The Gates of Gaza

¹ Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. ² The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. … ³ But…at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.  Judges 16

The term “gates of Gaza” has a more contemporary application. The Nahal program was set up in 1948 by Ben-Gurion as a way of combining military service with the founding of settlements and the associated farming. All told, 108 kibbutzim and other agricultural settlements were established. Many of these militarised settlements were set up on Israel’s borders, and served as the first line of defence. Nahal Oz was the first Nahal settlement. I’ll let Wikipedia, for what it’s worth, take up the story.

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Gaza Postmodern

First published on on 31st January, 2024

One of the first declarations of intent was reported from an unnamed official.

The unnamed defense official told Israel’s Channel 13 that the Palestinian territory, home to more than 2 million residents, would be reduced to rubble. “Gaza will eventually turn into a city of tents. There will be no buildings.”

There have been plenty of others. In November the Agriculture Minister and Security Cabinet member Avi Dichter announced that, “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba.” That is, the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza.

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In Her Lane

First published in Quadrant Online on 10th November, 2023 as The Language and Logic of Sedition

Whether she was aware of the threat from early on in the campaign, or only fully realised its extent in conducting the post-mortem, Janet Albrechtsen exposed the wound in her article entitled Radical Idea About ‘Occupied Australia’ Must Be Confronted, published a fortnight after the referendum in The Weekend Australian.

She noted that, as if to validate the concerns of those like her who had vigorously opposed the referendum proposal, an anonymous group claiming to represent the “collective insights and views of a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, community members and organisations who supported Yes” brazenly claimed in an open letter that

Australia is our country … We do not for one moment accept that this country is not ours. Always was. Always will be. It is the legitimacy of the non-Indigenous occupation in this country that requires recognition, not the other way around. Our sovereignty has never been ceded.

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First published on on 26th January, 2024

For most of 2022, and until the great counter-offensive broke on the Russian defence lines of Zaporozhzhia on mid-2023, it seemed that the greatest priority of the Biden administration, and most of Congress, was promoting and resourcing Ukraine’s proxy war against Russia. The problems were mounting up even before the June-July catastrophe. The NATO countries discovered that the demilitarisation of Western economies came at a price. Even though the US had been carrying the NATO defence budget, not even the home of the military-industrial complex was all that industrially productive. The NATO nations realised that, combined, they could not match Russia’s production of artillery shells to serve the god of war. Even so, Russia could not produce enough to match its usage, and purchased shells from Belarus, North Korea, and perhaps, Iran. NATO scoured the former Warsaw Pact countries for ammunition for Ukrainian legacy artillery, and then Bulgaria and South Korea for NATO standard shells and Japan for TNT. As the supply became more and more critical, the US went to its magazines in Israel, where it maintained ammunition to supply Israel at short notice.

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Al Shifa, et al.

First published on on 22nd December, 2023

On the 16th of November, White House spokesman John Kirby said,  “We have our own intelligence that convinces us that Hamas was using Al Shifa [hospital] as a command and control node, and most likely as well as a storage facility. We are still convinced of the soundness of that intelligence.”In this, he was giving what we might call independent support to the frequently proclaimed Israeli assessment. For instance, Reuters’ report on the Israeli capture of the hospital included this assessment.

Al Shifa hospital had become the chief target of a Gaza City incursion by Israeli forces, who said the “beating heart” of the Hamas fighters’ operations was headquartered in tunnels beneath it. Hamas denied the accusation and on Wednesday dismissed the Israeli statements as “lies and cheap propaganda”.

In preparation for the attack, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) released a video with a 3D representation of the tunnels and command centre supposed to be under Al Shifa.

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Building Hamas

First published on on 15th December, 2023

On the 8th of October, an angry article appeared in The Times of IsraelFor years, Netanyahu propped up Hamas. Now it’s blown up in our faces, or so ran the headline. One has to read some way into the article to discover that it was not only Netanyahu-led governments that followed the policy of “propping up Hamas.” Presumably, The Times of Israel is part of the extensive opposition to Netanyahu, but that does not diminish the seriousness of the charges.

What was the point?

The idea was to prevent Abbas — or anyone else in the Palestinian Authority’s West Bank government — from advancing toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

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Israel’s Tet Moment?

First published at on 11th October, 2023

Shortly after midnight on January 30-31, 1968, during celebrations of the Lunar New Year (Tet) , NVA and Viet Cong (VC or NLF) forces launched the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam. The site(*) includes pages on declassified Tet documents, and a 50th anniversary retrospective on the Offensive. According to the latter, 70-80,000 troops in total were involved in the attacks, although estimates vary widely, as do estimates of the casualties. The important northern city of Hue was only cleared of NVA and VC troops on the 24th of February, and the siege of Khe Sanh only lifted two months later. Even though military intelligence was aware that something big was in the offing, the scale of the offensive shocked the military and the governments of both the US and South Vietnam.

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BUK + flechettes = contradiction

First published at New Catallaxy blog 23rd September, 2023

In CL’s report on the NYT’s unusual scraps of integrity in reporting on the Kostiantynivka (aka Kostyantynovka) market-place attack, the new standard story is revealed.

But evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times, including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts and social media posts, strongly suggests the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system.

The attack appears to have been a tragic mishap.

Readers will recall that a BUK missile is purported to have downed MH17. In this case, a BUK missile was fired from North-West of Kostiantynivka, presumably at an incoming Russian ground-to-ground missile or Lancet-like drone. The problem with this story is the flechettes.

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More Tangling of the Web

First published at New Catallaxy blog on 20 September, 2023

Softly, as in an morning sunrise, General Mark Milley let it be known that the infamous Chinese spy balloon, whilst it definitely was a spy ballon, definitely did not phone home with any intelligence information, and definitely had blown off course.

See, for example, the RT story. If you’re concerned about Russian propaganda, try these versions.

Notice that Milley is still talking about the motor. The particular motor on that aircraft can’t go against those winds at that altitude. Show us the body, General Milley. After all, the corpse was recovered from the Atlantic after the triumphant shoot-down, so details of the propulsion and guidance mechanisms must be known to the eagle-eyed U.S. military and intelligence establishments.

If we give ourselves over to complete tin-hat fantasy for a moment, we might imagine that there was no motor or rudder. That the only manoeuvring system that might have been employed was like that developed for the Loon project. So, news stories like the one referred to in the RT item would have been complete fabrications.

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No such thing as Russia…

First published at New Catallaxy blog on 25 February, 2023

The backroom conversations and classified files of Foreign Ministries and Departments of State must be a wonderland of speculations and conditionals, of grand schemes and short-term crises. But, judging by the utterances of two former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Poland’s Ministry is up there with the best of them.

Take Radoslaw (Radek) Sikorski, Minister from 2007 to 2014. Before that he was Minister of Defence, and for a year afterwards, Speaker of Parliament. According to the Center for Strategic & International Studies,

[H]e negotiated and signed the Poland-Russia regional visa-free regime, Poland-U.S. missile defense agreement, and—together with foreign ministers of Germany and France—the accord between the pro-EU opposition and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2013.

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