The Myth That Israel Has ‘No Choice’

In 2004, train bombings in Madrid resulted in Spain withdrawing from Iraq — and peace for Spain, argues Sam Husseini.

Commemoration in Madrid in 2019 of the 15th anniversary of the 2004 Madrid train bombing. (Diario de  Madrid/Wikimedia  Commons)

By Sam Husseini

Many are claiming that Israel has no choice.

It has to bomb Gaza, there is no alternative.

In fact, Israel has a choice.

A clear choice.

To reflexively react and bomb Gaza amid massive propaganda before assessing the facts is deranged.

One clear fact is that Netanyahu promised security and he failed. Israelis of every political stripe should be fuming at him, as some are. Never mind for the moment that he had warning of the Hamas attacks and almost certainly wanted conflict.

The choice facing Israel is highlighted by this:

In 2004, bombings on commuter trains in Madrid killed over 190 people. The government was immediately voted out and a new government came in, swiftly got Spain out of Iraq and nothing like that has happened in Spain since.

But the lessons of the train bombings is memory holed and even falsified.

National Public Radio’s Dina Temple-Raston reversed what happened, claiming that after the Spanish bombings, “the more conservative candidate ended up winning.” (In NPR-speak, “conservative” means more pro-war.) Total propaganda.

The lesson is clear.

Netanyahu isn’t out to protect Israelis.

If he was, he would embrace peace.

You want to stop a group like Hamas from attacking you?

Solve the conflict.

Abide by international law.

Stop bombing people.

Repent for having expelled nonviolent activists.


Agree to peace.  

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist based near D.C. He is on Twitter: @samhusseini

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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21 comments for “The Myth That Israel Has ‘No Choice’

  1. mgr
    October 15, 2023 at 14:51

    Everyone has a right to self-defense. In regards to Israel however, this is not an affirmation but a deflection. The real question, and that to which one is held accountable, is what one does with that inherent right of self-defense. And that is how Israel as a sovereign nation who is responsible for its own actions will be seen and judged. War crimes, crimes against humanity are what they are. Who any longer doubts that American was mortally wounded by it’s unconscionable invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan? I don’t see the US wielding much moral authority these days. Post their invasion of Gaza, Israel’s standing in the world may never recover. The way you defeat hegemonic powers is to force them to remove their mask. Hamas may have chosen to take the hit for a strategic, long term victory.

    As for the Palestinians, what of their rights? Or, are they cattle? What is an oppressed people supposed to do in their situation? Should they roll over and die, leave, go extinct for the convenience of their oppressors? That seems kind of ridiculous. What of their right to self-defense, in this case, from decades of daily violence and abuse from Israeli police, IDF, and settlers on their families, youth, women, children and elderly? These debts pile up. After all, Israel is now a recognized apartheid state. The moral veneer is growing thin.

    In that regard, I remember viewing the video of Israeli teenagers dancing and hugging each other in joy while watching the last bombing campaign on the civilian population Gaza a year or two ago. It was horrifying to witness such a display of rabid hatred in such young men and women. Where do they learn this hatred from? This is Israel’s assumed moral superiority? Seriously? They are, after all, the future of the state and culture of Israel. What kind of future grows from such vicious hatred?

    Israel’s enemies from without may be real but are certainly exaggerated by the political class. What actual threats are they in the face of US security agreements? The enemy contained in the current Israeli zeitgeist, which is built on exceptionalism and hatred, is far worse.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    October 15, 2023 at 12:14

    There IS a choice and that is for israel/Jews to do away with their racism.

  3. John Manning
    October 14, 2023 at 20:06

    I disagree that there is an alternative for Israel. Once you start along the path of settler colonialism stopping to consider justice is impossible. If you do that then you must then confront the reality that you had no right to start.
    Israel is behaving like a husband who beats his wife. If she strikes back then you have to hit harder. Starting was the problem.
    The real irony, hardly mentioned, is that Hamas was able to launch an effective attack because it was able to buy cheap modern weapons and ammunition, from Ukraine.

    • Steve
      October 15, 2023 at 11:50

      Do we really believe that Hamas was able to fund, source, position, man and fire 2000-5000 rockets/missiles in the heavily controlled and surveilled Gaza strip without the Israeli security services being aware ?

  4. October 14, 2023 at 18:20

    This conflict was preventable had intelligence actually been heeded and diplomacy actually been pursued in a more thoroughgoing manner, and it remains an unnecessary “war of choice” (as the “Global War on Terror” in its extant form has been more generally). Yanis Varoufakis rightly points out that the post-October 7 IDF retaliatory hostilities against Hamas and the Gaza Strip, alongside the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria, have already repaid terrorism emanating from the latter in kind and then some (in all cases, at the unconscionable expense of civilian life and human dignity).

