Darkness Towards Peace

Written By: - Date published: 10:51 am, January 5th, 2024 - 39 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, International, israel, Palestine, uncategorized, war - Tags:

Can Israel lose a moral battle in Gaza and yet still win?

It gives one pause that there is an increasing risk that the Gaza war will expand. The assassination of the Hamas military leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beiruit has a particularly tough dual moment. It may start to restructure Hamas management into an entity more likely to get around a table. It may at the same time open up a serious fight with Hezbollah who are based in Lebanon.

The United States has responded to attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by Houthis with a clear warning not to do it again.

Yesterday Iran sent a warship to the Red Sea.

So this is increasingly looking like a war in the Middle East that will escalate into multiple fronts.

Each a step down into hot hell.

The inability of Hamas to find enough remaining kidnapped victims to make it worth the while of Israel to sustain the ceasefire was yet another step down into the moral morass Hamas has formed for Israel from its initial attack in October. Israel has been forced into one of its coldest calculations: continue attacking despite the likely death  of its remaining Hamas-kidnapped citizens.

So Israel resumed its violence.

Israel’s resumption of attack on Hamas inside Gaza has ensured Israel has rapidly lost international sympathy across much of the world, in particular its remaining staunch defenders in the EU and US. It now seems to sustain little support outside them.

When the IDF bombing is done and the rage is ignited in another generation of young people, Israel will be brought to the same moral plane as all the Arab countries around it. This may well be seen as a moral victory by Hamas against Israel.

But this moral victory won’t be the strategic win Hamas seek.

There will come a point at which Israel believes it has done sufficient to permanently minimise Hamas.

Then Israel will hunt down Hamas leaders outside Israel, in Qatar, Turkey and Lebanon, “even if it takes years” according to Israel’s Head of Shin Bet. Which is what we saw in Beiruit I’d suggest.

Say all of that retribution is done.

Say, as a result, Israel then exists on the same moral plane as the autocrats and torturers who lead all the states around Israel, is that a strategic victory for Hamas and for all those who oppose the existence of Israel?

On the contrary.

The Arab world, unlike every other time in the 20th century, is not united against Israel. On the eve of October 7th, each Arab state had an individual relationship with Israel.

Egypt and Jordan signed peace deals decades ago, and they are holding.

The UAE normalised diplomatic relations with Israel, and that still holds.

Qatar kept its relationship with Israel informal while also hosting Hamas, and has been critical in negotiating stoppages to war and prisoner exchanges.

Saudi Arabia paused its normalisation of relationships with Israel, but on November 8th it was still “on the table”.

It is glaring that no Arab country is at maximum joining militarily on the side of Hamas or even at minimum offering to take vast numbers of Palestinian refugees. Most of them did multiple times in the previous wars.

Not a single country that has signed a peace treaty or normalised diplomatic relations with Israel has rescinded that basic relationship despite all Israel has done. All of Israel’s neighbours have massively oppressed internal minorities just like Israel: Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria all routinely oppress and torture any opponent and have done so for decades. They have taught Israel so well.

The Arab countries have left the Gazan Palestinians to their fate. They are certainly united in their condemnation of Israel’s actions. But nothing more.

The boots-on-the-ground people in Gaza actually helping people rather than bombing them are aid workers from across the world. Compare that to the direct assistance of the EU particularly Poland to the people of Ukraine.

This do-minimum approach to Gaza tells me that those Arab countries know that that the only countries that can solve any problem in the Middle East are Middle East countries. Israel will become as immune from any UN resolution as any other country in the Middle East.

The lowering of Israel to the same moral status as any other local torturing tyrant is, darkly, an advantage to Israel.

Qatar will continue to take this lead. Qatar’s actions show that they have diplomatic skill that all respect and abide by. Qatar has about the same human rights benchmark as most other Arabian states.

