Israel And The Great Malaise Of October 7 – OpEd


After six months of war in Gaza, whipped into a frenzy by the media, Israeli public opinion is torn by fear. It wonders about the day after in a country where the messianic far right is pushing for ethnic cleansing. The left, for its part, is struggling to find its bearings. Israel’s Palestinians, however, are subject to severe restrictions on their public freedoms.

Ontological essence

On October 7, the most obscure and painful past of Jewish memory was brought into the present. What to make of this new reality? What to do when the ideological foundation on which Israel was built is in ruins? Could it be that the present experience, stripping Israel of its most absolute ontological essence, renders obsolete the very need and justification for this state? Faced with the threat and confronted with these questions, Israel and the Jews today find themselves at an abyss.

Faced with this abyss, and with the ethical impasse of Israel’s military response, which kills fighters and innocent civilians alike, it is to certain teachings of rabbinic tradition that one can turn for comfort and hope in these dark times. For the rabbinic tradition, refusing to allow itself to be trapped by the full meaning of biblical verses, always attentive to new resonances, is above all capable of opening up unsuspected horizons, which one should ingenuously allow to emerge from the text. In so doing, does not the creativity of the masters of the tradition invite, in turn, to tirelessly bring forth from the reality of history unexplored paths which, when all hope seems lost, would come to challenge the darkness of the world and of souls?

One of the great thinkers of contemporary Judaism, Eliezer Berkovits, ventured to define Halakhah – the Jewish law that determines the essence of Judaism – in these terms: “Halakhah is none other than the bridge over which the Torah enters the reality of history“. The strength of this definition lies in its inherent dynamic and plasticity. A dynamic that refuses to imagine the existence of a conflict between two fixed realities, the Torah and the world, since Judaism is precisely the place where the tradition of a people and the complexity of reality meet, always to be constructed and shaped. At a time when the cornerstone of never again has so abruptly disappeared, would it not be desirable to replace it with the idea that Israel is, in its deepest essence, the place where Judaism meets history? The ontological framework of Israel’s adaptation to the reality of history. 

To think of Israel in halakhic terms is not to turn it into a theocracy. It means understanding Israel’s foundation, its cornerstone, as the dynamic of a Jewish project that is nothing other than the perpetual adaptation of a people’s tradition to the reality of history. The complexity of history, and first and foremost that of the inescapable reality of the Palestinians and their legitimate aspirations, could then no longer be thought of as the stumbling block on which Israel’s project would tirelessly stumble, but rather as the cornerstone for the realization of its fundamental project: that of Israel’s adaptation to the ever-changing and uncertain realities of the world, but where each adaptation and/or compromise would strengthen the founding essence of the State. Only then, as Isaiah prophesied, “whoever leans on it will not be reduced to fleeing“.

On October 7, the most obscure and painful past of Jewish memory invited itself into the present. What are we to make of this new reality? What to do when the ideological foundation on which Israel was built is in ruins? Could it be that the present experience, stripping Israel of its most absolute ontological essence, renders obsolete the very need and justification for this state? Faced with the threat and confronted with these questions, Israel and the Jews today find themselves at an abyss.

Is the State of Israel today a model of morality, “a light for the nations”? No. Is it an immoral state that oppresses another people with perverse glee and loses its soul in religious, racist ethnocentrism? No, neither is it. Israel is no longer the state of pioneers, of the kibbutz and of socialism with a human face. But the humanist, universalist and ethical dream of the Prophets and the founders of Zionism has not all disappeared.

Principle of proportionality

In Israel’s defensive response to the October 7 attacks on an unprecedented scale by Hamas armed groups, the supposed disproportionality of the response is the accusation most often levelled at the Jewish state. The principle of proportionality prohibits attacks which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

International humanitarian law seeks to limit the worst effects of armed conflict, in order to protect civilians. Although tragic, the loss of human life remains a reality of armed conflict. But they must be limited to what is strictly necessary – for example, the undesired and, yes, tragic but inevitable loss of civilian life when a highly strategic military target is targeted.

Thus, proportionality does not require that the damage caused to legitimate military targets be the same on both sides. It simply requires that the damage caused to civilians should not be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage expected from an action. Israel’s military objective of eliminating Hamas is a war objective. Any action taken to this end must be measured in terms of casualties and impact.

