Category Archives: Articles

The war enters a new phase

Article published in The Daily Express, 28 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

After three weeks of air strikes to destroy the Hamas terrorists and infrastructure in Gaza, the IDF has now moved the war into a new phase.

On Friday the IDF bombardment of terrorist targets intensified and internet and mobile communications were cut off. That night a significant armoured force attacked into the Gaza Strip.

In Gaza, the IDF has two conflicting objectives. The first is to annihilate all groups of armed terrorists in the Strip.

The second is to locate and rescue the hostages Hamas kidnapped three weeks ago.

The presence of the hostages constrains the IDF from applying the full extent of its military power. Equally, Israel’s ground and air operations are constrained by the presence of civilians in northern Gaza.

The IDF has warned them to leave but many remain and the IDF will do all it can to avoid killing or wounding them. But given Hamas’s tactic of fighting from among the population, such deaths are sadly inevitable.

As civilian casualties mount, Israel will come under growing pressure to halt its ground operations. Calls for a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid will also increase.

Israeli leaders put a high priority on protecting innocent lives and will do all they can to stop civilian suffering. But it is essential the IDF doesn’t allow its mission to defeat Hamas and rescue the hostages to be impeded. The lives and security of the Israeli population is at stake.

Challenging though this operation in Gaza is, it is far from the only immediate threat Israel faces. In the north, Lebanese Hezbollah has 150,000 missiles pointing at Israel’s civilian population.

Over the last couple of weeks there have been intense attacks by these Iranian-controlled terrorists, to which Israel has replied with air strikes. Continue reading

Hamas is the only ‘army’ to want its own civilians killed, they must not win

Article published in The Sun, 28 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

Hamas is the only ‘army’ in the history of war that has deliberately sought to provoke its enemy to kill its own people.

This is what its entire strategy is based on. Those in Britain taking to the streets to call for a ceasefire should remember this.

Hamas slaughtered more than 1,400 innocent Israelis in their barbaric attack of ­October 7.

The terrorists will have been stunned at their own success.

Their attack was carefully planned and prepared. They caught their victims unawares.

Israel had no idea it was coming. Many of their victims were sleeping in their beds when Hamas pounced.

But Hamas could never have expected to achieve so much killing and destruction without being stopped by Israeli forces long before they were. There was bloodshed on both sides.

Around 1,500 Hamas terrorists — many in their so-called ‘elite’ forces — were killed inside Israel.

But that doesn’t really matter to them compared to the blow they have dealt to Israel.

That is the point. To Hamas, life is cheap.

They care even less about the Gazan civilians who have died as a result of Israeli air strikes. In fact, they welcome those deaths.

When they launched the assault through the Gaza border fence, they knew what the consequences would be.

It is the same as occurs every time they attack Israel, whether by tunnel, rocket, anti-tank missile or probe from the sea: Israeli air strikes and either limited or full-scale ground incursions.
That is what they want.

They know that fighting from within the population will eventually lead to civilian casualties.

Hamas embed themselves in the civilian population. They have been accused of having military lairs underneath hospitals.

Their infamous tunnels — which they are now holding Israeli hostages in — criss-cross the ground underneath the densely populated city of Gaza above.

Some people call them human shields, but I prefer to call them human sacrifices. Continue reading

Guterres is now part of the problem

Article published by,  25 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

Secretary General Antonio Guterres has dragged the UN down to a new low with his disgraceful justification of the Hamas slaughter, rape and torture of innocent Israelis. Before all of the bodies have even been identified, so vicious was the violence against them, and while 220 distressed and abused hostages remain imprisoned in the Gaza Strip, Guterres was blaming Israel in front of the UN Security Council. Not only is this deeply unworthy of a body that is dedicated to peace and truth, it also follows Hamas’s own agenda.

Guterres told the council that Hamas’s attacks did not happen in a vacuum. He is right. It happened against the backdrop of decades of justification and encouragement of Palestinian terrorism by the UN, western media, human rights groups, politicians and universities that consistently condemned Israel for resisting violence against its citizens. Led by the UN Human Rights Council a narrative of anti-Israel hate was built up that tied Israel’s hands and emboldened Hamas and other terrorist groups.

But according to Guterres’s false account, ‘the Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation’. In the face of the worst assault on Jewish people since the Nazi death camps, his remarks are akin to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attributing blame for the Holocaust to the conduct of the Jews themselves.

Guterres’s ‘suffocating occupation’ dates back to 1967 when, as a result of a war of aggression by Arab countries, Israel regained territory that it had lost in an earlier war of aggression in 1948. Under the uti possidetis juris principle of customary international law, the State of Israel inherited the boundaries of the previous sovereign, which was Great Britain. While the territories have been disputed, no state other than Israel has lawful sovereignty and so Israel cannot be an ‘occupier’ in its own land which includes Judea and Samaria and Gaza. That remains the case unless and until Israel agrees to relinquish sovereignty following negotiations.

Furthermore, the vast majority of the territory that Guterres wrongly claims to be occupied has been repeatedly offered by Israel Continue reading

Israel can win a war on three fronts

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 24 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

As IDF troops are poised to move into Gaza, rumours abound of dissent within Israel’s war cabinet over when the operation should be launched. Rumours of these disagreements have forced Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of Staff General Herzi Halevi to issue a joint statement affirming their unity. But the reality is that there should be lively debate among those responsible for such momentous decisions: groupthink is the enemy of military success.

I have spoken to commanders and soldiers on the Gaza border in the last few days; they are clearly ready to attack when the orders are given. But despite impatience in the media and among the Israeli population, there are many more factors beyond just the readiness of the troops. Not least the prospect of fighting a multi-front war.

