“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” - Sun Tzu (544 ─ 496BC)
ISRAEL’S LEGAL RIGHT to strike back at Hamas is unchallengeable. No nation, having suffered the sort of horrific attack unleashed upon Israel by Hamas terrorists on 7 October 2023, is ever going to be convicted in an international court of law for defending itself. It is the nature of Israel’s retaliation that is challengeable. In war, doing precisely what your enemy expects you to do is never a good idea. By responding to the 7 October attack in precisely the way Hamas anticipated, Israel has allowed the terrorists’ long-planned (and far more important) propaganda offensive to build and strengthen the pro-Palestinian Cause.
That Benjamin Netanyahu was Israel’s Prime Minister on 7 October was of enormous importance to the success of Hamas’ plans. With the survival of the Likud Party-led Israeli Government in the hands of its much smaller coalition partners – all of them murderously Zionistic – there was no way Netanyahu could have responded to Hamas with anything other than overwhelming military force. The only strategy acceptable to Netanyahu and his allies was the one which called for the utter annihilation of Hamas. If Israel had opted to do something else, then Hamas would have been bitterly disappointed – and thoroughly alarmed.
The massive propaganda effort which sprang into action the moment the Gaza fence came down and Israeli citizens began to die, depended absolutely on the screens of the world fast filling up with gruesome images of Palestinians (their children especially) being killed and maimed by Israeli shells, bombs and missiles. These would be the cue for Palestinian apologists all across the West to start talking about “disproportionate responses”, or, more simply, “genocide”.
Many of these defenders of “Palestine” would be well aware that the charge of disproportionality, when used in such a context, does not mean that one side, having killed roughly as many people as the other, is legally obliged to cease and desist. What must be proportionate, under international law, is the nation state’s response to the initial attack. By this measure, Israel’s response to the horrors of 7 October was unquestionably proportionate.
Those who challenge the assertion, should ask themselves how the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia would respond if thousands of their citizens were raped, tortured, shot, stabbed, and burned alive by enemy forces located within the operational reach of their armed forces. Can there be any doubt that their armies, navies and air forces would have been unleashed upon these enemy forces?
And, if those same enemies attempted to avoid the just retribution that was heading their way by situating their military personnel and resources in or below civilian structures, and by using the bodies of their own citizens as human shields (a war crime, by the way) can there be any doubt that the British, Canadian and Australian forces would not have allowed themselves a moment's hesitation before sending their ordnance to blow every living thing within its range to Kingdom Come?
As it says in the Bible: “He who sows the wind, shall reap the whirlwind.”
But the “useful idiots” who fling a Keffiyeh around their shoulders and recite the annihilationist Palestinian mantra: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”; are not influenced in the slightest by such counterfactuals. They are living proof of the saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing; and further, that a little historical knowledge can lead otherwise intelligent and progressive Members of Parliament into some very dark places.
Chloe Swarbrick is a walking testimonial to the extraordinary effectiveness of Palestinian propaganda. On the AM Show of Monday, 20 November 2023, she made reference to the “Nakba” – the catastrophic evacuation of Palestinian cities, towns, villages and farms that accompanied the war between the newborn Israeli state and the armies of the Arab League. (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, “assisted” by sundry Palestinian militia.) To hear Chloe tell the story, 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes by evil Zionists hellbent on seizing their land and property. The Nakba was ethnic cleansing on a massive and brutal scale.
Except, it wasn’t.
What happened in 1948 was the culmination of nearly thirty years of unrelenting Palestinian resistance to Jewish settlement in Mandatory Palestine. Arabs had been bearing arms against the Jews, and the Jews had been defending themselves, since at least the 1920s. In 1947, organisations representative of the Palestinian Arabs had rejected the United Nations partition plan (which the Jews, albeit reluctantly, had accepted). By 1948, the Palestinian leadership were confident that their Arab brothers would rout the Jewish militias, and that “from the river to the sea” Palestine would be what the Nazis called Judenfrei – free of Jews.
A great many of the Palestinians who evacuated their homes and farms in 1948 did so at the urging of the Palestinian Arab leadership. Let the armies of the Arab League do their work, these leaders advised, claiming that their family’s return would only be a matter of days or weeks. Few of those who decamped on the basis of this advice had the slightest concern about the genocidal catastrophe which, for the second time in less than a decade, was about to overtake the Jewish people.
Chloe Swarbrick should know this, but since her knowledge of the Arab-Israeli conflict appears to have been gleaned from the tendentious accounts of Palestinian nationalists, Islamic fanatics and that great throng of usefully idiotic allies who retail “Free Palestine!” propaganda in the West’s universities and news media, the chances are depressingly high that she does not.
And this is the strategic problem confronting Israel. That the effectiveness of the disinformation from which Palestinian nationalism and religious fanaticism continue to draw their strength depends, almost entirely, on Israel’s willingness to confirm its emotional truth by blowing Palestinians and their defenceless communities to Kingdom Come.
The only winning move for Israel, when subjected to the atrocities of 7 October, was, paradoxically, not to make one. To do nothing. This necessitates imagining an Israel led by a Prime Minister of enormous courage and wisdom – enough to face her people with solemn determination and tell them that, this time, unlike all the other times, the Israeli people will not take the bloody bait laid before them by the jackals of Hamas and their Iranian backers. This time, not a single bullet will fly, not a single bomb will drop. This time the Palestinians of Gaza will be left in peace to contemplate the true nature of the organisation that governs their little strip of hell.
One can only imagine the dismay of Hamas, and all the “Hamas adjacent” politicians, journalists and students who have spent the past six weeks waving Palestinian flags, tearing down the posters of Hamas’ hostages, and telling us what a genocidal, colonialist, monstrosity Israel is, and has always been. Why? Because who, and what, would the world be looking at if there were no babies’ bodies to evoke our horror and disgust? Who would be caught in the media spotlight and forced to answer for their atrocities? Their war crimes? Their unrelenting antisemitism?
Let me give you a hint: it wouldn’t be Israel.
This essay is exclusive to Bowalley Road.