Gaza City this morning was awakened by the loud explosions that greeted the entry of the IDF into the city, an entry signaled as well by the intense noise of the first fighting that took place against the backdrop of the dense columns of smoke that have been hanging over the city for days due to the intense aerial bombardment of the past few days and that which has continued from night until dawn. As is well known, the military offensive against Hamas has been conducted with aircraft, naval units and armored vehicles whose task has been to prepare for what the IDF spokesman announced in a short communiqué that verbatim reads, “Our troops have now broken through the first Hamas defense lines in northern Gaza and are penetrating Gaza City.” (Reuters)
At this point the heaviest and most uncertain phase of the clash begins, the one that an army fears most of all: house-to-house combat, the urban clash in a rather dangerous context for an attacker both because of the objective unknowns he is called upon to face on terrain that does not belong to him and therefore he does not know in detail, and because of the unfavorable condition represented by all those measures that those preparing to defend usually prepare by dotting the terrain with mines, traps, active and passive obstacles strong in the mastery of the territory: all of which can prove fatal to those who must advance anyway without having air cover and true artillery support, all in an extremely peculiar context for Gaza characterized by a dense network of underground tunnels suitable for providing not only shelter to those defending, but also the necessary logistical support thanks to connecting routes that are not visible and therefore easily neutralized.
Strategically, the situation is well known to the military and widely to strategy scholars who have been readily consulted by those who have already taken action to provide adequate commentary on the whole.
It is obvious that the time factor again will not play in favor of Israeli troops: the longer the fighting lasts the greater will be the number of dead, wounded and maimed in the ranks of the IDF and the worse will be the media impact of the whole thing for a government which, even in the event of victory, I doubt will remain in office much longer because of the strong internal opposition which is little talked about by us, but which is as alive as ever in Israel where rightly, given the situation, at the moment it is making its voice heard but avoiding all those steps that would then be counterproductive for the country. Starting a war is always a mistake, but losing it once started is even worse.
Only one thing could shorten the time of the confrontation: a proper preemptive intelligence operation, which because of its complexity could have provided the necessary results only if initiated with that congruous ample advance that alone would undermine the thesis of the surprise attack by Hamas as the trigger for the Israeli reaction and the ready indignant, as per the repertoire, deployment of the U.S. attack air groups along the Israeli coast.
As a corollary to this we have what more and more too many seem to treat as “side effects,” namely civilian deaths and suffering.
And in fact in the wake of what is happening these days, more and more I see two diametrically opposed attitudes confronting each other, as is now customary these days: That of those who show the dead, the wounded, the maimed civilian victims of the extremely violent Israeli bombardments without in the least pointing out how these innocent people have for years been the victims of organizations that like Hamas and the PLO itself have made media exploitation of the suffering endured by their Palestinian brethren a profession lavishly rewarded by those in the Arab world who have seen fit to exploit the situation for their own not always ethical ends (consider in this regard the 20 Mln USD paid monthly by Qatar to Hamas and certainly not employed for the benefit of the administered civilians dwelling in the Gaza Strip)-and on the other hand that of the very large array of characters who love , I don’t know for what recondite reasons, consider the history of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as something that would take off as soon as October 7, 2023, making it a convenient tool to justify any act committed by the ruling Zionists in the State of Israel thanks to Likud.
To that Likud which an all too complacent historiography has been passing off for decades as what it is not and whose history, ideals, political aims and connivance-the latter even with the worst actors and protagonists of the turbulent history of the 20th century-is not and cannot be spoken of on pain of being accused of revisionism and anti-Semitism, but which has been confirmed time and again in texts and publications by not only Jewish but even Israeli intellectuals such as, for example, former Speaker of the Israeli Parliament (as well as son of one of the Founding Fathers of the modern State of Israel), Avraham Burg -and historian and journalist Tom Segev, respectively authors of two illuminating texts entitled “Defeating Hitler” and “The Seventh Million.”
Be that as it may, in the end, dead civilians, either because they were victims of Hamas or because they were killed by the incessant indiscriminate bombing by the Israeli air force, matter to no one, or almost no one, as at most they are regarded as “collater murders”-an expression coined on July 12, 2007 at the time of the Iraq war when in Baghdad 18 Iraqi civilians (including 2 journalists) were trivially killed and 2 children wounded by two U.S. attack helicopters whose crews mistook them (intentionally? the question, but this opens another more complex issue, is more than legitimate given what has gone down in history as the Ishaqi Massacre of March 2006, the Haditha Massacre of November 19, 2005 ,not to mention the famous Abu Ghraib scandal, just to stay at some cases in Iraq) for terrorists-good ones to be waved granguignly when needed under the noses of the stadium supporters of the opposing side to claim the good right to strike while washing the blood spilled from their own hands pilatesquely: so the Hamas militiamen, so the IDF military, the one invoking the same good right to act avowed to itself and systematically denied to the other in the name of prelaps rights boasted even by invoking the Divine out of hand.
“Collateral murders” because in the end it is always about murders that may appear legitimate only because they are not prosecuted as such in the name of no one understands what true ethics, that is, for the affirmation of who knows what prestigious theory of values about which the usual lucky ones who export war outside their borders write, discuss, debate in the good salons of politics and the cry networks … or who, to be more precise, up to now have had good luck exporting it outside their own borders living without having to face firsthand what war really is when you have it at home.
So for the United States: That having chased the Indians until almost the early 1900s and having lived through 150/200 years ago two nineteenth-century wars, bloody as they were, is not the same thing, although, on closer inspection, it is not that it really makes a difference since Russia with 20 million dead at home during World War II alone does not seem to have understood much since there are millions of poor souls dreaming of Great Russia, not to mention the French, the Germans themselves and even the Italians who still love war games made to fight possibly by others to keep telling themselves how good they are like the famous Cap. Corelli of the well-known film who between 1940 and 1943, as a lucky user of the package of the well-known, at the time, Dux Tourist Agency, had gone to Greece to find a wife and to play the mandolin: all in various capacities convinced that they were living testimonials of the value of the myth of the Kipling-style white man laden with his burden: all exporters of civilization despite being stuffed with functional illiterates.
Not to mention the Netanyahu-like characters who seem to have understood even less than the others despite having the most experience of the failure of certain ideals, since what he is doing is just preparing for the next war …
While it is true that certain wars must unfortunately be fought when one is pulled by the hair on the battlefields, one should never forget that war is one thing and certain barbarities quite another -and that failure to understand this will mean that sooner or later the time will come when the death of those close to us and we love (when not even our own painfully perishing) will become for someone else only the “collateral murder” of the day …
… here then perhaps it will be easier to understand the endless barbarism that dwells in our hearts … as the soldiers exposed to the effects of uranium dust in Iraq and the Balkans understood it from their own high commands when for higher interests they considered and treated them as acceptable, in the long run, “collateral murders”
Reading the newspapers these days, it occurs to me to make only one suggestion to those who, far too many to tell the truth, daily verbalize dubious defenses of office: “Give yourself a gift this coming year: change your history book because if what you read divides the world into good guys and bad guys… well, that’s just a cheap propaganda book that history is definitely something else.