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The Day After in Gaza: Options and a Recommendation
February 4, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

"The Actual Battlefield Matters More Than Opinions About It"
January 30, L'Informale (Italy)

Making Sense of the Hamas-Israel War
January 15, Middle East Forum

"Someone in Tehran Seems to Want a Fight"
December 30, La Stampa (Italy)

Why Are the Houthis Disrupting International Trade?
December 19, The Dispatch

The Israel-Hamas Hostage Deal
November 24, TVP (Poland)

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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

Building a Decent Gaza

by Daniel Pipes  •  Spring 2024  •  Middle East Quarterly

"A significant portion of Palestinian people do not share the views of Hamas."
— U.S. President Joe Biden

Netanyahu's Plan

On Feb. 22, 2024, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his Security Cabinet with a short document, "The Day After Hamas." His office calls it "principles reflecting a broad public consensus on the goals of the war, and the civil alternative to the terrorist organization's rule in the Gaza Strip." Its key passage states that the Government of Israel plans to work primarily with Gazans to rebuild their territory, secondly with friendly Arab states.

Civil affairs and responsibility for public order will be based on local actors with "management experience" and not identified with countries or organizations supporting terrorism or receive payments from them; a de-radicalization program will be promoted in all religious, educational, and welfare institutions in the [Gaza] strip with as much as possible the involvement and assistance of Arab countries that have experience in promoting de-radicalization.

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2023's Biggest Hits at DanielPipes.org

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 16, 2024

I spent most of my writing hours in 2023 working on a book, so the articles declined in number from recent years. Traffic statistics at DanielPipes.org indicate that the following ten articles are my most read writings published in 2023, in ascending order. (Gary Gambill of the Middle East Forum kindly provided the tabulations and assisted with the summaries.)

10. How Can Israel Win the Palestinian Conflict? (January 7)

In a Jerusalem Post interview, I argue that resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict "requires the Palestinians to lose hope." This reasoning "precisely contradicts the premise of the Oslo Accords," which held that economic benefits "would vest the Palestinians in prosperity, deradicalize them, and make them true partners for peace." But 30 years later, "Palestinians retain the fantasy of eliminating the Jewish state," a goal that "must be fought by making them abandon it, not by fueling it with hope."

9. Violence Is Not the Biggest Palestinian Threat to Israel (February 2)

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The Government Cannot Fix Universities
Letter to the Editor

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 22, 2023  •  Wall Street Journal

To the Editor:

What Sen. Dan Sullivan found - anti-Israel signs and symbols in the reading room of Harvard's premier library - is indeed shocking ("An Antisemitic Occupation of Harvard's Widener Library"). Bravo to him for pointing this out and condemning the university's "craven, morally bankrupt" leadership for allowing such antics.

Mr. Sullivan, however, offers the wrong solution to this problem when he contends that "It is time for Congress to save these important and once-respected [universities] from themselves and their weak leaders." Harvard is a private institution. Government must not attempt to "save" it. That way lies state control over everything and ultimately totalitarianism.

True, the taxpayer funds students, research, and more at universities, but these monies must not be weaponized to force them to do the government's bidding. That way lies perdition.

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More on Israel's Rapid Return to Disastrous Policy

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 1, 2023

In "The Rapid Return of Israel's Disastrous Policy," I document how - despite repeated calls for victory - the Government of Israel has in many ways returned to its failed pre-Oct. 7 ways. This weblog entry continues that documentation.

Dec. 1, 2023 addenda: (1) The Alma Research & Education Center published a report arguing that "Hezbollah's Radwan unit is capable of carrying out an invasion of the Galilee at any given moment."

Comments: (1) When added to Hamas' invasion on Oct. 7 and the Regavim report cited above, this means that three of Israel's borders were or are in imminent danger of invasion. (2) Ironically, the borders with police states - Egypt, Jordan, Syria - are relatively safe.

(2) A New York Times investigation adds information to the paragraph beginning "When Hamas drilled in plain sight." Its opening:

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The Rapid Return of Israel's Disastrous Policy

by Daniel Pipes  •  Winter 2024  •  Middle East Quarterly

Judging by the way Netanyahu has managed Gaza in the last 13 years,
it is not certain that there will be a clear policy going forward.
— Tal Schneider, Times of Israel

By Daniel Pipes

"Everything changed" in Israel on Oct. 7. But did it? Understanding the mistakes that led up to the Hamas massacre provides a basis to evaluate Israel's long-term response to that day. Contrary to general opinion, I shall argue that the presumptions behind those mistakes remain in place and will not change unless Israelis adopt a radically different attitude toward the Palestinians.