The military defeat of Hamas by Israel is trumped by the moral defeat by Hamas of Israel. And yet …

… it achieves for Israel two broader things: firstly it brings Israel permanently into regional moral equivalence and hence regional acceptance. That is certainly the diplomatic behaviour of all regional state actors so far.

Having done that, Israel turns that solid advantage to enduring regional peace by eradicating Hamas for all of them.

As darkness towards peace, figure that one out.

39 comments on “Darkness Towards Peace ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Pretty deep Ad. I would have to disagree with you about one aspect, I see no upside for Israel here.

    It has already lost any vestige of morality it once may have had. And the atrocities here are terrible, especially given they have been supported by the US and the UK.

    Israel may battle to an uneasy truce. One day someone will get their hands on a nuke and then it will be all on.

    The world order MUST succeed here and subject Israel to sanctions. Otherwise our International Law system will have failed.

    • TB 1.1

      The organised rape of woman carried out by Hamas, shows Hamas to be devoid of any humanity.

      Hamas is a representation of the oppressor.

      The greatest act of violence against humanity is the rape of women. To despoil the giver of live is to deny the sanctity of life.

      The oppressor will be exposed by his denial, then justification for the rape of women. He will not use the word, but it is implied. The rape of women is used as a threat, to those who would deny his will.

      The oppressor will hide behind an ideology, an identity that “shows” to the world that he is virtuous. All along the desire to be the oppressor lies deep within his heart. It slowly festers until the oppressor is so devoid of humanity, he is forever lost.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        How do you feel about what is happening in Gaza? Serious question.

        • TB

          There can be many oppressors at any given time, all vying to be seen as the one representative of what is right and moral.

          What is happening in Gaza is in no way morally acceptable or truely justifiable. It cannot be allowed to happen without the world standing witness.

          We dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. On each of those two occasions about 100,000 (give or take) instantly perished. At no time in human history either before, or after, those terrible events in August 1945, have so many human lives ceased to exist an instant.

          We choose the path of what we believed at the time, to be the lessor of two evils. This does not lessen the enormity of the horror.

          The only redeeming thing about what we did on that early morning of August 6th, 1945, is that we continue to be troubled by it. We continue to question it, and we continue to feel the shame of it. In doing so we retain what is left of our humanity. Perhaps the lesson is that to be human is to be an oppressor.

          To justify the deliberate, organised, documented and glorified rape of women, can in no way be justified. To justify rape of women, is to align oneself with the oppressors, whoever they are.

          Rape of women is used as a weapon by the oppressor. It is also used as a threat of what will happen to those who deny the oppressors will.

          When the oppressor rapes women, he justifies his actions, he excuses his actions, he denies his actions. But in his heart he knows the truth, it festers within him until he has lost any semblance of humanity.

          Those oppressors who have any true morality, would see the wrongness of their actions, and be troubled by them.

          • Cinder

            Clarification regarding the claims of rape by a single Israeli soldier and group of religious zealots who are themselves complicit in sexual assault and rape.




            With the most important statement from Speak Up.

            The group Speak Up, “A feminist initiative to support victims of violence in all its forms,” states: “Exploiting women’s bodies and rape allegations as war propaganda carries profound and extensive implications, affecting not only the immediate conflict but also influencing global attitudes and perceptions about women. This approach undermines the credibility of legitimate cases of sexual violence.

            “It may lead to skepticism and disbelief when survivors share their experiences, perpetuating a culture of silence and impunity. Additionally, it could provoke a global backlash against efforts to address gender-based violence and advocate for women’s rights, and it diminishes the credibility of international initiatives aimed at preventing and responding to sexual violence in conflict.” (speakupeg.com)

            • TB

              Like the holocaust, the systematic rape of women by Hamas, has been documented, and is beyond any doubt.

              General Eisenhower ordered the recording and witnessing of the aftermath of the holocaust. He recognised the true nature of the atrocities, and knew that one day there would be those who would deny it.

