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GAZA WAR DIARY: 19 JUNE 2024

It is my practice not to always forward news as soon as I hear it. Sometimes, I let it percolate in my mind, putting it together with other odd pieces of information until it forms a larger picture.

So, here are a few pieces I’ve been putting together.

A newly surfaced document entitled “Detailed End-to-End Raid Training,” compiled in the Gaza Division of the IDF by Israeli intelligence which monitored Hamas training exercises said these exercises included raiding military posts and kibbutzim, kidnapping soldiers and civilians, and maintaining the hostages once they were in the Gaza Strip. The report also detailed the next steps after breaching into Israel and taking over the posts, determining that their instructions were to hand over the captured soldiers to the company commanders. They were instructed to kidnap between 200-250 hostages.

This document, which described in chilling detail almost exactly what was to happen on October 7, was distributed to the IDF on September 19, 2023. The report was certainly known to the intelligence leadership, at the very least in the Gaza Division, reported Kan News.

If the IDF had precise information about Hamas’s intentions, the million dollar question is why did it take everyone by surprise? Why was nothing done to prevent it?

Comparisons to the situation of the Yom Kippur War begs to be made here. At both times, precise intelligence was ignored by those entrusted with the country’s security, with catastrophic results. Close to 3,000 soldiers were killed in the Yom Kippur War.

Despite its equipment and intelligence, the IDF is only as good as the people who lead it. The same people who received this report in September are still in place, leading the war in Gaza.

An officer recently told Arutz 13 that the war in Rafah could have been over weeks ago, if not for the weak and confused commands of their higher ups.

One thing I can say for sure, people like the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff must be living with the deepest feelings of guilt for their failures.

Another piece I’ve been mulling over is the report that the delay in going into Rafah has given Hamas ample time to study the IDF’s tactics and prepare defenses. I would say that the terrible loss of soldiers in the last week points to exactly that. While the IDF has made enormous progress in Rafah, there are still twenty intact tunnels filled with terrorists, some of them no doubt filled with our hostages. While we must, absolutely, lay the responsibility for this delay at feet of Joe Biden, who has done everything in his power to hurt Israel’s military capabilities, from withholding weapons (Netanyahu told Hochstein yesterday: “Give us the weapons, we will do the rest”) to making impossible demands on how and where to fight.

But there is something else here too. Perhaps the guilt of the present Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff is making them extra cautious in not wanting to make any more mistakes, and thus they are holding back our soldiers.

Not a few soldiers are fed up with this approach. An incendiary tape released on 26 May by an anonymous soldier and widely distributed was seen as nothing less than a call for a military coup. In the tape, the soldier says among other things: “We want victory, our brothers weren’t murdered for nothing, we weren’t raped for nothing, and we weren’t slaughtered in our beds for nothing. We who jumped into the war on October 7 and up to these moments are still in the reserves not at home with our families, we want victory, we want a decision, we want to dismantle Hamas… Whoever harmed the people of Israel, whoever harmed our brothers the Jews, the Druze, the Bedouin, we want to destroy them. And you, Mr. Galant, cannot do that. So here I am informing you to change your tune. Understand that we want to win…”

And I will end with this: The Rabbis Law, of which I have written so much, has been removed and will not be voted on at all at this time. As for the other divisive law for the drafting of haredi soldiers, whatever the government intends, it has to pass through committee first. Here is the Facebook page of the chairman of that committee, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Yuli Edelstein, at the opening debate of the conscription law:

“I saw the headlines and heard all kinds of definitions – the conscription law, the non-conscription law, the evasion law. It’s just not relevant…

“We have the option of enacting a new law that will provide a real answer to the needs of the IDF and the security establishment in the current reality.

“The law will have to provide an answer to the reservist and his wife whose children ask if their father still lives with them or not; to a mother who asks why her son receives another call-up order on the day of his release; and to the head of the hesder yeshiva (religious draftees who combine military service with talmud study) who asks when his students will be able to return to study Torah after six months of being in the reserves, and many others that I have not mentioned.

