Common Grounds

Our Friday News Analysis | What the World Reads Now!

October 27, 2023


                         Tafasta Merube lo Tafasta – If You Grab Too Much, You've Caught Nothing.


The Hague, 27 October 2023 | If you know of any story that is decisive, tell the world. We're still searching.

Our Friday News Analysis | What the World Reads Now!

Whenever I give a talk on Israel–Palestine, I start by quoting Yasser Arafat:

               "Its causes do not stem from conflict between two religions or nationalisms.

               Neither is it a border conflict between neighboring states.

               It is the cause of a people deprived of their homeland, dispersed, uprooted, and mainly living in exile and refugee camps."5

How does one explain the obsession for possession, the ecstasy, the deification of the Jewish State, their Golden Calf, as an end at this late hour in the Jewish people's history and the world?

How much of historical Judaism – how deep, how old, how Jewish – is there behind the new-fangled 'Jewish' ultra-nationalism? 6

Yahweh is central to Judaism. Who is Yahweh? God!

Where does God reside?

In Zion?

Say that again? ZION! And what and where is Zion?

In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Zion refers to Jerusalem, the City of David, and the City of God. Biblically and in the Quran, Zion is physically and spiritually “on earth as it is in heaven,” where God resides. In Christianity, Zion is synonymous with ‘The Kingdom of God.’ Zionism means simultaneously “Return to Jerusalem, the land” and “Return to God, the Kingdom of God.”

And what is the prime objective? Why return to God? In Judaism, the Israelites are called to become a “light among nations.” Christians enter the Kingdom of God to become “the earth's light and salt.”

And surprise, surprise! In the Islamic tradition, Ṣahyūn (Arabic: صهيون, Ṣahyūn or Ṣihyūn) is the word for Zion in Arabic and Syriac.[13][14] Drawing on biblical tradition, it is one of the names accorded to Jerusalem in Arabic and Islamic tradition.[14][15] A valley called Wādī Sahyũn seemingly preserves the name and is approximately one and three-quarter miles from the Old City's Jaffa Gate.[13]

For example, the reference to the "precious cornerstone" of the new Jerusalem in the Book of Isaiah 28:16 is identified in Islamic scholarship as the Black Stone of the Kaaba.[16] Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292–1350) said this interpretation has come from the People of the Book, though earlier Christian scholarship identifies the cornerstone with Jesus.[16]

Time for Real Zionism 9 … “Creating a Heaven on Earth”

It is time for real Zionism. Simply stated, ‘Zionism’ means doing God’s work, God’s people creating a heaven on earth, ordinary people doing extraordinary things, exemplary in every way, the Light Among Nations.

Time for Real Jihad 10 ... “Striving in the Path of God … al-jihad fi sabil Allah”

It is time. The word ‘Jihad’ frequently appears in the Qur’an with and without military connotations, idiomatically articulated as "striving in the path of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah).” Jihad, Arabic: جهاد‎‎ jihād, an expression of hope, literally striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim. The word ‘Zion’ ranks among the most sacred words in Judaism and Christianity and is just as sacred as the word ‘Jihad’ with strikingly similar meanings and connotations.

Zion and Jihad are but two words that connect Jews, Christians, and Muslims in our Abrahamic Faiths. Judaism and Islam are the two closest religions to each other. What’s more, for centuries, Jews and Muslims have lived in harmony side by side. Many classical works of Judaism are written in Arabic. Historically, both have lived a lot better together than within Christian realms.

Lights and shadows with moments of grief characterize the relationship among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Can we work toward genuine reconciliation among all believers in the one God? Can we become one in the Spirit to do that which has the most chance of being good for all concerned?

               Judaism honors the Almighty as protector of the human person and as God who promulgates life's promises.

               Christianity knows God is love and expects humankind, created in His image, to manifest Agape 11 love.

               Islam views God as good, compassionate, and merciful. He grants the believers His abundant mercy.

