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at the crossroads

The massacre of October 7 stunned our people. Because of its scale, the preparation of the attackers, their cruelty, and the tragic failure of Tsahal. How could such a thing have happened? A question that becomes even more haunting with each testimony.

Jean-Pierre Lledo

No matter how much we tell ourselves that there is a time for everything, and that the time is ripe for destroying the enemy, the issue doesn't leave us a minute's peace. In fact, the media and personalities are all coming up with their own interpretations, explanations, verdicts and condemnations, whether light or heavy-handed, with or without appeal.

There are those who point the finger at military chiefs, particularly those in Intelligence, and call for their immediate replacement.

And there are those who incriminate the past management of politicians, particularly Netanyahou, as if having failed to depose him by opposing judicial reform, they were now trying to achieve their ends by channelling general emotion, particularly that linked to the kidnappings, which is already sordid in itself, as if Hamas were not responsible for the kidnapping, as if the Red Cross should not be made to face up to its duties, as if responsibility for waging war were not now shared by the majority and opposition sitting side by side in a (provisional) national coalition government.

Didn't I see Gil Mihaely, the (Israeli) director of Causeur, caught in the act of contradiction during an interview? Netanya
hou was singled out as solely responsible for the massacre of October 7, while five lines later he explained that the Head of Intelligence was totally independent, and that as such he had direct access to the Prime Minister, if necessary, "even at 3 a.m...".

Yet it is clear that the responsibility of the military, and particularly of the intelligence services, is overwhelming. What degree of ideological fanaticism does it take to imagine a Prime Minister, of whatever persuasion, briefed on the imminence of danger, refusing to organize an immediate response? What's more, in Israel, unlike other Western democracies, just as the Minister of the Interior is not the head of the police, the Prime Minister is not the head of the army.

Yet I'm afraid that when the time comes to investigate and clean up, scapegoats - especially if their responsibility is obvious - will only serve to mask the true cause of the October 7 disaster.

It may not be apparent, as all true causes are, but it is nonetheless, in my opinion, striking. And to put it briefly, with my heart broken by the torments suffered by our brothers and sisters on the Gaza border, and by every soldier who falls, I would like to express my astonishment at seeing absent from the debate, at least in the mainstream media, the only reason that explains the massacre, that of October 7, and all the others, of Sfat in 1834, of 1921 in Jerusalem and Jaffa, of 1929 in Jerusalem and Hebron, not to mention the 2000 attacks targeting Israeli Jews, a list of which can be found on the net:


As long as this MASSIVE fact, recently expressed by a Hamas leader ("Israel is a country that has no place on our soil."), is not taken into account in analyses and, even more, in decisions, and as long as the Israeli elites remain stubbornly in denial, we will go from one catastrophe to another. From this point of view, Israel's greatest enemy is not the one we think of, but Israel itself.

It's certainly humanly difficult to live with the thought that our neighbors have only one dream: to make us disappear. Accommodating their hostility, even lending them good feelings, is like Stockholm syndrome. It can be useful in a situation of extreme mortal danger, but if it persists, then you are already the predator's willing prey.

So what can we do?

1 - See reality as it is, not as we would like it to be.
Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere reject Jewish sovereignty. The International Union of Muslim Scholars, meeting in Qatar, has just called on all Muslim countries and citizens to declare war on Israel. The University of El Azhar, which for Sunni Muslims represents the standard of Islamic law, has just adopted a fatwa (religious decree) which, to justify the October 7 massacre, erases any distinction between Israeli civilians and soldiers, all Zionists, all enemies who must be destroyed.

For geostrategic and/or economic reasons, they may wish to establish relations with Israel (Abraham Accords).

The Falestinians, Hamas or Abbas, similarly, may want to keep their heads down for a while, while they build up their strength and prepare for a new onslaught, along the lines of the Treaty of Houdeibya, which provided for a 10-year truce between Mohammed's troops and those of Mecca, but was broken off after one year.

As long as this right to sovereignty is not accepted by all, REFUSAL and terrorist war will resume at the slightest acute "crisis".
The same goes for Israel's Arabs and Muslims. In fact, over the last two or three decades, they've stopped calling themselves "Israelis" and started calling themselves "Falestinians". In the event of a war on several fronts and the Tsahal in trouble, there can be no doubt that the implicit contract of loyalty implicit in shared citizenship will be broken.

Let's not forget the pogroms in so-called "mixed" cities in 2021, when Israel was at war with Islamic Jihad.

Does this mean that political unanimity is flawless? Yes for political entities, no for individuals. But for every 5% of men and women, in Israel and elsewhere, who would be prepared to join the Jews , how many would applaud the killing?

2 - Make recognition of the legitimacy of the Jewish presence in this part of the world a prerequisite for any political agreement. With Arab countries as well as with the Falestinians.