“I would also like to hear from the IDF their real needs, but also the rationale behind every number that is thrown out. We need to provide a short-term solution but one that will work in the long term as well. This means allowing an ultra-Orthodox guy who enlists in the army to also live as ultra-Orthodox. It’s not always easy, there will also be conflicting values, but the IDF must prepare for this.

“If we want to pass a serious law, we cannot play games of opposition and coalition. The test of the result will be if we pass a correct law according to the needs of the army. If we do this seriously and without populist positions and interests, we will make history here. But if it is more important to dismantle the government, nothing will progress.”


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15 comments on “GAZA WAR DIARY: 19 JUNE 2024”

  1. KD Reply

    On 27th July, Bomber Command launched another raid on Hamburg. The bombers approached from the north-east this time, having approached from the north-west on the previous occasion, so that any creep-back from the initial bombing point would end up destroying a different part of the city.80 The bombing loads had also been changed so that approximately 240 tons more of incendiaries were being carried.81 The British had realised that HE bombs were most effective when they were used to blow the roofs off buildings and smash windows and doors in, so that fires started by the incendiaries could get inside. It was now understood that it was fire that did the most damage when urban areas were being bombed, and the objective was now to keep dropping incendiaries in the same area until the fire services were overwhelmed, so that the fires that were started by the incendiaries could not be stopped.

    Britain’s financial and industrial resources could have been used differently during the war years. An air force could have been created with the primary function of providing tactical support to the army during a land war. However, the decision had been made at the highest level to create a heavy bomber force capable of attacking German cities, and on 27th July 1943, the full destructive potential of the British heavies was fully realised. The natural conditions around Hamburg on that night contributed to what turned out to be an unprecedented level of destruction, although the science behind the Hamburg firestorm was not understood well enough at the time for this to have played any part in the British planning. The exceptionally warm weather meant that the heat generated throughout the day had already risen to form a ceiling of hot air above the city. When the bombers arrived and set the buildings on the ground on fire, the heat generated by these fires rose into and through the hot air above the city. The vacuum this created on the ground was filled by cooler air that was sucked into the city at ever increasing speeds. The incoming air acted as fuel and the fires burned ever hotter, which sent even more hot air into the sky directly above the city.82 As the German historian Jörg Friedrich has argued, the British were not simply killing people on the streets of Hamburg on this raid, they had altered the fundamental conditions of reality so that their target area no longer supported human life.83

    As the firestorm continued to rage, the vicious circle of conditions that had created it began to accelerate. The cooler air being sucked into the city reached speeds of over 120 mph, and the temperatures inside the inferno became high enough to melt the glass in car windows.84 Trees were uprooted by the winds, and people trying desperately to escape were picked up and thrown through the air. According to Leo McKinstry’s account, “It was the most savage firestorm in history, not so much Gomorrah as the Apocalypse. People burned to death in the streets from sheer intensity of the heat. Trams and trains buckled and collapsed. The asphalt of roadways turned to boiling liquid.”85

    Thousands of people died in their bunkers when the oxygen was sucked out to feed the firestorm, or when the buildings above collapsed and blocked the air vents and exits.86 Some people realised that they could not remain inside the bomb shelters, but where could they go? Some tried to find their way into the local parks and sports stadiums, fighting their way through the flying debris so they were not pulled by the howling winds into the centre of the inferno,87 but even with those open spaces around them acting as a firebreak, many people still died from the incredible heat.88 In desperation, some people tried to make their way to one of the canals that ran through the city, in the hope that they could shelter in the water, but many of the boats that were on fire after being hit by incendiaries became floating hazards, debris still flew the air and the dirty, oily water could catch fire in these extreme conditions.89

    From the air, it soon became clear that the scale of the destruction in their target area was unprecedented. The Operations Record for Lancaster JA675 of 467 Squadron records that as they were about to make their bombing run: “Explosions seen 0104½. 0105. Huge column of smoke seen up to 18/19000 ft. Navigation excellent.”90