Inspired by these convictions, those who are one in the Abrahamic Faiths – Jews, Christians, and Muslims – reject the supposition that hatred threatens the earth, that endless wars continue to plague humanity, and that humanity will destroy itself. And yet, peace between our people remains a bridge too far unless trust can be the thrust to bring us together.
Zion has a broad spectrum of meaning more significant than any single entity or identity. Zion, which simply means ‘fortification,’ is also known as the seat of power not just for the ‘kingdom’ of Ancient Israel but especially the [Spiritual] Kingdom of God. Zion is another name for Jerusalem, the ‘City of David’ but has always been superseded as ‘the City of God.” (Isaiah 52:1-2, the “City of God,” the people of God becoming the “Light among nations.” Jeremiah 31:6, “Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.” Mount Zion signifies the spiritual Kingdom of God as in Hebrews 12:22: “You have come to Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” … the New Jerusalem that will descend out of heaven (Revelations 21:10-26), the ‘heaven on earth’).

van Kempen, Abraham. Christian Zionism ... Enraptured Around a Golden Calf (Kindle Locations 442-465).

A Dark Side of Judaism …

Secular Zionism, to many revealed as a dark side of Judaism, rules and dominates the Israeli zeitgeist, beguiling and chaining many Jews into believing in something they are not meant to be. This aberration torments and inters the indigenous Palestinians into concentrated encampments to live hell on earth. If not officially, certainly subliminally and often dared in the glare of world television, religious ultra-nationalists fused with the secular ultra-nationalists wave the banner of Holy Goodness, eliciting the worst human instincts.

Secular Zionists intend to build a ‘glorious, divinely ordained’ Greater Israel for Jews only over an obliterated Palestinian society and to drive out the Palestinian population directly or indirectly.

Zionist leaders from David Ben-Gurion to Binyamin Netanyahu have, according to world public opinion, taken many wrong turns in their territorial obsessions – their rage and blind ambitions – to expand their lebensraum, coveting the land without the indigenous people. Instead of triumphing in peaceful harmony, they have capitulated to tribal warfare on a collision course against their Judaic conscience. Zionism, meant to be a light in the world, has become a prayer without end.

van Kempen, Abraham. Christian Zionism ... Enraptured Around a Golden Calf, 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 2047-2056). The 3rd Edition will come out in February 2024.


What is the Side of the Story that is Not Yet Decisive? Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen.



We have created a new creature. We are the creature that pushed aside Frankenstein, smashed the gate, and left the laboratory to wreak havoc in the neighborhood


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, and Interior Minister Arye Dery attended a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Rami Shlush


By Yossi Klein
Published Jan 25, 2018
Source: Haaretz

February 01, 2018


Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay are right. We’ve forgotten how to be Jewish. We are Israeli first and only slightly Jewish. Our Israeliness is arrogant, impatient, and violent, a blend of the fanaticism of MK Bezalel Smotrich and the aggressiveness of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Our Judaism is not that of pre-Holocaust Europe or pre-state North Africa. As Jews, we wrote, studied, and taught; as Israelis, we conquered, expelled, and abused. I’m proud of Judaism and ashamed of Israeliness.

Why are we like this? Is this what we learned from the Holocaust? Does our Holocaust lesson teach that cruelty pays off and that racism is rewarded? That’s the lesson of our fake Judaism. That is not the Judaism from which we came, neither in the West nor the East. After the Holocaust, Jews helped the blacks in South Africa and fought racism in the United States. Here, we deport people.


The Holocaust is not responsible for our disengagement from Western liberalism. The wars against the Arabs are not responsible for our disengagement from Mizrahi tolerance. The transition from the ruled to the rulers is accountable for this disengagement. Power went to our heads. Sovereignty and independence saved the body and destroyed the spirit. Brawn replaced brain. We are the new Jews. After 70 years of planning and building, we can say we succeeded. We have created a new creature. We are the creature that pushed aside Frankenstein, smashed the gate, and left the laboratory to wreak havoc in the neighborhood.