Without this PREREQUISITE, the Oslo Accords could only fail, and they did.
"Oslo had to be attempted. But today, it must be clear that, from the Palestinian point of view, Oslo was a deception. Arafat has not changed for the worse, he has simply deceived us", says the once left-wing Israeli historian Benny Morris.

In principle, intelligence consists in not repeating a deadly experience.

So that this PRELIMINARY is not a decoy, a taqya (war ruse), Arab political and religious leaders will have to proclaim it solemnly before their peoples, in the Arabic language.

In the same way that Pope John XXIII put an end to the legend of the Jews as a deicide people during a Council, sermons in mosques, and beyond religious literature, will have to be expurgated of suras or hadiths hostile to the Jews. In general, anti-Jewishness and the lexicon that humiliates Jews and Israel should be hunted down, starting with publishing (e.g. the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or Mein Kampf), and ending with the public and private press, as well as mosques, and school and university curricula, which should be completely overhauled.

Then this proclamation wouldn't just be another rhetorical exercise, it could generate a new paradigm and a new psychological reality.

But isn't that dreaming? Who is the head of state of an Arab-Muslim country capable of initiating such a process and bringing it to fruition? How many more decades, or even centuries, will it take to get there? Are we not witnessing the rise of a new anti-Semitism throughout the world, this time of Islamic origin, as a direct consequence of migratory expansion, which the electoral "left" hopes to capitalize on?

3 - On its own territory, Israel is bound to uphold its right to exist as a state of the Jewish people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether by reason or by force.

Any refusal, by word or deed, and in particular the formula "State of all its citizens", which in practice aims to do away with the Jewish character of the State of Israel, must be considered as a call to subversion and sanctioned by withdrawal of nationality.

School and university textbooks also need to be overhauled in Israel, both in Arab areas, where they work with Falestinian textbooks (the last straw!), and in Jewish areas, where they know nothing about Islamic history or the humiliating life of Jews in the Arab-Muslim world (the last straw!).

4 - Realize that as long as the Arab-Muslim world has not undergone "perestroika", as long as it has not proclaimed "THE PREQUISITE", Israel must consider itself in a permanent state of war, whatever the lulls and economic relations, and even whatever the "Treaties of (false) Peace".

Ignoring or "relativizing" this fundamental fact will expose us to other, perhaps even bloodier, October 7s. Taking it into account has concrete and political-theoretical consequences, for the future as well as the present. Let's take a brief look.

- Given the small size of our territory and its population, preventing an imminent attack, as we did in 1967, will always be infinitely less costly than suffering it and then reacting.

- Completely annihilate the adversary and keep him as far away as possible. Destroying terrorists' homes is ridiculous. If Israel's security requires it, the displacement of hostile populations is a totally legitimate measure, all the more so as Falestinian fighters, whatever their obedience, disguise themselves most of the time as civilians. It is the strong response that deters, and weakness that encourages warmongering.

- No matter how vigilant the IDF is, it cannot ward off every attack. So in all areas in contact with Arab-Muslim populations, Jewish citizens must form self-defense groups. This is already happening, and I'm delighted about it. If this had been the case, we wouldn't have experienced the slaughter of October 7, when the "mamad" (armored rooms), far from providing protection, became graves. In 1948-1949, without the heroic armed resistance of all the Kibbutzim in the contact zones, wouldn't Israel have been submerged by Arab troops? It's true that most of them were on the left, and didn't call themselves "settlers" or "occupiers", but "border guards".

- All so-called "political" solutions, such as "2 States for two peoples", are a sham unless all Falestinian movements put an end to their false narrative denying any link between the Jewish people and their land. It cannot be repeated too often: this is a prerequisite for any discussion or "negotiation". The keys to peace are not in Israel's hands, but in those of the Arab-Muslim world.

- But for the latter to recognize this link, Israel itself would have to start by reminding the world and its own people of its three-thousand-year-old existence, and not just in words.

What has Israel done to combat UNESCO's denial of the centrality of Jerusalem in its history and the centrality of the Temple Mount10 , despite its deep roots in the Jewish psyche?

How can it be credible in the eyes of the world, and particularly the Arab-Muslim world, if it continues to accept that it has been dispossessed, excluded and even forbidden to pray there?

Whether we're observant or not, how can we fail to understand that Israel without the Temple Mount is a body without a soul, i.e. without history and without imagination, i.e. in truth psychically dead?

And at a time when the "Institut du Monde Arabe" in Paris is hosting an exhibition entitled "What Palestine brings to the world", illustrated by a young boy (or girl?) on his skateboard, isn't it time the world remembered what the Jewish people have brought to it?

When will there be a World Archaeology Symposium in Jerusalem?


October 7th shattered the denial of our elites.

- The denial of danger, not just localized in space-time, but permanent.

- The denial that the Arab-Muslim psyche, admittedly manipulated by clerics and the mafia-like policies of dictatorial regimes, has once again caught fire, thanks to the anti-Jewish culture of religious origin.