This reality does not immunize Israel from doing everything in its power to minimize losses; it must continue to do everything in its power to minimize civilian casualties [Gaza’s Ministry of Health – controlled by Hamas – counted over 34,300 casualities].

To deal with any potential threat, Israel has only one doctrine: “strike the enemy as quickly and as hard as possible” to dissuade him from trying again. This is precisely what is seeing at work today in Gaza, in the face of a context that has evolved considerably. A dispassionate analysis of a conflict whose radicalism and inhumanity has reached its climax.

The IDF’s great malaise

Taken by surprise at the start of the war in Gaza, the Israeli army’s general staff is now faced with problems of discipline and growing mistrust of the political leadership. Supposed to be the government’s “great mute”, the Israeli army is showing serious signs of indiscipline at the highest level. Such is the malaise within the IDF that the Chief of Staff, General Herzi Halevi, had to call his troops to order in a solemn declaration. He also defended his prerogatives following personal attacks by Bezalel Smotrich, the finance minister. The leader of a far-right party denied him the right to make a series of senior officer appointments, holding him responsible for the “colossal failure” of October 7, when the military was caught off guard by a surprise Hamas attack in southern Israel.

In the space of a week, Herzi Halevi had to issue yellow cards against two generals presented by the media as heroes with a proven track record in the field. The first, Barak Hiram, was reprimanded for taking the initiative, without consulting his superiors, to destroy the Palestinian university in Gaza using explosives. The second, Dan Goldfus, went on the offensive against political leaders, calling on them “to live up to the sacrifices made by the fighters” in a public speech whose content had been approved by the general staff, but to which he added a few last-minute quips impugning the government. He too received a reprimand. “Discipline must be maintained, including by officers who have shown heroism during the war“, proclaimed the Chief of Staff. He added: “We cannot fight when our principles and discipline are neither clear nor followed.” Whether this urgent appeal will be heeded remains to be seen.

The only certainty is that public opinion and editorial writers are divided. On the one hand, those who support the two generals, claiming that they are merely expressing the distrust of the political world that many Israelis also feel. On the other, those who criticize the insubordination of soldiers who are supposed to obey government orders without a second thought. The sense of unease deepened following Bezalel Smotrich’s charge. According to this minister, soldiers have “lost confidence in the General Staff, which can no longer be entrusted with the task of appointing the officers who will make up the next generation of the IDF“. In short, Herzi Halevi should content himself with managing the current war, “because we have no choice“, pending his resignation or dismissal.

The Chief of Staff, supported by some of the more moderate ministers, the media and the opposition, has published a list of promotions for 32 colonels and a brigadier general, stressing that these appointments were within his remit. But the man knows he is on borrowed time. An internal army commission of inquiry is due to make public in June 2024 its preliminary conclusions on the responsibility for the October 7 disaster, in particular the failure of military intelligence to take into account information on Hamas’s preparations for imminent attacks.

Failure of the intelligence community

The list of blunders committed by the various Israeli intelligence services continues to grow. The Shin Beth, in charge of counter-terrorism, had precise information on the planned Hamas infiltration two months before it took place and, aggravatingly, the exact date of the operation. This warning was ignored. The result: some 3,000 Hamas fighters forced their way across the border, killing 1,200 Israelis and foreigners and taking 240 hostages in southern Israel on October 7.

According to these new revelations from Channel 12, the most popular private TV channel, the Shin Beth had recruited a Palestinian agent in the Gaza Strip. The agent warned that the armed wing of Hamas was putting the finishing touches to a major attack on Israeli territory a week after Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which indeed happened.

But Shin Beth officials deemed the information insufficiently credible. The informant was too new: his reliability had not yet been sufficiently established, and his information was not first-hand. His handlers felt that his warning could only be taken seriously if confirmed by other electronic sources in particular, so the case was shelved and did not make its way up the hierarchical ladder to the highest level with Shin Beth boss Ronen Bar. In a press release, the Shin Beth did nothing to back down. It merely stated that all its attention was currently “focused on the fighting” in the Gaza Strip against Hamas and on security issues in the West Bank. “A thorough investigation will then take place, during which we will examine all the information that was available,” assured the Shin Beth.

