Compassion Fatigue – Why The West Is Washing Its Hands


The night before the three Israeli teens were found dead, I had a particularly vivid nightmare. I have no doubt it was caused by seeing too many shots and videos of Isis barbarity; crucifixions, amputations, Muslim men lined up like cattle to be shot in a ditch by other Muslims.

I do not remember most of the dream, apart from the sequence that woke me up. Two children, around seven, were blindfolded and an ISIS terrorist was preparing to kill them. In my dream I screamed out for mercy, saying they were just children, and flung myself towards them and then I woke up, heart pounding, drenched in sweat.

Later in the same day, on Twitter, the UN posted a picture of a Syrian child reaching up for a hug. Assad and Putin are starving these children to death, operating mass torture factories. We didn’t act and now it’s too late. ISIS filled the gap left by Obama. And they spread. Evil against evil.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram kidnapped 90 more girls. These are Christian women who will be forced at gunpoint to pretend to convert to Islam, then raped for the rest of their lives to men to whom they are sold.

In the Sudan, Meriam Ibrahim, Christian, wife of one American and mother of two more, was released from Sudanese custody after the US embassy apologised – yes, apologised – for issuing her a visa. The Sudan is currently detaining her two American children and Obama is doing nothing.

When later that same day I heard the teenagers were found dead, I could not imagine the horror of their mothers, or fathom that Hamas – who at one stage wanted to be thought legitimate – would blatantly say nothing to admit guilt in kidnapping them and shooting them. How scared they must have been.

And my dream came back to me very vividly. How I had screamed out to the man begging him for mercy. I wanted to beg a sorrowing and vengeful Israel for mercy. Please, go after the killers but only them. Please, do not storm into the West Bank and engage in collective punishment. Because then somebody else’s boys might die. I said as much on Twitter and was immediately accused of being anti-Israeli, a typical European and an Arabist.

Israel went in and blew up the houses of the suspected kidnappers. These kidnappers have not been caught or tried, but their house was blown up. A child was injured. Another teen, Yusuf was his name – Joseph, in Western parlance, a Hebrew name – aged 18 was shot in the chest in a refugee camp in Jenin. IDF forces say he threw a grenade at them. Palestinians claim he was a passer by. One thing is for sure, neither the injured child nor the dead teen played any role in murdering the three Israeli boys. But they were the ones who were hurt. If Israel invades Gaza, civiliians, probably young children too, will die. That is a fact.

But to say as much is to be anti-Israeli? No; no. And to say to the Muslim world, your silence is disgusting on ISIS, your funding of Syrian terror is disgusting; you fat bastards in your radical mosques in Bradford and elsewhere, radicalising English boys and sending them off to die while you sit at home doing sod all but get fat. Fatness is a part of it. Fatness, slovenliness, warmongering from teststerone free fuckers who would no more endanger themselves than go for a jog in the morning or get a real job. Is that Islamophobia? God no, no it is not. Who is killing more Muslims than anybody else? Is it Obama’s drones or Israeli rockets? No, it’s OTHER BLOODY MUSLIMS – ISIS are the biggest Islamophobes in the whole world.

And so when I say to Israel for the love of G-d, go after those who took your boys and no more, and am greeted by a cry of traitor, I feel like putting my head in my hands.

I think it’s time for some straight talk.

Israel, I don’t care if you are tired of the word ‘restraint’. You need to show some. Because you are losing the West. You have no idea how badly you are losing the west. Yes, Hamas are terrorists. Yes, subhuman pigs slaughtered the Fogel children, and Palestinians just as subhuman celebrated that. By all means, go after them. But if you cannot go in precisely, do not go in at all. When the IRA bombed London we did not strike Dublin. We went after individuals. Israel, I say to you with my hand on my heart; the Gaza rocket strikes have killed NO ISRAELIS. They don’t WORK. They are the weak efforts of losers. you need to understand that the West does not think it is proportionate to reply to NO DEATH with DEATH. Would I stand for rockets, would I stand for my children with PTSD because of constant rocket fire, no I would not. But my answer would be just as the earlier operations in #BringBackOurBoys – go in and capture Hamas leaders and politicians. Take the individuals. Jail them. They are terrorists. Try them. In a court. Do not reply to NO DEATH with DEATH. Hamas strikes do not kill Israelis but Israeli strikes do kill Palestinian civilians. And the rest of the world believes this imbalance is wrong.

‘Screw you, why the hell should you care what we think?” Well, you should care because with every settlement you build you are losing American public opinion. And that means that American Jews VOTE DEMOCRAT. And that means you get Barack Obama as your President and John Kerry as Secretary of State. That means you get Syria. And ISIS. That means you weaken Israel. Materially. In terms.