    The Operations Record for Lancaster JA702 of 156 Squadron for 27th July reads:

    Task HAMBURG. Target identified by Green TIs and attacked at 0130 hrs from 20000 ft. Own bombs burst in centre of TI Greens, which covered an area of about 2 miles across. A mass of flames covered the whole target area and a large black cloud of smoke was rising up to more than 20000 ft. Special equipment was U/S. Some rocket type heavy flak over target with some 70 S/Ls attempting to cone. “Windows” carried and dropped. One photo attempted. Bomb load as above.91

    The Operations Record for Lancaster EE173, piloted by Flight Sergeant W.H. Rose, reads:

    Task HAMBURG. Target attacked after being identified by TI Greens, at 01.01.3 hrs. from 19000 ft. Our bombs seen to burst on TI Greens, and while we were over the target the attack was quite concentrated and fires had a good hold. The glow of the fires could be seen 150 miles away on return journey. Moderate heavy flak, not so much as before, but S/L activity was more than on previous trip. “Windows” carried and dropped. One photo attempted. Bomb load as above.92

    At the beginning of the war in September 1939, there was a commonly held belief that “the bomber will always get through”93 and civilian casualties would be high in any future war. By the middle of 1943, the British had created a heavy bomber force that had made that prediction come true. They had studied the effects of the German bombing of their own cities, and while this provides an answer to the technical question of how the British had figured out how to be so good at this, it does not tell us why a heavy bomber force had been created in the first place, or why it was being used to carry out a policy of area bombing on German cities.

    Lord Salisbury, the Leader of the House of Lords, wrote to Archibald Sinclair on 23rd November and asked whether Britain ought to be deliberately targeting cities rather than attempting to hit legitimate military targets. “There is a great deal of evidence that makes some of us afraid that we are losing some of our moral superiority to the Germans,” he wrote. “Of course the Germans began it, but we do not take the devil as an example.”94

    The unpalatable truth is that any war can develop into an entirely different form of reality, where moral questions are no longer even asked when significant decisions are being made because the answers no longer matter. When Churchill took over as Prime Minister on 10th May 1940, it was understood that he was the only political candidate who would be able to operate effectively in that environment. Churchill may have been the best person for the job and Nazi Germany may have been defeated in the end, but it does not follow that the second world war should now be thought of as a good war. If you are leader of a nation state that has declared war on another country, then sooner or later, you are going to find yourself in a position where you have no option but to do things that are “not good.” You may end up attacking your allies, as Britain did to France, or declaring war on countries that have done you no wrong, as Britain did to Finland, or forming an alliance with a regime that, in some ways, is no better than your enemy. You may send a convoy through the Norwegian Sea expecting half of your ships to be sunk just so you can sign a political treaty. You may find yourself helping to cover up a mass murder, or you may find yourself promising to use chemical weapons against the enemy, knowing all the while that your own citizens could be subjected to retaliatory attacks. The second world war was so horrific that many of the people who lived through it could only describe the experience by saying that “all hell broke loose.”95 In the hours between midnight and morning on 28th July, the firestorm that raced through the streets of Hamburg created a facsimile of hell on earth.

    80. Lowe, Inferno, p. 186.
    81. Lowe, Inferno, p. 187.
    82. McKinstry, Lancaster, Kindle loc. 6200; Lowe, Inferno, pp. 200-201.
    83. Friedrich, The Fire, pp. 166-167.
    84. Lowe, Inferno, p. 201; McKinstry, Lancaster, Kindle loc. 6206.
    85. McKinstry, Lancaster, Kindle loc. 6209.
    86. Evans, The Third Reich at War, p. 444.
    87. Lowe, Inferno, p. 216.
    88. Lowe, Inferno, p. 211.
    89. Lowe, Inferno, p. 219.
    90. National Archives, AIR 27/1930/14.
    91. National Archives, AIR 27/1041/36.
    92. National Archives, AIR 27/1041/36.
    93. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 133.
    94. Marquess of Salisbury to Sinclair, 26th November 1943, RAF Museum, Harris Papers H79, quoted by McKinstry, Lancaster, Kindle loc. 7259.
    95. Hastings, All Hell Let Loose, Kindle loc. 109.