On the Israeli side, there were flaws on two levels. On the one hand, an intelligence gap. Until now, Shabak was very well informed about the situation in the Gaza Strip. Obviously, lately, he no longer had any sources within Hamas. His blindness is no less astonishing. For example, journalists had indicated, in recent months, that many Hamas militants went out regularly to train on motorcycles, and even that they learned to pilot microlights; and yet, the Israeli services saw nothing coming. This is a major flaw that they will have to answer for one day.

But this rift did not occur in a vacuum. Very often, intelligence flaws are due to flaws in the country’s political-military design. Take the Yom Kippur War, fifty years ago. Israeli services had ample intelligence indicating that Egypt was about to attack. But the political leaders did not want to believe it because they were caught in a completely erroneous strategic conception, according to which Egypt was far too weak to dare to go on the attack. In the same way, for several years, the political-strategic conception of power has somehow trickled down to the world of intelligence: this conception, defended for years by Benyamin Netanyahu, affirmed that Hamas did not present a major danger to Israel… and that it was necessary to preserve its presence in the Gaza Strip in order to convince Israeli society and the international community that there was no partner for peace since Palestinian society was fractured between, on the one hand , Hamas and, on the other hand, Fatah.

Matanyahu Engelman, the State Controller, Israel’s equivalent of the Court of Auditors, is also determined to get to the bottom of this fiasco. “All aspects of the failures, including personal responsibilities, will be the focus of our activities next year“, he assures. Among the subjects of investigation are, of course, the errors of the Shin Beth, but also of Aman, the military intelligence service prior to October 7, as well as the management of the war by the political leaders. The controller will have his work cut out for him. He has already been caught off guard. Even before he has begun any investigation, the media have drawn up an impressive list of errors.

Here are a few examples. Public television revealed that army intelligence had got their hands on a Hamas manual detailing a planned attack to break through the electronic security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip, attack nearby army posts and invade Israeli settlements to kill and take hostages. Hamas implemented all these plans to the letter, as if the scenario had been written in advance. Simple female soldiers monitoring the fence on their screens had also reported suspicious movements by Hamas members. But their superiors felt that they tended to let their “imaginations run wild“.

An officer from Unit 8.200, which specializes in signals intelligence, had also spotted unusual training exercises by members of Hamas’s military wing near the border, three months before October 7. Her superiors preferred not to listen to her, advising her to “calm down” or face sanctions. In short, all these warnings were ignored by an army trapped in the belief that Hamas, lacking the necessary forces to carry out a large-scale offensive, would not risk challenge the Israeli army.

Unease: The Iranian peril

Sponsor of the “axis of resistance” which constitutes, in the eyes of Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, the Iranian regime is the sworn enemy of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made it a central subject for years of his diplomacy, marked in particular by his fierce opposition to the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. Geographically separated by Iraq, Syria and Jordan, and a thousand kilometers apart, the Jewish state and Iran hate each other… but are careful not to attack each other head-on. To attack Israel (as well as the Americans), Tehran prefers to go through its “proxies”: Lebanese Hezbollah, the Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, or the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Likewise, Tel Aviv (like Washington) prefers to strike Iranian interests and officials outside its borders.

Israel believes that Iran poses an existential threat, as evidenced by Tehran’s rhetoric, the buildup of proxy forces that have sworn Israel’s destruction, and the funding and arming of Palestinian groups, including Hamas, the militant group Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah, and what it considers to be Iran’s secret quest for nuclear weapons, although the latter denies seeking to build an atomic bomb.

The spectacular and deadly attack on the consular annex of the Iranian embassy in Damascus on April 1, attributed to Israel which did not claim responsibility, suddenly increased tensions. 16 people were killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, including seven members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic. Killed in these strikes in the heart of the Syrian capital, General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, commander of the Iranian Al-Quds force for Syria and Lebanon, and the only foreign member of the highest authority of Hezbollah, was probably the main target. 

