
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No, because that would involve killing me and my family. And as far as that is concerned, I am a realist.

Guillermo Torres
GT
Guillermo Torres
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Bro, are you saying that Hamas has the moral high ground here? Utterly confused.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

How did you calculate that? Israel has already killed one percent of the Gaza population. If Hamas killed one percent of the Israeli population, that would amount to 60,000 victims

Andrew Morgan
Andrew Morgan
2 months ago

This bizarre obsession with proportionality again. What percentage do you think Hamas would have killed if they could have?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago

Is 1% your calculation of what is ethical. Please share with us the calculations of previous wars and what you consider to be ethical.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

“Don’t start a war you can’t win.”

Really? Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan for example, not to mention 1812.

Mark Farmer
MF
Mark Farmer
2 months ago

Yes, I see this as being as bad for Israel as Vietnam was for the US – perhaps worse with both world and internal opinion slowly moving against the current policy of all-out war as its genocidal intent is revealed.
With luck, Israel can then get back to putting Netanyahu in front of the courts and eventually put him in prison with the extra war crimes tacked on to his sentence.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Farmer

I admire your confidence sir.

A D Kent
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Do Hamas shoot, shell, bomb or Hellfire missile their own soldiers & civilians rather than have them taken hostage? Do they dress as dinosaurs & do little dances on video as they shell cities? Just wondering where those actions might fit in your morality equation.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Yes, they celebrate the worst atrocities ever seen on videos.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago

Are you talking about videos in the public domain or those specially curated ones shown by the IDF to a specially selected bunch of Western journalists & mouthpieces?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Does the videos being “curated” make them less accurate? You sound upset that the IDF would choose to show the worst of Hamas from an ample supply of bad actions while ignoring that the bad actions actually occurred.

A D Kent
A D Kent
2 months ago

Oh & Lesley – answer my question about shooting the hostages please? Any evidence Hamas resorted to that? There’s plenty now that the IDF did so on the 7th.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

She ‘answers’ little I’m afraid.

From her name I took her to be a Boerin, but perhaps she is a Jewess, my mistake.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
2 months ago

Do you think there is something wrong with being a jewess?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Awful mistake in the heat of battle…..

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

As to the other hostages…. (You do know you’re not allowed to take civilian hostages?), Hamas must just release them. Maybe Israel must go to to the ICC – lol.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

Israel currently holds 4,500 Palestinians in gaol, 310* without trial apparently. Hostages or what?

(* Source: Wikibeast.)

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

What a sheltered life you do live, even for a Boerin!

Try investigating what the Mexicans and other Central Americans are up to! It makes Hamas and indeed your own blacks look like complete amateurs.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

The problem is in the definition of “win”. Hamas can still win the war by forcing the exchange of innocent hostages for convicted murderers and ceasefire, that Thomas Fazi is advocating.
If that happens, then Israel loses decisively. We will have wasted hundreds of lives, billions of dollars and much international soft-power, lost any chance of reaping benefit from the Abraham accords, lost Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood and laid ourselves open as a sitting duck waiting for Iran to give us the next beating. This misunderstanding of the stakes involved is where Fazi’s realism falls short.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

@Rafi – how is Israel’s ‘winning’ going? Tens of thousands have emigrated, hundreds of thousands internally displaced & unlikely to be able to return to anywhere near the Lebanese border now. All those IDF citivzen soldiers not at work and now the Houthis blockading them from the Red Sea. An essential aspect of any ‘Realist’ discourse are the realities of the powers available. Yes Israel can flatten Gaza, starve its population, but can it defend the ships, it’s economic interests or it’s population with the resources it has at it’s disposal in this asymmetric conflict?

As for ‘convicted murderers’? How many of the hundreds of Palestinians currently detained by Israel have received any due process at all? How many of them are minors for that matter?

Mark Farmer
Mark Farmer
2 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

I agree. I think it is very likely that the war will end and Netanyahu’s rule with it, long before Hamas is defeated and this will lead to a far greater support for Hamas and astonishingly high restitutional costs on Israel.
It is also quite likely to lead to the current apartheid system becoming so villified that a two-state solution is arrived at as a reaction.
But then I’m an optimist that this current madness following the vile provication of Oct 7th will have a good outcome, just one which is very different from the one Netanyahu envisages.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Hamas is neither a legitimate authority, nor is it a body that can be reasoned with. You are very mistaken if you think Hamas care about dead Palestinian Arabs: in fact, large-scale Arab mortality is their own strategy, not Israels.
You need to get it into your head that people like Hamas are not like some slightly more emphatic group of disgruntled Guardian readers. They are a nihilistic cult who are a long way down a purity spiral. Think Hitler and those Germans who fought to the last. That is their psychology.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago

These “realists” can’t seem to understand.

Mark Farmer
MF
Mark Farmer
2 months ago

I agree but do you see this war as likely to defeat them. Surely the way to weaken a terrorist organisation is to weaken the need for its existence.

laurence scaduto
LS
laurence scaduto
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

20K dead Palestinians and zero chance of peace. Time for the Palestinians to move on?

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
2 months ago

Metaphorically or geographically?
The first is an option.

Mike Cook
Mike Cook
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Civilians or combatants? You forgot to mention the so called “children” and how many have been killed from Hamas’s own rockets and gunfire?

dave dobbin
DD
dave dobbin
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris Carter

And how many decades of suppression have Gazans put up wit?

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
2 months ago
Reply to  dave dobbin

Apparently not enough. They still seem very committed, or at least a large percentage of them do, to the whole “death to Israel, death to America” weltanschauung that our far left seems to celebrate.
The only option left to the Israelis seems to be to severely punish Gazans, until they accept the notion that no, they don’t get to make every Israeli flee for their lives.
Enough bombings will convince them. Otherwise, they’ll keep attacking, in the hopes of rallying the forces of anti-westernism and anti-Semitism.

Mike Cook
Mike Cook
2 months ago
Reply to  dave dobbin

Since 2007 when Hamas took over.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
2 months ago

This author goes to a lot of trouble to make absolutely no sense whatever. Each ‘point’ he makes is inarguably untrue. How glad I am he is not in any authority position to foist his ‘wisdom’ on a weary world.

Tony Plaskow
Tony Plaskow
2 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

It is quite an amazing thing to have written an article which reads well and is almost entirely bullshit – congrats! He succeeds in being almost totally one-sided in his view whilst attempting to state that a ‘realist’ is, naturally, level-minded. Extraordinary, but also dangerous as he spreads such atrocious lies and propaganda

A D Kent
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony Plaskow

@Tony – Quite amazing too that you haven’t pointed any of the errors out them out – care to do so now?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago

Of course, it would be a mistake to consider Israel’s policy in Gaza totally irrational. Most obviously, Netanyahu himself has a lot to benefit from the continuation of the hostilities: prior to October 7, he was facing massive opposition from Israeli civil society; today, he’s presiding over a war that enjoys equally massive support among citizens. So long as it rages, his political survival is likely to continue. But Bibi’s private interests are not the same as Israel’s national interests.

