The Middle East is an unstable universe in which many groups compete for survival. For simplicity’s sake, we in the West consider its population to be made up of Jews, Christians and Muslims, but the reality is far more complex. Each religion is itself made up of a multitude of denominations. In Europe and North Africa, for example, we know that Christians are divided into Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches, but in the Middle East, there are dozens and dozens of different churches. The same is true of the Jewish and Muslim religions.
Every time a piece on the chessboard changes, all the other groups have to reposition themselves. That’s why today’s allies may be tomorrow’s enemies, while today’s enemies were yesterday’s allies. Over the centuries, everyone has become both victim and executioner. The foreigners who visit the Middle East recognize themselves a priori in people with the same culture as them, the same faith, yet they are unaware of its history and are not ready to assume it.
If we want to promote peace, we must not only listen to those we feel close to. We must recognize that peace means resolving not only the injustices suffered by our friends, but also those suffered by our enemies. But we don’t do this spontaneously. Over the past few months in France, for example, we have only heard the views of certain Ukrainians against the Russians, of certain Armenians against the Azeris, and now of certain Israelis against the Palestinians.
Finally, among the many sources to which we can refer, we must distinguish between those who defend their immediate material interests, those who defend their homeland, and those who defend principles. Things are complicated by groups that are not religious, but theocratic. The latter do not defend any higher principles, but use religious language to win.
With these preliminaries out of the way, let’s get down to business.
Hamas attacked Israel at 6 a.m. on October 7, 2023, the 50th anniversary of the “October War of 1973”, known in the West as the “Yom Kippur War”. At the time, Egypt and Syria had launched a surprise attack on Israel to help the Palestinians. But Tel Aviv, informed by Amman and supported by Washington, crushed the Arab armies. Anwar Sadat betrayed his own people, while Syria lost the Golan Heights.
The current operation combines a shower of rockets, designed to saturate the Iron Dome, with 22 ground attacks on Israeli territory. For the first time in Palestine, the rockets were fired at Israeli command centers, to facilitate commando actions. The latter are officially intended to take hostages so as to be able to negotiate an exchange with the 1256 Palestinian detainees in high-security prisons. The infiltrations took place by land, sea and air (using microlights).
Preparing this operation, acquiring intelligence, training a thousand commandos and transferring weapons took months, if not years, of work. Yet, blinded by our conviction of superiority, we failed to see it. It was designed by Mohammad Daif, Hamas’s operational chief, who had disappeared from the radar for two years and reappeared alongside Hamas spokesman Abu-Obaida.
Able to detect the rockets, but unable to destroy them all, Israel endured at least 3,000 of the 7,000 fired. Social networks and Arab TV channels showed that Hamas had taken several tanks and at least the border post in the west of the Strip. In addition, it attacked a rave party at Kibbutz Re’im where it raped and massacred at least 280 participants. Everywhere, it kidnapped a large number of hostages, including generals. Its commandos entered several Israeli towns, firing machine guns at the inhabitants. At least 900 people were killed and 2,600 seriously injured on the Israeli side, and twice as many on the Palestinian side.
This is the biggest Palestinian action in half a century.
What is happening is the fruit of 75 years of oppression and violation of international law. Dozens of United Nations Security Council resolutions have been violated by Israel, without any sanctions. Israel is a state outside the law, which has not hesitated to corrupt or assassinate almost all Palestinian political leaders. It has deliberately prevented the economic development of the Territories while promoting the creation of a separate Palestinian state, which it partially controls.
The frustration and suffering accumulated over the past 75 years are reflected in the violent and cruel behavior of some Palestinians, who are aware that they have long been abandoned by the international community. But times are changing. The majority of United Nations members, having witnessed the military failure of the West and the victory of Russia in Syria and Ukraine, are no longer content to bow their heads to the United States. On the anniversary of Israel’s self-proclaimed independence and the massacre and expulsion of the Palestinians (the Nakhba), the General Assembly reaffirmed that International Law is on the side of the Palestinians, not the Israelis. This does not prevent Hamas from committing war crimes.
