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November 26, 2023



We are all witnessing the folly of Israel’s complacency relative to the overwhelming attack by Hamas and the swift and deadly retaliation by Israel against Hamas.  In both instances, the greatest losses occur among the innocent civilian bystanders caught in the crossfire.  Whereas Hamas killed more than 1,400 in their October 7 invasion of Israel, Israeli strikes have allegedly killed over 10,000 people in Gaza and injured another 20,000.  


On the Israeli side, there has been considerable finger-pointing between the military and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has recently had more than his fair share of bad press for allegedly attempting to revamp the composition of the Israel Supreme Court appointments to enhance his control over all matters.  He is believed to have made a social media posting to the effect that: “At no point was a warning given to Prime Minister Netanyahu of Hamas’ intention to start a war.  On the contrary, all the defense officials, including the heads of the Intelligence Directorate and the Shin Bet, assessed that Hamas was deterred.”


Criticism followed and he deleted the posting, apologized, and owned up to the reality of the situation and the complacency that led up to the Hamas invasion.  The sour grapes retraction must not have appealed to Netanyahu given his facial impression as shown below.

The Elephant Story Blog

On October 29, The Financial Times reported that Israel had begun its ground assault shown below to use their firepower advantage against Hamas while minimizing risk.  The concept is to provide close air support to ground troops who are facing a labyrinth of tunnels that Hamas has created over the years. Moreover, Hamas is well-armed with an arsenal of anti-tank weapons and improvised explosive devices.  Obviously, Israel has used the past three weeks to target Hamas command centers which has taken a toll on civilians and leveled complete neighborhoods which also complicates combat in areas of rubble. 

The Elephant Story Blog

Some years back we visited some friends who live in Tel Aviv which we like as a vibrant and interesting city.  In turn, they introduced us to an Israeli couple whose family were deeply involved in creating the State of Israel.  We spent a day with them visiting villages which were hotspots in the early days during periods of Israeli and Palestinian conflicts.  My favorite place had a small winery that made a surprisingly good wine and had sufficient agriculture to support itself with good food.  


More than anything I was amazed how close Israel was to various long-standing enemies as illustrated by the distance markers shown below.  The message here is that a drawn-out conflict in Gaza offers plenty of opportunities for other neighbors to jump into the fray as well, which may be happening even this early in the conflict.  The West Bank is always considered a potential hotspot with the Palestinians as 2023 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in two decades.  Moreover, Israeli settlers have increased their attacks on Palestinian communities on the West Bank following the Hamas attacks on Israel.  Netanyahu’s far-right government includes extremist politicians who support expansion of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

The Elephant Story Blog

The Washington Post published an image of demonstrators waving Palestinian and Hamas flags outside the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in central Beirut, Lebanon.   Lebanon has a long history of roller coaster rides between radical groups and organized development of its own resources under freely elected governments. Acting Prime Minister Najib Mikati has been making every effort possible to prevent the war with Hamas from expanding into Lebanon.

The Elephant Story Blog

One week after the Hamas invasion of Israel, we happened to be at an international charitable board meeting in London which includes many Arab members as well as Europeans.  By chance our friends from Tel Aviv were also camping in London as their planned return home had been indefinitely postponed.  They could hear the rocket warfare in the sky as it was being captured by their doorbell.  


It is a most unusual situation to find oneself in the company of two different sides in an ongoing conflict.  Moreover, the irony of the entire situation is a conflict generating death, destruction, rape, and pillage in the name of various religions which has gone on almost since the beginning of time.  Carpet makers in the Middle East leave a flaw in the carpet as “Only Allah can make a perfect carpet.’’ If that is the case, maybe Allah could join up with all the other religious icons or spirits to make a world that had perfect harmony.  You say that is an insane concept and I would say no different than the insanity around us every day.  

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