When you destroy, you forget. We’ve forgotten what it is to be Jewish, but no matter what, we made sure we had God. Our God is a hostage. Our God sits before the camera and reads what the kidnappers dictate. In his name, we expropriate land and deport refugees. In his name, the land is ours, forever.


This is not the God of Einstein and Freud. It is the God of Shlomo Aviner of Beit El and Arye Dery of Har Nof, who is subject to coalition discipline, who measures skirt lengths and closes stores on Shabbat; a God who prefers to pay idlers in yeshivas and deport work migrants who support themselves and don’t ask for favors.


The Judaism that holds God hostage is a good “closer”: state funds in return for support for the settlements, canceling the draft in return for ignoring corruption. It’s Judaism for rent to the highest bidder, the Judaism of the Sicarii, a Judaism that will lead to civil war.


We’ve forgotten how to be Jewish, but there are Jews who remember. We are the vultures who hover above them, pouncing on every anti-Semitic incident. Anti-Semitism hurts Jews there but serves us here. It justifies our Judaism. We build on it. We count every hate crime. We hope anti-Semitism will prove to the Jews that the era of the old Judaism has passed, and it’s time for a new Torah, that of Dery. We need suffering Jews. Why suffer in Paris? Suffer with us here.


What kind of Jews are we? Have we not eyes, hands, senses, affections, passions? Do we not cry at movies? Does the immigration police officer not have a heart? Does the pilot who bombs Gaza not have children? Does the cry of a small child not pierce their hearts? Of course, it does; still, we deport, bomb, and imprison. How do we do this with such a big heart?


Judaism would not do this, but Israeli Judaism does. Israeliness is an insular religion that flaunts being “a people that stands alone” like a badge of honor. A Judaism that fights its children’s leaving and annuls everyone else. Secular people are a nuisance, the Arabs are drugged cockroaches, and the refugees are a cancer. It’s easier to trample on others when the refugee is cancer, the disabled person is an exploiter, the Arab inferior, and the poor man lazy.


It’s not Jews who expel, oppress and abuse. It’s Israelis. Judaism is not to blame. Israeli Judaism is. We are the Israelis, and this is our Judaism.


Why “we?” We don’t expel or bomb; we demonstrate, protest, and write. But it will not clear our conscience. What will we tell our children and grandchildren that it wasn’t in our name? We are partners. So long as we obey undemocratic laws that were passed democratically, we are partners. It won’t help to turn our backs. It’s all in our name and how.





American coverage of the ongoing war in the Middle East is a chilling throwback to the 19th century


A Palestinian woman around the belongings of Palestinians cries at the garden of Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital after it was hit in Gaza City, Gaza, on October 18, 2023. © Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu via Getty Images


Bradley Blankenship is an American journalist, columnist, and political commentator. He has political science and philosophy degrees, has reported for various international news agencies, and has worked in political strategy, including field organization and communications. In addition to RT, he is a regular contributor to CGTN and Global Times and an occasional contributor to US and European media outlets. Follow him on X @BradBlank_

26 October 2023

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas is quickly gaining steam, potentially spiraling entirely out of control. Much of this concerns that this issue elicits so many emotions and has each side firmly entrenched in their positions. In the Western world, we can see that one side – the Israeli side – has far more reach and influence, so much so that the mere act of even having sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians can get one excommunicated from civil society.

For instance, a prominent writer in the Czech Republic named Prokop Singer has been informed by virtually all the publications he regularly contributes that his work will no longer be accepted. Never mind that he has been studying Arabic for years, has traveled extensively to Palestinian territories, and is one of the only credible Czech commentators on this issue. His social media behavior – such as pointing out that Western politicians are routinely silent on the death and dispossession of the Palestinians or calling out hypocrisy over how Czech liberals treat Ukraine versus Palestine – was too much to bear.