The current situation is hopeless for both sides. After three-quarters of a century of crimes, Israel can no longer lay claim to much. Its population is now divided. Over the last few months, the “Zionist deniers” – followers of the Ukrainian Vladimir Jabotinsky and supporters of Jewish supremacism – have seized power in Tel Aviv, despite the opposition of a small majority of the population and huge demonstrations. Its young people, who aspire to live in peace, refuse to serve in armies to brutalize Arabs, but have joined them anyway to defend their families whom they love and their country in which they do not believe.
Legally, the Palestinians formed a state, which was granted observer status at the United Nations. On the death of Yasser Arafat, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was elected president. However, following Hamas’s victory in the 2007 legislative elections, and the impossibility of getting the West to accept a Hamas government, the Palestinians fought a civil war. In the end, the West Bank was governed by Fatah, the secular party created by Yasser Arafat. Mahmoud Abbas and his inner circle are financed by the United States, the European Union and Israel. The Gaza Strip, on the other hand, is in the hands of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is governed by individuals who see Islam not as a spirituality, but as a weapon of conquest. They are mainly paid by the UK, Qatar, Israel, Turkey, Iran and the European Union. The two sides have opposed each other in every election for 16 years. Their leaders live in mafia-like luxury, in stark contrast to the miserable living conditions of their people.
When it was created, Hamas was financed by the United Kingdom. It was supported by the Israeli secret services to weaken Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel then fought it and assassinated its religious leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Then, once again, Israel used Hamas to eliminate the leaders of the Marxist Palestinian Resistance. Hamas fighters accompanied by Mossad agents and Al-Qaeda jihadists attacked the Palestinian Yarmouk camp at the start of the war against Syria . But today, once again, Hamas is fighting its erstwhile ally, Israel.
Mohammad Daif is known as the founder of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Like all Muslim Brothers, he is an Islamic supremacist. He refers to Izz al-Din al-Qassam (1882-1935), an opponent of the French mandate in Lebanon and the British mandate in Palestine. He has no connection with the former Mufti of Jerusalem and Nazi ally Amin al-Husseini, even if he shares his anti-Semitism. In 2010, he wrote: “The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades … are better prepared to continue on our exclusive path where there is no alternative, and that is the path of jihad and the fight against the enemies of the Muslim nation and humanity…. We say to our enemies: you are on the road to extinction (zawal), and Palestine will remain ours, including Al Quds (Jerusalem), Al-Aqsa (mosque), its towns and villages from the sea (Mediterranean) to the river (Jordan), from north to south. You have no right to even an inch of it. Mohammad Daif is not a military man, but a specialist in hostage-taking. His operation is designed for that purpose, not to liberate Palestine.
As President Mahmoud Abbas’s health weakens, Fatah is divided into three military factions:
– that of Fathi Abou al-Ardate, the national security chief
– Mohammad Abdel Hamid Issa (alias “Lino”), commander of the Kifah al-Moussallah (armed struggle). It follows in the footsteps of Mohamed Dallan, the former head of Palestinian intelligence who assassinated Yasser Arafat. Today, it is supported by the United Arab Emirates.
– that of Mounir Maqdah, former military chief of Fatah, who is closer to Hamas, Qatar, Turkey and Iran.
Last month, clashes pitted these three factions against those of Hamas Islamists, as well as Jund el-Cham and al-Chabab al-Moslem, two jihadist groups that fought alongside NATO and Israel against the Syrian Arab Republic. Violent fighting took place at the Aïn el-Héloué camp (Sidon, South Lebanon). At the time, I interpreted them in the light of those at Nahr el-Bared (North Lebanon) in 2007, before realizing that they were linked to the agony of Mahmoud Abbas.
For 75 years, Tel Aviv has done everything in its power to deny equality to all, whether Jews or Arabs. On the contrary, since Geneva Call, it has promoted the “two-state solution” – Lord William Peel’s last-chance colonial plan that the British failed to impose, either on the ground in 1937 or at the United Nations in 1948, but which is now the subject of consensus. Today, only the Marxists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) preach in the desert, proposing the creation of a single state in which every man would have an equal voice .