For perhaps the first time, i wholeheartedly endorse what this author has written here, especially that last sentence.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
2 months ago

According to US intelligence, Israeli forces have killed 20% to 30% of Hamas’s fighters — a number that falls very short of Israel’s stated goal of destroying the group and shows the latter’s resilience after three months of war that have laid waste to large parts of Gaza.
At that rate, Israeli forces will have wiped out Hamas by, say, August. So they’re doing better than the French against the Germans in World War I, and way better than the Americans against the Viet Cong. Three months? God, we have short attention spans. And no patience. It took the French 117 years to kick the English off the continent, and I have no doubt Philip VI had his share of Thomas Fazis back then, smugly informing him after six months or so that he was bogged down in a quagmire, and that he’d be better off just suing for peace.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago

But he is a smug ‘realist’.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

117 years? Calais wasn’t recaptured until 1558.

A D Kent
A D Kent
2 months ago

And of course armies don’t recruit, train or reconstitute themselves in wars – they’re just systematically destroyed. Really? I think it’s you who needs a lesson in history Mr/Ms Hippy. That recruitment process is usually strengthened, not weakened when attacks are savage or disproportionate.

Ian_S
Ian_S
2 months ago

There’s too much reasoning in this article that is wrong, to get into its flaws. The best I can suggest is to read the recent piece by Gadi Taub in Tablet Magazine that refutes this line of argument by the Israeli Left:
https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/israel-middle-east/articles/gadi-eisenkot-netanyahu-palestinian-state

denz
denz
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Thank you Ian, for that suggestion. The article is well worth 10 minutes of anyone’s time. I don’t know why people would think a deal could be cut with Hamas after October 7th. To think that Israelis would be happy to have people like that as neighbours once more in return for a cease fire, Are leftists that bonkers? You may as well start swimming with crocodiles.

Tony Plaskow
Tony Plaskow
2 months ago
Reply to  denz

Before and after Oct 7th as has been shown from the decades of attempts to find a political solution which has 100% been rejected by one side each time. Here’s a hint, it wasn’t the Israelis
For the author to talk about Israel turning down and offer of a settlement when it was the diametric opposite is extraordinary – but we live in a time where blatant lies can be made a truth, by saying or writing them.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

It is always a bad idea to form your ideas on Israel from just reading Haaretz editorials.

Arthur G
AG
Arthur G
2 months ago

As far as I can tell “realist” just means anti-Western. The “realists” seem to be willing to support any dictator or terrorist group that can “pwn the West”. It’s sad.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
2 months ago

Pretty much agree, a realistic article. Now we just have to wait for the ICJ verdict, which will go against Israel.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
2 months ago

If it does it will be the last nail in the coffin of a well intentioned, but ultimately irrelevant organisation. No country of world importance (by which I mean actual power) recognises it. It is a vanity.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

And the biggest joke is that they even entertained this South African farce. Not too long ago SA ignored the ICC and failed to arrest Sudanese president Bashir.
South Africa is playing a game that has little to do with justice or even the issue of Palestine. Follow the money. Always follow the money. The ANC has been bankrolled.

James Love
James Love
2 months ago

The author does not understand that from a Western humanist perspective a sacrilegious ritualistic horror was enacted by Hamas and those who supported them. Oct 7 went beyond a profane horror through its intentionality and the public sharing of joy in mass rape and murder. The joy Hamas and their supporters expressed evaluated the act to a debasement all of humanity. This sacrilige will harden the resolve of Israel and many in The West.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

I’m just as horrified by the Israeli response as I was to the original terrorist attack. Killing tens of thousands of women and children (not to mention numerous men waving white flags) aren’t the actions of a civilised nation

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Have you no discernment iro intent?

James Love
AK
James Love
2 months ago

They have none and are unworthy of debate. We are at war with savages and their enablers.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There is no equivalency between Hamas’ gleeful sadistic barbarism (captured on their smartphones, natch) and Israel’s military response. And no, the number of dead is not relevant.

Warren Trees
WT
Warren Trees
2 months ago

It boggles the mind how some well-intentioned people can’t discern the difference. Fazi’s comment, It is, at heart, a rational attempt to seek solutions to conflict…” is completely obliterated when savages are involved. Savages are not rational and cannot negotiate in good faith. How does one sit down at a table and negotiate a peace with someone who lives only to destroy your kind? And says so repeatedly and unabashed! This is complete insanity and unrealistic.

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

You can just see this guy in 1940 saying “Germany’s actions have nothing to do with us.”

Kathy Hayman
Kathy Hayman
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

You must be referring to the savagery of successive Israeli governments for 80 years keeping people in occupation under seige, killing people indiscriminately, moving in settlers onto land owned by Palestinians, razing their houses to the ground, tearing up their olive trees…… I could go on but you get my drift.

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  Kathy Hayman

Well said !

harry storm
harry storm
2 months ago
Reply to  Kathy Hayman

blah blah blah blah. same old same old. they could have negotiated, you know, this thing called peace, but 2 states ain’t for them, they want it all, enabled, egged on and abetted by the likes of you. Yeah, we get your “drift.”

Samia Mantoura Burridge
Samia Mantoura Burridge
2 months ago

Can you point readers to an example please? a Link?

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
2 months ago

agreed, even if the number of dead was close to being true.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
2 months ago

‘The number of dead is not relevant’??
It is to them you N*zi scum!

harry storm
harry storm
2 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

The easy and stupid use of the term Nazi says it all. Only scum talk like that.

Guillermo Torres
GT
Guillermo Torres
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Bro…Hamas fighters also wave white flags and then throw grenades when IDF approaches.
Regarding the tens of thousands of dead women and children…Hamas uses human shields. Did you see the videos of Hamas firing on them fleeing the IDF-created humanitarian corridors?

Sensible Citizen
SC
Sensible Citizen
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The US has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians via drone strikes. The US has never received the backlash internationally that Israel is getting now. In fact, Western governments were complicit in one atrocity after another. There will be a winner and a loser at this point, and war is not pretty.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

How do you argue with a nation that has 18 Ohio class nuclear, ballistic submarines at his back?*

(*Nearly 2,000 years ago Hadrian had 30 Legions ‘at his back’, and it was the same then!……..somethings never change.)

harry storm
harry storm
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Of course you are. You’ve obviously never heard of this thing called war. Or you think Israelis have no right to wage it, regardless of how large and depraved the provocation. Pathetic but all too predictable.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

The intentionality of many of the reported horrors of October 7th are not proven – nor are the circumstances of the alleged atrocities you state, but I’ll give you that the perception of those things as fact will harden the resolve of certain portions of the West. That that ‘resolve’ then materialises in actions that move us further away from the eventual security of either side is what matters now. This is where the ‘Realists’ have arguments that need to be addressed, but I won’t be holding my breath that any will be in this comment section.

Tony Plaskow
Tony Plaskow
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

If the intentionality is not proven why did the leader of Hamas state they would keep doing October 7th again and again – you are publicly lying

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony Plaskow

The intentionality to break into Israel, kill their soldiers and take hostages yes. The intentionality to commit the atrocities the IDF have accused them of – well the jury is out on that one – not least because the evidence of those atrocities is falling apart – the beheaded babies, foetuses ripped from mothers, babies put in ovens, all the burnings alive and, yes, the rapes too.

harry storm
harry storm
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

the jury is out only in the Israel-hating circles you belong to. You should be so proud!