Israel is the victim of amazing hatred, the hatred that posts swastikas on Facebook pages to celebrate the death of those three kidnapped boys. And Israel was right – absolutely right – to build that giant wall. No Israeli buses or cafés have blown up since. The rockets do nor work. Israelis are safe.

But dearest Israel, you have no right to be in the settlements. Nobody thinks you have a right to be in the settlements. The 2012 film the Gatekeepers, featuring the last six heads of the Shin Bet, showed Israeli intelligence forces did not want the settlements. There will be no peace and no security until the settlements come down. You must dismantle the settlements unless you wish to live in this sick and deadly farce until the end of time.

And Palestine. You must stop your vicious attacks, your celebration of dead Israeli babies taken from their cots and decapitated, of the four year old Fogel boy who was reading his book in his bed when they slit his throat. You come across as inhuman, subhuman hatemongers when you do that. You MUST RECOGNISE THE STATE OF ISRAEL and give up this right to return crap. The land belonged to the Jews before it belonged to you. It is theirs. They are not going anywhere. You should take the occupied territories and build on them and live in a two-state solution with peace.

And Muslims need to stop looking at Israel whose crimes are so few in comparison to those of Assad, of Putin, of ISIS, of Saddam – of the Saudi secret police who burned those girls alive for being improperly veiled. Jerusalem is the least of the enemies of the Ummah. The sick Iraqi cycle of Sunni in power, oppress Shia, Shia in power, oppress Sunni – Islam now is fighting as Christianity did in the 1500s, with all the accompanying tortures and burnings at the stake. They are crucifying other Muslims in Iraq. They are gassing Muslim children in Syria. They are stoning Muslim rape victims and lashing them. They are stoning mothers for adultery. They are hanging Iranian gay Muslim men. I know one thing, I know that Allah – that HaShem, that God – is fucking pissed off with the lot of us.

And here’s the thing. Feel free to ignore all this and write comments saying how awful I am and have no idea. But I will tell you something. The appetite of the ordinary Western voter to lift a finger – even to help in Syria as Muslim children starve – it has totally evaporated. The thought of Israel invading Gaza in some sick act of collective punishment leaves American and British voters cold. Nobody gives a flying fuck anymore. The average Westerner is saying to themselves “these are a bunch of savages and who cares if they kill each other.” Iraq will get no help. Afghans will get none. Syrians will get none. We hear no cries of outrage from the Muslim world. We see no moves from Israel to move to a just peace and get out of territory that does not belong to Israel, the settlements. We see no willingness to compromise and nothing more than a bloody merry go round of torture and death by asshole adults who will throw children and families to the wind because they will never, ever back down.

And so we just don’t care.

And by “we” I mean almost all voters. Not me – I care, I care incredibly. I wanted targeted air strikes against Assad. Now instead we have ISIS crucifying Muslims and Syrian kids starving.

The Torah says, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord” – that means, it is mine to take; it is not yours to take. Te Qu’ran begins “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” Say it and believe it. What is He? What is He? Is Allah the Merciful pleased as you shoot teenage boys in the head for being Jews, or Muslims in a ditch because they follow a different sect to you?

The Middle East is the cradle of civilization. If it carries on like this, it will also be its grave.

And you will all – Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs and Persians – you will all be on your own.


  1. Anonymous · July 1, 2014

    you are ONLY anti-israel if you are anti-ISRAEL: a country of 7 million people, most of whom are not responsible for their governments actions.

    you are anti-israel if you believe israelis have no right to be defended by their army. you are not anti-israel for attacking their government.

  2. louisemensch · July 1, 2014

    I am pro-Israel. I want Israel to live in peace and security and prosperity, free from rocket fire and kidnap attempts and anti-semitism.

    And I know that the best way to get there is not to invade Gaza but to take the leaders of Hamas, try them and throw them into the deepest jail in Tel Aviv. And then start dismantling the settlements.

    The wall should stay up. Arabists hate the wall but the wall is effective. Rockets don’t kill Israelis but suicide bombers did. They no longer get through.

    • Haifadiarist · July 2, 2014

      These comments are a gut reaction from the heart without any connection to the head. Many comments made in this article completely ignore a) the Hamas charter, b) the PLO charter, c) the true interpretation of international law such as Article 49, San Remo, and even the Oslo accords

    • Duncan Smith · July 4, 2014

      Louise, you’r right, London did not strike Dublin, but “Bloody Sunday” ring any bells !

  3. Matt Pryor · July 2, 2014

    Which “settlements” would you like Israel to “tear down”, Louise?

    Gush Etzion?

    Tel Aviv?

    Because a large percentage of Palestinians and all of the Islamic fundamentalists who claim to support them think all of these places are “settlements”. Who is going to persuade them otherwise?