The day after the attack in Damascus, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, promised to retaliate. “The evil Zionist regime will be punished by our brave men. We will make him regret this crime and the others,” he said. Threats repeated since several times by the supreme guide, by the Iranian chief of staff, by the Revolutionary Guards, as well as by the leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, who judged a response “inevitable “. “If Iran carries out an attack from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran,” warned – in Persian – Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz. “We are in the middle of a war in Gaza, which continues at full speed […] but we are also preparing to face challenges in other theaters” of operations, Benyamin Netanyahu insisted recently.

The day before, fears of a regional escalation had become more pressing after the publication, by the Bloomberg news site, of an article evoking an imminent “massive attack” against Israel by Iran or its allies. Other American media relayed, all relying on sources “close” to American intelligence. Iran “threatens to launch a major attack against Israel,” Joe Biden declared Wednesday evening, assuring Israel, much criticized by the White House for the conduct of its war in Gaza, of its unfailing support. “As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu, our commitment to the security of Israel, in the face of these threats from Iran and its allies, is unwavering,” insisted the Democratic president.

Launched on the night of April 13 to 14, in retaliation for Israel’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria, carried out on April 1, and the death of one of its generals, the Iranian attack was larger than expected, with more than three hundred drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles fired towards Israel and intended to cause significant damage. Most of the projectiles, however, appear to have targeted air bases in the Negev desert, far from population centers, and the majority of them were intercepted in flight by the Jewish state and Western forces.

Indeed, the majority were intercepted over Iraq by American, British and French air forces, which orbited with fighter jets. The Israeli anti-missile shield, the Iron Dome, took care of the ballistic missiles which were launched at altitude to fall towards Israel in an almost vertical manner. Iran is 1000 km from Israel. So, the strikes that are launched from Iran are immediately detected by the entire American system in the Middle East, which has made it possible to destroy a good number of vehicles before they even reach Israeli airspace.

The malaise of genocide

We have been waiting for this for a long time,” says Ammar Dweik, taking out a file from his leather bag. This Palestinian lawyer, who heads the independent human rights commission based in Ramallah, has just received the complaint for genocide filed by South Africa against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). A relentless indictment of 84 pages, illustrated by maps and statistical tables. It concludes that there were “genocidal acts and omissions” leading to the “destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group“.

Israel has already killed or injured 4% of the population of Gaza,” says Ammar Dweik. “It’s enormous, but the crime of genocide is not only qualified by the number of victims. It also implies intention. However, Israel demonstrates this intention to bring about genocide in three ways: by massively bombing Gaza without sparing civilians, by creating the conditions for famine and by promoting the spread of disease.

Examined Thursday, January 11, 2024 by the ICJ in The Hague, the complaint finds no mitigating circumstances in Israel. Neither the attack of October 7, nor the network of offensive tunnels built under Gazans’ homes, nor the thousands of rocket attacks towards Israeli localities. Suffice to say that the South African charge provokes the almost unanimous fury of Israelis, including among the fiercest critics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Clearly left-wing, Deputy State Attorney Dina Zilber usually does not spare the current Israeli government and its “miserable” attempts to weaken the Supreme Court. But the accusation of genocide launched by South Africa seems scandalous to her:

Israel is simply exercising its right to defend itself, assures the magistrate. We have been victims of a massacre of incredible cruelty and we are waging a war against a terrorist movement which is hiding among its civilian population. The fact that there. The fact that there are many deaths does not in any way amount to the crime of genocide.

According to the IDF, Israel intends to demonstrate to The Hague its respect for international conventions and its constant concern to protect populations used as human shields by Hamas militiamen. The Jewish state wishes to counterattack and return the accusations of genocide against Hamas. On Wednesday, the day before the trial opened in The Hague, a website went online. Under the title “October 7, we haven’t seen anything yet”, it presents photos and documents considered damning Hamas. Mass killings, beheadings, desecration of corpses, systematic rapes accompanied by torture… Israel will use the ICJ to call world opinion to witness the cruelty of its enemy.

American universities join the fray and denounce Israel

The war between Israel and Hamas is creating very strong tensions on American campuses. The anger of pro-Palestinian students grew on Wednesday in the United States, with tense face-to-face confrontations with police in Texas, New York, New England and California.