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony Plaskow

read the article properly and without blinkers brother

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

yes I think that the number of down thumbs are inversely proportional to the amount of actual research these folks have done – eg read Robert Fisk’s account of reporting on the conflict for 30 years….

harry storm
harry storm
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

RE: The intentionality of many of the reported horrors of October 7th are not proven

Only an obsessive Israel hater could make such an outlandish and nasty claim. They’ve been proven over and over, and by Hamas’ own proud broadcasting of their depravity — until it dawned on the idiots that this wasn’t helping them convince gullible idiots (recognize yourself) that they were the poor oppressed people they made themselves out to be (or more accurately, that people like you made them out to be). The proof is there and has been since Oct. 8, some people just refuse to see it. Tear down any hostage posters lately?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

Initially there were accounts of babies being beheaded. Can you corroborate any of this?
As to the ‘rapes’ are there any definitive figures yet?

Simon Blanchard
SB
Simon Blanchard
2 months ago

Diversionary hair-splitting. As usual.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

What is “diversionary “ about that?
It is either a FACT or it ISN’T.
Which is it?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago

FACT. The world media has seen it.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

Surely even YOU don’t believe that?

Samuel Turner
Samuel Turner
2 months ago

How are you different from a Holocaust denier?
Read this you c**t:
What We Know About Three Widespread Israel-Hamas War Claims – FactCheck.org

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Turner

Tut tut, being a foul mouthed oaf is not something you should advertise Turner old chap.
The article on the ‘40’ beheaded babies is interesting. I hadn’t realised your ‘brain dead’ President had fallen for it! Still not really surprising is it?

harry storm
harry storm
2 months ago

Droning on about the 40 beheaded babies does nothing to invalidate the proven cases of rape, burning and mutilation. If this were 1943, you’d be denying the holocaust.

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Turner

Sam – you are demonstrating to the world that you are an ignorant unread and not very bright person – best you do some actual reading for yourself vs the short attention span crap that is obviously all your simple brain can handle – how about another c word that you probably dont know the actual meaning of ‘cretin’.

James P
JP
James P
2 months ago

He’s troll. Act accordingly.

Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
2 months ago

I’m not sure why you have put the word rape in inverted commas?
There is evidence aplenty of the atrocities that were committed. First hand accounts and witness accounts; plus footage that Hamas took and posted themselves. Israel is now committed to the process of evidence gathering for the purpose of future charges. What’s more the rapes continue in the tunnels; of both women and men.

harry storm
HS
harry storm
2 months ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

Simple really. They don’t take the word of Israelis (Jews). To this sort, we are the lying dissembling machinators of medieval times.
They do, of course, blindly accept the word of Hamas, even after its lies have been proven, i.e. Al-ahli hospital, 500 dead, Israeli bomb, when in fact, hospital parking lot, at most 30 dead, Hamas/PIJ misfire.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Did you see the footage of a young woman being pulled out of the back of a truck with blood all over the back of her pants? Not just rape-sodomy. Support that? She is either dead or still a hostage as her mother recognized her on the video and she is not home.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/zip-tied-bloodied-israeli-woman-abducted-in-gaza-by-hamas-militants-during-surprise-attack-video-shows/ar-AA1hQTCx#

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

With every article he writes, this author’s defence of atrocities against Jews becomes more disgusting.

James Love
James Love
2 months ago
Reply to  Nick Faulks

It is disgusting but also revealing. The widespread pro-hamas sentiment of various groups in the West has awakened many more people to the pernicious evil that exists in our civilizations.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

Leftists have always been pro-Palestinian. The Red Army Faction, a German terror group founded in 1970, was not only rabidly antisemitic, but also trained with the PLO. Nothing, and I really mean nothing, surprises me about these people. There is no depth to which they will not lower themselves.

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

look Love (irony here ) – no one here is supporting hamas – what thinking people are doing is critiquing Israel’s continual bullying and murdering of the Palestinians – and the outcome that comes from this ie a brutalized people with nothing left to live for – and therefore the reality that israel will have to kill them all – or repent and attempt some decency – probably way too late now. WAKE UP – no one is ‘pro-hamas’. This article is revealing that too many unherd readers are relatively uninformed whcih is a worry….. I guess maybe many will boycott the comments section – and leave it to the knee-jerkers !

harry storm
harry storm
2 months ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

I love the denial of support for Hamas all the while supporting Hamas. The “brutalized people” could have made peace with Israel at any time but continue to choose to go for the whole enchilada. That is the essence of the conflict that Israel-haters refuse to accept. One can only surmise the motivations.

Chipoko
Chipoko
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

The world is rapidly descending towards a gargantuan clash between the forces of Evil vs Good.
Unlike previous global conflicts, the Evil and Good are not readily identified or separated (e.g. democracy vs fascism in WW2). Evil has penetrated to the very core of the Good and its source is not always recognisable. However, when it spews into focus, as on 07 October 2023, then every right-thinking person should call it out and seek to destroy it without equivocation.
This article was a specious twisting of perspectives and selective omission of key facts.
Those who have debased humanity by their foul deeds, collectively and individually, have thereby forfeited their human right to a continued existence amongst us. Unless the Good forces in our societies can identify with that principle then our future is beyond bleak.

Dengie Dave
DD
Dengie Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

The author’s thesis is very simple. Everything Hamas did and does is Israel’s fault. If Israel didn’t defend itself there would be peace. Don’t you see how simple it is.

rogerdog Wsw
rogerdog Wsw
2 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

If the Palestinians were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no war. If Israel was to lay down its guns, there would be no Israel.
– Benjamin Netanyahu

Katja Sipple
KS
Katja Sipple
2 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

Spot on. That’s exactly what he’s saying in oh so many words. If Israel just ceased to exist the region would be a haven of peace and prosperity, right? Why can’t those pesky Jews just go away quietly so Leftists can keep pretending that they are a morally superior and abhor violence except when it serves their agenda.

Sensible Citizen
Sensible Citizen
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

Pick a side if you like, but the reality is, the outcome will be decided by a war with one winner and one loser. Hamas committed an act of war — no question about that. Israel is responding with overwhelming force — no doubt about that. Civilians die in war. The US has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians this century but has never gotten the backlash that Israel is getting right now. That is difficult for me to square. At the end of the day, the outcome of the war will determine the future, just as it has since the beginning of mankind.

Samuel Ross
SR
Samuel Ross
2 months ago

Well said, sir. War is hell. Hamas started this war. After they are crushed, we will have a ceasefire and the Gazans, who voted them in, should show better sense next time.