              Today not only do some groups deny or minimise the holocaust. Some people, and groups now are denying or minimising the rape of women by Hamas.

              You put your ideology, identity, belief or faith, ahead of you being able to address the fact that Hamas committed organised acts of rape against women.

              [lprent: If you want to be taken seriously and not treated as some kind of idiot parrot, you need to respond to the comment you are replying to. The comment that you replied to did not deny or confirm that. Instead it pointed out links that queried the number of incidences of the behaviour you are decrying and examples of similar deliberate rape behaviour by Israelis against Palestinians. ]

              The inability to recognise, and to attempt to minimise or deny the rape of women by Hamas, shows you to be an oppressor, if not now, you will be should you become part of the ruling establishment.

              Those who are true oppressors will always reveal themselves, they cannot help it.

              True oppressors live amongst us all, they are across the political spectrum.

              Someone who is a true liberator, will recognise the evil that lies within all of us, irrespective of our beliefs. A true liberator will condemn acts of evil, even when they are made by his allies.

              During the second world war, there were people who openly questioned the morality of the relentless bombing of Nazi German cities. The people were not silenced by the authorities. They understood the horror that they were unleashing.

              [lprent: When replying to a comment, you should reply with something that is actually related to the comment. In your response I can see absolutely nothing in your comment does address anything that was in Cinder’s comment. It sounds like the meanderings of parrot repeating your previous comments. Robust debate means that you need to deal with the points raised by others.

              Instead you meander off into complete unrelated topics while avoiding dealing with the rebuttal. There is a limited tolerance on this site to a cowardly avoidance of debate. ]

              • Muttonbird

                Zionists, Israeli supremacists and other Islamophobes are very hot on this. What happened on October 7 has been subject to a sustained information campaign out of Israel and through its proxies all over the world.

                It's really hard to know the full extent of what went on. I certainly wouldn't trust the word of the IDF or the Israeli government.

                No doubt it was a dreadful incident, but war is war.

                • TB

                  “No doubt it was a dreadful incident, but war is war”

                  Do I take from this that you consider the rape of women, while “dreadful” is an accepted part of war?

                  Or does it depend on who is committing the rape, and who is the victim?

                  The organised and sanctioned acts of rape as a tactic of war are without doubt considered to be a war crime.

                  If war is war, and the Israelis are fighting against a regime that uses the organised and systematic rape of women. Then surely the Israelis are duty bound to do what they can to destroy Hamas. Just like we did to Germany to rid ourselves of the Nazi regime.

                  When it comes to rape, It should never be an issue of who was the rapist and who was the victim, before we pass judgment on the act. Rape is rape. Rape used as a weapon of war is abhorrent no matter what side we are on.

                  War is war, does not cut it.

                  What is the point of replacing one tyrant with another?

                  For a person to be able to willingly rape women as a weapon of war, or to order and organise it to happen, they must be so bereft of even the slightest amount of humanity, they could never be considered to be a part of a just and decent society.

                  People want peace, but it must be a just peace. There must be limits on what we do to achieve this. Unless we intend to become tyrants ourselves.

                  I do not for one minute believe that you find rape of women in any way acceptable as a weapon of war. You can support a free Palestine, and condemn the rape of woman by Hamas, otherwise you and Hamas are no better than Israel.

                  [Fix the typo in your email address and read Lprent’s Mod note for you – Incognito]

              • lprent

                See my mod note.

      • lprent 1.1.2

        The organised rape of woman carried out by Hamas, shows Hamas to be devoid of any humanity.

        Compared to the systematic and ongoing rapes in Israeli prisons over decades? The beatings resulting in death of unarmed prisoners by guards. The english version of haaretz article referred to is here (paywalled).

        I'd point out that as far as I am aware, no prison guards ever have been prosecuted for these acts of brutality. The only thing you ever see, like the now routine brutalities and war crimes by IDF is to note that they are 'aware' of the claims.

        You appear to have a curiously selective morality., and what appears to be a profound level of ignorance.

