My Speculation About Israel’s RWC and Hamas

I’m referring to Israel’s Right-Wing Coalition (RWC).

I have a suspicion that the real conflict is not between Israel and Palestinians or Jews and Arabs, or even (god forbid) Jews and Gentiles.

I think the real conflict is between the extreme Right wing, in Israel, Iran, Palestine and everywhere else, and liberal democracy anywhere. It’s a conflict you see everywhere in the world. America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East and North Africa. Maybe China, I don’t know anything about that. Maybe not there.

Here’s my chain of events:

Israel’s RWC, like the extreme Right elsewhere, believes the population is too placid and comfortable. The extreme Right everywhere is frustrated that most people don’t see that nations should be either mono-ethnic or, if they are unlucky enough to have a pluralistic history, have a dominant ethnic group; others would be tolerated, though disarmed, taxed, and denied a voice in politics.

A model of this Right-wing vision is the Islamic Empire — in the Islamic Golden Age, minorities were tolerated and their contributions were valued (to the greater wealth and glory of all) but of course they paid a tax, were forbidden from carrying arms, and lived at the pleasure of the Islamic overlords. I see this as the model of the most liberal form of an illiberal society.

[NOTE: I’m no scholar of Islamic, or any, history.]

More, I think it is a characteristic of most people (source: my own life experience) to want peace, reasonable prosperity, stability, and good health. But there are people for whom this is shallow and base, who crave dominance and are willing to undergo extreme hardship to achieve it. We are, after all, hierarchical apes; we are happy when we perceive ourselves as doing better than others, and frustrated when we see others doing better than (or as well as!) us. I suspect this characteristic, this desire to advance, varies among individuals just like many other characteristics. For some, you can barely see it, and they are content. Others delight in competition, are rabid for dominance, and are miserable if they don’t see others below them. Maybe this a natural variance within all populations like height and eye color.

I think on the extremes of both right and left we see this love of dominance. Which side one joins to satisfy one’s need depends, I’m guessing, on chance and culture. By the way, I’m not blind that much of the patter on both sides is about equality, about lifting up those unfairly dominated. Whether that’s the working class and marginalized (on the left) or the hard-working member of a given ethnic group who is victimized by PC and Woke (on the right)… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. The driving motivation of those who would lead either side is… to lead, and by leading, dominate.

It so happens right now in history (as opposed to maybe the early 20th century) that many of those who crave domination have clustered on the Right.

Under this speculative schema, Hamas and Israel’s RWC are perverse allies, opposing all innocents on both sides. If that seems counterintuitive, remember those videos about how Netanyahu and Smotrich each called Hamas an “Asset.” Remember how they fought, with Bush II, to remove Hamas from a terrorist list so they could run for office. The actual elections, and the representation scheme, were very complicated. I can’t figure it out. I don’t know what influence Israel had on them. If the Mossad is half the organization it is reputed to be, it had some influence on it. Fatah split its votes by running too many candidates and handed victory to Hamas.

My speculation is that the Israeli RWC wanted Hamas to win the election because the RWC wants to further radicalize the Israeli population. I speculate that the RWC sees most of Israel’s population as soft and overly attached to liberalism. The second Intifada did some of the heavy lifting of muting the Israeli Left and empowering the Right, but didn’t go far enough. The various Palestinian political parties and leaders were insufficiently terrifying. The RWC wanted an overtly Jihad-y, Islamist party, willing to call outright for the destruction of Israel. A real “Stones & Trees” political party, blatantly anti-Semitic and warlike.

I think it was weird that there was pretty specific intelligence about the attack that was given to the Israeli RWC, but they did nothing about it. It could be because any intelligence comes in a cloud of confusing information (see 9/11) and one can miss signals amid the noise. In retrospect, it’s easy to point out the signals and wonder how they could have been missed. Maybe that’s the case here. Or maybe it’s exactly what the RWC wanted. Maybe they felt that a good bloody war was what was needed to put some steel in the spines of the complacent Israeli population. See Ambrose Bierce, who may have been sarcastic, but voiced something many believe.

To be tediously clear, I don’t think the RWC gave orders to Hamas. I think what might have happened is they successfully arranged things such that Hamas would have power and would do what comes naturally to a Jihadist, Islamist, authoritarian group. The RWC just had to sit back and watch Hamas be Hamas. And when it became clear they were going to attack, to let it happen when they could have prevented it.

How is Hamas their ally? I believe Hamas’s leaders are sitting comfortably in Qatar or Pyongyang, rolling, Scrooge McDuck-like, in their bags of €500 notes. I don’t think they are RWC cat’s-paws, but I do think the situation satisfies them because it keeps the euros and dollars rolling in, and it satisfies the RWC because it gets them closer to their goal of full annexation of Gaza and the West Bank, along with subjugation of the resident non-Jewish populations and assignment to non-citizen resident status of some kind. The only things standing in the RWC’s way are the Israeli judicial system and the reluctance of a lot of Israeli citizens.

The Israeli RWC and Hamas have similar visions of the good society — one in which they are dominant and others are subordinated. Maybe there was, once upon a time, a chance to develop a pluralist, democratic country with liberal ideals on an Islamic base; maybe CIA-backed coups in Egypt and Iran put paid to that. But they have had plenty of chances since then. And I don’t believe the scars of colonialism can forever be blamed for a society’s oppressiveness any more than we can credibly blame our parents for our problems for our whole lives.

In the sense that the situation rewards them both and that they have similar visions of society, Hamas and the RWC are allies.

As a die-hard (if maybe live-easy) Liberal, what is my solution? I would pull out all settlements, everywhere, leaving only a thin belt of IDF around Israel. Then I would tuck that back within the borders. I don’t believe Israel has the power or the right to keep a cordon sanitaire outside its borders, as much as it might want to. Even Russia is having trouble keeping its cordon sanitaire intact, though it is willing to threaten the entire world to do so. Most countries can’t engineer it such that they can interpose some third country and people between outside threats and their own territory. Even if they could, it is ethically dubious, to say the least. Israel has no greater obligation than any other country to behave ethically, but I wish it would. Giving a two-week warning to people that they’re about to destroy their homes is often touted as a truly wonderful thing, but I think they can and should do better.

Israel’s has every right to exist and to defend itself. I do not think it has the right to defend itself from within their neighbor’s territory, even armed with legalistic word-clouds about how their neighbor never accepted the borders or the nation offered them. No partner for peace? Fine, make peace without a partner. And if attacked, defend from within your borders. And if their neighbor disagrees about what those borders are, Israel should decide them unilaterally and make them close to what we expect they are. Let the Palestinians be oppressed, like many Arabs, by their own governments only.