The Israelis do not quite understand what has happened to them. Some have compared the Hamas coup to the demolition of the Twin Towers in 2001 by Al Qaeda. Others see in the massacre of October 7 an episode similar to the surprise Yom Kippur war in 1973.
The first comparison does not seem valid because this time almost everyone in Israel was directly or indirectly affected with a family member, a friend or an acquaintance who was a victim of the Islamist group’s incursion; That was not exactly what happened in New York; In the latest Hamas attack, then, the damage seems proportionally greater.
And the comparison with the Yom Kippur surprise war does not seem valid either, since last week’s attack is more similar to episodes of World War II, in which Nazi units moved house to house murdering Jews.
Someone defined the conflict between Israel and Palestine as the fight of two peoples and two religions for the same temple. That is why it is so difficult to say something that is acceptable to both sides about this tragedy; There is too much fanaticism in dance, but venturing the consequences is not out of place. We are already seeing them and they were foreseeable from the beginning: a merciless reaction by Israel against the Gaza Strip, from where the attack started; and more suffering for a civilian population in the hands of extremists to whom, it must not be forgotten, they gave power in the 2006 elections.
To find voices critical of Israel, and more specifically its government, it always seems less biased to look for them on the Jewish side than on the pro-Palestinian side. That is why, to try to understand what happened, I find the opinion more stimulating, for example, of Shlomo Ben Ami, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Jewish State, who does not hesitate to point to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as triggering the cycle of revenge. and violence between Israelis and Palestinians that Israel is now experiencing.
“Over the years,” says Shlomo Ben Ami, “Netanyahu has ignored Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority with the strategy of strengthening Hamas as the best way to eliminate the two-state solution, given the existence of a radical group. and fanatic in the Gaza Strip,” he says in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País. Ben Ami maintains that Netanyahu put aside the idea of a two-state solution a long time ago to limit himself to managing the occupation, considering that there were no conditions to sit down and negotiate. “But he has failed, as he has intensified the occupation, making it irreversible by expanding settlements and tolerating settler violence.”
Enthralled with this idea, Netanyahu turned all his attention to the West Bank to also protect the settlements of illegal settlers, thinking that the Hamas beasts were tamed. And the result is before us.
Another voice critical of the conservative Israeli premier is that of Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who in an article published by several European newspapers says that Netanyahu is a skilled public relations officer, but an incompetent prime minister. “He has repeatedly prioritized his personal interests over the national interest and has made a career of dividing the nation against itself. “He has appointed people to key positions based more on their loyalty than on their qualifications,” says the author of the highly celebrated Sapiens and Homo Deus, two leading books of our time.
Shock and horror over the Hamas attacks have united a deeply divided country. And, as expected, Benjamin Netanyahu will form a Government of national unity with partners who will do so holding their noses. The unity of now will last as long as this crisis lasts, which is expected to be long and hard due to the hostages in the hands of Hamas and the possibility of new fronts opening in the West Bank and on the Lebanese border. And then, when this has happened, as the Italians say, the knots will come to the comb; Intelligence and security failures will have to be addressed.
Last May the Israeli Defense Ministry said that they were on the verge of becoming an artificial intelligence superpower, that they would automate decisions referring to a network of cameras deployed at strategic points, drones with facial recognition cameras to identify all the Palestinians there. where they were; gadgets that, by the way, already made more than one dictator’s mouth water. The thing is that all this has been put into operation in Hebron, not in Gaza, to dedicate it to the annexation of the Jordan Valley in the creation of new settlements.
When the dust settles, Benjamin Netanyahu, no matter what, will have to be held accountable for this. And that is when the “spirit of September 11” with the mistakes committed by hot revenge can take their toll on a society still in a state of shock.
As Gideon Rachman—incidentally, another Jewish analyst—has said in the Financial Times, “all the Israeli shock and fury is reminiscent of America’s emotions after 9/11. That provoked a display of American unity and power. It also led to a decade of “war on terror,” which many Americans now consider misguided and self-destructive. “Israel may be taking the same path.”