After October 7, when the war in the Middle East resumed, the Center for the Study of Terrorism at our military academy organized a conference with leading international experts on counterterrorism.
Two of them gave a special interview to NOVA – Brian Jenkins, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton and supervisor of the US National Security Advisory Council, and Lt. Col. Uri Ben Yaakov, who trains the Israeli military and advises the Israeli government on counterterrorism.
“We are launching an offensive against Hamas and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Our goal is one – victory. We will fight in the alleys, we will fight in the tunnels, we will fight where we have to”. Thus begins the second phase of Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip after the attack by Hamas, which has resulted in the deaths of nearly 8,800 Palestinians, over 1,400 Israelis and 240 kidnapped children and elderly men and women, countless destroyed homes and human destinies,” says Jenkins. .
A little later, Israel also struck the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza. The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health reports dozens of deaths. Israel claims to have removed a senior Hamas commander, underground tunnels have collapsed, as well as many civilian buildings. So the battle has been going on for years.
“When it all begins is the subject of fierce debate – whether the conflict began on October 7 with the Hamas attack, whether it began 15-16 years ago with the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, whether it can be traced all the way back to the creation of The State of Israel in 1948. Some argue that the conflict has lasted over 100 years, beginning as early as the 19th century with the conflict between Jews and Arabs. Israel believes it is responding to the horrific events of October 7 by acting with appropriate force,” Jenkins explains.
Uri Ben Yaakov answered a question related to the Covenant of Omar, which long before the Geneva Convention commanded Muslims not to kill or harm children, women and the elderly. But what is happening now with the struggle for freedom and land for both sides?
“I think it’s problematic to talk about both sides in the same sentence. In any case, Israel, in my view, is acting in accordance with the rules and international law in all respects. At least we can say that we try to comply with the law. Sometimes mistakes are made, obviously. While the other side does not follow any laws or moral standards, using its own citizens and society as human shields only to achieve its goals,” he stated.
“We cannot completely destroy Hamas.” We can break many of their military capabilities. As for the captives, the only way to get them home is through a military operation. I don’t think that any negotiations would be successful, because Hamas understands that even if we release all the terrorists who are currently in Israel, the next day they might not be alive,” adds Dr. Yakov.
Hoping to keep all the abducted citizens of Israel, the United States, European countries and Thailand alive, Doha-brokered talks are underway, which senior Qatari officials say have been hampered by Israel’s ground offensive. Thanks to the Israeli raid to the city of Gaza itself, the Israeli soldier Private Ori Megidish was released.
Meanwhile, the Iranian foreign minister is proposing joint negotiations with Qatar and Turkey for the release of Israeli prisoners. There is also talk of an exchange for Palestinian prisoners.