    When there were “settlements” in Gaza (Gush Katif), Hamas would fire rockets at them. When those communities were abandoned, Hamas started firing rockets at Be’er Sheva, Sderot, Ashkelon instead.

    You see how it works?

    It seems pretty obvious to me that when Israel withdraws, terror fills the vacuum. I would welcome arguments to counter this observation, if you have any.

    The point of rocket attacks is not the damage they inflict or the lives they take – and you know perfectly well that the CAN be deadly – it is the terror they inflict and the disruption to ordinary life. Perhaps you would read these stories from Israelis on the “front line” to get an idea of what it’s like:

    What will you say to Israelis when rockets are landing in Tel Aviv?

    Last point, Israel does not gratuitously bomb Gaza as some sort of vengeance, as you seem to imply. The point of airstrikes targeting Hamas infrastructure is to deter rocket attacks. This is a basic duty of any responsible government and I would sincerely hope that the UK or US government would do exactly the same under similar circumstances.

    • Anonymous · July 3, 2014

      Utter nonsense. IDF complains of all these rockets being fired at Israel – yet there’s seldom every an injury to an Israeli? Just an excuse that allows Israel to issue disproportionate response attacks.

      • louisemensch · July 12, 2014

        Unless you count the children and families growing up with advanced PTSD from constant shelling – and I do.

        If it’s “an excuse” then stop providing that excuse, you terrorism-supporting jerk.

  4. Matt Pryor · July 2, 2014

    PS please would you remove the bit of text at the top of my post (with the email address)?

    Thanks x

  5. Rachel Lucas · July 2, 2014

    Great article, Louise…you have really summed it up, and with such passion. Very moving…I wish it…we…anybody could get through and make a real difference. I don’t hold much hope, but it’s so heartening to know at least that many of us feel the same way.

    • Louise Mensch · July 2, 2014

      Thank you Rachel – who knows who will read it – maybe somebody in Israel who makes decisions will read it or a Hamas supporter or somebody who funds Isis. You never know. It is worth a try

      • Wishful thinking, you are a decent and kind hearted person Louise and I blogged my support of you with regards to he stance you took over the lack of coverage Re the Fogel murders. But you are wasting your time if you believe that this rather naïve post will change things for Islamists. This post was intended to make you feel better and look wise I wonder if it achieved that?

  6. Anonymous · July 2, 2014

    What happens if all the settlements come down and the rockets start hitting Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion airport etc. with far, far more deaths. Total bloodshed on Israel’s streets. Then what? It’s so easy to say “tear down the settlements”. If only that would bring peace….

    • Louise Mensch · July 2, 2014

      Because you can police the new territories and you have the wall. The wall DOES work. No cafés and buses and hospitals blown up since

      • Matt Pryor · July 2, 2014

        But Israel can’t police Gaza, and Israel won’t be able to police Judea and Samaria / West Bank after control has been handed to the PLO (without military incursions).

        So Israelis will rely on the Palestinians to protect them – do you seriously think that will work?

      • Anonymous · July 2, 2014

        But how will the wall stop rockets! Has a wall stopped rockets from Gaza?

  7. Elliot · July 2, 2014

    Louise, I understand where you are coming from and don’t disagree with most of your piece (you know what’s coming next), but …

    What you fail to understand is that the Fogel murders and the Eyal/Gilad/Naftali murders are not simply isolated acts of individuals. The Palestinian leadership – both Hamas AND Fatah – have deliberately created a culture of hatred and death-worship which directly drives individuals to carry out these awful killings.

    Secondly, what happens when Israel arrests and imprisons these animals? They end up being released in exchange for a kidnapped Israeli or in some ‘good will gesture’ that is never reciprocated.

    Finally, can you be so naive as to think that Israel does not understand about restraint? No matter what you think about what they have done to the Palestinians, the whole World knows that Israel has the capability, if she wished to do so, to wipe out the Palestinian towns and cities in the WB and Gaza without putting a single boot on the ground or a single soldier’s life in danger. Israel could, if she wished, make Fallujah and Homs look like holiday camps.

    She does not wish this, but just as the West is running out of compassion, Israelis are running out of patience and running out of hope that the Palestinians will EVER take a single step towards peace.

  8. Matt Pryor · July 2, 2014

    Which “settlements” would you like Israel to “tear down”, Louise?

    Gush Etzion?

    Tel Aviv?

    Because a large percentage of Palestinians and all of the Islamic fundamentalists who claim to support them think all of these places are “settlements”. Who is going to persuade them otherwise?


    When there were “settlements” in Gaza (Gush Katif), Hamas would fire rockets at them. When those communities were abandoned, Hamas started firing rockets at Be’er Sheva, Sderot, Ashkelon instead.

    You see how it works?

    It seems pretty obvious to me that when Israel withdraws, terror fills the vacuum. I would welcome arguments to counter this observation, if you have any.