We are also seeing students from some of the world’s foremost academic institutions, such as Harvard and Columbia, having their employment rescinded over their stances on the conflict. People who attend pro-Palestine rallies or sign letters supporting Palestine are being doxxed and reported to their employers or, worse, to local police and government agencies. Accuracy in Media, a conservative organization dedicated to holding “public and private officials accountable,” is now funding a truck to drive around the US displaying the personal information of pro-Palestine students. Social media companies worldwide are also openly censoring pro-Palestine pages and posts without explanation.


This sort of behavior is perilous and chills Western society for many reasons, not least for its apparent injustice. But more than this, while the West prides itself on being a place for a free and open exchange of ideas, that is no longer the case. Even if we may all vehemently disagree with one another, no matter what the issue is, it is still important to at least know – or have the ability to learn – what the other side thinks. Without this crucial understanding, the path to war is inevitable.


This is no exaggeration. After enduring the worst attack on its soil for decades, Israel is on a tear for revenge – even if basic logic indicates, and indeed most Israelis themselves believe, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bears responsibility for not having prevented the attack, to begin with. If a ground invasion of Gaza, which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are preparing for, occurs, then the conflict will immediately become regional.


Iran and its allies, such as Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen, and other Tehran-blacked militias, such as Syria and Iraq, don’t seem eager to go to war with Israel. But because their entire identity as a political organization and alliance is based on resisting the violent excesses of Israeli apartheid and what UN experts warn could be turning into an ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, they are left with little choice. If they do nothing in the face of the very thing they swore to deter, they may as well not exist – and they know it.


For this reason, black-and-white thinking cannot prevail in the world. This is especially true in the West, to which Israel owes its very existence if not for the diplomatic and defense cover it provides to the vulnerable Jewish state.


Both sides are caught in a trap where talk of one side’s right to exist is predicated on destroying the other. In the West, this manifests as Israel’s right to defend itself – by whatever means necessary, including indiscriminate bombing – while Palestinians are dehumanized. But Palestinians also have a right to protect themselves and the right to resist occupation and apartheid.


This does not in any way justify the crimes of Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad – both of whom have a deplorable ideology and resort to criminal tactics that only serve to reinforce a caricatured view of Palestinians. In examining how public discussion is unfolding in the West, I cannot help but feel reminded of how the American media covered the nearly 250 slave revolts in the 19th century.


As the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic recounts, the American media – dominated by white people, obviously – was fanatically racist and, when covering slave revolts, would laser in on the purported crimes of enslaved Black people while pen-vomiting out prose that would make Adolf Hitler blush.


For example, in the wake of the 1822 Vesey Conspiracy, the Charleston Times’ editor wrote, “Let it never be forgotten, that ‘our Negroes, are truly the Jacobins of the country; that they are the anarchists and the domestic enemy; the common enemy of civilized society, and the barbarians who would, if they could, become the destroyers of our race.”


In 1859, after the famous John Brown raid, the New York Herald’s editor, James Gordon Bennett, wrote, “The whole history of negro insurrection proves that there is no race of men so brutal and bloody-minded as the negro. The negro, once roused to bloodshed and in possession of arms, is as uncontrollable and irrational as a wild beast...”


It sounds eerily familiar how the American far-right commentator Ben Shapiro, an orthodox Jew and an ardent Zionist who is against so-called cancel culture until it personally benefits him, talks about Palestinians. When faced with his verbatim comments – including that, “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage. This is not a difficult issue. #settlementsrock” – he accused the prominent conservative BBC host interviewing him of being a “leftist” and stormed off the show. He is not alone, however, as you can find countless examples of Zionists – including high-level Israeli officials – openly talking this way.


After the extraordinary hardship suffered by Jews throughout history, I can fully sympathize with the generational trauma at play. This is what is driving Israel’s behavior in ruthlessly attacking the Palestinians. But that is not a justification, nor does it negate that the Palestinians also have a right to life and independence. The fact that we in the West cannot even acknowledge this, nor even humanize the people of Gaza, is a terrifying and dangerous prospect.