The Road to Oct. 7

Israeli military planners coined a Hebrew term, conceptzia, "the concept," in the late 1960s. It held that Egypt's Anwar el-Sadat would not go to war until 1974, when his military had acquired advanced Soviet fighter jets that permitted it to take on the Jewish state's air force. Israel's Agranat Commission, which investigated how the Egyptians and Syrians surprised Israel in the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, largely blamed the conceptzia for a blindness to the preparations taking place before its very eyes.

The future commission inevitably analyzing Israel's unpreparedness on Oct. 7, 2023, will surely blame that surprise on a second erroneous conceptzia. It held that, David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy explains,

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review of Jerusalem Falls: Seven Centuries of War and Peace

by Daniel Pipes  •  Winter 2024  •  Middle East Quarterly

Hosler, one of a dying breed of military historians (he teaches at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas), looks at the much-studied city of Jerusalem through an original lens: by giving as much weight to the times between wars as to the wars. He finds a hopeful message from long-ago times. "Real accord between bitter religious enemies was reached in the Middle Ages, and not just once but multiple times across centuries, in diverse contexts and in the midst of near-constant warfare."

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Israel Has Quickly Reverted to Its Bad Old Policies

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 17, 2023  •  Washington Times

"Everything changed" in Israel on Oct. 7. Except it did not. Despite much talk of victory by the prime minister and survey research showing the public endorses a tough new approach, Israeli officialdom and its security establishment show signs of reverting to their old failed policies, even before the bodies have all been buried.

Those failed policies mean primarily one thing: wrongly assuming that enrichment – more work permits in Israel, a larger fishing zone, outside funding – gives Palestinians something to lose, taming them and making them less inclined to aggress.

Symptoms of that sad reversion include the following:

The security establishment approved the entry of 8,000 West Bank workers to Israel, mostly to engage in agricultural work. It did so in response to Israel's agriculture minister assuring his colleagues that the workers had been vetted and posed no danger. That thousands of workers from Gaza had spied on Israel and made themselves complicit in the Oct. 7 massacre seemed blithely to be forgotten.

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Why Should Gazans Leave the Middle East?
Letter to the Editor

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 16, 2023  •  Wall Street Journal

To the Editor:

Danny Danon and Ram Ben-Barak, two Israeli parliamentarians, contend that "The West Should Welcome Gaza Refugees" (Nov. 14). I propose amending their argument to "The Middle East Should Welcome Gaza Refugees."

Hundreds of millions of people globally wish to improve their lives through emigration; that is a positive impulse in itself. But if "the West" means North America and Western Europe, it includes about a billion people. The world's total human population is about eight billion. All those, Gazans and others, wishing to emigrate cannot pile into the West. Also, cultural and religious practices often clash.

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Hamas vs. Gazans

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 8, 2023  •  Washington Times

During the Rif War of 1920–26, Moroccan rebels inflicted a devastating defeat on Spain at the Battle of Annual. Interrupted while playing a round of golf and informed of this disaster, Spain's King Alfonso XIII reportedly shrugged his shoulders, muttered "The meat of chicken is cheap," and resumed his game.

The king's response typifies dictators through history, who see troops as expendable. The lives of human drones matter little, more can always be conscripted. Russia's use of Wagner prison recruits in the Battle of Bakhmut typified this casual use of cheap manpower. It hardly mattered to Vladimir Putin how many of his cannon fodder perished, so long as the front line moved forward. Battlefield gains justify any loss of life.

Then there is Hamas, the jihadi organization that has ruled Gaza since 2007 and which became the focus on global attention after massacring around 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7. For fifteen years, it has implemented an opposite and historically unique purpose in tormenting its subject population. Rather than sacrifice soldiers for battlefield gains, it sacrifices civilians for public relations purposes.

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Poll: Has Israel Really Changed?

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 25, 2023  •  Washington Times

An apparent sea change took place in the aftermath of Oct. 7, 2023, the day when Hamas massacred an estimated 1,400 Israelis. The idea of Israel attaining a victory over Palestinians went from the margins to the mainstream, from peripheral to consensual. Politicians and polls both support this idea. Israelis seem to be a transformed people. But are they?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made victory his constant exhortation: "Victory will take time. ... now we are focusing on one goal, and that is to unite our forces and storm ahead to complete victory." He told soldiers "The entire people of Israel are behind you and we will deal harsh blows to our enemies to achieve victory. To victory!" And: "We will emerge victorious."