    The point of rocket attacks is not the damage they inflict or the lives they take – and you know perfectly well that the CAN be deadly – it is the terror they inflict and the disruption to ordinary life. Perhaps you would read these stories from Israelis on the “front line” to get an idea of what it’s like:

    What will you say to Israelis when rockets are landing in Tel Aviv?

    Last point, Israel does not gratuitously bomb Gaza as some sort of vengeance, as you seem to imply. The point of airstrikes targeting Hamas infrastructure is to deter rocket attacks. This is a basic duty of any responsible government and I would sincerely hope that the UK or US government would do exactly the same under similar circumstances.

  9. Judge Dan (@JudgeDan48) · July 2, 2014

    Will you correct your false statement?

    During op. Pillar of Cloud, 6 Israel were killed by rockets and mortars, 2 soldiers, 4 civilians.

    • louisemensch · July 2, 2014

      four civilians is terrible. but four does not really address my point. How many Palestinians died as a result of return fire? Many multiples. Since the wall was erected in 2011-2012 Israelis have not died from rocket attacks. How many since the wall? How many in 2013 or 2014? Is it zero?

    • louisemensch · July 12, 2014

      Hi Dan! Glad to find you again. Will YOU correct your false statement? ZERO Israelis were killed in the shelling. When and only when Israel launched its revenge operation, six Israelis died.

      Let’s have that again. Hamas shelling = zero dead Jews.
      Israeli revenge attack for said shelling = six dead Jews.
      Plus 133 dead Palestinians.

      It is only ever the revenge operations that kill Jews and not the shelling itself.

      Israel should protect and defend herself against the war crimes of the rockets with a non-fatal response. She blew up the home of the Hamas activist that kidnapped the three Israeli teens. Nobody died. She can do that to any Hamas-owned property. that’s a proportionate response.

      What’s going on now isn’t.

      So will you correct YOUR false statement and clearly write these words “Before Israel launched a revenge strike, no Israelis were killed by Hamas rockets. After her revenge strike six Israelis died.”

      Hamas rockets = zero dead Jews
      Operation of revenge for Hamas rockets = six dead Jews, 133 dead Palestinians

      That’s not good arithmetic to a civilised person.

  10. Winston Churchill · July 2, 2014

    Yeah! Everything that Matt says in his last post. Also Louise it’s very hot when you use profanity.

    Forget jails. Israel needs to go back to Mossad tactics. Tracking all these Hamas guys hiding in other countries. Sending them cell phones that blow their heads off. Sorry, it I know it’s not PC. Or even legal in the eyes of the world . But it’s the effective way to get a message to these animals who only understand pain and death.

  11. Richard · July 2, 2014

    Thanks Louise – I don’t often agree with you (*waves Labour Party membership card aloft*) but this does represent what a lot of diaspora Jews are feeling and want to say. We’re passionate Zionists and it’s precisely because of this that certain actions of the Israeli govt are so frustrating.

    Matt – you know exactly which settlements Louise is talking about; those over the Green Line which Israel knew all along the wider world would never recognise. I think the point about Gush Katif and the Gaza disengagement is a real issue, and I’m in no way suggesting a unilateral and immediate withdrawal – BUT Israel can stop building new settlements and start dismantling those that exist in territory occupied since ’67. That’s entirely within Israel’s power and needn’t compromise security one iota – what it will do is massively delegitimise the likes of Hamas internationally and give a moderate PA leadership a chance.

    Ultimately you DO need to sit around a table with terrorists – once they have renounced violence, and sometimes even before that – to get peace. We know that from Northern Ireland and elsewhere. In the short term one can discuss Mossad assassinations vs. prisons vs. targeted strikes over and over (and I’m supportive of many of these actions), but none of those are long-term solutions that will in any way get Israel closer to true security.

    And before someone else points it out, yes I am aware that it’s relatively easy for me to say all this from safe, tolerant rocket-free London. Perhaps being further away allows a more detached and pragmatic view, as well as a clearer assessment of how the rest of the world is seeing this?

    Shalom all

    • Matt Pryor · July 2, 2014

      Hi Richard,

      You and Louise talk about “dismantling settlements” as if you’re playing with Lego.

      These are living, thriving communities we’re talking about, where people were born and lived their entire live, work, raise kids, pray, work.

      “Stop building new settlements” you say… well, fine. Does that mean stop building new homes for peoples’ kids? Stop building schools? Stop building hospitals and roads?

      For how long? What if Abbas never signs a peace agreement? What if you predictions of a strengthened PLO don’t come true? Weak authoritarian governments don’t seem to be doing particularly well in the rest of the middle east… why is the PLO different?

      Do you not remember that Netanyahu did exactly this in 2010 just to get Abbas to the negotiating table? It didn’t work. He stalled and prevaricated and found every other excuse not to negotiate.