Faced with what he sees as a Palestinian invasion, but which from a Palestinian point of view is merely a return home, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised victory. But what would that be? Killing all the Hamas fighters won’t solve 75 years of injustice. Their children will take up their torch as they took up that of their parents.
To achieve his goal, Benjamin Netanyahu must first bring together the Israelis he has divided. Taking his cue from Golda Meir during the “Six-Day War”, he needs to bring his opposition into the government. So he met with Yair Lapid and General Benny Gantz. However, the former made it a condition that the Jewish supremacists, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, leave the government, i.e. that the Prime Minister abandon his political project and that of his current sponsors , the Strausians of the Biden administration.
Hamas leaders have called on Palestinian refugees abroad, on all Arabs and Muslims, to unite in their struggle. Palestinian refugees means first and foremost the majority of the Jordanian population and those in Lebanon. Arabs, that means the Lebanese Hezbollah and Syria, two powers that have renewed their ties with Hamas in recent months. The Muslims are Iran and Turkey.
For the moment, only Islamic Jihad, i.e. Iran, and the various Resistance groups on the West Bank have joined Hamas.
Contrary to what the Wall Street Journal claims, Hamas is not run by Iran. This is to forget the agreement between Hassan El-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Rouhollah Khomeiny, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two groups have divided the Muslim world between them, and forbid each other to intervene significantly in the other’s sphere of influence. Teheran never ceases to loudly affirm its support for the Palestinians, but its concrete action in Palestine is limited to Islamic Jihad.
The political leaders of Hamas live in Türkiye, under the protection of the secret services. Ankara is piloting Hamas and the “Flood of Al-Aqsa” operation. Inaugurating a Syriac Orthodox church on Sunday, October 8, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared pathetically: “Establishing tranquility, lasting peace and stability in the region through the solution of the Palestinian issue in accordance with international law is the top priority we are focusing on in our talks with our counterparts (…) Unfortunately, Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the entire region, are paying the price for the delay in the administration of justice (…) Adding fuel to the fire will benefit no one, including civilians on both sides. Turkey is ready to do its part to the best of its ability to put an end to the fighting as quickly as possible and to ease the heightened tension caused by recent incidents”.
Ankara’s choice to launch this new war as soon as the Republic of Artsakh, in Azerbaijan, has been crushed, and while they are sending military equipment to Russia in violation of US unilateral coercive measures, suggests that Turkish diplomats are no longer afraid of Washington, which nevertheless attempted to assassinate President Erdoğan, in 2016. As soon as this operation is over, another will follow against the Kurds, in Syria and Iraq.
If Hezbollah enters the scene, Israel will not be able to repel the attack on its own. Its existence can only continue with the military support of the United States. US public opinion no longer supports Israel, and the Pentagon no longer has the power to defend it. What’s happening now is one of the consequences of the war in Ukraine. Washington is unable to manufacture enough munitions for its Ukrainian allies. It has even been forced to draw on its stocks in Israel. It has already emptied its arsenals there.
In the early hours of the conflict, Hezbollah fired a few rockets at the Shebaa farms, i.e. on disputed territory between Lebanon and Israel. In so doing, it demonstrated its support for the Palestinian Resistance, in line with the rhetoric of “unity of fronts”. But it did not enter the war, as is wary of Hamas, whom it fought in Syria. And it does not share the Brotherhood’s ideology.
All Western leaders have assured us that they condemn the terrorist actions of Hamas and support Israel. In the past, they have done nothing to resolve the injustices in Palestine, and these principled positions attest that they will do no more now. For their part, Russia and China, refusing to take sides with either the Palestinians or the Israelis, have called, not for the application of Western rules, but for respect for International Law. We are now faced with a situation where all the players have deliberately sabotaged every solution in advance, so that it is now almost impossible to avoid the whole thing ending in a bloodbath.
Source: Voltaire Network