        • mickysavage

          Yep it is not binary. It is not a case of one side bad one side good. And asking us to focus on one series of events that may or may not have happened and totally ignore atrocities on the other side is weird.

  2. Paul Rain 2

    Hah hah, what a joke.

    Every human being on earth sees the crimes of you zionist butchers. Time is ticking. The zionist entity will not last much longer than apartheid South Africa, your only ally, did.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      I have just read your comments from yesterday and have added in some snips of my own.

      Have you thought about toning down the personal attacks and arguing first principles instead? You will find this is more effective.

  3. SPC 3

    A complex composition there Ad.

    What has 88 keys: 52 white and 36 black? Piano. What 8-letter word has one letter in it? Envelope. What is the password when the requirement is at least 8 characters, including caps, a number and a symbol? SnowWhite&the7dwarves.

  4. Macro 4

    I'm with Lord Peter Hain on this one.

    Western policy towards Gaza represents collusion in a terrible failure and will not lead to the permanent elimination of Hamas or security for Israel, the former UK Middle East minister Lord Hain has warned in an Guardian article, demanding a rethink of British approach to the war.


    Hain, who has remained closely involved in the Middle East since his period in government, predicts that “Israel is not going to ‘destroy Hamas’, as its leaders promise – not even by destroying Gaza”.

    He writes: “Although Israel is damaging Hamas militarily, maybe significantly, with many of its tunnels eliminated and its fighters fleeing, Hamas is a movement and an ideology which, in many respects, Netanyahu’s extremism helped to promote.”


    There can realistically be only one possible solution to this and that is a negotiated peace. Such a solution will require a negotiation facilitated by someone both parties can trust and will entail both contestants being willing to give and to receive.

    Kevin and I were students together at Vic in the 60's. He wrote this just last month.

    Kevin Clements writes that only a negotiated peace that fulfils the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis will stop the violence in the Holy Land.

    “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven” (Psalm 85:10-11).

    THIS PSALM ASSERTS that there will be no peace or truth without kindness. Furthermore, justice and peace must kiss if harmony is to replace deep division and violence. There will be no justice without peace and no peace without justice. This wonderful promise of hope from ancient Israel seems a long way from the carnage afflicting the Holy Land in 2023. Love, mercy and compassion seem naively utopian in the current environment yet without them the prospects for peace seem slight.

    Negotiated Peace Needed

    Israel must see its legitimate needs for security materialised. And Palestinians must see a clear perspective for the establishment of their own state realised. Only a negotiated peace that fulfils the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis, together with their security alike -— the long-held vision of a two-State solution, in line with United Nations resolutions, international law and previous agreements — can bring long-term stability to the people of this land and the wider Middle East region.


    • Ad 4.1

      Great to see Tui Motu quoted.

      I'm not so sure "Western" policy is the issue. Plenty of EU positions and US diplomatic work have been admirable if you go back to Oslo and Camp David in multiple sessions.

      It's the Arabian countries that need to step up, and some really are diplomatically as never before, the UAE and Qatar in particular. The US and EU are far weaker influences now.

      • Antonina 4.1.1

        Thank you Advantage for your article. I totally agree with you about Hamas success in pushing Israel into an awful moral decision. As an aside – if I hear another ignorant yelling of the ' from the river to the sea' my scream will be loud. Some people have no knowledge of where the slogan originated.

        • Muttonbird

          I don't think 'from the river to the sea' is a call for the destruction of Israel. Those who believe it is have bought into Israeli propaganda.

          It is however a call for a free state of Palestine, or what is left of it. Hardly controversial.

  5. Drowsy M. Kram 5

    It’s a time for choosing [23 Oct 2023]
    The humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza requires each of us to make a choice.
    Which leads me, finally, to the choice the mostly unrepentant keyboard cavalry who are happily saddling up once more – in derivative columns and hyperbolic appearances on TV – made to side with their home team’s, by now, familiar mantra: Kill first, think later.