      If we expect Jewish communities to stop building homes in Judea and Samaria should we also expect Arab communities to stop building west of the green line?

      I know the popular perception of “settlements” is one of conflict and trouble, but the reality on the ground is far less black and white. In many communities in Judea and Samaria Jews and Arabs shop together and work together. Some of them are models of co-existence. Look at the Sodastream factory which is built in an Israeli “settlement” but employs 1000s of Palestinians.

      Take a look at this video of a British (Afghan) Muslim’s first visit to Israel, he also goes to Hebron:

      It’s easy to sit back from thousands of miles away and tell people what they should do. At the end of the day the only people who know what is best for Israel and for peace are Israelis. Trust their amazing democracy.

      Lastly, I’d like to say that Britain’s problems with Islamic fundamentalism have nothing whatsoever to do with Israel. It’s not Israel’s fault that Islamists are conspiring to take over schools, it’s not Israel’s fault that there are areas of Paris, Stockholm and London which are no-go areas for non-Muslims. It’s not Israel’s fault that our soldiers get hacked to death on London streets.


      • Richard · July 2, 2014

        Hi Matt

        Totally with you on the Israel/Islamic fundamentalism in the UK fallacy. No arguments here.

        However – “Does that mean stop building new homes for peoples’ kids? Stop building schools? Stop building hospitals and roads?” I’m afraid so, yes. East of the Green Line, my view – albeit from far away – is that Israel should respect the international community’s view (in this case; I’m not suggesting that Israel need comply with all UN resolutions automatically) that this is not part of Israel and should not be treated as such. The schools, hospitals and roads will have to be built in pre-1967 territory. And yes, I know that’s crowded. I’m not suggesting that there’s an easy option here.

        Please Gd there will come a time when Israelis will be welcome to build homes, businesses and investment in an independent Palestine on the West Bank (or J&S if you prefer) – but until then, such developments are barriers to peace.

        Finally, if I’m “telling Israel what to do”…. well, I’m offering my opinion as I see it because I care. I do the same for US politics from thousands of miles away.

      • louisemensch · July 2, 2014

        yes exactly. Matt I don’t mean to pour flame here, you speak in measured tones, but you articulate a grave injustice perpetrated by Israel on Palestine. Build “new homes for Palestinian kids”, it is their land; let settlers pray and work in Israeli land; their houses and “thriving communities” are thriving on stolen land. These settlements past the green line are a horror to Israel’s friends and supporters in the West. And I include the disapora. I include Jews, I’m married to one. “living thriving communities” are thriving where Palestinians suffer on Palestinian land. You should get out of there and leave the homes and schools for the Palestinians whose right it is to occupy and use them.

        If we could raise money in the West to compensate settlers then great, I would do it. Something imaginative. But they must move. They can work and pray elsewhere. The kippot shows that G-d is everywhere. You offend him when you thrive on the land of others. It’s just not your land.

      • Matt Pryor · July 2, 2014

        Louise, I am one of Israel’s friends and supporters in the West and I can assure you that Jewish communities over the green line are certainly not a “horror” to me.

        On the contrary, every Jewish community, whether in Judea and Samaria or in North London, is a blessing for the world and for other people the area. May there be thousands more, and I long for the time when their neighbours come to accept and love them, instead of wanting to kill, kidnap, behead, beat and burn them.

        And I don’t consider Judea and Samaria to be “stolen land” at all, and I don’t think anyone who knows and understands a balanced view of the history of the Arab-Israel conflict would ever take that view.

    • Louise mensch · July 2, 2014


    • Denis MacEoin · July 2, 2014

      Richard, with reference to your comment after this (which has no reply button), you say ‘Israel should respect the international community’s view (in this case; I’m not suggesting that Israel need comply with all UN resolutions automatically) that this is not part of Israel and should not be treated as such.’ There are problems here. There is no real ‘international community’, but a variety of blocs, of which the Third World and Islamic blocs are big enough and powerful enough to keep the UN permanently in an anti-Israel mode, while constantly deflecting criticism of their own dictatorships and failed states. They are also supported by an inflamed and often anti-Semitic caucus from the left in Europe, the US and elsewhere. To ask us to respect this ‘community’ is to ask us to lower our standards of honesty and human rights to an unacceptable level. And while it is right, for that same reason, for Israel to ignore some UN resolutions, it is very much the case that the international ‘community’ needs to accept that Resolution 242 in 1967 is the most relevant resolution to the issue of settlements and that the Palestinians and their supporters worldwide have never abided by any of its clauses, whereas Israel has. That resolution makes it clear that Israel is legally entitled to continue its occupation of Palestinian territories until the Palestinians agree to secure borders and make peace. They have never done this and do not deserve to be rewarded for their indifference to our their antagonism for international law. That resolution also stipulates that Israel is not compelled to withdraw from all of the territories, as is well known. It is generally agreed that if the Palestinians put an end to their incessant violence, recognize Israel as a Jewish state, relinquish their demands to build a Palestinian state to replace Israel, abandon their racist urge to declare their state Judenrein, and guarantee safe borders for Israel — it is agreed that, when that happens, Israel will be legally entitled to remain in parts of the West Bank, a percentage that will properly include the current settlements and that compensation for this will be made to the future Palestinian dawla (if it is not by then a component of the coming Khilafat al-‘Iraq wa’l-Sham).