Visiting Columbia University in Manhattan – where this latest wave of student protests began in October – the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, threatened: “if the situation is not brought under control quickly and if the threats and intimidation do not stop, it will then be time to call in the National Guard.”

Mike Johnson, close to Donald Trump, warned that he would demand President Joe Biden to “act” and judged that the pro-Palestinian demonstrations “put a target on the backs of Jewish students in the United States”, who matter the most of Jews in the world (some six million) after Israel.

Since the start of the conflict in Gaza in October, American universities have been shaken by sometimes violent debates on freedom of expression and accusations of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism which cost the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania their jobs this winter. “Enjoy your freedom of expression,” said Mike Johnson provocatively, booed by hundreds of Columbia students.

On Wednesday, the White House reaffirmed that Joe Biden, who hopes to be re-elected in November, “supports free speech, debate and non-discrimination” at universities.

Since the renewed tensions last week at Columbia, the movement has spread to other campuses. Particularly in the New England states, where prestigious universities have asked the police to arrest student demonstrators who denounce the United States’ alliance with Israel and criticize the current conditions of the Palestinians.

The presidency of Columbia University, for its part, welcomed “significant progress” in discussions with students to evacuate this encampment by Friday April 27, 2024.

During the night from Monday to Tuesday, 120 people were briefly arrested in front of New York University (NYU), in the heart of Manhattan. In Yale, Connecticut, around fifty demonstrators were also arrested. Harvard also saw a camp set up on its campus on Wednesday April 25, 2024. On the other side of the country, the University of Texas at Austin was the scene of a confrontation, ultimately good-natured, between hundreds of pro-Palestinian students and the police. And at the University of Southern California, several hundred students demonstrated shouting “liberate Palestine”, “revolution through intifada”.

What to do?

In the face of all the difficulties facing Israel in the current war and mentioned here above, the Jewish state must opt out for realism in its state philosophy to survive:

1-Disengage from Gaza and negotiate the return of the hostages at once;

Six months have passed since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage.

In response to this attack, Israel promised to “crush and destroy Hamas so that it no longer posed a threat, launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza that left more than 34,300 dead, according to the Ministry of Health of Hamas.

Israel claims to have killed thousands of Hamas fighters and destroyed much of the vast network of tunnels that Palestinian militants had built under Gaza and used to carry out their attacks.

But has Israel really achieved its goal of destroying the militant group? And what do Palestinians now think of their leaders and the Hamas leaders in Gaza after one of the bloodiest wars the region has ever known?

The “powerful revenge promised against Hamas by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not only had a horrible impact on Gaza: 110,000 people killed and injured; infrastructure destroyed, hunger and disease spread and 2 million people displaced. The level of destruction incurred on the Gaza Strip surpasses that on Germany during WW II according to military experts. Many people today, around the world, equate Israel with killing innocents and destroying their environment.

In the other Palestinian territory, the West Bank, Israel has carried out numerous deadly raids against armed groups during which innocent civilians have been killed. Israel has also arrested thousands of people who remain detained without trial. Palestinian farmers have been driven from their land following a violent, sometimes deadly, intimidation campaign by extremist Jewish settlers. Opinion polls, nevertheless, show strong approval among Palestinians for the attacks carried out by Hamas on October 7.

2-Accept the creation of the Palestinian state with international guarantees for both sides

The only alternative to the destructive spiral into which the Middle East is sinking before our eyes, with incalculable international repercussions, lies in the establishment of a Palestinian state which would be Israel’s best guarantee of security. Such a prospect is naturally virulently refused by the warmongers of both camps who prefer to maintain the deadly illusion of the possibility of a defeat of the declared enemy.

This illusion is undoubtedly the main obstacle to peace today, in that it fuels a cycle of ever more atrocious violence, with each side claiming to only act in “retaliation” for the violence of the other. Historical experience demonstrates on the contrary that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, far from being a zero-sum game where the gains of one are staked on the losses of the other, can only be resolved through the reconciliation of aspirations of the two peoples. 