    Duthie, Kenneth. The Road to Gomorrah: Britain’s War 1939-1943 (pp. 175-178). Kenneth Duthie. Kindle Edition.

    • KD Reply

      If this understanding of war was understood and accepted, then Israel could fight the war she needs to fight, there would be no grounds for anyone to criticize Israel for doing so, and (it is to be hoped) the enemy would be less keen to commit a casus belli and start a war in the first place, because they would know what the inevitable consequences of their actions would be.

      I can’t do much to assist Israel directly; I’m too old now and my health is not good enough to go out there and fight (or even to work) but maybe some of the ideas and arguments in my book (which was researched and written long before October 7th last year) could end up being of use to someone? Maybe some of the ideas and arguments in my book could be used to help defend Israel in the theatre of public opinion – both within Israel and without?

      The Road to Gomorrah: Britain’s War 1939-43

  2. KD Reply

    (Netanyahu told Hochstein yesterday: “Give us the weapons, we will do the rest”) to making impossible demands on how and where to fight.

    May I make a suggestion?

    Netanyahu should start quoting Churchill, word for word, when he’s dealing with the Americans.

    That would push everyone’s buttons. And remind everyone that Israel is fighting on the side of good, against that which is evil.

    This is what Churchill said to Roosevelt, on February 9th, 1941;

    “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.”

  3. Sara Reply

    The longer this war takes, the more finger pointing will happen…everyone is becoming exhausted. I agree with Karen. I understand Israel’s feeing that they need a friend in the US but Biden has been a Frenemy from the get go. I’m probably not aware of all the political intricacies at play here, as in Israel’s dependence up the US for supply of weapons. I understand Netanyahu’s frustration but perhaps he is more upset with himself. I also agree with Karen’s commentary that Israel has to simply ignore the PR war and get on with it. Now things have become more dangerous as Hamas and Hezbollah seem to have had time to figure out IDF strategies…this is extremely dangerous. I Think Netanyahu has been an excellent wartime prime minister – however the US has been absolutely obnoxious in their lack of support. FJB. Also in all honesty, I do think Trump will be a better ally to Israel. Biden is Obama’s puppet.

  4. Eliezer Reply

    Correct – we have a heavy bureaucracy paid out of public funds because we cannot employ these people in productive positions actually manufacturing goods – we don’t have a proper manufacturing base.
    It is like letting the road sweeper be the mayor of a city, but he has no ability to do so!

  5. Karen Reply

    I agree that Biden is responsible for the delays in this war, but, and it hurts me to say it, it also lies at Israel’s feet for not going in sooner to begin with. The hesitancy and delays from the beginning & allowing the US to control the war should never have happened. I know that Israel relies on the US for aid, bombs, ammo, etc etc etc I get all that, but in the beginning Israel was well supplied and should’ve gone straight in! Iran and China and everyone else has seen that Biden makes threats and then doesn’t follow through, so Israel needs to learn that lesson too. Stand up to them! Show strength! Demand that we deliver what Israel has already paid for and get the job done. The rest of the world already thinks what they think, you can’t win the PR war, the UN is against you anyway that’s not going to change, so just do it and call Biden’s bluff. You’re fighting for your existence are you not? Go for it and get the 70%+ of the citizens of the US who are behind you to make noise and stand up to our President for you and force him to once and for all do the right thing, stand behind our allies and stop using politics and the upcoming elections to hold Israel hostage! The hesitancy and the capitulation is making it appear to the world that Israel isn’t sure that they can win, that they’re kowtowed by threats, image and in-fighting. That maybe this is just going to go on forever at a partial effort, that world opinion is more important than the goal at hand. Before you lose your support with the majority of the people here, show us you’re ready, you’re serious, you’re doing this with everything you have so we can make some noise for you! America in general has a short memory when it doesn’t directly concern us. Israel is not in the front pages, it’s not the main story, (for us readers here it is, but not for your average citizen). Maybe it’s time for the majority in Israel, the ones that want this war to be won at all costs, the ones that don’t want to give up, the ones that see what needs to be done, maybe it’s time for you to start marching in the streets, be the loud ones, drown out the few that are saying otherwise. Fight like the IDF is capable of fighting and show Biden what it means to stand by your word and take care of your people. Embarrass him and his whishy-washiness and he’ll jump on the bandwagon to claim the glory and the votes., but then you’ll get your support.