    So Israel resumed its violence.

    During the ceasefire and exchange of hostages-for-prisoners (there are a lot of prisoners) at the end of November, I got my hopes up that ‘Kill first’ was giving way to thinking, but it was not to be. IDF munitions have now killed ~1% of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip since Hamas’ unconscionable 7th October attack – who knows what motivates Hamas.


    John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address [20 Jan 1961]
    To that world assembly of sovereign states: the United Nations. . . our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support. . .to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective. . .to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak. . . and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

    Might Israel’s Occupied Territories be considered ‘new’, and Palestinians living there ‘weak’?

    Maintaining order, and achieving a modest standard of living for all human passengers on spaceship Earth, will be a challenge, ‘going forward’. Stay safe.

    2024: The year it got (really) hot [30 Dec 2023]

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Weasel column of the year so far award goes to…

    What a defeatist, weak, unnecessary position from ADVANTAGE given the thousands of dead women and children and much of Gaza flattened. The response to this is not punditry and pontificating–it is direct action. Support local and international solidarity efforts to put pressure on the Israeli butchers and their US sponsors.


    • Bearded Git 6.1

      +100 Tiger

    • mickysavage 6.2

      I disagree. Ad's post is a reflection of current International discourse between nations. It sucks. If what he thinks will happen happens it is a condemnation of the current system and shows that current International law is broken. But it is not a weasel column

  7. Cinder 7

    You friendly reminder that Ad / Advantage has (in my opinion) previously mislead their audience in the following manner.

    In their post on the 21st of November 2023 titled "Terror, human shields, and de-legitimising Israel"


    In that post Ad used a hyperlink (the text in blue) which was worded in the following manner:

    ""Since at least 2014 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), whose sole mission is to provide relief to for Palestinians, has repeatedly found stores of Hamas rockets hidden in tunnels beneath its schools."

    Examination of the statement from the UNRWA which can be seen here:


    gives us the following facts:

    • The school was vacant – something Ad neglected to mention.
    • No mention of tunnels.
    • There is no indication of who was responsible for the placement of the weapons, if there were actually weapons because…
    • The afternote also states:

    "he Secretary-General released a summary of the BOI report on 27 April 2015 (S/2015/286). The summary indicates that the items found were not rockets; the Board concluded that it was highly likely that a Palestinian armed group might have used the premises to hide weapons but was unable to confirm with certainty what type of weapon might have been hidden at the school.

    This is now the 4th time I have raised my concerns regarding this and I have never received any reply or explanation for why the wording of the hyperlink was factually incorrect. I believe that the wording was deliberately and intentionally misleading as it lies far beyond the scope of an honest mistake or typo.

    There is already far too much misinformation and disinformation surrounding the atrocities committed by Hamas and Israel and we all need to push back against any perpetuation of falsehoods whether they relate to current or historic events .

    I stand with Alexei Sayle and Wilf!

    • Ad 7.1

      You can go through all the footnotes in this one if you like, but it's been going on for over a decade.


      Hamas leadership don't dispute it.


      The truth is honestly barely interesting in a terrorist war. The objectives of a massive terrorist attack by a non-state actor against a much larger force is a common playbook no matter who it is, and it goes like this:

      – Increase profile, membership, allies, and funding

      – Shame the larger power when they retaliate, and

      – Degrade the standing of your enemy

      All of this is pretty effective done well, as seen in the IRA in Northern Ireland, the ANC in South Africa, FARC in Colombia, and many more.

      • Cinder 7.1.1

        That is not an answer to my question.

        Which is why you used misleading language?

        Your reluctance to explain this imake me believe it is deliberately misleading and you thought no one would check you references.

        Your first link is a PDF which doesn't even have an author and provides no evidence but cites other references. I'm not going to spend weeks chasing those given they may not even be accessible.

        The Channel 4 article also provides no evidence of rockets in tunnels under schools.