3-Israel – Palestine: restoring a political horizon to the peace process by starting earnest negotiations with the Palestinian authority

Recent developments in the political and military landscape in the Middle East and the escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine since October 7, 2023 seem to dash any hope of lasting peace in this region. The foundations of peace, however, seemed to have been laid in the early 2000s, notably with the Geneva Accord, signed in Jordan on October 23, 2003: an alternative peace plan drawn up by former political and military leaders of both parties which proves that a realistic compromise is possible. Should we then put the Geneva Initiative back on the table? What possible paths towards peace in this region? How can we renew dialogue between the two warring parties? And what role should be given to the international community and international humanitarian law in the negotiations. What was the ambition of the Geneva Accords in 2003 and what progress has this initiative made? 

The basic idea was very simple: the road map and the Oslo process were based on the idea that we had to start by defining a process that would allow to gradually get closer to the final status, without giving the slightest detail on this final status. This method has never worked. This is why, in the discussions that led to the Geneva Initiative, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators chose the opposite method. They started at the end, that is to say, negotiating a final agreement first. Next, they discussed the process that implements this final agreement.

This peace initiative therefore had two objectives: to implement the Clinton parameters and to adopt another method of negotiation. This is why the signed agreement is very detailed. It tackles all the problems – Jerusalem, security, borders, refugees – unresolved concerns at Camp David (2000) and Taba (2001). This agreement is based on four principles:

1) The official recognition of two independent States, the State of Palestine being demilitarized.

2) The renunciation of the “right of return” of Palestinians to the State of Israel, accompanied by financial compensation for each refugee family. A “right of return” is possible, but in the newly created State of Palestine.

3) An Israeli withdrawal of approximately 90% occupied territories, with an exchange of territories for the missing 10%. This allows Israel to maintain several settlements considered important in terms of security.

4) “Shared” sovereignty over Jerusalem, based on the Clinton parameters.

The Geneva Accords present a historic opportunity for both Israelis and Palestinians. They offer Israelis the opportunity to fully integrate into the Middle East. For Palestinians, these agreements offer the possibility of building their own state.

4-Reactivate peace treaties with Arab nations, basically the “Abraham Accords” to achieve desired economic development that will strengthen peace, understanding and tolerance among the peoples of the region

The Gaza war has relegated the normalization agreements (Abraham Accords) reached in 2020 between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco to the background. Beyond its geopolitical dimension, one aspect of this alliance has been passed over in silence: despite their theological differences, the fundamentalists of the three great monotheisms took advantage of it to form a common front against moral liberalism and secular values – even if Israeli repression in East Jerusalem and violations of holy sites also threaten this aspect of the pact.

Normalization between Israel and Arab countries should be done in conjunction with the Middle East peace process, since the Abraham Accords alone have failed to fundamentally change the situation for the Palestinians. 

Is peace still possible in the Mideast?

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, which began after Israel’s founding in 1948, has now lasted nearly seven decades. Most people agree that the two sides must find a way to coexist peacefully as neighbors, but their leaders remain far apart on many issues, including Israel’s security, the borders of a possible state Palestinian and the status of Jerusalem, which Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital and the “right of return” for the refugees.

For more than a century, world leaders have appealed for peace in the Middle East, but generally without success. The region has already experienced twenty-three conflicts in the first years of the 21st century. This is due to five persistent tensions fuelling conflict in the region, each consisting of major social, economic, or political change that clashes with an important and relatively constant feature of the region: Population growth vs. geographical and economic limits, young countries vs. ancient societies, modern radical Islamism versus traditional Abrahamic religions, the “Arab Spring” against traditional authoritarianism, and great power competition versus inattention.

If 2023 was the year when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shook the Middle East, 2024 will be the year when we will know if peace is still possible there. As terrible as it is to write this after so many deaths, never in twenty years has the possibility of a peaceful outcome been so close. Unfortunately, it has been just as long since the conflict came this close to spiralling out of control. What will happen next, only time will tell?

You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on X: @Ayurinu

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou is a Professor of education science at the university in Rabat. He is currently a political analyst with Moroccan, Gulf, French, Italian and British media on politics and culture in the Middle East, Islam and Islamism as well as terrorism. He is, also, a specialist on political Islam in the MENA region with interest in the roots of terrorism and religious extremism.

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