      It is shameful of you to suggest that Israel must tear down parts of existing settlements. It already did this in Gaza, but that did nothing to prevent ongoing terrorist attacks on Israel. The settlements are right to remain where they are for the reasons given above. To say that they must tear down existing schools, hospitals or domestic buildings and that they may not build more housing or infrastructure WITHIN their boundaries is to say that decades of hate, war, terrorism, murder, and a total rejection of the international law that brought Israel into being while offering the Arabs a state of their own simply rewards behaviour that would be thoroughly unacceptable from any other people.

  12. Anonymous · July 2, 2014

    You are not taking all the relevant factors into account. You are making one big mistake when you think these Muslim terrorists have compassion as any moral thinking person does. Israel has been showing restraint, and these terrorists love it. The way their mind thinks is that they could not give a damn what anyone else thinks. They have been taught from kindergarten to hate Jews for Generations. They do what ever they want, because they do not care if they or their families get killed. I have not seen any bomb shelters built in Gaza. They rely on misguided individuals like minded as yourself, and the Western governments, who are pumping arms into these Islamic states, to call on Israel to have restraint. Restraint has worsened the situation thousands of percent. You do not hear about at least half the incidents that happen in Israel. Like a soldier going home on a bus for the Sabbath being stabbed to death. It is about time Israel played hard ball, and said enough is enough. No more killing of innocent women, children, and civilians in general. How would you, with your family, like to live in say Sderot? Where you know that if the siren goes you and everybody else has only “15” seconds to to safety. Every house, apartment, synagogues, churches,and buildings in Israel.have to have a safe room (bomb shelter!). Every scholar after high school is conscripted into the army. Israel is basically living under conditions of war. No other Western nation has this kind of life. Israel is making a damn good job of living.
    Taking down settlements will only make the situation far worse. It only brings the danger closer. Israel cannot defend two fronts as close to the major cities as the West Bank, and Gaza. Israel has had minimum loss of civilian lives because of the myriads of bomb shelters in the towns close to Gaza, and the Iron Dome Defense system. Naphtali Bennet put out a video about two years ago about dividing up the West Bank. This sounds like a feasible solution. Here is the web address:

    There is another video which I cannot find, but I feel this best proposal yet.
    I get very hot under the collar when so called “well meaning” individuals like yourself pontificate to Israel when you have absolutely no idea of the conditions of war Israel is under, and you have absolutely no idea of the psyche of Israel’s enemies! How about telling them to show restraint or maybe even stick to the Geneva Convention. Go tell Hamas to stop killing if you want them to laugh in your face or behind your back.

  13. Matt Pryor · July 2, 2014

    PS Louise I’d just like to say that your outspoken support for Israel is very much appreciated by a large number of Brits like myself. Thank you.

  14. Deeply moving and undoubtedly heart felt. I share the anger. However, are you completely blind to the complicity of the (mostly Tory backed) UK arms industry in all of these horrors? While people / companies / corporations continue to make profit from death and whilst our political systems support such corporations we will get nowhere in eradicating the misery, torture and slaughter of the innocents around the world. Just think about it and accept that every air strike is an economic payoff to anyone financially linked to the arms trade. If you can’t see it you are as blinkered as all those refusing to recognise and face up to the actions of barbarity in Israel and Palestine

  15. Noesis (@devillum) · July 2, 2014

    Good article. I largely share your feelings but I think you’re being excessively harsh towards Israel.

    You know that Israel will not do massive bombing as, for example, the Russians did in Chechnya. Israel pays too much attention to the West and will try at most to punish Hamas leaders with “surgical” strikes. But you know that even these surgical strikes can cause civilian casualties.

    The question is, has Israel the right to take decisive actions knowing that they may cause unintended consequences?

    My answer to that is yes, and I assume that you will disagree. But let me say why.

    Israel has been placed in a unique position in the world. Is has a country recognized by a binding UN resolution but their neighbours do not accept it. Initially the Arabs, now the Palestinians, have rejected any compromise with it. They used war and terror tactics to try to eliminate Israel from the map. Now the Palestinian Authority (PA) says it recognizes the state of Israel and it wants peace deal with a two-state solution. But they are not being sincere.