    The US-led coalition campaign against the Taliban and aligned Islamist militants at the outset of the Afghanistan War could have been concluded swiftly and promptly (see Richard W. Behan, “The Taliban Surrendered in 2001,” Common Dreams, August 18, 2021), which is before even getting into how it could have been avoided altogether anyway without compromising fundamental counter-terrorism objectives (if that had actually been the sincere primary rationale for the war, and not mainly propagandistic window-dressing). Similarly, the Iraq War could have been avoided even on the basis of the neoconservatives’ own core stated preferences rather than their revealed ones (see Julian Borger, et. al., “Saddam’s Desperate Offers to Stave Off War,” The Guardian, Nov. 6, 2003, and “Did Saddam Accept Exile Offer Before Invasion?,” NBC News, October 29, 2005). Sadly, Israel (and, by extension, the United States and other aligned countries) appear poised to persist in emulating the worst excesses of the immediate post-9/11 era.

    “How do terrorist groups end? The evidence since 1968 indicates that terrorist groups rarely cease to exist as a result of winning or losing a military campaign. Rather, most groups end because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they join the political process. This suggests that the United States should pursue a counterterrorism strategy […] that emphasizes policing and intelligence gathering rather than a ‘war on terrorism’ approach that relies heavily on military force.”

    Seth G. Jones and Martin C. Libicki, “How Terrorists Groups End: Implications for Countering al Qa’ida,” RAND Corporation (2008)

    For additional information, see the following:

    “Bin Laden Cleared of Charges,” The Associated Press, November 20, 1998

    “Taliban Panel,” Charlie Rose, March 26, 2001

    “On The Scene: Taliban Talks,” CBS News, September 28, 2001

    “Bush Rejects Taliban Offer to Hand Bin Laden Over,” The Guardian (London), October 14, 2001

    Mark Trevelyan, “Taliban Told US It Would ‘Give Up Osama,'” Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), June 4, 2004

    Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, “How Bush Was Offered Bin Laden and Blew It,” Counterpunch, November 1, 2004

    Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, “Our Terrorists,” New Internationalist, October 1, 2009

    Peter Lance, “Operation Able Danger,” September 11, 2010

    Rory O’Connor and Ray Nowosielski, “Insiders Voice Doubts About CIA’s 9/11 Story,” Salon, October 14, 2011

    Will Weissert, “Texas Senate Candidate Sought Bin Laden’s Capture,” The Washington Times, February 19, 2014

    Lars Schall, “Is the Whole ‘War on Terror’ a Fraud?,” Foreign Policy Journal, April 15, 2015

    Patrick G. Eddington, “Hayden, NSA, and the Road to 9/11,” Just Security, December 7, 2017

  5. October 14, 2023 at 15:34

    Netanyahu doesn’t want peace… he wants “Greater Israel”!

    • Steve
      October 15, 2023 at 11:56

      Which is why the two state solution is a non starter.

  6. Marie-France Germain
    October 14, 2023 at 14:57

    The West seldom fails to attack and murder the indigenous peoples the world over. The Spaniards started it in the colonial eras by murdering the Taino and other indigenous Carribean people, then the rest of the Caucasian world in Europe joined in and even increased the level of barbarism by enslaving whole continents worth of indigenous peoples around the world. Pretty soon, it would appear, the West is going to suffer its own very deserved punishment for dehumanizing over half the population of the world. I am not looking forward to it in my seniority, but there you have it – mistreating other humans will boomerang on those who celebrate their powers to do so. It doesn’t matter your pigmentation or lack of it.

    We work hard to end domestic violence because the cycle tends to repeat from generation to generation – abuse your children and they will in future abuse theirs who then turn around and abuse theirs unless the cycle is conciously ended. It this not what we are doing to those without the military power we have? The Israelis are abusing their captive population in the West Bank and Gaza, who will then turn around and abuse the Israelis every chance they get and it is easy to recruit for Hamas because the number of youth who live day in and day out with this abuse and humiliation piled onto them and you have the conditions for the ongoing cycle of violence.

  7. Drew Hunkins
    October 14, 2023 at 14:09

    We’re witnessing in real time the most grotesque and heinous act of our lifetimes.

    Virtually all of the establishment Western press are cheering on this brutality, theft, and sadism!

    Putin said what Israhell’s doing to the Palestinians in Gaza is very similar to what the Nazis did during the siege of Leningrad.

    • Valerie
      October 15, 2023 at 06:41

      The Siege of Leningrad; a pertinent analogy Drew. But in today’s world the weapons used are more deadly. And all these ongoing wars around the world are exacerbating the climate chaos, which to my mind is the single most greatest threat to all living beings. (Excepting nuclear annihilation of course – but only a few people have the power to bring that about, whereas we are all responsible for climate chaos.)