    • KD Reply

      Karen,

      I am in agreement with you. I would also like to add a few points:

      Having studied and written about the battle for Stalingrad in 1942-43, I would say that the urban warfare scenario the IDF has been fighting in has made the military operation far more difficult than people realise.

      Also: I’m not sure if anyone realised the extent of the enemy’s tunnel system. The sheer scope of this construction project does two things, I would suggest: It makes it unlikely that the “civilian” population did not know about what was going on, prior to October 7th. And it makes the project of doing the enemy in all the harder, and more time consuming. (Therefore, destroying it is going to take longer than expected.)

      Finally, and most importantly, if Israel had been able to frame the war differently from the get-go, then it would have been easier for them to go in with all guns blazing, giving two fingers to all of their enemies.

      In political philosophy, the so-called “dirty hands problem” was laid out by Niccolo Machiavelli in his book, “The Prince.”

      Niccolo Machiavelli wrote in The Prince that “a man who wants to profess goodness in all parts of his life will bring about his own ruin among so many who are not good. Therefore, it is necessary for a prince who wants to maintain his position to learn how not to be good, and to use that whenever he needs to.” This is what is known in philosophy as the dirty hands problem. A political leader may find themselves in a situation where they must choose between acting in a way that is considered “not good,” when that will avoid a disastrous outcome, and acting in a way that will let them maintain their sense of moral integrity, when that will help to bring that disaster about.

      Duthie, Kenneth. The Road to Gomorrah: Britain’s War 1939-1943 (p. 39). Kenneth Duthie. Kindle Edition.

      At the beginning of the war, I saw Israeli spokespeople on the British news, when they were challenged about bombing targets in Gaza, respond by saying, “You bombed Dresden!” This is what is known as a “tu quoque move” and it is not a good debating tactic. Far better to present an argument based on Machiavelli’s understanding of reality, making the point that a leader, and a people, must be prepared to do things that they would not normally do in peacetime, if they are to “maintain their state.”

      I make this argument in my book, “The Road to Gomorrah.” I show that in order to end up on the winning side in the second world war, Winston Churchill :

      Aligned Britain with the Soviet Union
      Gave up on the Baltic States as early as December 1941
      Declared war on Finland
      Sent the Arctic Convoy PQ16 out, in the expectation that half the boats would be sunk, because Molotov was due to arrive in London to sign the Anglo-Soviet Treaty
      Told Stalin that he would use gas weapons against Germany, in the expectation that the British public would then be subjected to the same by the enemy
      Created a fleet of heavy bombers and used them to “de-house” German civilians throughout Germany
      Created a firestorm in Hamburg that killed tens of thousands of people in the most horrific conditions imaginable

      When Churchill flew out to Moscow in August 1942, he promised Stalin that Bomber Command would be used to attack Germany and “if need be, as the war went on, we hoped to shatter almost every dwelling in almost every German city.” The bombing attack on the coastal port of Hamburg in July 1943 was an exemplary use of a weapon that had been created to ensure “the proper application of overwhelming force.”

      Duthie, Kenneth. The Road to Gomorrah: Britain’s War 1939-1943 (pp. 184-186). Kenneth Duthie. Kindle Edition.

      The second world war was so horrific that many of the people who lived through it could only describe the experience by saying that “all hell broke loose.” In the hours between midnight and morning on 28th July, the firestorm that raced through the streets of Hamburg created a facsimile of hell on earth.

