October 7, 2023 is not just a turning point for Israel and the Jewish diaspora; it must be a turning point for the Palestinian struggle. The Palestinian people must free themselves of the scourge of Hamas. The acts of violence by Hamas do not only constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity; they also reveal that Islamic Jihadi ideology, which revels in the imagery of violence, which has overtaken the movement.
- Israel’s actions in no way justify anti-Semitic reactions, especially not in Germany. It is intolerable that Jews in Germany are once again exposed to threats to life and limb and have to fear physical violence on the streets. The democratic ethos of the Federal Republic of Germany, which is orientated towards the obligation to respect human dignity, is linked to a political culture for which Jewish life and Israel’s right to exist are central elements worthy of special protection in light of the mass crimes of the Nazi era.
- Almost a month after the Hamas attack on Israel, the Middle East is on the verge of a political, military and social explosion. Europe and the West are not immune; very serious, high-risk lines of tension are slowly reappearing. If this happens, it will be because precise political wills have constructed and disseminated for decades a distorted and poisonous rhetoric to which millions of people are enslaved, often in spite of themselves. So much so that the power of these narratives can easily overwhelm the objectivity of facts, even their relevance.
- As the level of brutality of the Hamas-Israel conflict further intensifies, and its effects become measured by the scale of defiance of international humanitarian and criminal law, it is vitally important that we retain the intellectual ability to step back from the horrors of the current confrontation and reflect on two fundamentals that must define any conversation on any type of settlement over the long term. One is Israel’s right to exist within secure borders under international law; the other is the equally sacrosanct legal right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
- Assaf Sharon, a philosophy professor at the University of Tel Aviv and founder of the Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy, discusses the complex interplay between Israeli politics, security challenges, and populism in the wake of recent events. Talking to Reset DOC, he addresses the weakening of democratic values, the credibility of the Israeli government, and the prospects for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- Hamas obviously thinks that if it wants to take over the Palestinian movement, it needs another sustained insurgency against Israeli occupation. Hamas is hoping to lure the Israeli military back into the interior of Gaza for the urban combat that favors insurgent groups. Hamas hopes a sustained insurgency can eventually result in a steady drip of killed and captured Israeli conscripts, allowing Hamas to claim that it alone is actively fighting for Palestine. What this means is that in trying to fulfill the pledge to “eliminate Hamas,” Israel could well deliver everything Hamas is counting on.
- Why does Hamas deliberately flaunt the horrors it perpetrates? To demonstrate Israel’s lack of preparation and Hamas’s own military prowess? To spread terror? To disorient, to humiliate, to foster a sense of paralysis and powerlessness? To say: look, we can get you when and how we want? Or perhaps to say: yes, we are the beasts you say we are, come and avenge yourselves, come and get us in Gaza?
- On October 7, a major coordinated military operation by Hamas resulted in terrorist attacks in Israel marking a significant escalation in the Israeli-Arab conflict, with a higher casualty count than previous conflicts. The Israeli establishment was caught off guard due to internal divisions and a lack of military readiness. Hamas’s objectives included challenging the IDF’s invincibility, garnering international support for the Palestinian cause, and disrupting normalization efforts between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The conflict is now on the verge of a land incursion by Israel to eliminate Hamas in Gaza, potentially drawing regional players into the fray.
- In response to 9/11, the US attacked Afghanistan, and afterwards Iraq. Both these campaigns ultimately failed, suggesting important limitations to deterrence, counterterrorism, and the difficulties of state building. If this was Israel’s 9/11 moment, it can try to avoid post 9/11 mistakes by acknowledging the limitations of deterrence, military force, and more forcefully pursue political solutions.