Kathy Hayman
Kathy Hayman
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

You obviously have not seen the footage of the young Isreali children singing songs about how joyously they are seeing babies being bombed in Palestine and how many more they wish would be killed and how wonderful it will be when there are no people left in Gaza and Gaza is uninhabitable. I don’t think it can get more horrific than this. Also I have yet to see any footage of Hamas gleefully celebrating the deaths of the Israelis. What I remember seeing is one of the Jewish women from the kibbutz who was a hostage coming out and shaking the hand of her Hamas captor. Yet more obscene propaganda from Israel as usual. also no footage or no evidence of so-called beheaded babies by Hamas . you need to look at both sides and you need to honestly look at the history.

Don Lightband
DL
Don Lightband
2 months ago
Reply to  Kathy Hayman

You are unable, quite obviously, to provide evidence of the existence of such videos

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
2 months ago
Reply to  Don Lightband

Of course she is. I suspect a sock puppet account for Champagne Socialist. They are cut from the same cloth, and have the same writing style.

Mike Cook
MC
Mike Cook
2 months ago
Reply to  Don Lightband

Oh I’m sure they exist all right – On Tik Tok made by Pallywood.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
2 months ago
Reply to  Kathy Hayman

You have not seen footage of Gazans celebrating the atrocities? Really Kathy? Please take your lies and propaganda elsewhere. Are you the sock puppet for that vile little troll Champagne Socialist? Your writings indicate a similar intellectual level, which is of very low quality. Please don’t bother to respond. I usually never engage with trolls. They leave such a nasty aftertaste.

dave dobbin
dave dobbin
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

Israel has stood over Gaza, belittled it, blockaded it stolen its land and houses for decades but I should forget all that as Hamas are big meanies ?

Andrew Vanbarner
AV
Andrew Vanbarner
2 months ago
Reply to  dave dobbin

When Hamas operatives murder, mutilate, rape, and kidnap civilians, in the cause of destroying the state of Israel, which their sole raison d’etre, then any moral claim Hamas has becomes about as legitimate as Mein Kampf.
Evidence of Hamas’ savagery is overwhelming. It’s also inexcusable. If anything, they’ve set the Palestinian cause back years.
I have no idea why so many on the left excuse barbarity, but atrocities are atrocities, and Israel has both a right to exist and a right to defend itself.

hamas-massacre.net

Mike Cook
Mike Cook
2 months ago
Reply to  dave dobbin

What do you know, or want to know about the way Hamas has treated Gazans, taking their land and money?

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

Exactly.
Author and his ilk are not realists, they are appeasers, no different from the ones “accomodating” Hitlers demands in Munich.
They always have no problems with great crimes of various dictatorships around the world.
Somehow the West and Israel are the main problem in the world.
Maybe author can explain why Kurds should not have their own country?
What is so special about Palestinians?

Author claims that Gazans support Hamas.
Hamas started this war and now Gazans suffer consequences of their savagery.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  James Love

um -did you actually read the article ? i was a supporter of Israel’s right to exist safely up till ?? 1990’s when it started to become clear that ethnic cleansing was happening as a state goal obfuscated as usual by various justifications for taking over more land and killing more Palestinians – read the article and maybe you might figure out a wiser ‘western humanist perspective” !

Peter Principle
PP
Peter Principle
2 months ago

The problem with commentators giving themselves labels like “realist” is that no commentator would claim to belong to the misty-eyed romantic idealist school of conflict analysis. “Realist” is just a spin term that attempts to put opponents on the back foot.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago

Yes, it screams lazy thinking and fraud.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

It seems to me that you, for very obvious reasons are equating all this with Blood River, 1838.
Is that not so?
In fact the Boers and Israelis appear to have rather too much in common when one thinks about it.

Didn’t they even develop a nuclear weapon between themselves before the fall of Apartheid? Wasn’t it called Gabriel? Or was that the delivery Missile?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago

Your argument is becoming weaker and weaker. Take something.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

Rudeness is NO answer!
Perhaps you should return to your fabled beach?

Guillermo Torres
Guillermo Torres
2 months ago

ANC Stan?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
2 months ago

It is so very hard to take seriously any realist who uses the term ‘the right side of history’.

UnHerd Reader
DM
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

Exactly. It’s the case of a marxist relativist who “feels” he’s on the right side of history.

James Love
James Love
2 months ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

And if he is a true realist then he must understand that Israel is therefore just protecting its state interests.

David Mayes
David Mayes
2 months ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

Fazi’s ‘realist’ view of this war can only be seen after stepping through the looking glass. Mearsheimer’s worldview has left him dumbfounded about this war. When asked in a recent interview to proffer a better option for Israel’ Mearsheimer said he had none.
‘The right side of history’ is one of refuges for the realist who cant face reality. Other realists such as Fazi seek refuge in wonderland. Meanwhile Israelis face death while they grapple with the reality.

George K
George K
2 months ago

Maybe realism would be to admit that the current situation is the norm for the region rather than exception. The best one can get in the Middle East is a truce, which is how the current conflict will unavoidably end. Until the next round that is. But that’s the reality of the extremely tribal, sectarian and violent region. If Jews believe that’s the place to be then play by the rules…

Karen Fleming
Karen Fleming
2 months ago

Reply to Ian_s. Thank you so much for suggesting the Tablet article by Gadi Taub. It is a wisdom gleaned from the reality of history. It is not so much an opinion as a forgone conclusion of “ what will happen if”…. I wish everyone, especially the Biden administration would read it.

Paul MacDonnell
PM
Paul MacDonnell
2 months ago

The problem with this as with all of these so called realist opinions is that they seem to misunderstand, minimise or even eliminate the agency of the counterparty.

For example, consider the author’s use of the phrase, “Russia’s security needs”. This is simply accepting the delusion of the Kremlin regime that it’s living in some kind of board game like ‘Risk’ and that its track record of genocidal dominance of its neighbours since the 1917 Revolution can somehow, through, conceptual transubstantiation be wished away by translation into a legitimate politics of interest.

Now don’t get me wrong. It is the case that we should not provoke unnecessarily the Russians or any other dangerous power and that doing so unnecessarily is foolish. Therefore, it is cogent to criticise the expansion of NATO eastwards. But the realist arguement seems to treat the violent response of the counterparty as a given, like the weather. It is our fault for going about in the wrong clothes.

What if NATO had gone all in against Russia in Ukraine and wiped out every single piece of Russian equipment and Russian soldier that had crossed the border — inflicting a massive defeat on Russia and intimidating it into quiescence? Would the realists have then said that the Russians had been “unrealistic” in their judgement of Western interests?

Realist historians seem to be only interested in being realist with the West and not with the barbarians that we confront. What would be his advice to Hamas?

How realistic was it for them to launch a war against Israel that has destroyed Gaza?

Also, his reading of history of Israel is very incomplete… I could go on.

Jon Barrow
Jon Barrow
2 months ago

Yes, the writer takes two things as given – that the West/Ukraine ‘provoked’ Russia and that Israel ‘oppressed’ Palestinians/Gaza. Regardless of one’s own views, these are not settled facts.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  Jon Barrow

Re Russia/Ukraine the Realists do have the statements of diplomats, politicians, academics and others over 40 years on their side that Ukraine was a dirty great big red line for the Russians. These warnings came from the West, neutrals and Russian hard-liners & Liberals alike. Not to mention the successive proposals in advance for them for a new security framework that didn’t involve nuclear-armed missiles on their border. What more evidence would you like?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

The Balfour Declaration was the starting gun for all of this, but it’s just too humiliating to discuss! Even now!

