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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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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