Amidst the ongoing Israeli war against the terrorists of Hamas, there are several unasked questions that are critically important even though they are not being addressed in media reports. This post will ask some of those questions. They need to be asked and considered as this war continues.
Question 1: Are the hostages still alive?
There have been proposals for a “cease-fire” or “pause” in the conflict, but Israel (rightly) says that there will be no consideration of any such pause until the hostages are released. However, do any of these media discussions on this topic ever ask whether there are any hostages still alive to be released? Hamas has not shown a shred of evidence that any hostages are still alive. In a hostage situation, captors can show a photo of a living captive with a copy of a dated newspaper showing that the captive is still alive as of the date of the newspaper. Hamas would strengthen its position if it proved the hostages were still alive, but it has not done so. Given that Hamas tortured Israelis to death in the October 7th attack, have they done that same thing to the Israelis they took captive? Israel should demand proof that the hostages are still alive and, if so, what is their condition? If Hamas has already killed many or all of them, there is no reason for Israel to have the slightest bit of mercy on Hamas. If Hamas continues to be unable to give evidence to the world that the hostages are still alive, it argues the hostages are already deceased. I think it would be appropriate for Israel to demand proof from Hamas showing which hostages are still alive. Israel could drop dated leaflets on Gaza and Hamas could show such a leaflet with a captive on-camera to prove any Israeli captives are still alive. If Hamas cannot show them to be alive, Israel’s military can use much more aggressive tactics to destroy Hamas everywhere in Gaza.
Question 2: Why was the IDF so slow to respond to the Hamas attack?
This question has not been answered at all satisfactorily, but will, no doubt, be investigated rigorously after the war is over so such an intelligence/military failure by Israel never happens again. Israel has long had the reputation of being one of the world’s most effective intelligence-gathering and militarily efficient forces in the world. On October 7th, the Israeli intelligence forces were shown to be incredibly inept and the IDF was shockingly slow about getting Israeli military forces into the attacked Israeli towns and kibbutzim to protect and rescue Israeli citizens. Many media commentators have observed this was the highest daily death toll inflicted on Jews since the Holocaust ended…and it happened in Israel–which is supposed to protect all Jews. It is also worth noting that all American intelligence agencies were also caught napping on October 7th.
There have been many possible explanations for the intelligence/military lapse that allowed Hamas to successfully attack Israel so easily. One proposal is that the Israelis were caught off their guard because it was a Jewish holiday when it is customary for leaves to be granted for soldiers to go home to observe the day with their families. It was Israel’s observance of the Day of Atonement decades ago that led to Egypt and Syria attacking Israel in the Yom Kippur War which Israel almost lost. The same dynamic could have been at work in the October 7th attack. It has also been noted that Hamas used asymmetrical tactics to defeat the Israeli security measures. Using drones to attack Gaza Wall gun positions and propelled gliders to sail over the Gaza Wall worked well for Hamas. Didn’t any Israeli military commanders think of these options? I’ve seen “conspiracy theory” explanations that argue someone “on the inside” had to be cooperating with Hamas to allow such an attack to succeed. It is possible Hamas (with Iran’s help) successfully hacked the Israeli military communications systems so word of the attack didn’t reach Israeli military headquarters for many hours? It is possible Israeli military commanders and government politicians were so full of hubris about their invulnerability that they didn’t take real threat options seriously enough. IDF troops should have arrived in armored helicopters within minutes of the alarm being sounded; it shouldn’t have taken hours for help to arrive when Israeli military forces were not far away. Surely, these questions will be investigated thoroughly when the war is over.
One thing is for sure. Iran is watching Israel’s tactics and war-fighting strategies very carefully as it wants to see how it can successfully attack Israel to “wipe it off the map”–Iran’s stated policy regarding Israel. Perhaps Iran ordered Hamas to attack Israel so Iran could observe Israel’s weaponry in action to adjust Iran’s own tactics when Iran and Hezbollah attack Israel later.
Question 3: Why were Israeli citizens so disarmed?
Some media stories have reported that very few of the residents of the attacked towns were armed. Given that the Israelis live in a very dangerous part of the world and given that all Israelis of military age generally serve in the IDF either on active duty or as reservists, why weren’t more of the adults in the attacked Israeli towns armed? Each Israeli adult in those towns should have had a gun to defend themselves and their community. If they had all had AR-15s, the landscape would have been littered with dead Hamas fighters, not dead Israeli citizens. Israeli national policy should require citizens that are not on active duty to have weapons to defend their communities in case of an unexpected attack. Since I have visited Israel and seen so many Israelis in uniform with their service weapons walking on city streets, congregating at bus stops, etc., I was shocked to learn hardly anyone in the attacked towns was armed.
Question 4: Why are the world’s nations so hypocritical?
So many nations have criticized or condemned Israel for killing Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Many Western nations have done so as have non-Western nations. How quickly we forget our history. In World War II, the German Nazis tried to kill as many British civilians as possible in the “Blitz” that devastated London, Coventry and many other British cities. When the USA and Great Britain got the upper hand, their air forces tried to kill as many German civilians as possible. The fire storm caused by the fire-bombing of Dresden is legendary for killing so many civilians. The USA didn’t hesitate to kill perhaps 100,000 Japanese civilians in the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Nazi horrors inflicted upon civilians as the German military marched and conquered its way across East Europe on the way to Russia’s major cities was matched by the Russian cruelties against civilians as they conquered and pillaged their way across Eastern Europe to Berlin. The fire-bombing of Japanese cities by the US Air Force almost surely killed more civilians than did the two A-bombs. Shall we discuss the “rape of Nanking” perpetrated by the Japanese in World War II? How many Russian civilians were killed by Stalin in his endless purges? How many Chinese civilians were killed by Mao Tse-Tung in his infamous purges? How many Ukrainian civilians are dying due to Russian attacks on civilian targets in the last two years? The rest of the world has no right to judge Israel how it pursues its war against Hamas when the Great Powers have all deliberately targeted civilians on a far vaster scale in their wars than Israel has done in Gaza.
It must also be remembered that Hamas started this war. When one party starts a war against another party, it loses all right to tell the other party how to respond to that attack. Hamas started this war so it has no right to tell Israel how to pursue its response against Hamas. Hamas remains utterly unrepentant for their atrocities when they invaded Israeli towns. In an article by Adam Entous and Thomas Fuller of the New York Times entitled “Israel snubs US call for cease-fire,” as reprinted in the November 5th issue of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “a member of Hamas’ political bureau” named Ghazi Hamad is quoted as saying Hamas will do to Israel what it did on October 7th “a second, third and fourth [time],” and he added “We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again.”
Does that sound like an entity that Israelis can negotiate with? Obviously not. Israel can only destroy the Hamas terrorists or drive them into other nations further from Israel’s borders. However, the fact that no Islamic/Arab nation has volunteered to take Hamas members to live in their nation proves the Arab nations don’t want them either. The first link shows Israel is determined to destroy Hamas so it cannot control or dominate Gaza. I suspect a group of Arab nations will be called upon to administer and rehabilitate Gaza, but Gaza’s fate is unknown at present. The second link indicates that after the Gaza war is over, Saudi Arabia is likely going to be ready to negotiate a normalization of relations with Israel.
I look forward to seeing the above questions considered and answered as soon as possible.
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