1. The death of more than a thousand innocent people in Israel by Hamas on a Jewish holy day and and the holding of hostages is a heinous action with no justification or plausible explanation.
2. Context can shed light and reveal the unseen, but it should never be deployed to legitimize the murder of innocent victims.
3. Notwithstanding what some on the left here say, the killing of children or young people at a dance or older people in Kibbutzim in Israel isn’t “resistance” unless the word has lost any substantive meaning. Such a claim strikes me as callous and a sign of moral and political degeneration, maybe some anti-semitism.
4. This wasn’t a spontaneous action; it was organized, coordinated, and carefully planned. It wasn’t the doing of the people of Gaza. The perpetrator was Hamas, a terrorist, theocratic organization that holds power in Gaza.
5. There was never any intention on Hamas’ part to attack Israeli soldiers or the command posts of the Israeli state.
6. Its aim was to spread death and fear across Israeli society and provoke a counter response from the Netanyahu government and Israeli military. Predictably Netanyahu cooperated in unhesitatingly ordering a massive military action and the collective punishment of the Palestinian people – a war crime – in what could be a protracted military campaign.
7. We shouldn’t think of Hamas as the equivalent of the civil rights movement of the 1960s here or the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. If anything, it’s their opposite. Much like the present right wing extremist, racist, and increasingly theocratic governing coalition in Israel, its aim isn’t to expand freedom, democracy, and equality within a multi-racial, multinational, secular-democratic state or establish an independent, viable, democratic, secular Palestinian state, living peacefully next to Israel. Quite the contrary. The two perpetrators in this conflict share in many ways the same political DNA.
8. In triggering a new cycle of violence and counter violence Hamas has thrown into harms way as well the two million people of Gaza and people living in the West Bank, not to mention Palestinians and other Arabs living in Israel.
9. Moreover, this conflagration will surely weaken the efforts of the people and organizations in Israel resisting the right wing authoritarian regime led by Netenyahu. Their climb, never easy, just became much steeper.
10. Much the same could be said of the people in Gaza and the West Bank who advocate a diametrically different vision than Hamas.
11. Just as the attack on 9/11 wasn’t a blow against US imperialism — in fact, it strengthened the hand of the Bush administration as it prepared the soil for military adventurism and blood spilling in the Middle East — the terrorist actions of Hamas and the predictable reaction of the Netanyahu led government will not bring stability to the Middle East or security and peace to Israel or a viable solution to the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.
12. What seems more likely in present circumstances is the establishment of an apartheid like authoritarian state in Israel, the crushing of Palestinian statehood, the relegation of the Palestinian people to conditions of squalor and humiliation, no matter where they live, and heightened instability and tensions between rival powers in the Middle East – not to mention a new source of conflict between the great power blocs, the U.S. and China in the first place.
13. Realistically speaking (and realism is important in politics) a two state solution again looks like the only viable option, if there is any option worthy of conversation at this moment. Of course, present boundaries would have to be redrawn to take into account the encroachment and expansion of Israeli settlements and expansion in recent years. What is more, the international community, divided as it presently is, would have to play a substantive role politically and economically if there is any chance for such an outcome.
14. One can’t rule out the danger of a wider war in which Hezbollah, which has considerably more firepower than Hamas, and even Iran, join in as combatants against Israel. If that happens, all bets would be off.
15. The Biden administration faces an immense foreign policy challenge, diplomatically and politically. A change in playbook will be necessary.