        So. once again, why did you use misleading language in your hyperlink?

        In short, I believe you are not acting on good faith in regards to this.

        This is important as we know that Israel are paying content creators, social media players and influencers to assist in their propaganda efforts.


  8. Muttonbird 8

    The inability of Hamas to find enough remaining kidnapped victims to make it worth the while of Israel to sustain the ceasefire was yet another step down into the moral morass Hamas has formed for Israel from its initial attack in October. Israel has been forced into one of its coldest calculations: continue attacking despite the likely death of its remaining Hamas-kidnapped citizens.

    October 7 was a hostage taking mission. Israel began its offensive and paused for a hostage swap. Hamas retained some hostage assets. It's that simple. No need to look any deeper.

    It is glaring that no Arab country is at maximum joining militarily on the side of Hamas or even at minimum offering to take vast numbers of Palestinian refugees. Most of them did multiple times in the previous wars…

    …The Arab countries have left the Gazan Palestinians to their fate. They are certainly united in their condemnation of Israel’s actions. But nothing more.

    "At maximum" seems ridiculous when that unnamed country would be immediately destroyed with US ordinance. Arab counties, Jordan for instance, refuse to participate, aid and abet Israel's policy of cultural and literal genocide.

    • Ad 8.1

      The countries that have participated in direct attacks against Israel since it was formed are: Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Soviet Union, Algeria, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, most of them multiple times. Also half a dozen non-state armies. And that was when US influence in the area was at its highest.


      If people refuse to look deeply into the causes and conditions of war they are unlikely to figure out how to prevent it.

  9. Tony 9

    Yemens support and actions should be noted.

  10. SPC 10

    The Israeli plan for Gaza is to rule there as in the WB.

    Some time back there had been a disengagement policy, which resulted in withdrawal of both settlements and the IDF from all of Gaza as well a plan for doing the same for areas of the WB. It was abandoned by Likud, they retained it for Gaza while using attacks from Gaza as an excuse for not continuing on the disengagement course for the WB (and instead to walk away from the Oslo Accords and have more and more fact on the ground settlements).

    Hamas finally realised they had been used as a pawn to further Likud's agenda in the WB and so made the current order untenable.

    Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has outlined proposals for the future governance of Gaza once the war between Israel and Hamas is over.


    It is consistent with Hamas becoming part of the PLO and the PA returning to Gaza. And future parliamentary and presidential elections. And also EU and USA pressure on Israel to this outcome and SA/UAE/Qatar funding of a Gaza rebuild, sans tunnels.

    The comments from some Palestinian leaders about empowering Gazans to self government sans any IDF presence indicate two other factors – a fear of elections, and seeing the path to a Gaza de facto Palestinian state as a easier to realise than a two state peace (WG sovereign and independent and EG under "WP" and KGB/GRU occupation were separate for some time).

  11. jay11 11

    Japan was nuked twice though they were ready to surrender. [deleted]. Hamas were on a suicide mission, the last thing on their minds was there peckers. Gaza has been nuked the equivalent of two Hiroshimas. But we are obsessed with allegations of rape! The Israehellis killed heaps of their own for shielding Hamas fighters ( the Samson option ) with Apache attack helicopters.

    [Please stick to one user name + e-mail here and revert to the one that you used here last time (https://thestandard.org.nz/critics-of-degrowth-economics-say-its-unworkable-but-from-an-ecologists-perspective-its-inevitable/#comment-1965273). As you’ve used a number of aliases here, from now on only that combination will be let through by the automated system and all others will be trashed automatically by the system. I’ll leave it to others to address the contents of your comment. Please acknowledge that you’ve read this note – Incognito]

    [deleted because it’s too close to advocating violence. Read the site commenting Policy. If you want to comment again, we prefer people to make arguments that can be backed up with evidence – weka]

  12. Tricledrown 12

    Good on South Africa for trying to broker a peace deal.

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