Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch is the director of the Initiative for Palestinian Authority Accountability and Reform in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a senior legal analyst for Human Rights Voices, and a member of the Israel Defence and Security Forum.
On October 7, Hama’s attack shocked not only Israel but all Western security apparatuses. How was this possible? The prevailing impression is that the powerful Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has failed. What is your take on this?
Unfortunately, the October 7 massacre exposed two substantial failures. The first failure was the misconception, initiated by the Oslo Accords, that Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians is about land – the whole “Land for Peace” paradigm. In reality, the conflict is an existential one, wherein the Palestinians seek to destroy Israel in its entirety. The misconception was further deepened by Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the pursuing endeavour to create a physical barrier to keep the homicidal genocidal terrorists out while at the same time allowing goods to continue to flow through Israel into the Gaza Strip and allowing Gazans to continue entering Israel. Together, these misconceptions led to a false belief that the Palestinians had accepted Israel’s right to exist and that the Hamas terrorists could be placated.
The second failure was that of the Israeli intelligence organisations. While the Hamas plans to carry out the attack were collected in 2022, the intelligence bodies, ISA, Mossad and IDF intelligence, all believed that the Hamas terrorists were “deterred” and that by providing the Gazans with economic relief, the terrorists would refrain from their evil intentions. In other words, the Israeli intelligence organisations believed that the Hamas terrorists actually cared about the Gazans, at least as much as Israel did. What they failed to understand is that the Gazan terrorists have no basic respect for human lives and that they view the Gazans merely as pawns and cannon fodder. Misunderstanding the true beliefs and intentions of the terrorists substantially contributed to the misconception that their homicidal genocidal plans were merely posturing rather than actual execution plans.
An attack on Israel was expected to trigger a total war. Looking deeper into the situation, it seems that Hamas needed such a war. While the Western–backed war in Ukraine war is being waged against Russia, Hamas has drawn Israel into a total war. Your observation?
The stated goal of Hamas and the Palestinian leadership is to destroy Israel. Hamas and its leadership have been planning the war for many years. Their first attempt was in 2018 when they initiated the violent terror events commonly referred to as the “Great March of Return”. While the terrorists and their supporters, including, shamefully, the United Nations, pitched those events a peaceful demonstrations, in reality, they were just the first Hamas attempt to breach Israel’s borders en masse and massacre Israelis. Hamas needed the war for many reasons. Firstly, to divert attention from their own dismal governance of the Gaza Strip; secondly, to challenge the hegemony of the Fatah terrorists, led by Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as the representatives of the Palestinian people; and thirdly, to support their Iranian masters, and undermine the extension of the Abraham Accords, to include Saudi Arabia.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has proclaimed that “we will win the war”. Is the absolute defeat of Hamas possible?
Yes. In the same way as the absolute defeat of the Nazis was possible, so too is the absolute defeat of Hamas. It may take time, but slowly and surely, the Hamas leadership will be killed or imprisoned. No other option exists. After the October 7 massacre, Hamas must be obliterated. Any other alternative would be fundamentally immoral and a show of weakness by Israel, which in a hostile neighborhood, would only invite more violence.
The Israel-Hamas war seems to have reunited the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide. In various parts of the world, voices are being raised in support of the Palestinians and against Israel. Especially in the West, Palestinian supporters stand on the streets. Similar activities can be seen in Sri Lanka too. Human rights groups continue to criticise Israel only. However, when Hamas attacked innocent Jewish people, no groups raised their voices against Hamas; the United Nations also seems to condemn only Israel constantly. What is your observation regarding this situation?
Unfortunately, the predominant global outlook concerning Israel is one of rabid antisemitism. Despite having had no interaction with Jews, many people around the world are all too willing to believe falsehoods, lies and libels as their excuse for their Jew hatred. In most cases, these people are indifferent to the murder of Jews but irate when Jews invoke their basic right to self-defence. The United Nations bares the responsibility for much of the global Jew hatred. With its inherent bias, the UN and its multitude of organisations have for decades been undermining the Jewish state, constantly setting standards that are unique to the Jewish state and then castigating the Jews when they fail to meet the invented standard. At the same time, the UN, via UNRWA, the UN organisation devoted solely to the Arab “Palestine refugees,” perpetuates the lie that these people will one-day flood Israel and destroy it demographically and democratically.
Through this endeavour and using the refugees as pawns to constantly attack Israel, the so-called “Palestinian refugees” have remained in a state of limbo for seven and a half decades, never being able to settle. In that time, the world has seen dozens of wars, creating millions of refugees, most of whom have been resettled. The exception being the “Palestinian refugees” who, unless something drastic changes, will forever remain the pawns of the UN, the Arab countries and the EU, as a means to attack and undermine Israel. The dominant so-called “human rights organisations,” like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are sadly no different. These sham organisations have adopted the cause of the homicidal terrorist organisations and write any garbage in their efforts to vilify Israel. While ostensibly supporting the rights of the recently invented “Palestinian people” to self-determination, they simultaneously reject the right of the ancient Jewish people to the very same self-determination in its ancestral homeland.
Many countries, including the United States, continue to support a “two-state” solution to the Israel – Palestine conflict. After the war against Hamas, what is the future of a “two-state” solution in your view?
The “two-state” solution is a lie and always has been. The original “two-state” solution was implemented under the League of Nations (the UN predecessor) when the region of “Palestine” was divided, pursuant to the Mandate for Palestine, into two states. To the east of the Jordan River, an Arab state – the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – was established, while the area to the west of the Jordan River was allocated entirely for the Jewish state. The problem was, however, that the Arabs refused to accept the existence of a Jewish state and repeatedly used violence to undermine the British governance.
The Brits, too, betrayed the Mandate and consistently caved in to the violence, eventually suggesting that the remaining area that had been allocated to the Jewish state again be divided in two, thereby creating was is, in reality, a “three-state” solution. But this too was insufficient for the Arabs, who still refused to accept any Jewish state in any borders. The newly invented “Palestinians” could have had their own state at any stage between 1948 to 1967, when Gaza was ruled by the Egyptians and Judea and Samaria – referred to by some as the West Bank – were under Jordanian rule. But at that time, the Arabs didn’t recognise the existence of a defined “Palestinian people” and so never allowed them to have a state.
Jumping forward to 1993, while the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), under Yasser Arafat, feigned acceptance of Israel and feigned abandoning violence and terror as a means to destroy Israel, in reality, it was all a lie. Arafat compared the 1993 Oslo Accords to Mohammed’s Ḥudaybiyah Pact. He used the Accords as a kind of Trojan Horse to establish a foothold in Israel on the way to implementing the PLO’s “Plan of Stages” to destroy Israel.
While Mahmoud Abbas shed the military fatigues of terrorist Arafat, he is nothing more than a Holocaust-denying terrorist in a suit. Together, the PLO terrorists rejected offer after offer to create a Palestinian state, most notably in 2000 and again in 2008. While successfully misleading Western leaders and Israeli useful idiots into believing that they were ready to abandon their hatred of Israel and accept the existence of a Jewish nation-state, in reality, the PLO and other Palestinian terrorist organisations don’t want peace and don’t want any “two-state” solution. All they want is to destroy Israel. They say as much over an over again, in Arabic, to their people. Sadly, the world leaders choose to adopt an approach of wilful blindness. It is entirely irrelevant how much the world wants a “two-state” solution since the “Palestinians” reject that option entirely.