Civilian captives could be transferred to Iran with Turkish and Qatari help, according to media reports


Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks at the UN General Assembly, 26 October 2023, in New York City. © Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images


HomeWorld News
26 Oct, 2023


The Palestinian militant group Hamas is willing to release non-combatants it has held captive since October 7, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian revealed on Thursday.

According to our negotiations, Hamas is ready to release civilian prisoners,” Amir-Abdollahian told the UN General Assembly, cited by The National, a UAE-based outlet.


On the other hand, the world should support the release of 6,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons,” he added.


The Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen reported that Hamas would be willing to work with Türkiye and Qatar to facilitate the transfer of hostages into Iranian custody. Whether this release would be unilateral or in exchange for the jailed Palestinians was unclear.


Amir-Abdollahian’s announcement comes just hours after his deputy, Ali Bagheri, held talks with Russian counterparts in Moscow, which focused on the “need for a ceasefire in and around the Gaza Strip and the prompt provision of humanitarian aid to the affected Palestinian population,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The ministry added that Russia’s special envoy for the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, and Bagheri, agreed to “closely coordinate efforts to stabilize the situation” in the region.


Meanwhile, a high-ranking Hamas delegation was also in Moscow to discuss the hostage issue. Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior member of the group’s political council, led the team that addressed the release of hostages and evacuation of Russian and other foreign nationals from Gaza.


Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed the visits by Marzouk and Bagheri at the regular press briefing on Thursday, promising “additional information” once it is available.

Israel has denounced the Hamas mission to Moscow and demanded Russia immediately expel them.


Hamas took over 200 captives and killed up to 1,400 Israelis during the October 7 incursion into Israel. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by declaring war on the group and launching air and artillery strikes on Gaza. According to Hamas, 50 hostages have been killed by Israeli strikes so far, along with more than 7,000 Palestinians.





As Hamas releases hostages and Israel continues to bomb Gaza, many questions remain unanswered


Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz, taken hostage by Hamas on October 7 and released Monday, arrive via helicopter at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. / Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images.


By Seymour Hersh
24 October 2023

A decade ago, while on a trip to the Middle East, my wife and I shared a pizza dinner in a Jerusalem hotel with an American journalist and a photographer who had just returned from a reporting visit to Gaza City. An anchorman for one of America’s television networks and his wife joined us. The journalist and photographer chatted at some point in Arabic with our waiter, and that chatter prompted a middle-aged gentleman in a suit and tie who was dining alone to approach our table and ask if he could join. He explained that he was a US Army intelligence officer, a colonel, assigned to the American consulate in Jerusalem, and his mission was to report on Gaza. The only problem, he said, was that he was not allowed to travel to Gaza, and so when he overheard the journalists talking about their visit there, he wanted to know more.

We invited him to join, and the colonel got what was, in effect, a briefing on the deprivation and despair that the reporters had found.

Gaza and Hamas—the Islamist group that has led the territory since 2007—remain murky, confounding subjects today. Why did Hamas stage an early morning raid on October 7 in what turned out to be a series of unguarded kibbutzim in Israel's south? Why were only a few Israelis Israeli soldiers on duty that morning?

We in the media do not know the whole story. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is saying nothing about Israel’s failure to defend its citizens. However, several leading generals have publicly apologized for their lapse, and Hamas has insisted that the mission it authorized was solely aimed at the capture of a few Israeli soldiers to be used for a possible prisoner exchange. Hamas operatives began the operation early on the morning of October 7 by blowing up the unguarded fences separating Gaza from Israel.

Hamas also has claimed that the bulk of the mayhem was caused by other terrorist groups and the aggrieved citizens of Gaza who flooded across the downed gates and fences with no Israeli soldiers to stop them. It has been widely reported that at the instigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel was financing Hamas via funds supplied by Qatar in the belief that a strong Hamas would make a two-state solution, long sought by some in Washington, unlikely.