      Duthie, Kenneth. The Road to Gomorrah: Britain’s War 1939-1943 (p. 178). Kenneth Duthie. Kindle Edition.

      Churchill also looked the other way when the Katyn forest massacre came to light in 1943.

      Not to mention the Americans, who developed napalm during WW2 (not during Vietnam) and used it to firebomb Tokyo in March 1945. Over a hundred thousand people were killed by the American bombers in one night!

      The second world war is sometimes seen as a fundamentally moral conflict, where the forces of good prevailed over the forces of darkness in the world. [. . .] The British membership in what Churchill called the “Grand Alliance” may have allowed the claim to be made after the war that Great Britain had helped to defeat the Nazis, but it could just as easily be argued that the second world war helped transform the Soviet Union into a superpower. Stalin always intended to lay claim to more territory in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, and when the war finally came to an end in 1945, millions of people were trapped behind the “iron curtain” with no possibility of escape. These people would remain under Soviet control for more than four decades. If one disregards the intentions of the politicians who involved Britain in the war, and one sets aside everything that has been said about it and considers what really happened, both during the war and after it ended, then the second world war cannot be said to have been a good war. It was a war just like any other – and in the final analysis, there are no good wars.

      Duthie, Kenneth. The Road to Gomorrah: Britain’s War 1939-1943 (p. 186). Kenneth Duthie. Kindle Edition.

      There are no “good” wars.

      There are only necessary wars.

      If the view of war that I present in my book had been well known in Israeli circles, then I would not say it would have made much difference to the countries enemies (who are all in the service of the adversary, and care nothing for the truth) but it might have made it easier for Israeli spokespeople to defend what Israel were doing, and (here is the point) it might have made it easier for the Israeli military to go into Gaza and do the whole world a favour by eradicating the enemy from the face of the earthy, using what Churchill called “the proper application of overwhelming force.”

  6. Karen Reply

    Sue, please tell me why Trump is not the answer? Please tell me why Israel would be worse off with a Trump presidency. It seems nobody can tell me why. I would really like to know. We only have two choices

  7. Sue Freedland Reply

    As much as you do not like Joe Biden, I can assure you that Trump is not the answer . Israel will be much worse off with a Trump presidency.

    • KD Reply

      Your “assurances” don’t amount to a hill of beans.

      Remember, we’ve already had a Trump presidency.

      And Israel was far better off.

      (So was the rest of the world btw.)

      • Liz Rome Reply

        Sue –How about a fact or two–instead of “opinion” that you “know” Biden would be better. The virulent anti-Semitism coming out of his administration, the turning the other way and not punishing Hamas supporters should be evident –even to people with TDS.

        • Liz Rome Reply

          KD –You are CORRECT. Look at Trump’s accomplishments: Embassy moved to Jerusalem. Recognized Golan Heights as permanent part of Israel. (I was –there. They are necessary for defense).Most of all—the Abraham Accords…would have led to peace in the Middle East. Biden ruined them almost immediately.
          All Jewish people should support Israel…and Trump. He stands with Israel. Biden is a pandering wimp who bows to voters. Lastly–all the “…Jews for Gaza etc…” have to be both stupid and suicidal.

  8. Guy Reply

    Naomi, you mention the defense minister Galant, the Chief of Staff Halevi.
    What about the corrupt, lying trash Netanyahu?
    He has no responsibility? He will do anything to stay in power.

  9. golda Reply

    the fighters of yore who won the 48 war of independence and all the subsequent wars must be
    turning over in their graves over the lack of coordination, precision attack and conquest.
    when will the State of Israel stop listening and following the rule of law set down by the moronic U.S. govt. leanings, and put the lives of their heroic fighters and citizens first.
    I was just at a fund raiser whereI heard,
    the Israeli army is made of cardboard
    the Israeli government is made of paper
    but
    the Israeli people are made of steel!
    GOD BE WITH YOU

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