      “What have they done to the earth, yeah?
      What have they done to our fair sister?
      Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
      Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
      And tied her with fences and dragged her down”

      “When the music’s over” by the “Doors”.

  8. Drew Hunkins
    October 14, 2023 at 14:06

    All of the racist arrogant sadistic Jewish supremacist Zionists have one simple option: give up the land they stole and return to Russia, Europe, Brooklyn, Philly, and New Jersey.

    And when you’re back here, live in peace with everyone, respect human rights and equality amongst people, religions, and ethnicities.

  9. rosemerry
    October 14, 2023 at 13:23

    I wondered about the death of Hamas fighters. Israel published a record of a large number of deaths (from the wicked invaders) but also claimed to have killed so many Hamas, and I wonder if these fighters are included in the death total, and also how many Israelis killed were their soldiers (ie NOT “innocent civilians” or babies.) I read that they agreed it was 75% soldiers.

  10. robert e williamson jr
    October 14, 2023 at 12:47

    I figure at this point the only sense that can be made from the standpoint of Israels leadership, a group of mad men at this point, is to force war with Iran and have the U.S. ensure Israel wins the conflict.

    If that doesn’t happen “Hello Sampson Option!”.

    If you don’t know of this best figure it out, right now.

    This is the gift Israel has planned for the U.S. and any other country that fails to help them eliminate every enemy Israel has made.

    American Zionist have subverted our government to the point of no return.

    Sound dismal, the truth often is.

  11. Gabriel
    October 14, 2023 at 11:31

    The Dust of the concrete in Gaza, is the dust of the breaking of the Stone Tablets of the Ten Commandments.

    The one about “Thou Shall Not Kill” is so glaringly obvious that one would think even Tommy, the deaf, dumb and blind kid, would see it. But it is all being done in an orgy of defiance in praise of their new Idols … the “State of Israel” and the “Defense of Israel”. They shout, especially with their blood-lust, that they no longer follow the word of God, but now dance to their new Idols.

    Oh well, they were warned. The Big Guy tried hard to make it as clear as possible. Simple words, carved in stone. They can not claim that nobody warned them.

    • Charles
      October 16, 2023 at 10:10

      Thou shall not kill was meant for members of the tribe only. Proof of this is how their “god” ordered them to commit genocide against other nations, supposedly made up of his own children.

  12. Lois Gagnon
    October 14, 2023 at 09:43

    The failed leadership of Israel and the collective West have made it abundantly clear they don’t seek peace. They seek total control of their respective populations. We need international solidarity more than ever. The people will have to lead the leaders away from catastrophe.

    • Mark
      October 14, 2023 at 12:02

      There is no partner for Peace in Israel.
      There is no partner for Peace in the USA.

      I saw the Saudis reminding people the other day that they had a 20+ year old peace plan. The Russians have reminded that they were pushed out of the Peace Process by the Americans. China has been knocking on the door willing to mediate. Only a few years ago, Palestinians were marching peacefully to the border fence. (Over 200 died).

      The Trump-Biden Peace Plan was -Talk to the Israelis, then jam it down Palestinian throats. This is working with all the great expectations that one would expect when idiots like Trump and Biden agree on a brilliant plan.

      In Washington, there is a bi-partisan agreement that there is no partner for peace.
      In Israel, there is a unity government that there is no partner for peace.

    • Mark
      October 14, 2023 at 12:31

      Patti Smith — “The People have the power”
      Thomas Jefferson – governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed”
      (actually, they only function at all with the consent of the governed — what happens when everyone just says no?)

      If you want to create an “intelligence surprise”, turn off your phone.

  13. October 14, 2023 at 09:30

    Peace is reflective…and power and economically distributive.
    War (social repression) is reactive…and power and economically concentrating.

    Authority is always more attracted to war.

    • Mark
      October 14, 2023 at 12:42

      Uh .. in “In NPR-speak”, the words ‘liberal’ and even ‘progressive’ mean pro-war.

      Or at least I believe so. To be honest, I got so sick of this that I long ago turned National Pentagon Radio off. Nothing has made me think that even the slightest reform has been made over the years since I turned them off. Even the voices stay the same, to the point where they are now either very, very old, or its just AI creating fakes of familiar old soothing voices that are known to lead the sheep calmly to the butchers. At the very least, it tells one with even a flick past the dial that nothing has changed at National Pentagon Radio.

      • elizabeth shipley
        October 14, 2023 at 18:30

        I have the same feelings about NPR. They never in the few times that I watched the program did they ever interview someone from the Palestinian side, always a spokesperson giving the point of view from Israel. This also goes for ALL the media that most people get their information from.

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