That is where we are today. Israel is now in the process of turning Gaza City into rubble via constant bombing and is also planning to begin a ground invasion soon. A well-informed American official told me that the Israeli leadership is considering flooding Hamas's vast tunnel system before sending in its troops, many of whom have had only a few weeks of training in the maneuvers and coordination required for the invasion. Such an act could mean that Israel was prepared to write off the hostages still in jeopardy.

Where the estimated two hundred-plus hostages are is an open question. Israel is only talking about the end of the Hamas regime, and Hamas has so far released four hostages. Two elderly Israelis were released yesterday with no known demands.

The release was the second in three days. The first involved two Americans, a mother and her teenage daughter, who appeared healthy. All four were given over to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The American official told me that the Israel leadership expects more to come soon. The releases could be a sign that the Hamas leadership is feeling pressure because of the incessant bombing, which is widely assumed to be a precursor to an all-out Israel ground attack. They could also indicate that Hamas will not let the Israeli bombing dictate its hostage policy. There have been secret talks about a more significant release of Israeli prisoners since the first United Nations relief trucks began flowing from Egypt into southern Gaza, where up to a million hungry and thirsty refugees were waiting.

The complete aid shipment should have been delivered directly to the Red Cross representatives in Gaza City. The American official said, “But the Egyptian UN officials wanted a cut, and so did Hamas.” The official said that a deal was worked out after much back and forth late last week. The distribution of the goods would be left in the hands of Red Cross officials in Gaza City, and Hamas would forward its share, the official said, to its fighters “in the tunnels and their families. The rest would go to cronies”—that is, to senior members of the Hamas leadership. In return, Hamas would release ten more hostages when the actual transfer of goods took place. It is not known whether the hostages to be released were to include any Americans.

The American official who outlined the bargaining involved did not know why the agreement fell apart. But he was dismissive of the greed involved. “The Egyptians and Palestinian factions were fighting for the relief goods,” he told me, “while the needy living without clean water and food will continue to suffer.”


One serious complication that has not been publicly discussed since the October 7 attack is that the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, were not the sole attackers or collectors of hostages on a day in which there was no Israeli Army presence in the kibbutzim and villages under attack for at least eight hours.

“We know,” the American official told me, “that the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade participated.” He referred to a coalition of Palestinian armed groups designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, the European Union, and several other nations worldwide. (Hamas has also been designated a terrorist group by the US and the EU.)

“Was the attack a surprise to the Hamas civilian leadership? No. It was long in the planning and coordination. The other crazies with a history of terrorism were enlisted to join forces. Did they expect success? No. Did the attacking force commit egregious atrocities? Yes. Was it unanticipated by Hamas? No. All involved proclaimed their intention and proved it in their tactics over the past twenty years. Will Israel react and destroy Hamas? Yes. Are they justified? Was the creation of a Jewish state justified? One person’s answer to the second question answers the first.” He went on: “Will the refugees die of starvation? No. Public sympathy for their genuine suffering will save the day.”

I heard a similar account of how the long-planned October 7 attack got out of control from a long-standing expert on Middle Eastern politics who has no access to American intelligence assessments. “The goal of the Palestinian operation,” he told me, “was exactly what happened—a shocking and inspired military operation that humiliated the Israelis and shook them to their foundation. Hamas military commanders had a map of bases [inside Israel]. They wanted to take computer servers with all the potentially compromising information they contained and would probably have sent them to Iran for analysis.”

Another Hamas goal, I was told, was to take Israeli Army prisoners and force Israel to trade for the release of thousands of Gazan and West Bank prisoners, break the siege of Gaza, and continue to compete with the Palestine Liberation Organization that the 1993 Oslo Accords initially designated to control the West Bank and Gaza. “A further bonus of a successful attack,” the expert said, “would have been to stifle the ongoing normalization talks between Saudi Arabia and Israel.”

