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ADAT HaTikvah
(not autotranslated)

Gaza War Q&A--January 30

1.      Why are there so many civilian casualties in Gaza?

2.      But the International Court of Justice in Hague is trying Israel for genocide.

3.      What’s going to be in Gaza after the war?

4.      How Has October 7 Changed Israel?

5.      How are Israeli citizens coping?

6.      What will be?

7.      The AWRAD Survey

1.   Why are there so many civilian casualties in Gaza?


Regarding civilian casualties—the popularly elected and widely supported Hamas is entrenched between, among, within, and especially under the ‘innocent civilian’ population. Hamas invaded Israel, unprovoked (other than by our existence). I urge critics of Israel to take into account that you pay a price when you elect a terrorist government and allow it to build rocket factories in your hospitals and launching pads in the yards of your schools, and then they commit a wide-scale rampage of butchery. Do you really expect us to lay down our arms while Hamas is still functioning? Maybe go back and read the survey again. I’ve included it at the bottom here again, in case you missed it the first time.


Apparently 25,000 Gazans have been killed, one third of them militant terrorists. That 2:1 civilian:combatant ratio was true in Russia in WWII and the Vietnam War. And here the combatants are hiding underground, underneath the civilians.

The 500 miles of tunnels under Gaza were built by Hamas for warfare against Israel, while the population lived in squalor. They are the reason Israel imposed a sea blockade on Gaza—because all the building materials were being used for what I’ve heard called the most extensive fortifications in world history.

In my last post I sent the Palestinian opinion poll that should clarify to any rational person what the intentions of the entire Palestinian people are—to eradicate Israel and kill Jews.


The numbers aren’t lying:

·        75% of Palestinians support the October 7 massacre

·        85.9% reject coexistence with Israel

·        71.1% are committed to the restoration of “historical Palestine” as a final resolution

·        74.7% support the creation of a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea” as the only acceptable resolution of the conflict.


These are the innocent civilians


It’s true, not all Palestinians try to kill Jews. But the overwhelming majority supports killing as many Jews as possible. I did reserve duty in Lebanon 4 times during the 1982 war. From everything I saw with my own eyes and from everything I hear first-hand, Israel makes great efforts to avoid hurting civilians. You can believe me or not.


2.   But the International Court of Justice in Hague is trying Israel for genocide.


"It depends on the context".

We're at war, I'm emotionally exhausted. I've run out of nuance. 

I’m indignant that Israel has to defend itself against accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I’m offended that I feel forced to assert the obvious to intelligent people brainwashed by the willful anti-Semitism of the media. I look at NY Times and CNN, I don’t recognize the situation they’re describing. דברים שרואים מכאן לא רואים משם. What you see here, you don’t see there.


David Ben-Gurion: “Oom Shmoom”, meaning something like “UN? Pooh-N”. On another occasion, he said “It doesn’t matter what goyim say, it matters what Jews do.”


3.   What’s going to be in Gaza after the war?


Nobody wants to get involved in Gaza, everyone knows what a shithole it is. My favorite dark horse candidate for next PM is Yoaz Hendel. He was just released from the reserves, having fought as a major for 110 days. He proposes setting up a closed tent camp outside Gaza—in Israel—to temporarily house civilians while we uproot Hama from underneath Khan Yunis and Rafiah in the southern Strip.


Israel’s beginning to talk about some sort of Palestinian technocratic (i.e., non-political/non-terrorist) civilian administration, together with an Israeli Military Government. Feasibility is doubtful, or at least a long, long way off.


I think the ideal situation would be a joint Saudi/Egyptian/US/Israeli administration, both civilian and military, but I haven’t heard that discussed as a serious possibility. Saudia and Egypt are too smart to get involved, the US too irresolute. Israel is left to deal with ‘the day after’ by itself. As always.

4.   How has October 7 changed Israel?


We’re “only” four months after the pogrom, and it feels like everything’s changed.

I’m very, very skeptical of ‘historic changes’ in general. Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose. Every day the headlines scream about some new media-generated scandal, but as in the Arabic expression, “The dogs bark and the caravan passes.” Processes shlep on, nothing is as big a deal as the media tries to make it.


Except maybe not this time. I’ll give you a couple of examples. The very small ‘peace camp’ in Israel, voters for the two small left-wing parties, Labor and Meretz, have been left speechless. Their whole world view of coexistence was raped and beheaded and utterly defiled on October 7. It’s a foregone conclusion that King Bibi is a lame duck monarch. His approval rating is in the basement. We’re hoping for an influx of new blood in the next elections, especially reservists from the private sector who realize that the battle isn’t just in Gaza, it’s also in the Knesset, that after risking their lives in battle they’re going to need to risk their souls in the dirty business of politics.