Tony Price
Tony Price
2 months ago

Really? Wasn’t it Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Fact not fiction sir.

David George
DG
David George
2 months ago

“All of this” started with the the battle of Kaybar in 682.
Muhammad declared, “You have judged according to the very sentence of God above the seven heavens.”[25][24] Consequently, 600–900 men of [Jewish tribe] Banu Qurayza were executed. The women and children were distributed as slaves, with some being transported to Najd to be sold. The proceeds were then utilized to purchase weapons and horses for the Muslims.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  David George

What about the earlier Battle of Yarmuk, 636 AD?

Flibberti Gibbet
FG
Flibberti Gibbet
2 months ago

There is an interesting historical theory about why Islamic countries behave as they do today.
The early Islamic caliphates hosted a very culture more like an early version of the European Renaissance.
Then the Mongols struck and destroyed the area murdering inhabitants of large cities by the millions. The destruction was comprehensive and the few survivors rekindled a very different form Islamic culture that lives on today. Consider it a multi generational form of PTSD.

Peter B
Peter B
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

What right do the Russians have to say what another independent country (Ukraine) may or may not do ?
What is your justification for considering this acceptable ? Is there some accepted international law or convention that supports this view ?
If you accept this principle, does that mean you also allow Ukraine to have a say in what Russia may or may not do ? Or Spain in French affairs ?
Where do you propose to draw the line ?

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Who said anything about ‘rights’? Russia is a very powerful country with interests in securing its borders and general security. It made a reasoned ‘realistic’ decision about how it might best achieve those goals. It did so with respect to the actions of the West & Ukrainians – a country in which a civil war had been raging since a violent, Westeern backed coup. They had been engaged in a peace process & even after the invasion were negotiating – but the talks were scuppered by Bozo & the West (so much for ‘independent’ Ukraine). Your view of the world is a touch simplistic I fear.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

That’s complete nonsense. Asking NATO to back out of Poland was never “realistic”. Nothing on Putin’s “wish list” ultimatum from late 2021 was remotely realistic.
Civil war was not “raging” in Ukraine in 2021. Russia’s attempts to destabilise the country had stalled.
In what was was the “Western-backed coup” violent ?
You’re just making stuff up.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Re the coup – read this exhaustive review of the Maidan shootings.
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4048494

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent
El Uro
El Uro
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

It’s interesting to see how Hamas fans inevitably become Putin fans. Such an opportunity to accurately find a sewer pit cannot but cause surprise.

Carl Valentine
CV
Carl Valentine
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Great link, thanks!

Jon Barrow
Jon Barrow
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Hi Peter, please see my response above. I lived in the Kyiv at the time and think the ‘western-backed coup’ narrative comes from the same pshchological impetus as conspiracy theories do (because it is one). Nobody was in control of what was happening, 100 protestors (including ppl I knew who were work colleagues) could change the course of events, like in many volatile situations (esp popular uprisings as this was) it wasn’t anyone’s strategies that decided outcomes but fluid and unpredictable events on the ground.

Carl Valentine
CV
Carl Valentine
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

You sound really naive, perhaps you should try reading more?

Peter B
PB
Peter B
2 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

More of what pray ?
Just ad hom nonsense unless you can back this up with somwe actual facts. The clock’s ticking …

Mark Farmer
MF
Mark Farmer
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I don’t think it’s a question of rights but of detante, the consequences of actions.
As a good, male, friend of mine says: The divorce courts are full of men who knew they were right!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Isn’t hard not to provoke authoritarian states? They are really sensitive to liberal ideals and their spread aren’t they?

Jon Barrow
JB
Jon Barrow
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

I lived in Kyiv during the Maidan protests and subsequent flight of Yanukovich. Work stopped so from start to finish I spent a lot of time prowling around, it was a fascinating time. I knew and was sympathetic with some protestors (as a Brit, I thought I should be no more than an observer) who were local friends and work colleagues. I saw, at a distance, some protestors being both bludgeoned and shot – one was an old lady who state coroners falsely recorded as dying from a heart attack rather than the blow to her head.

I’m not saying I’m the oracle, but I can say that regardless of what any ‘diplomat, politician or academic’ said it was a very fluid, organic process motivated by public fear of a Russia-backed Yanukovich dictatorship.
There was no clear leadership (even Klitschko, quite popular mayor of Kyiv, had little control), the protestors were not doing what the USA or anyone else told them to, any paid agents or provocateurs had no influence on what happened. The West had very little influence on ground-level events, you’re looking at it from a ‘grand political strategy’ perspective which didn’t exist.

Flibberti Gibbet
FG
Flibberti Gibbet
2 months ago
Reply to  Jon Barrow

it was a very fluid, organic process motivated by public fear of a Russia-backed Yanukovich dictatorship.

I thought the people of Ukraine had voted for this “Dictator” a few years earlier in something called a democratic presidential election?
Why did they fear the winner of a democratic process?

Jon Barrow
Jon Barrow
2 months ago

Lots of corruption in Ukraine and election results widely distrusted. Yanukovich’s support was in the populous Donbas ie the now breakaway oblasts, not central Ukraine or the west, where votes were split among different parties. Then Y. started doling out favours to his Donbas business buddies, there were reports of violence eg Yanukovich personally hitting ppl and having political/business rivals roughed up. Final straw (when protests started in Kyiv, these were inflamed by police brutality) was Yanukovich failing to sign a memorandum of understanding with the EU and pledging to join Putin’s Eurasia Customs Union (all members ex-USSR states but dominated by Russia and widely viewed as a means for Russia to influence members) plus Yanukovich appearing to want to emulate Lukashenko (Belarus) and Putin. The fear was that future elections would be rigged or cancelled. There was/is certainly a culture conflict in Ukraine (Soviet-nostalgic Donbas vs Western-oriented centre and west). Having seen Soviet-Russian methods up close (I had a business in Ukraine) I know which aspirations I sided with.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
2 months ago

When John Mearsheimer says a “pro-Israel lobby” manages to divert US foreign policy far from what the American national interest is – that is realism. When Louis Farrakhan says “the Jews” have been working for years to control representatives in Congress – that is antisemitism. Yes? No? Just asking.

And a comment/addendum: aside from Israel, Egypt has also been blockading Gaza. No one talks about it, and I don’t really understand why. (both the blockade and the no-talking)

Paul MacDonnell
PM
Paul MacDonnell
2 months ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

Because Egypt’s blockade in Gaza does not suit the narrative that it is all the fault of Israel and its supporters in the West.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
2 months ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

The Israel Lobby is an excellent book and worth reading. Accusations of antisemitism are the only tool anyone seemingly tries to bring to bear against its conclusions. It has very little to do with the current war in Gaza however, nor October 7. The author was just being cheap to raise it and the U.S’ slavish backing of Israel in this context.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

Egypt has been a disgrace since we left the place in 1956, so nothing new there.
‘We’ expect higher standards from Israel. Irrational? Possibly.

