October 7 2023 will enter the history books as the bloodiest day for Jews since the Holocaust. Almost one thousand people were killed by Hamas death-squads in a single day, hundreds more were wounded and at least another 100 taken as hostages into the Gaza strip.
Those who can endure to watch the video footage released by members of Hamas see scenes reminiscent of what the Islamic State did to the Yezidis. Women who have quite obviously been subjected to rape, the desecration of dead bodies, the kidnapping and taunting of children, the execution of civilians. This has justifiable been described as Israel’s 9/11 – not only due to the death toll, but because this was not an uprising against a military occupation but rather a strike at the soul of Israel and its people.
At the time of writing, the Israeli army is preparing its counter offensive and there are signs that after the orgy of violence conducted by Hamas and backed by the regime in Tehran, the initial enthusiasm over bloodshed will be replaced with the gradual realisation of its consequences.
Hamas itself announced that it would be open to “discussions over truce with Israel” and Iran’s Khamenei is trying to bring some daylight between himself and the Palestinian Islamists, claiming that they had nothing to do with the attack.
I am going out on a limb here, but I believe both Hamas and its backers made a huge mistake, and it is beginning to dawn on them.
While living in luxurious conditions in Qatar, the Hamas leadership tell the economically deprived population in the Gaza strip that the only meaning they can hope to find in life is the struggle against Israel.
The population of Gaza, however, has a median age of 18, with a male surplus among the younger half of the population. Hamas has marinated these young men in a toxic mixture of anti-Semitism and Islamism, giving them no perspective but war with Israel.
Although I have no evidence for this, I suspect that the invaders themselves were surprised by the complete failure of Israeli intelligence and border protection. They entered the country barely encountering any resistance, opening up civilian areas for their slaughter.
On their path of destruction the terrorists encountered a youth festival. The unspeakable acts of violence committed by Hamas under cries of “Allahu Akbar” will forever be seared into the collective memory of the Israeli people.
It was exactly what one would expect groups of young men to do when they encounter those they have been taught to hate: killing the men, raping the women – all of it with a sense of glee. For the moment in time and space when at least 260 people lost their lives and many more parts of their soul at the festival, everything one would regard as civilisation disappeared and was replaced by a premodern rage and bloodlust. It was last seen in ISIS’s onslaught on the Yezidis.
If this would have been a border shootout between Hamas and the IDF, it would have barely made the news. Alas, instead we saw what the Islamists would have in store for all of Israel if they would get the chance. None of this can be justified as an act of resistance, especially since Gaza has not been under occupation since 2005.
I also believe, however, that the control Hamas has over the Gaza strip is less than it seems. The odds that old men in five star hotels in Qatar can effectively control a population of two million with a massive testosterone surplus were never good – and this is what we have seen.
Despite some sophistication in the early preparations, this was a medieval raid, not a meticulously planned military operation.
Without the element of surprise, they would not have stood a chance against Israeli defenders. The attackers made no distinction between nationalities, killing German, American, French and citizens of many other nations, which will force those countries to harden their stance towards the Palestinians.
The Palestinian leadership has created a monster that they could not get under control even if they would want to. Entire generations have been brainwashed into nothing but hatred against Israel and the West, leaving them with no other dream than killing infidels.
So no, this was not an uprising or a military operation, but the unleashing of a barbaric horde on an unsuspecting population. Although I am sure that initially the humiliation of Israel was received with great joy in Qatar, by now they must know that any legitimacy that Hamas could have hoped for as a partner in the future of Palestine and the broader Middle East is gone.
Politics is cynical, and as the IRA in Northern Ireland or ETA in Spain have shown, sometimes you can bomb your way to the negotiating table, but you can never rape your way to it.