    They are not sincere because while they proclaim their desire for peace, there tolerate a terrorist band that doesn’t even recognizes Israel’s right to exist. Let’s say ir clear: the PA is unwilling to reign in Hamas. In practice, the real authority in Palestine is Hamas, not the PLO. Mahmoud Abbas is so afraid of Hamas that he, like his predecessor Arafat, is unwilling to make concessions in a peace talk not to be seen by Hamas as surrendering to Zionism.

    The West knows this well. But instead of calling on the PA to reign in Hamas, instead of even designating Hamas a terrorist group (only a few countries have done so), the West says to Israel “you’re not allowed to target Hamas if it causes civilian casualties”. They use the same argument you use: that any Israeli response is out of proportion. Thanks to the West, Israel can only wait for the next terror attack and try to stop it in the last minute, fearing more attacks to come.

    Hamas, of course, takes advantage of Western complacency. They place their weapons deliberately in densely populated areas, they use women and children as human shields in order make any Israeli retaliation impossible because of the large number of civilians it would cause. The West knows this. The PA knows this. But they still tolerate Hamas. That is the great tragedy, not he “Israeli occupation”. It’s a tragedy that every Israeli has to suffer, of which the West is to blame. The West even opposes the building of the wall!

    This is not the right answer to terrorism. The answer to terror is to hold Hamas responsible for any civilian death caused during a rightful Israeli counter offensive, and hold the PA responsible for failing to contain Hamas. But so far the West hasn’t even dared to condemn Hamas for celebrating the kidnapping adn murder of the three teenagers.

    The lack of action of the West, and especially from Barack Obama, is disastrous and morally outrageous. It only encourages Hamas to continue its vicious campaign of terror attacks, knowing that the price it will pay will be minimal. It perpetuates the cycle of hatred, incitement and violence that cause great havoc, and ultimately will discredit Western diplomacy and make Israel act on its own judgment (as for example launching an attack against Iran).

    Your position on Israel should be to blame Hamas, not Israel, for any unintended consequence of any rightful Israel action. I don’t think Israel will deliberately punish civilians. They will try to go after Hamas leadership but, knowing Hamas vocation for martyrdom and the Western “soft” attitude, it will surely cause civilian deaths.

    I regret that possibility, but Israel has no other options if it wants to survive as a Jewish country.
    (By the way, I am neither Israeli nor Jewish. I am a moral person that can not equate terrorism with the right of defence against terror.)

    • louisemensch · July 12, 2014

      wondering if you still think that today, given the death toll and the number of dead Palestinian children killed; since this operation was in response to a barrage of fatality free rocket fire.

      And when I say “fatality-free” I am NOT IN ANY WAY CONDONING THESE ROCKETS. They are collective punishment, a war crime, and cause PTSD in a generation of Israeli children. They are appalling – but they are non-deadly.

      Even in the US which has the death penalty, you only get executed for murder, not attempted murder. Saying so doesn’t mean “Yay! Attempted murder, it’s so awesome and so minor!”

  16. Martin · July 2, 2014

    Louise, you write “go in and capture Hamas leaders and politicians. Take the individuals. Jail them” as if it were so easy. Hamas leaders don’t sit in clearly signed offices with brass nameplates on the door.

    There is not a single Israeli that i know who wants any kind of conflict. Do you think they want to sent their kids into urban minefields to capture these evil people. As Col. Richard Kemp former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan wrote “there is not a single army in the world that would put it’s soldiers’ lives at such risk to avoid civilian casualties as Israel does”.
    When the enemy is so cowardly that it needs to hide in civilian areas, stashing its weaponry in schools and hospitals then when civilians sadly die it is those cowards who are the war criminals, not those hunting them.

  17. Anonymous · July 3, 2014

    Louise, the west’s complaints of disproportionality is oft repeated but is a function of any asymmetric war. Look how many Iraqi and afghanistani civilians died at the hands of the west’s armies compared to uk and us soldiers. Look at the invasion of a whole county because of 9/11. Or for that matter look at how many died when the allies bombed Dresden in World War II. Unfottunately the standards applied to Israelis don’t seem to be applied by the. West to its own wars or Muslims to their wars. Not really surprising how some think anti Israel rhetoric is a facade for anti-semitism.

    And the ira argument is bogus. The ira were hardly launching hundreds of rockets at the UK with the blessing of the Irish government. Internally don’t think public opinion in the UK would have stood for this. It would have brought any government down.

    And the israelis seem to be the only players in this dispute who ever have to show a gesture. In fact Israel is the only player who does something tangible. It gave back the Sinai to Egypt. Egypt didn’t want gaza back. It withdrew from gaza but then faced a terror assault and still does. It is told to stop settlements. It is faced with a hostile UN.

