The Fourth Arab-Israeli War – and more importantly the aftermath of the attack that launched it – reveals a disturbing fact about the Gazan national character, for lack of a better phrase. Elements of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Arabic Harakah al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah, abbreviated HAMAS) did not go alone into Israel. Many of Gaza’s civilian population came after them – and their atrocious depredations rivaled those of the initial combatants.
Hardening of the heart following the attack
Andrew Tobin of the Washington Free Beacon has the story, which he has from an Israel Defense Forces spokesman. The IDF says nothing officially on this point. But spokesman Jonathan Cornricus, when Tobin asked a direct question, gave a direct answer:
They did what you say they did.
Tobin has further testimony from Gadi Yarkoni, who leads the Eshkol Regional Council. Yarkoni’s main concern is the forty-seven residents of Eshkol Region, now hostage in Gaza. In an interview with a local TV station, published to The Jerusalem Post, he shows that the attacks have exhausted his patience. And in that interview he made clear: he holds ordinary Gaza residents responsible for the abduction of his missing residents. Whether he now knows that the Gaza Hospital story was a lie from the start, or not, is unclear. It is unclear because it does not matter to him. He spoke of “mistakes” that “happen in war.” That underscores his indifference, and provides evidence that he did not know at the time about the Hospital Incident lies.
This translation, courtesy Yandex.com, of an article linked from this page, contains Yardoni’s original interview – or monologue. He had been a leftist, and in Israel the left stands for peace, and bending over backwards for it. Now he rejects that ideology as impractical. He says he has changed, and so has the population of the Eshkol Region.
HAMAS had help from Gaza residents
He wants not only HAMAS eliminated but also the Gaza population relocated. “If the residents of the Gaza Strip want to live,” he said, “let them leave. Otherwise they have no right to live anymore.”
But he told Andrew Tobin a more dire story: that Gaza residents constituted the second wave of attack. “Just as cruel as the terrorists,” he said. According to him, some Gazans who worked in the kibbutzim in the Negev took part in that second wave.
The second wave of Arabs who came into the country were just as cruel as the terrorists of the first wave. We saw that it was not only Hamas who came to slaughter us. It was all the residents of Gaza, including people who worked in our kibbutzim.
Yardoni went on to describe footage shared with him, as a civilian governing executive, but not with the public. He spoke of a man in civilian dress beheading an Israeli – and requiring several strokes to sever the head. That further indicates that the second wave did not consist of trained soldiers in civilian dress. That alone would violate the Geneva Convention. But these were rank amateurs, gladly taking part in atrocities at the invitation of the high command. And they would appear not to have needed drugs to motivate them.
He was far from Tobin’s only witness, for Tobin talked to several. Their accounts are consistent: ordinary civilians, unarmed or minimally armed, took part in the atrocities. And the experience has hardened Israelis who used to stand for peace at (almost) any price. The security chief of Kibbutz Nirim (Yardoni’s home community) offered this perspective:
I wanted us to live in peace—that we could drive to the ocean over there [in Gaza] and that we could do groceries in Rafah or Khan Yunis. I think even most right-wing Israelis at the end of the day pray for peace. The desire for peace is ingrained in all of us.
But today we understand that [the Palestinians] are educated differently. They are educated for something else. Just as we crave peace, they crave jihad. They are raising monsters. And it is impossible to make peace with monsters.
Apparently some Nirim residents received text messages from the Gazan workers, warning – or threatening – that they were coming to kill them.
This is consistent with the observations, from an attack nine years ago, that HAMAS staged out of residential areas. That observation came from the Associated Press. This same article described Gaza as an unbroken chain of city-density development, much like Megalopolis USA from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C. (though perhaps not nearly as populous).
United Press International suggested yesterday Israel has few options, none of them pretty. And they weren’t talking about mass relocation. Gaza has a growing population expected to rise to 3 million by 2030.
The revelations about ordinary civilians taking part in the October 7 raids recalls Daniel Goldhagen’s book Hitler’s Willing Executioners. Goldhagen held then that Hitler tapped into an “eliminationist antisemitism” that had developed in Germany for centuries. Evidence for a steady march of antisemitism is inconsistent. But Islam became an explicitly antisemitic religion after the Jews of Medina refused Muhammad’s overtures. And to the Nirim security chief’s point, HAMAS controls education in Gaza. That system teaches pupils to hate the Jews and regard them as not even human.
The apparent abandonment of tolerance on the part of Jews, especially in the Negev, in the present conflict, recalls Judge (and Prophet) Samuel’s repeated advice to Saul, first King of Israel. That advice: destroy all Amalekites, then the most prevalent enemy of the Israelite people. The present Palestinians share no bloodline with the ancient Amalekites – but perhaps they share an attitude.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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