The Qassam wing of Hamas initiated the attack by launching rockets to distract the Israeli military. Then, it disarmed the electronic system that provided round-the-clock surveillance of the fence around Gaza. The Hamas fighters who poured through the destroyed fence were soon followed by residents of Gaza City who, in their ongoing anger at Israel, were eager to join in on the assault, as were members of other resistance groups in the Gaza Strip. The expert said he was told that attacking the all-night dance party—260 young Israelis were slaughtered that morning—was not part of the initial plan. Still, no one is denying that, planned or not, the murders at the dance party and in the Israeli settlements ultimately are the responsibility of Hamas.

From the Hamas point of view, the expert added, “no matter what the Israelis do” in response to the slaughter triggered by Hamas—attack in force with ground troops or continue the saturation bombing of Gaza City—the October 7 raid was one from which the Israeli Defense Force cannot recover. The expert told me, "Israel calling in the US to make threats and send carriers and make threats only makes Israel look weaker.” The expert added that the Hamas leadership understands that Israel may have to invade Gaza on the ground in the immediate future and declare victory no matter how many casualties are incurred if only to reassure its traumatized population.

The expert said that the critical issue for the Israeli military today, in the view of the Hamas leadership, is that a planned Hamas commando raid aimed at seizing IDF soldiers “turned into a prison break.” News of the unchallenged penetration of the initial Hamas attackers quickly spread throughout Gaza, and spontaneous groups of Gazans and hastily formed martyr hit teams poured through the downed fence. The result, said the expert, turned “the operation into a catastrophic success.”

More than 200 hostages were carted off—one can see their abduction in various videos that have emerged—on the backs of a motorcycle or a bicycle or jammed into autos. They are believed to be scattered in underground tunnels or private homes throughout Gaza. Their fate may never be known.

There are scores of videos providing evidence of a fly-by-night attack that succeeded because of a stunning Israeli Defense Force failure that thus far has not led to the punishment of a single Israeli army officer. That possibility—that the initially limited Hamas goal turned into the horror that occurred essentially because of the IDF failure—has yet to be acknowledged by Israel’s military and political leadership. As the experts said, they believe Hamas and other factions broke out of Gaza into Israel with specific orders to kill and abduct as many civilians and soldiers as possible.

On October 11, Tal Heinrich, the spokesman for Netanyahu, added to the furor by telling CNN that the IDF found Israeli infants and toddlers with their “heads decapitated,” presumably while going house to house searching for survivors. Netanyahu was reported to have conveyed such to President Biden during one of their meetings this month. Hamas immediately denied the subsequent reports, which briefly dominated the news in America. A spokesman for the Israeli government announced a day later that it could not confirm that Hamas attackers cut off the heads of babies.

Whatever the truth, the Israeli public is rattled as never before with questions about the ability of the Israeli government to protect its citizenry. In return, they are subjected to braying and bellicosity by their prime minister who, unlike his senior generals and the head of Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security agency, has refused so far to publicly take responsibility for the military and intelligence failures on October 7. A recent public opinion poll in Israel showed that Netanyahu has the support of 29 percent of his country.


Editor’s Note | Today, on my 73rd birthday, again, I declare, “Tafasta Merube lo Tafasta – If You Grab Too Much, You've Caught Nothing.” How often should Israel shoot its feet before no more feet are left?


The New Testament ‘in-gathers’ and redeems ALL people, not just one tribe; ALL the nations, not just one state; indeed, glorifying the ONE ‘I Am’ with Many Names – in Hebrew: Hayah asher hayah, ‘I Will Be Who or How or Where I Will Be’ or just Eloah; or, in the Arabic sound-alike, Allah.


Our New Covenant 1) frees Modern Jews from their Jews-only, ancestry-ghetto- mentality; 2) renounces Modern Israel's obsession for possession of a Land once promised and fulfilled; and 3) refutes the Israeli edict: "What is mine is mine, what is yours is mine also."


Many indigenous Palestinians are more heritably linked to the Ancient Israelites than most European Jews who have wandered into the Region, seeking refuge from 1,900 years of European persecution, especially after World War II. Historically, many Jews in the Diaspora descend from pagan converts to Judaism.


Will a shared identity prompt the ‘cousins’ to share the land? Is there another choice?



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