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Islamism vs. The West
35 Years of Geopolitical Struggle

by Daniel Pipes  •  2023  •  New York: Wicked Son

A leading analyst of the Middle East takes on key issues, such as the Islamic surge, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and conspiracy theories.

The war on terror, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Arab-Israeli conflict—again and again in the twenty-first century, crises coming out of the Middle East confront and puzzle Americans. Daniel Pipes has, to much acclaim, been explaining the region since the 1960s. The Wall Street Journal considers him "an authoritative commentator on the Middle East" and the Washington Post deems him "perhaps the most prominent U.S. scholar on radical Islam." The New York Times calls him "smart and well-informed."

In this volume, Daniel Pipes tackles many questions: Are Muslims truly fatalistic, as their reputation holds? Is radical Islam still on the rise or is it declining? Why are substantial numbers of Iranian-Muslims converting to Christianity? Which American city has emerged as a global center of criminality with female coverings as accessories? Why does tension exist between the Jews of Europe and Israel? How did it happen that Israel is the only country in the world that did not come into existence through conquest? Why are Muslim countries the hold-outs in eradicating polio?

In the skilled hands of a leading Middle East authority, these topics come to life as Daniel Pipes explains much about the world's most volatile region.

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Making the Case for a Decent Outcome in Gaza

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 17, 2023

I published an article today, "A Decent Outcome Is Possible in Gaza" arguing that "upon seizing control of Gaza, Israel can reasonably expect to find plenty of residents ready to work with the new authority to create an administration that could return them to normal life."

The following entries provide further information pertinent to this prospect.

(1) A June 2023 poll commissioned by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy asked "How do Palestinians—the people themselves, not their leaders—see the potential of Saudi normalization" with Israel? It found that,

on this question—as with many others—attitudes sharply diverge between the West Bank and Gaza. Two-thirds of West Bank residents reject this proposal to normalize ties in the face of a Saudi-Israeli deal. But turn instead to Gaza, and attitudes are split: 50% of Gazans would support normalizing relations with Israel were Riyadh to do so. Strikingly, 21% of Gazans agree strongly with this idea—statistically equivalent to the 23% of Gazans who strongly disagree.

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A Decent Outcome Is Possible in Gaza

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 17, 2023  •  Wall Street Journal

Everyone seems to agree that no good outcome is possible in Gaza. They're wrong. It's possible for a decent Gaza-led administration to emerge, which could make autonomy and even statehood possible.

That might seem unlikely, given the deep and longstanding anti-Zionism in Gaza. In 1967, Gazan school books taught arithmetic with problems like, "You have five Israelis. You kill three of them. How many Israelis are left to be killed?"

But over the past 15 years, Gazans have endured something monstrous and possibly unique in human experience: exploitation by their rulers as cannon fodder for public relations.

Tyrants treating their subjects as expendable to attain battlefield victory is routine—think Wagner Group prison recruits dying in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Hamas, however, uses civilians to score propaganda points. It attacks Israel to provoke retaliation, correctly expecting that the bombs, destruction and death will bring Iranian approbation, Islamist support, Muslim solidarity and leftist sympathy. After each attack, the narrative about culpability invariably shifts from Hamas to Israel.

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Discussion of the Voluntary Emigration of Gazans

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 14, 2023

What should happen with the population of Gaza after the massacre of Oct. 7?

Sen. Tom Cotton (Republican of Arkansas) wants them not going to the United States but to the countries that supported their jihad: "Iran should take responsibility for any Palestinian refugees caused by its proxy . . . war with Israel. Iran is responsible for the death and destruction — it should be responsible for refugees as well."

In contrast, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (Democrat of New York) suggested that "The international community as well as the United States should be prepared to welcome refugees from Palestine while being very careful to vet and not allow members of Hamas."

Two points by way of background:

(1) The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in June 2023 that 29 of Gazans expressed a desire to emigrate - down from three months earlier when 32 percent of Gazans expressed the same desire.

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Post-Oct. 7 Statements Calling for Israel Victory

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 7, 2023

Immediately after the Oct. 7 massacre, Israelis and others began talking about Israel Victory as never before. I list the statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu separately (here); the following, in no particular order, are what others said.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant quoted himself informing President Joe Biden that Israel's victory "is essential for us and for the United States." To his soldiers, he declared, "I am responsible for bringing victory." He repeated this theme again and again: "It is my duty that we win [against Hamas]." He only has one goal: "Israel's victory over this difficult and evil enemy. ... in front of our eyes is only victory in the war." He reiterated: "my supreme obligation [is] absolute victory in the war."

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