Chris Whybrow
CW
Chris Whybrow
2 months ago

You can say many of the same things about Ukraine. Moscow is the enemy. It is in our self interest to see this enemy defeated.

Tyler Durden
TD
Tyler Durden
2 months ago

This defence of self-determination using ‘radical guerilla’ tactics (to put it somewhat lightly) is not so clever if it’s to hinge on the definition of ‘occupation’.
That Israeli taking security measures against a neighbour at war with them is defined as such is typical of the Arab mentality in this region, and that itself is simply enough construed: Palestine is not a country or a state but a war machine to destroy Jews in the region.
That the more developed Arab states have had enough of this attitude is more than sufficient as a condemnation of apologism for terrorism.

Paul MacDonnell
PM
Paul MacDonnell
2 months ago

There has to be more to the realist argument than “you should have known they’d be very upset”. You would be correct to argue that the West should have anticipated the outcomes of what Russia would do. But the realists conflate this non-anticipation of the reaction to an act (which they are right to criticise) with the idea that the act itself was somehow immoral.

I mean, what if the US elected a president who, in response to Russia’s aggression against Western Europe, dropped a nuclear bomb on Moscow?

Would we be reading articles in Unherd criticising the lack of realism in Russian foreign policy these past 30 years?

The realist argument is really a variant on the idea of the noble savage, or Frankenstein’s monster , combined with the dogma of postcolonial studies. For all of its sensitivity to alternative points of view, it’s very Western centric, in that it preserves the ancient axiom that savages have no agency.

Its idea of realism seems to be a measurement of the emotional reaction of the other. Or at most what the other considers to be in its interest. It amounts to simply saying that the Russians’ and the Palestinians’ subjective understanding of their position is, by definition, valid. And for not taking it into account or even acquiescing to it it is we Who are at fault.

It does not follow from “you didn’t anticipate the response to your act” that the act itself was wrong.

There is nothing realistic about this “realism”. It’s a parlour game rehash of bien pensant, guilty post-War leftist self hatred.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago

@Paul – The ‘Realist’ argument is superior to yours here in that it doesn’t start from the position that only one side in a conflict are savages or barbarians and then work back from there.

I’m also not sure that their argument is that the US/West did not anticipate the reaction of Russia or Israel (or whoever) – in the Ukraine case this was explicitly predicted & encouraged in various pieces before the war (the RAND report of IIRC 2019 of drawing the RF into it’s ‘own Afghanistan’ being probably the most infamous in this respect).

Paul MacDonnell
PM
Paul MacDonnell
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

I’m starting from the position that the Russians and the Palestinians are savages. However I’m not thereby arguing that the West is somehow “good”. It is quite capable of evil acts. The problem with the “realist” perspective is that while it brings game theory ideas to conflict analysis — and in this sense it is valuable — it leads to the temptation to treat conflicts as a sport where, for example, one side can be accused of disproportionate force. “Proportionate’ in war is whatever it takes to achieve legitimate military objectives and that sometimes can include civilians dying in very large numbers (See Normandy 1944 for example).
Mersheimer’s analysis that Israel is “commiting genocide” in Gaza is absurd on its face. His problem is that he is, despite the ersatz Kissingeresque pose, just another moralizing boomer. His “realism” is hypocrisy.
Russian power in central Europe is built on the greatest genocide ever seen — the targeting and extermination of millions of people by virtue of the fact that they belonged to national minorities whom Stalin believed were a threat to his regime.
In so far as Putin claims to be a successor to Stalin then he must carry this historical guilt.
The core accusation of the realists against the West is that it ignorered warnings that such expansion would provoke Russia, or where / if it didn’t that it didn’t prepare for the consequences that were foreseeable. This is cogent and I have some sympathy with it.
The bottom line is, as I said above somewhere, we are not dealing with people who just a bit further along the spectrum from disgruntled lefty from Primrose Hill but with some very dangerous scum. The popular leftist reaction to Hamas’ attack on Israel was “Israel must have done really bad things to make them behave so badly”. This is the logic of the dialectical left.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
2 months ago

 Neoconservatives are very dangerous scum too. If you don’t agree with that statement I’d be interested to hear why.

As for your statement that “The popular leftist reaction to Hamas’ attack on Israel was “Israel must have done really bad things to make them behave so badly” – that’s close, but no cigar. It would be more accurately put as “We warned Israel again and again and again that their treatment of the Palestinians like vermin would lead to atrocious acts of retaliation and revenge.” That the reaction from some after October 7th was “Hahaha! Suck it up” has to be seen in that context. It wasn’t just leftist that said those things though – it was also the Libertarian Right.  

Katja Sipple
KS
Katja Sipple
2 months ago

Very well written, Paul. Bravo. I concur. Recognising the utter savagery of one side, does not bestow sainthood on the other side, and it does not mean that I and others like me fully support every piece of Israeli decision-making. However, I detest the moral equivalency word games and what-aboutism of a brutal attack by Hamas, and the defensive actions of Israel against a cowardly enemy who hides behind and amongst civilians. All is fair in love and war.

Ian_S
I
Ian_S
2 months ago

One of the most serious flaws with this article is that it treats Hamas as a stand-alone organisation, ignoring its role within Iran’s strategy to wipe out Israel. A good explanation was provided a few days ago in Quillette:

https://quillette.com/2024/01/16/the-iranian-connection/

Paul MacDonnell
PM
Paul MacDonnell
2 months ago

Yes, but this is a criticism of a failure to anticipate. It’s not a criticism of NATO expansion or a defence of Israel per se.

Having committed wholesale genocide against its subjugated nations to the West, The Soviet Union eventually fell apart in the 1980s.

Putin did not get the memo because it wasn’t even addressed to him. He is not the heir to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union stole, by aggression and mass murder, its authority over the nations to its west. Putin seems to think that having being killed off, partly by Western pressure, this authority is his legacy. At some point we are going to have to point out to him — and I mean at gunpoint — that he is not the heir to a Soviet state built on industrial-scale murder.

Andrew Morgan
AM
Andrew Morgan
2 months ago

Never has one issue spawned so many false equivalences. It’s a wonder what some mental gymnastics can do.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
2 months ago

These people are not “realists” (no more than the Bolsheviks were the majority group – they weren’t). They’re deluded fantasists hiding under a self-selected label.
Fazi is so committed to his theorising that he’s forgotten to engage with the real world. Like his hero Mearsheimer.

Breton Vandenberg
Breton Vandenberg
2 months ago

A ‘realist’ perspective would also take into account (1) the fact that Hamas is not acting alone, but is clearly part of a wider Islamist movement (or does he think the timing of the attack was coincidental?) that would destabilise the region, likely by quickly becoming a launching ground for Islamist attacks on Egypt and Jordan (2) that Israel has security concerns of it’s own that would be undermined by the creation of a Palestinian state (3) the terrorist violence from Hamas & co ACCELERATED post Camp David and post 2008 peace offers which gives the lie to the claim that they only engage in terrorism to bring Israel to the table. They do it because they are copying age-old anti-colonialist method: terrorise the ‘coloniser’ and make the place ungovernable so they can claim the whole land. Given that Israel is not a colonial power, with nowhere to return to, all you get is more bloodshed. This is not evidence of them wanting to ‘negotiate’ and engage with Israel.
To add, Israel would have every reason to suspect a failed, despotic, terror-cell would emerge from a Palestinian state: see current Gaza, the corrupt West Bank, and both instantiations of a Palestinian state that emerged in the neighbouring states of Jordan and Lebanon.
To advocate for Israel to recognise a Palestinian state fails on a ‘realist’ and moral perspective. Morally, it’s a perversion to ask the more-free, successful, and rights-respecting party to concede on it’s security, only for a despotic, terror-state to emerge that would just oppress it’s own people and destabilise the region.

