Can Israel Learn from the British Experience in Northern Ireland?

Yes, argues the British statesman Jonathan Powell (among others): in Northern Ireland, after decades of violence, Britain successfully negotiated with IRA terrorists and convinced them to put down their arms. No, counters Eamonn MacDonagh: not only does that argument draw a false parallel between two very different conflicts, but it completely misunderstands how peace was actually achieved in Northern Ireland. MacDonagh explains:

The fairy-tale version of the conflict in Northern Ireland posits that it was only ended by the British government’s willingness to negotiate with terrorists, who could not be defeated by force. Accordingly, the tellers of the tale claim that Hamas also cannot be defeated by force, and Israel must negotiate with them however distasteful the prospect might be. But this version of the conflict in Northern Ireland is based on a self-serving fantasy. . . . [T]he truth is that the conflict ended not because the Provisional IRA couldn’t be defeated, but because it was defeated.

Read more at Tower

More about: Hamas, Ireland, Terrorism, United Kingdom


The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7