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Assessing the Terrible Israel-Hamas Hostage Deal
November 23, L'Informale

Israel Must Win
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Assessing the Ongoing Hamas-Israel War
November 12, TVP World (Poland)

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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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Proponents of 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 information pertinent to this prospect.

(1) Private information indicates that the Israelis are thinking along the lines I sketched out above. Publicly, however, they are signaling the opposite. Thus, Gilad Erdan, Israel's UN ambassador, said "We're not thinking now what will happen the day after the war. ...We need to win this war and that's the only thing we're focused on." (October 17, 2023)

(2) Joe Biden has correctly observed that "A significant portion of Palestinian people do not share the views of Hamas."

(3) This may come as a surprise, but the Oslo Accords offer a basis for renewal in Gaza:

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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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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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Post-Oct. 7 Statements by Netanyahu Calling for Israel Victory

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 7, 2023

Like many others, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken repeatedly and forcefully about Israel Victory after Oct. 7. (For the others' statements, click here.)

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Post-Oct. 7 Statements in Favor of Destroying Hamas

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 7, 2023

I wrote an article that appeared at 3:30pm EDT under the title "Israel's Opportunity to Destroy Hamas." I thought that was going out on a limb because before then I had been isolated in calling for such a move.

Well, the mood changed quickly and extensively. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exemplifies that shift. He stated on Oct. 7 that "The IDF will immediately use all its power to destroy Hamas's capabilities." By Oct. 12 he had escalated this to vow to "crush and destroy" Hamas, adding "Every Hamas member is a dead man." He later reiterated the stronger statement:

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Israel's Opportunity to Destroy Hamas
The security establishment has feared engagement in Gaza more than the terror group's rule. Saturday's attack may change that.

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 7, 2023  •  Wall Street Journal

The surprise attack on Israel by Hamas, the Islamist organization ruling Gaza, is a humanitarian horror. It is also a strategic opportunity for Israel, the U.S. and democracies everywhere.

Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which author Cynthia Farahat describes as "the world's incubator of modern Islamic terrorism." From Hamas's origins in 1987, it has engaged in violence against Israelis, Palestinians and whoever else might cross its path. A sequence of Israeli missteps led in 2007 to its taking power in the Gaza Strip, an area the size of Omaha, Neb., with a population of two million. It imposed a totalitarian rule on Gaza similar to that of the mullahs in Iran, attempting to implement medieval strictures, oppressing its own population, and threatening to destroy Israel.

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Disarming Hamas Is an Illusion

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

I commend Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser for his subtle and knowledgeable analysis. That said, I believe his plan makes Hamas potentially more, not less, dangerous to Israel.

He advocates that Israel end the Hamas threat "by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests." This will leave Hamas "weakened and deterred vis-à-vis Israel, but strong enough to govern Gaza." Should the Government of Israel implement the Kuperwasser plan, Hamas can no longer torment Israelis in nearby towns like Sderot with rockets, nor set their agricultural fields on fire with weaponized kites, balloons, and condoms, nor launch rockets to stop a parade in Jerusalem. This has obvious appeal to an Israeli population that is under siege but dreads going back into Gaza after the unilateral withdrawal of 2005.

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review of Reclamation: A Cultural Policy for Arab-Israeli Partnership

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

Braude, founder and head of the Center for Peace Communications, an organization focused on improving Arab-Israeli relations, has written an important and highly original book. He recalls the positive history of this fraught relationship, applauds the Moroccan exception, surveys current possibilities, concludes that "a critical mass in favor of reclamation has emerged" whose noise "can be heard from the Atlantic shores to the Strait of Hormuz," and offers a comprehensive set of policy recommendations.

Three words in the title and subtitle deserve notice. "Reclamation" refers to Braude's slightly nostalgic recollection of good Arab-Israeli relations a century ago. He offers an impressive array of pro-Zionist Egyptian and Iraqi voices; for example, Egyptian scholar Ahmad Zaki, held that "The victory of Zionism is also the victory of my ideal." But such a view was always minoritarian. To make it majoritarian requires a revolution more than a reclamation.

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review of Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

Kessler, a think tanker and journalist writing his first book, has taken up a topic that ought to be well studied but, as he notes, is not. His impressive immersion in the sources and lively writing bring the "Great Arab Revolt" of 1936-39 to life and show its continued significance. It was then, he argues, and not in 1948, "that Palestine's Jews consolidated the demographic, geographic, and political basis of their state-to-be. And it was then that portentous words like 'partition' and 'Jewish state' first appeared on the international diplomatic agenda."

His history details how growing Palestinian-Zionist disputes, tensions, and violence built and built until they reached a climax with the London conference of early 1939. At that point, awareness of a looming conflict with Germany forced the pro-Zionist Malcolm MacDonald, British secretary of state for the colonies, effectively to walk back the Balfour Declaration's promises of a "national home for the Jewish people." With great fairness, Kessler dismisses as unpersuasive David Ben-Gurion's claim that, if not for that reversal, "the six million Jews in Europe would not have been exterminated. Most of them would have been alive in Palestine." But he does endorse Golda Meir's claim that "hundreds of thousands of Jews—perhaps many more" could have been saved.

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review of Arabs and Jews in the Ottoman Empire

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

"Could a sharp-eyed observer of mid-nineteenth-century Palestine have detected hints of the future struggle between Jews and Arabs over this land? It seems unlikely. The fact is that none of the observers at the time foresaw the conflict that was yet to come." Thus does Dowty, professor of international relations and political science emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, open his book and set the scene. Why was the dismal future not visible, what changed over time?

Step by step, through meticulous scholarship and clear prose, Dowty shows how local problems over grazing and water rights expanded into self-aware national confrontations, how "muscle men" avoiding firearms evolved into organized militias. He convincingly concludes that "it is hard to see how the conflict could have evolved much differently" from the way it did, given the Muslim attitude toward these immigrants and the Zionist aspiration to leave the diaspora behind and live as independent actors.

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