When I saw the murder of those 260 revelers at the Nova music festival, I cried – like any father – because these children could have been yours or mine.
When I saw what Hamas was doing at Kibbutz Kfar Aza and elsewhere, I remembered the time when I worked on a kibbutz in the Galilee – and I thought about how completely defenseless we were, how innocently we went out to buy apples picking or digging ditches because we were in exactly the same state of mind as the Israelis living near Gaza last Saturday.
We knew there could be trouble; We knew there was a risk of a missile attack. But we believed that the Israel Defense Forces were the most vigilant in the world and that Israeli intelligence was fully capable of warning us of any danger.
So when I think about the massacre that took place a week ago, I understand the shock of the Israeli people. I share her anger. Israel has a moral right – even an obligation – to eliminate those responsible to ensure that something like the October Massacre never happens again.
This is not because I crave Old Testament revenge, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
Israel must act because this country has been attacked with a ruthlessness not seen since its founding in 1948.
Israel must act because it is vital that we dismantle the Hamas machine and restore trust in the Israeli security services and military.
When I saw what Hamas was doing at Kibbutz Kfar Aza (pictured) and elsewhere, I remembered the time when I worked on a kibbutz in the Galilee – and I thought how completely defenseless we were, writes BORIS JOHNSON
Israel must act because this extraordinary young democracy still faces an existential threat – and Britain must support Israel even as we mourn the suffering that will follow.
We mourn the innocent Palestinian children who are losing their lives, as well as the Israelis. But the Israelis have no choice but to try to find those who attacked them and stop them from further killings.
To all the idiots who were on the streets waving their Palestinian flags or rejoicing that “the Jews did it,” I say: either you are victims of your prejudices, or you are willfully blind to what is really happening Near East.
Yes, it is tragic that we have not achieved a two-state solution, and we must admit that this goal is further away than ever. But if you think that the Israelis bear sole or even primary responsibility for this failure, then you have not been following events.
Gaza has spiraled out of control because the Israelis withdrew completely in 2005 – sometimes pulling the wool over the eyes of Jewish settlers. The place was given over to the Palestinians.
What happened? Did they seize their opportunity and govern sensibly, taking advantage of the billions in aid that the US and EU were willing to spend?
On the contrary – the Gaza Strip became a launching pad for rocket attacks on Israel; a horrific advertisement for what two states could mean.
It is true that the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank in recent decades has made a negotiated settlement more difficult; but it could have been done.
To all the idiots who were on the streets waving their Palestinian flags or rejoicing that “the Jews did it,” I say: either you are victims of your prejudices, or you are willfully blind to what is really happening near East
Time and time again, the Palestinian leadership has rejected the chance to strike deals on terms far more favorable than those that could be offered today.
The simple reason for this refusal is that the leaders of the Palestinian factions – whether Fatah or Hamas – have staked their relevance and their money not on an agreement, but on ensuring the continuation of the conflict.
That’s why Hamas dug up the water pipes donated by the EU and converted them into rocket launchers.
And to those who continue to assert some moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, I would like to raise this fundamental point. It doesn’t matter if they shot or decapitated these babies. They set out to kill the most innocent and vulnerable people in deliberately horrific ways. This is the difference between the Hamas terrorists and the Israelis.
The scale of the carnage and Hamas’ mercilessness have drawn comparisons to 9/11, the mass murder in New York that led the United States and Britain to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The comparison seems appropriate, so let us also remember the lessons of 9/11.
More than 20 years later, our mistakes are obvious. It is easy to destroy a regime or government in the Middle East. It’s less easy to ensure you even have a replacement, let alone a better one.
It is easy to be shocked and awed by the power of Western weapons. It is much more difficult to convince a Muslim audience – let alone the rest of the world – of the righteousness of your actions.
Smoke rises from buildings in the southern Gaza Strip today following an Israeli attack
If 9/11 teaches us anything, it is that our response makes it all too easy to set in motion a vicious cycle of violence that will last for years, with jihadists radicalizing against us and Western cities enduring the horrors of the war experience setbacks.
This cycle of revenge is exactly what Hamas wants. That’s why they committed this massacre now. Their fanaticism and unwillingness to compromise resulted in them becoming irrelevant to the peace process.
They affected not only Israel, but also the frightening prospect for Hamas that Israel was on the verge of further reconciliation with the Arab world.
The Abraham Accords agreed under Donald Trump were the most important advance in decades. First, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco made peace. Who can doubt that Saudi Arabia would soon follow?
Whatever people may say about the leader of this country, Mohammed bin Salman, he is changing his country and he has the potential to change the region. A vision of much greater economic integration between Israel and its Arab neighbors is emerging; of green hydrogen or solar energy used to desalinate the water and make the desert bloom; a high-speed railway linking the vast Arabian Peninsula with the Mediterranean.
With better transportation, better skills and high technology, young Palestinians have the hope of jobs – and the chance to turn away from Hamas and all the politicians who rely on conflict.
If this process can continue, over time both sides could have the confidence to do what is necessary, agree to give more power to the Palestinians and create something like a two-state solution.
It is hard to imagine that the Israelis would ever agree to a fully militarily independent Palestinian state, not from what we have seen. This is not intended. But one could imagine a federal solution and land swap that would make it viable.
All of this progress would come from the current Arab-Israeli reconciliation. It would make Hamas irrelevant – and that’s why they hate this process so much.
Since there is no easy two-state solution, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is absolutely right to pursue this approach. It is the best hope for peace. He deserves all the support he can get in the hunt for Hamas – and he will get it from Britain.
But somehow he must strike back without alienating the entire Arab world for years to come, and he must keep alive the great project of reconciliation and economic reconstruction that Israel and its neighbors are now embarking on. Somehow we must avoid another lost decade of violence and revenge, because that is exactly what Hamas wants.