Everyone understands that the judicial reform campaign of the Right and the protests against it of the Left were tearing apart the fabric of our society and enticed Hamas to attack a weakened and preoccupied Israel. Many people, Idan Amedi among them, have been comparing this internal dissention to the שנאת חינם, the baseless hatred which led to the destruction of the Second Temple 1954 years ago on the 9th of Av. Our ancient history is alive and relevant, not just among historians, but in my neighbor’s living room and in the grocery store.


People are talking again about some sort of Palestinian entity. Israelis understand the dangers of that (take another look at the survey below). Would you let the people bent on obliterating you live next door with knives in their hands and missiles in their schoolyards? But who is going to run Gaza if not the Palestinians? We certainly don’t want to. A Gordian knot. Our prayer is that some of our Best and Brightest will leave the good life of High Tech and sully themselves in politics.


5.   How are Israeli citizens coping?


I signed a contract this month with a publisher for my recently completed novel “The Greatest Band that Never Was” (about the rediscovery of a defunct rock band). That should be a big deal for me—I spent 4 solid years writing it, it’s my baby, my heart’s delight. Except in the shadow of the war, it’s become trivialized for me. So what if I wrote a story, a fabrication, a ‘my-seh’, as they say in Yiddish? Over 130 Israelis, including my friend Luis Har, are being held captive by the Hamas beasts. Thousands and thousands of Israeli families are in mourning. Tens of thousands are traumatized. A hundred thousand are still living in hotel rooms, evacuated from their homes on the Northern and Southern borders. How can I get excited over such a self-indulgent trifle as a story I invented?

It’s almost 4 months since the pogrom, and we’re slowly pretending to get back to ‘normal’. This week I attended a very nice literary event of English writers in Israel, trying to mingle, figuring I’d get my head out of the war by listening to a few other fabricators touting their wares. But all that was on everyone’s mind, and in their mouths, was the war.

The 3 authors (one US, one Canadian, one Brit, all now Israeli) were asked in the Q&A how their book would have been different if it had been written after the pogrom. Janice Weizman is the author of Our Little Histories a Jewish family history novel, said it now feels truncated. She plotted the history of the migrations of several generations of a family, from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to America and to Israel. She made a point that struck me deeply. I feel as distant from my American roots and relatives and friends as my Americanized grandparents did from their shtetl birthplace.


The second was Ruth Marks Eglash, a journalist who wrote the novel Parallel Lines about 3 teenage girls from Jerusalem, a secular Jew, an ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jew, and a Palestinian. The message was their communality, one of hope. She said that today she simply could not write that book.


The third, Jennifer Lang, discussed her memoir Places We Left Behind, about her moving around the world, especially back and forth between America and Israel, never completely comfortable in either, living with ambivalent loyalties. She said that October 7 obliterated her ambivalence—her identification as an Israeli was galvanized. She can no longer envision herself living outside of Israel.


6.   What will be?


I went to this literary event anticipating escapist conversation. I came out with my feelings of identification with Israel and its destiny reconfirmed. Why would I choose to live among people who see me as Something Other when I can live here, where everyone, everyone, everyone is acutely aware of our common destiny? The grassroots slogan of this war—on busses, on potato chip bags, on everyone’s lips—is יחד ננצח, Together We Shall Prevail.


We Israelis.

7.   The AWRAD Survey




There has been a recent survey conducted by Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) among Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank, and the results are profoundly depressing. AWRAD is a highly respected research consultancy based in the West Bank and funded by many Arab governments, the UN and the World Bank amongst others - so they can’t be lightly dismissed.

Some lowlights:

·        75% support the October 7 massacre

·        85.9% reject coexistence with Israel

·        71.1% are committed to the restoration of “historical Palestine” as a final resolution

·        74.7% support the creation of a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea” as the only acceptable resolution of the conflict.


There is almost universal support for terror: 76% believe that Hamas plays a somewhat to very positive role; 84% believe that Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) plays a somewhat to very positive role; 79.8% believe that Fatah’s terror wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, plays a somewhat to very positive role; and 88.6% believe that Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Kassam Brigades, plays a somewhat to very positive role.


In addition, they show ingratitude and hostility to the nations who have been funding them through aid. 98.2% of Palestinians see the U.S. role as unfavorable, 96.7% consider the UK role as negative, and 92.6% ascertain the EU role as unfavorable. Moderate Arab countries working towards peace are equally hated: with 96% disapproving of the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia (95.5%), Egypt (84.6%) and Jordan (75.6%).

As an indication of the levels of self-delusion in operation here 72.6% said “Palestine” will win the current military conflict while only 3.1% said Israel.

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