El Uro
EU
El Uro
2 months ago

I’m very sorry, Thomas, but there is an old Russian Jewish proverb:

No mind at 20 – don’t wait, will not,
No wife at 30 – don’t wait, will not,
No money at 40 – don’t wait, will not

Your problem, Thomas, is that you are a communist. To make it clear what this means, there is no real difference between communists and Nazis, they are grafted onto the same roots.

Jack Martin Leith
Jack Martin Leith
2 months ago

I stopped reading at “root causes”.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 months ago

I stopped when proportionality was raised…. Thankfully soon.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
2 months ago

The term “root cause” is raised but it seems to me that the discussion on this issue increasingly points to the wrong answers because it is based on the wrong question.
The problem isn’t “How Palestinians are dying” but “Why Palestinians are dying”. The ‘How’ is easy.(at least that’s we tell ourselves). Israel is responding disproportionately. Netanyahu is a dangerous warmongering bully. Well we can fix that. We will air the video of the suffering and stoke outrage inflation. The US will by turns cajole and berate Israel while lesser foreign leaders wag fingers from the cheap seats. The UN will issue pleas and denouncements from one hand while holding out the collection plate in the other. The inevitable cease-fire will be arranged.
Addressing ‘Why’ is more difficult. The questions and the answers are awkward but shouldn’t the true realist response be to blame the Palestinians for clinging to victimhood? Why are they dying? Hamas. Why did they allow this group to take over? Why haven’t they gotten rid of them? Why do they still support them? Why do they think they aren’t welcome by their fellow Arabs and Muslims? Why would they believe that freedom and prosperity will be theirs ‘once Israel is gone’? Why would they think that their children could have any kind of future when they only get fed a diet of bitterness and resentment? Why would they think they have any hope of establishing a viable independent state when all they have is what others have given them?
Answers and solutions to the ‘Whys’ may be difficult or even unobtainable but taking the easy way out and blaming everything on Israel shouldn’t be a substitute for trying anyway.

Peter Samson
Peter Samson
2 months ago

Largely right about Israel/Gaza, but wrong about Ukraine. The West did not insist on “bringing Ukraine into the Western sphere of influence,” and Ukraine did not provoke “Russia’s invasion by entangling itself with a military alliance that Moscow views as a threat to its vital security.” Ukrainians themselves decided to align with the West. Before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine was very, very far from joining NATO and in any case it never represented any threat to Russia’s security. Putin concocted the threat as a pretext; his real aim was not to thwart a threat but to incorporate Ukraine into Russia based on his ahistorical belief in the unity of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples.

J. Hale
JH
J. Hale
2 months ago

If there was really an Israeli blockade of Gaza, it was pretty weak. Hamas had the money, equipment, and resources to build a tunnel system bigger than the London underground. And Hamas was not provoked into attacking Israel on October 7th. Destroying Israel has always been Hamas’ reason for existence.

Paul MacDonnell
PM
Paul MacDonnell
2 months ago

In critisizing Israel from a “realist” position, Prof. Mersheimer is like a guy sitting down to a poker game with $1,000 in his pocket who tells a player opening the betting at $2,000 that the game is unfair.
It’s easy to expose virtually all pro-Palestinian critics of Israel by simply asking them: If Hamas phoned you tomorrow morning and asked you what should they do and you knew that they would do what ever you said, what would you tell them?
It’s very hard to get them to answer this.
As far as the left is concerned Hamas are two-dimensional cartoon heroes / victims.
They have no agency.
The left view them as less human than even the most ardent Zionist.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

“If Hamas phoned you tomorrow morning and asked you what should they do and you knew that they would do what ever you said, what would you tell them?“

What a ridiculous question!
The answer is obvious “ get an Atomic Bomb”! Then you’re in the Poker game you alluded to before.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago

Realism is that Hamas was elected to lead Palestine. Realism is that Hamas’ stated goal was, is, and continues to be the destruction of Israel. Realism is recognizing that “from the river to the sea” echoes the desire for that destruction. Realism is that every single two state proposal put forth has been rejected by the Palestinian side. Realism is that Hamas cannot be trusted, ever. But, please do tell me more about the realists and their mystical ways. Also, none of this is an endorsement of the Israelis’ scorched earth approach.

John Tyler
John Tyler
2 months ago

How on earth can support for Hamas be “realism” and at the same time be anything other than the inevitable destruction of Israel and a massive genocide of Jews, many of whom are (or are descended from) refugees from Muslim countries that threatened them with genocide? Some realism!

M To the Tea
MT
M To the Tea
2 months ago

The fundamental issue at hand stems from the interplay between capitalist structures (war industry), and democratic frameworks (a rebranding of monarch with fanfare voting systems to bamboozle us). The proposition to establish two sovereign, yet coequal, democratic states for Israel and Palestine could potentially set a precedent that might encourage various disenfranchised and subjugated groups to advocate for their own independent states. This prospect poses a significant threat to the existing order, potentially more so than the current strategy of obfuscation and perpetuation of conflict. 
The trajectory of this issue, whether viewed as fortunate or unfortunate by those of us deeply invested in capitalist systems, transcends the foundational principles of democracy. The challenges democracy faces in regions such as Asia, the Middle East, and Africa can often be attributed to the diverse mosaic of languages, religions, and heritages within each nation, a stark contrast to the European context where a more homogeneous majority can be discerned in the past and often in the present. This “visibility” of a majority is pivotal for the successful implementation of democratic governance, which, in the absence of a clear majority in other regions, renders democracy more of an abstract concept for discussion rather than a tangible reality. This nuanced understanding of democracy’s applicability and its limitations across different global contexts is frequently overlooked by many Western policymakers.
In my opinion, Israel and Palestine are at a crossroads where the concept of democracy, characterized by majority rule and ceremonial voting systems, is faltering. This situation is reminiscent of the film “The War of the Roses,” where both parties are fervently defending ideals that have, at this juncture, lost their appeal.
We are transitioning towards post-democratic states where governance is based on trust and affinity with leaders who are closely connected to the grassroots, rather than being dominated by authoritarian figures overseeing the wealth of the populace. By acknowledging that the era of prioritizing profits and superficial electoral processes is behind us, we pave the way for a more sustainable future where the planet can thrive and societies can flourish.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago
Reply to  M To the Tea

Political freedom is the precursor to economic freedom. The latter rarely exists without the former. Intertwining capitalism and democracy on this topic makes a great many assumptions, chief among them being that a democratic state of Palestine is even possible when democracy is virtually non-existent in the Muslim world.
You cannot foist a concept onto people who have no understanding of how it works. That was tried in Iraq, which has since descended into chaos, conflict, and civil unrest. Muslims with the highest degree of civil rights in that part of the world are the ones living in Israel.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

In England’s case economic freedom was the precursor for political ‘freedom’, via the Reform Bills of 1832 and 1867.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

As this is the day before National Holocaust Memorial Day it must be said that is simply astonishing how the huge well of sympathy garnered by the Jews as a result of the ‘Holocaust’ has been dissipated so quickly.

