Gongol.com Archives: October 2023

Brian Gongol

October 7, 2023

Threats and Hazards A chilling attack

To what end did Hamas initiate a terrorist invasion of Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing at least 250 people in the process? What was the point of abducting Israeli civilians and taking them hostage, on a Jewish holiday, no less? What kind of sociopathy rationalizes an assault that would unquestionably lead to a massive and deadly retaliation? ■ People often resign themselves to a certain intractability to violence in the Middle East. That resignation is unproductive. There are paths that can instigate more violence, and there are paths that can de-escalate conflict. ■ We know both paths are available because Israel and Saudi Arabia have been talking about normalizing diplomatic relations, after a similar agreement between Israel and the UAE. Diplomatic recognition of Israel is possible, even for neighbors that differ with the state: Egypt got there in 1980. Jordan did it in 1994. ■ The history of conflict there is very long, and the distances are very small: Tel Aviv, which was targeted by rockets fired from Gaza, is only about 40 miles away. Those distances aren't going to change, and Israel isn't going away. ■ Memories of this attack will be long, the consequences will be grave, and forgiveness will not come easily. The choice to initiate violence like this disregarded any rational sense about what comes next. It achieves nothing but the creation of needless human suffering.

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