Really thoughtful essay. Not sure I buy the resource idea so much post oil shock in the 1970's but this offers a fascinating alternative viewpoint on this conflict.

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"What I see resembles a total war, albeit in miniature, in which each side’s stated objective is to destroy the other."

This is the fatal defect of your viewpoint. There are not two sides in this war, there are three: (1) Israel, (2) Hamas and its militant supporters, and most numerous (3) 2+ million Palestinian civilians, who have not had a chance to voice their opinion for 15 years. Is the last group that is suffering and the dying. It is so convenient to leave them out of the picture—it simplifies things gigantically.

I am not condemning the Israel ground invasion, but I think their cowardly and poorly targeted bombing of civilians will be condemned by the ICC as a war crime.

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"The demonstrators calling a ceasefire do not always show the same sympathy for Israeli hostages as they do for Gazan civilians under bombardment."

I am not a demonstrator and I do not call for a ceasefire. What I do call for is an end to aerial bombardment especially of S Gaza. S Gaza is now perfectly accessible to IDF land forces.

I have the same level of sympathy for Israeli hostages as for Gazan civilians. Are probably 200 hostages left alive but there are over 2 million Palestinian civilians, most of them in South Gaza.

Thus, the weight of my sympathy for one side is great, but for the other side it is crushing.

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I think this is a case where intellectuals get bolluxed up by their intelligence and end up spewing nonsense. In what world will Hamas hand over control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority? In what world can Hamas be trusted on anything at all? When someone says they want you destroyed, dead, r*ped, and decapitated, you should take him at his word. A "ceasefire"? Would Imperial Japan's calls for a ceasefire a few weeks after Pearl Harbor have been taken seriously by anyone? A two-state solution is actually being discussed with a straight face right now? Who among those advocating this would agree to live next door to barbarians who had just [brutally harmed] some of their family members ... and streamed it live? Answer: none of them.

The panic from the Left is that Israel is finally decapitating Hamas; thus the UN/Europe/Biden's frantic demands for a "pause" to let Hamas escape, rearm, and retrench. And the planet's 50 majority-Muslim nations, and the Arab world, are terrified that someone might ask them to accept some - even one! - of the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, 99% of whom are Muslim, according to the US State Department. 17% of Israelis are Muslim and Christian voting citizens of the Jewish State. Once an Arab or Muslim nation can match that, then we'll talk. Until then, Israel should do what is necessary for her own people.

As for the US, we should remember that 36 Americans were murdered by Hamas on 10/7, and we have not lifted a finger to bring justice to their killers. Ten Americans are still being kept as human shields. Arming Israel is a way for America to avenge American deaths without putting a single American boot on the ground, as Biden is suggesting with a multi-lateral "peace-'keeping'" force. Another gift to Trump: Biden sending young Americans to stand guard on the Hamas/Gaza-Israel border.

The idea that Hamas terrorists, elected by Gazans 17 years ago - and that this author concedes have hundreds of thousands of supporters in Gaza today - should be free from retaliation provided they embed among hospitals and other human shields, is a preposterous position that America would never impose on itself (although Obama got close with our rules of engagement in Afghanistan) and that we would never ask any non-Jewish ally to accept.

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Your observation that this is a “total war” is essential to understanding what is happening and what must be done. Hamas is, like Al Qaeda and ISIS, an offshoot of the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood. This is the reason that Egypt is reluctant to have an influx of Gazan refugees. Hamas is dedicated to the eradication of Jews from the Palestine region and is willing to martyr themselves and millions of other Muslims to “purify” the region from infidels. Sadly, any Palestinians who are not fully on board with their zealotry are considered infidels as well subject to Hamas’s “final solution.”

Israel is being forced to fight by “Hamas rules” which are to the death no holds barred. Are the Israelis being savage because they are cruel? No, they are so because this is a savage total war on Islamofascism and standard rules of modern combat do not apply. One cannot negotiate with a fascist death cult and total surrender is the only possible end point. Yes, Hamas has 200 Jewish hostages and 2 million Palestinian ones all of which are considered expendable in achieving the “purity” of the region as sacred ground for Islamists. The problem with extremists is there can be no middle ground only total war and martyrdom. Israel knows how to fight at this primal level and the U.S. needs to back away until the bloody barbaric job is complete… Hamas rules.

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I think this conflict, like many others in recent decades, is showing that conventional war (the kind that comes with “laws of war” attached) was a historical anomaly. Future wars will be more like Bosnia, Rwanda, Ukraine and Syria than more restrained, orderly conflicts like the Yom Kippur War or the Gulf War.

We in the “civilized” West thought humanity was past the brutality of the ancient world, but it never went away. A high death toll by itself does not mean a war is unjust (look at the civilian death tolls in Dresden in 1945 and Mosul in 2017). If such a death toll is necessary to rid the world of Hamas (a legion of vicious barbarians that brings no good to anyone on this planet), so be it. It is not the fault of Israel that these monsters use human shields.

The rest of the world had close to two decades to eliminate Hamas, but chose not to. Thank God Israel is finally doing so.

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Nov 18·edited Nov 18

Oil is undoubtedly important in the Middle East. But I do not understand what this piece is arguing. What oil interests does Israel serve by occupying the Palestinians?

Israel is a regional superpower who is a close ally of the US. It has security partnerships with other allies like Saudi Arabia. The Palestinian issue is, if anything, an irritant in even closer relationships between Israel and the other US allies in the region.

A more relevant example is Egypt after 1967. In the 1967 war -- when the military occupation of Palestine began --- Israel also conquered Sinai from Egypt. Egypt threatened to go to war unless Israel returned it. Recall that there were Soviet miliary advisers in Egypt at the time.

There was indeed a war in 1973, and afterwards -- under US pressure -- Israel indeed returned the Sinai in 1979. Egypt kicked out the Soviet advisors and hopped on to the US train. Now Egypt is a fairly reliable US ally who gets a fair amount of military aid.

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