- The denial that the "Arab-Israeli" conflict is not a territorial conflict - otherwise it would have been settled long ago - but a religious, even civilizational one.

- The denial that what Falestinian leaders of all persuasions are seeking - for in this matter, there are no "moderates " - is not "a state", but the disappearance of the Jewish state of Israel.

And isn't it grotesque that the American Secretary of State should go to Ramallah to offer Mahmoud Abbas the keys to Gaza, once Israel has cleaned out the Augias Stables? Moribund as he is, he would have made no objection, even though he no longer has any legitimacy in the "Falestinian territories".

Does Blinken seriously believe that Israel's blood and tears would only have served to replace Hamas with Fatah? !!!! Wouldn't his incessant to-ing and fro-ing have enabled him to grasp that Israel, which is not Ukraine, will not be its proxy, and that it will not delegate to anyone the task of guaranteeing its security?

October 7th shattered a number of illusions.

Among them was the illusion that peace could be achieved by ceding territory, i.e. by reducing the already tiny distance (up to 15 km in the Netanya region) separating us from our enemies. Gaza was not "occupied", however, and benefited from financial resources from all quarters, including Israel, which, in addition to providing water, electricity and currency, gave work and medical care to tens of thousands of Gazans.

Moreover, it cannot be stressed enough that it was Israel that gave the Falestinians the opportunity to manage themselves in proto-states, when all the Arab countries had rejected them, from Jordan (Black September), Syria and Lebanon, not to mention the fact that from '49 to '67, neither Egypt nor Jordan, on which Gaza and Judea-Samaria depended at the time, offered them such an opportunity. Moreover, the "Falestinians" themselves, who did not yet know exactly who they were, did not ask for it, claiming instead Jordanian and Egyptian nationality (which they were not granted!). 

October 7 must generate a new paradigm more in line with reality.

The reality is that the Arab-Muslim world's perception of the Jewish fact has not fundamentally changed. Some countries, some elites, are prepared to accept Israel's presence as a fait accompli, but not a legitimate one, and what has been done without legitimacy can always be undone, sooner or later...

The reality is that, in the Arab-Muslim perception, intra-Israeli divisions are of little importance. And on October 7, Hamas didn't discriminate between opinions, ages or sexes either. All Zionists, i.e. "fascists" and "racists", "pigs and monkeys", therefore all slaughterable. 

This is what the University of El Ahzar, the Islamic Vatican, has just decreed in Cairo. And as such, they were not to be "simply" killed, but subjected to the worst humiliations, mutilations and exactions, including the oven for a baby, cooked alive which has become a subject of jokes for Warda Anwar, a Franco-Arab "influencer ".

The reality is that no Arab government, no religious authority , no Falestinian leader or personality has denounced the massacre. This does not surprise us. What does surprise us is that the current provisional coalition government has not demanded that Israeli Arab political parties condemn the October 7 massacre, while their deputies have even refrained from taking part in a special parliamentary session showing images of the Hamas attack. As for the only Arab party to attend, Raam, not only did its leader Mansour Abbas make no comment, but one of its deputies, Iman Khatib-Yasin, even dared to assert that "no baby was massacred, no woman was raped". Will she resign, as the wily Mansour Abbas has apparently promised?


The haunting question I mentioned at the beginning will never leave us. So it's better to think about it than repress it. But let's not get our priorities wrong. It's time to fight in Gaza. Whatever their opinions, our soldiers are fighting, supporting and dying side by side. Apart from a few hate-mongers, Jews, Druze and Bedouins, whatever their opinions, immediately organized the home front of solidarity and support for the families of the victims, and for our soldiers, who are not discriminated against according to their opinions by the bullets of Hamas.

All the wars Israel has had to fight have been wars for existence, and this will remain the case until the Arab-Muslim world embarks on a genuine Copernican revolution...

But isn't October 7 also a call to Israel to undertake a mental revolution that goes far beyond mere judicial reform? When will our "elites" understand that, as long as Israel's national existence is in danger, "left" and "right" are condemned to cooperate, and that the necessary debate between them should never reach the degree of violence it did in the preceding months, a state of affairs which undoubtedly led Hamas to believe that the moment was propitious. 

In any case, if October 7th does not lead us to the realization that for decades, if not centuries, Israel's existence will remain problematic, will remain a challenge - and in this respect, it is worth reading and re-reading the interview given to Haaretz by historian Benny Morris in 2004 - then the almost 2,000 killed and kidnapped will have been violated or killed for nothing...

Then the immense suffering of our martyred compatriots will have been for nothing...

Then we would all collectively be traitors and renegades before the Eternal, whether we believe in it or not, deserving our fate of being persecuted, hunted and disappearing. 

Jean-Pierre Lledo lives in Israel. He is a film director and  has written two books: 'La Révolution démocratique dans le monde arabe, Ah! si c'était vrai!', and 'Le Monde arabe face à ses démons, Nationalisme, Islam et Juifs'. 

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