A mere 79 years ago Mr Richard Dimbleby of the BBC ‘liberated’ Belsen, and the world was truly astonished by the barbarism that he described.

Yet within THREE years, thanks to an appalling terrorist campaign waged by the Jews in the Palestine Mandate against the British authorities, sympathy, at least in the UK* began to rapidly evaporate. Since then things have only got progressively worse, and one wonders what the end must be. Does indeed Israel have another thirty years?

If I were a young Israeli with a family I would seriously consider leaving the place and returning to the real “land of milk and honey”, and also almost a wholly owned subsidiary of Israel…….. the USA.

(*The Mass Observation Archive is a good source.)

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago

Never mind 79 years, Israel inexplicably managed to lose the moral high ground after a massive terrorist attack against it well within 79 days.
You’d think a people who’d been through the holocaust would be a little squeamish about collective punishment, doesn’t seem to stop them dishing it out to others though

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

For a people who are claimed to be the ‘brightest on earth’ it does seem rather bovine behaviour I must say.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
2 months ago

The majority of Israelis are Arabs and Arab Jews, 68%. Where is their “land of milk and honey”? Please explain…

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Exodus 3: 7-8.

Eleanor Barlow
EB
Eleanor Barlow
2 months ago

‘Hamas’s ideological and political stance has evolved significantly since the publication of its original charter.’

Then why does Hamas not publicly revoke its original charter? Should be easy enough to do if it has genuinely changed its stance on Israel. I don’t believe it has, words are cheap and Hamas is a terrorist organisation, therefore not to be relied on. This write is yet another Westerner who has succumbed to Hamas propaganda.

SIMON WOLF
SW
SIMON WOLF
2 months ago

The author does not ask himself how many of the children growing up in Gaza/West Bank are now brainwashed anti-semite psycopaths?How ask does one explain the october 7 th atrocities and the celebrations of them? It is one thing to murder enemies but ‘gang rape’ and ‘beheading babies’

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  SIMON WOLF

Presumably HAMAS filmed these atrocities for their own edification?
So where are the films etc?

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
2 months ago

Go look on social media, they are out there and easily found. So many in the West think they come from Israel, but it is on pro Hamas sites where they can be found. Pro Palestinians keep asking where are the rape victims? Why are they not out there screaming for justice? Well, guess what, surviving rape and gang rape and not breaking mentally is really, really hard. Why are rape victims in the West given anonymity, but these pro Hamas men think that Israeli women are less than women anywhere else. Remember, it could be your grandmother, mother, daughter, sister, niece, wife. You want videos of their suffering plastered all over the press and social media so that others can say “they are lying”? Mmmm. Didnt think so!

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

I take your point on the ‘rapes’ but the beheading of babies is far more problematical.
Either way there was NO justification for the savagery of the 7th October, but now that the retaliatory ‘butchers bill’ has topped 25K, including 8K children it is time to stop, no ifs no buts.

ps. Nothing so far on the ‘rapes’ on SM. Surely they would have posted something?

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
2 months ago

I just wonder what Charles would do if his neighbour was constantly telling the world he was going to be annihilated.and as proof of his intent killed one of his children,

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago

I must admit I find the lack of pictures of the most disgusting acts described somewhat perplexing, seeing as almost the entire attack was live-streamed. The cynic in me would suggest they’d maybe been exaggerated

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Agreed, it’s beginning to look like WMD again.

David George
David George
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There’s no “lack of pictures”, Billy. There are some questions; the demented terrorist apologists have even raised some doubts as to whether the filmed beheadings were committed on living people or on those already murdered. Apparently one’s worse than the other. I’m not sure which.

Ian_S
Ian_S
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“Hmm, looks like Hamas livestreamed extremely brutal gang rapes, but I smell a conspiracy around the decapitated babies thing. So I say we should give Hamas benefit of the doubt.” Have I got your position right? There’s more to say, but here I’ll leave it: this is a tawdry, rapey, and perverted line of reasoning. I think you should stop.

Ian_S
I
Ian_S
2 months ago

At this point, you sound like a David Irving fanboy (you know, of “the holocaust was faked” fame). Is your position in this issue so dependent on such weak ground holding strong?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Even 1,200 rapes or even 1,200 beheadings do NOT justify killing 25,000 of whom 8,000 were children in retaliation. Or can’t you get that? If not WHY not?

Ian_S
Ian_S
2 months ago

Hamas’ total war strategy is to get you to say what you just said.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Are you for real?*
You sound like a Mossad Chat Box or whatever it is called.

(* Apologies for that Americanism but the English version is too anodyne.)

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago

What about allies bombing of German and Japanese cities in ww2?
What about bombing of French cities and towns during Normandy battle?
Are you saying that was not justified (regardless whether it was successful policy)?
If you think it was valid approach, then I fail to see how what Israel does is any different?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

That was 80 years ago.
If you think that is OK presumably you would also validate extermination Auschwitz style? As it happens also 80 years ago?

Mike Cook
Mike Cook
2 months ago

Because the figures are false.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Cook

Which ones?

laurence scaduto
LS
laurence scaduto
2 months ago

If, as the author says, the Palestinians are bound to resist, and the Israelis are bound to defend their little bit of the planet then the looming problem is the Palestinian’s insistence on throwing the lsraelis, Jewish and otherwise into the sea. They’ve repeatedly shown themselves to be either obsessed with a maniacal death-cult fudamentalism or completely unwilling to push back against the fundamentalist line.
Combine that with the raw anti-Semitism* pouring in from around the world and the horror of the brutality of Oct.7, especially the rape/murders and you can see that the realistic thing to do is something (anything!) other than either a one- or two-state solution. New Ideas are needed.
(*I mean the obvious expressions of Jew-hatred that would not have been expressed publicly until after Oct 7. I don’t mean expressions of opinions less generous to Israel than my own.)

Benedict Waterson
BW
Benedict Waterson
2 months ago

‘The Jewish state’s security would not necessarily be threatened by the creation of a Palestinian state. You could argue that it would actually be improved by it.’

Is it currently ‘improved’ by Iran?

Doug Israel
DI
Doug Israel
2 months ago

You would have been one of those realists in Britain in 1940 that said negotiating an end to the war with Germany was the only realistic option. You are one of those “realists” who think you are right when you are entirely wrong. Your argument is grotesque.

Samuel Turner
Samuel Turner
2 months ago

Once again Fazi is blaming the victim. Was Israel asking for 7th October? Did they have it coming?
Pe