    Although perhaps a sound bite there is some truth when I heard on the radio yesterday someone who said that if the Arabs and Palestinians put down there weapons and recognised Israel there would be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons there would be no more Israel.

  18. Levi J Attias · July 3, 2014

    Israel is “losing the West”? The West is lost, has been for a long time, aimless, visionless, cowardly, stinking of political correctness and vile accommodation of those that will blow up the West from with. The West is lost, morally bankrupt, silenced by fear. So Israel is “losing” a West that is so lost in the labyrinth of hypocrisy that who cares if Israel is losing a rudderless West? The West is using 2014 principles of liberal democracy to confront the mindset of medieval brutality. So who cares if Israel is losing a West long lost in its own self-propelled trash!?

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  20. Sofie · July 12, 2014

    Hamas and Bibi need each other and this latest war shows just how much. This situation preserves the status quo of no peace which means votes for Bibi and support for Hamas. Why would they want to change that? Any deaths or ptsd is worth it to keep their grubby hands on power.

    And yes the West is losing sympathy for Israel and rightly so. The only thing stemming the flow is the cry of antisemitism which is the response to criticism of its actions. And sadly that happens too often.

    Just for the record, yes I am Muslim. Yes I condemn IS as no one wants to go back in time and they are evil. I don’t believe in a Syrian intervention as that strengthens the hand of terrorists and it is the choice between the devil and beelzebub. Yes I am disgusted by the fat maulvi in Bradford who sends other people’s kids to die.

    Louise you need to mention Saudi Arabia as well. Propper up of despots and basically fighting a proxy war in Syria and obsessed with Iran. And fundamentally a big golden pie/trough for the West to feed from

  21. dssln · July 16, 2014

    I can not help but wonder if you would feel the same way, if it was your family on the receiving end of the endless rocket attacks landing in Israeli cities.

    I can not help but wonder if you would feel the same way if it was your brother or sister that was kidnapped and killed senselessly and without provocation.

    I can not help but wonder if you would feel the same way if it was your brother, sister, uncle or aunt that was on the front lines of the Israel border getting shot at by Palestinian “terrorists” that are ducking behind civilians as they lob grenades and fire their weapons at Israeli forces who wish nothing more then to defend their homes and live in piece. You will recall that Israel was the first to accept the ceasefire tendered by Egypt. It was Hamas that did not!

    The Hamas are cowards that slander the Muslim faith and bend it to their own evil will. They abuse their woman and promote hatred against those that are not of their own beliefs..

    It is very easy to bash Israel and say they must show restraint… What you do not realize is that they are showing an immense amount of restraint. They are warning the population of Gaza of impending air strikes. They are calling, dropping leaflets and giving as much as 10-15 minutes advance warning of targets. That is tremendous restraint.

    If they were not showing restraint Gaza and all its surviving inhabitants would glow in the dark for the next 1000 years.

    My suggestion is to focus not on the symptoms of this disease but on the root cause. The rockets are being launched from Gaza no place else… Stop the rocket attacks and this hole problem goes away.

    It really is very simple!


    Eventually the rest of the world will get tired of this nonsense. They will get tired of skyscrapers being destroyed for no reason. They will get tired of bombs going off in popular shopping centers. They will get tired of missing, destroyed, and hijacked aircraft. They will get tired of radical Islam. When that happens it will be genocide for all Muslims! I pray it will never come to that… but the clock is surely ticking!

  22. Mike H · July 28, 2014

    Hi Louise

    I agree with 90% of what you say, but I just think it’s a shame that you have to swear so frequently as it makes you come across as unreasonable and extreme in your views, which defeats the point of your article!

    I am no prude and I do swear regularly myself but in the world of business and diplomacy, swearing will only ever create more resistance in the people who disagree with you.

    I also think you’re being a little harsh on Obama. To be fair to him he has been largely crippled by the diplomatic nuclear bomb that was the Bush regime which means that it is almost impossible to take any US action in the Middle East without being accused of US imperialism, world’s policeman, great satan etc.

    The consequences of Bush’s crazed sheriff tactics are being felt now and will be for time to come.

    I am a total supporter of taking appropriate diplomatic and military action and I’m sure there is more that Obama could be doing, but what would you suggest as an alternative? The return of the Republican party, still run by rabid hawks and fundamentalists?

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  24. goggzilla · September 12, 2014

    Dear Lulu, not a bad effort but enough holes to drive (an Israeli?) tank through (thru) it. Muslims slaughtering the kufr? Try Srbrenitsa where a lot of suffering started. The worst fights are family ones and the Bani Yehudi and Arabs are of the same Father, Avram, Ibrahim, Abraham. The IRA? Ah you mean cases such as Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Bobby Sands? Finally, spend some time in Islamic countries. I was in Iran and on the Turkish/Syrian border.

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