If the worst comes to the worst, Israel – given its military hardware, its determination, and knowledge it has acquired from historic invasions of its territory – would be able to deal with threats from multiple borders. Especially because in the time they have now, they will be prioritising intelligence gathering on these multiple threats.

Since 7 October, for instance, there have been intense missile and artillery duels between Iranian proxy Hizballah and the IDF across the Lebanese border. Hizballah is estimated to have 150,000 rockets in southern Lebanon and a highly effective terrorist army, tens of thousands strong. Israeli decision-makers will want to have as good a handle as possible on the terrorist group’s intentions before committing ground forces into the Gaza Strip.

Violence in the West Bank has also been on the rise, involving terrorist gangs armed and funded by Iran, as with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizballah. Ground operations in Gaza will further inflame that territory, thrusting the IDF into a third concurrent fighting front. Bloodshed could also spread into Israel proper, where in 2021 Hamas orchestrated an uprising by Israeli Arabs against their Jewish neighbours as well as security forces. Continue reading

Time to debunk the media’s anti-Israel narrative: You have blood on your hands

Article published by,  22 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

Much of Western media has blood on its hands. Following the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, many news outlets have been acting as willing tools of the genocidal terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip that perpetrated it. This is neither new nor unpredictable. An anti-Zionist narrative has for many years displaced media objectivity in every conflict involving Israel.

The strategic objective of Hamas’s attacks is to incite international condemnation of Israel by compelling it to take military action in which Gaza civilians will inevitably be killed despite unparalleled IDF measures to prevent it. Whenever this happens, like Pavlov’s dogs a chorus of reporters, tame analysts and newscasters immediately appear on the airwaves to accuse Israel of war crimes. Such accusations are loudly echoed in universities, human rights groups and international bodies. Exactly as Hamas intended.

That in turn encourages Hamas to do the same thing again and again and is the real ‘cycle of violence’ that many journalists love to accuse others of but are in fact themselves active participants in.

One of the worst offenders was the BBC, by far the most influential media organization in the UK, and with one of the largest audiences internationally. It is regarded by many as the most authoritative and impartial news organization in the world and has been seen as a beacon of truth going back to the Second World War.

‘Hundreds killed in Israeli strike on Gaza hospital — Palestinian officials,’ was the BBC headline. The next day, the British Financial Times splashed with: ‘Gaza Health Ministry says hundreds killed in Israeli air strike on hospital’. Across the Atlantic, the New York Times, among others, reported the Al-Ahli incident in similarly false terms.

BBC reporter John Donnison told viewers: ‘It is hard to see what else this could be really given the size of the explosion other than an Continue reading

Israel could be planning lethal attack before Gaza ground offensive begins

Article published in The Daily Express, 20 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

Tactical surprise against Gaza is hard to achieve, but expect to see an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) attack unfolding in a way that no-one is predicting.

Strategic surprise is also possible. Everyone is braced for a ground offensive in Gaza.

Don’t be surprised if before that, the IDF launches a major offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon or even Iranian proxies in Syria.

Tactical surprise against Gaza is hard to achieve, but expect to see an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) attack unfolding in a way that no-one is predicting.

Strategic surprise is also possible. Everyone is braced for a ground offensive in Gaza.

Don’t be surprised if before that, the IDF launches a major offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon or even Iranian proxies in Syria.

Intelligence is also critical: knowing where the enemy is and what he is doing.

Don’t be misled by the intelligence failures before the Hamas massacre two weeks ago: Israel has hugely capable combat intelligence assets on Gaza, including agents on the ground, communications intercept and unrivalled aerial surveillance.

When the IDF goes into Gaza it will attack with overwhelming force. Air strikes using combat planes, precision missiles and drones will continue and intensify. The greater the destruction of Hamas from the air, the lesser the opposition ground forces will face and the fewer casualties they will take.

Special forces, perhaps including frogmen on the coast, will go in first and are already operating inside Gaza. Their job is to gain intelligence for the main forces and attack key targets, for example using long-range snipers.

Continue reading

Explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital

Article published in The Daily Express, 19 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

I have no doubt that the horrific blast at Al-Ahli Hospital was the work of Iran-sponsored Islamic Jihad, the second most dangerous terrorist group in the Gaza Strip. The IDF has made clear that they fired no munitions in the area at or close to the time of the attack. They have also published evidence from radar imagery confirming the missile that struck the hospital was launched by Islamic Jihad from a cemetery. Furthermore Israeli intelligence has released voice intercepts of jihadist radio traffic at the time saying the attack came from them.

Should we believe the Israelis? In my extensive experience of conflict in Israel, the IDF invariably admits when they make errors that result in civilian deaths. They waited around two hours until they initially indicated it was not one of their missiles and only several hours later confirmed for sure who was responsible. This is because IDF protocol requires the greatest degree of certainty before they will confirm or deny any such action as this.

Of course that vacuum was immediately filled by Hamas accusations against Israel. These were gleefully taken up by the usual chorus of media, politicians and so-called military experts only too happy to condemn the IDF on the basis of zero evidence.

It was no surprise to me that a Gaza terrorist rocket should fall short. Something like 30% of all missiles launched by Islamic Jihad at Israel land inside Gaza and often hit their own people. In the last two major rounds of this conflict terrorist missiles killed more of their own people than Israelis.

As usual, much of the media has faithfully parroted Gaza Health Ministry casualty figures for this attack, failing to reflect that the ministry is controlled by Hamas. Looking at footage of this incident it seems likely the numbers would have been far lower than the hundreds claimed. That also conforms to standard Hamas practice. Let us hope it was an exaggeration and, although a tragic incident whatever the figures we should not forget that this missile was intended to kill innocent Israeli civilians.

Nothing can save Vladimir Putin’s Russia now

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 18 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Putin is seeking to exploit the war between Israel and Hamas. This week alone he has been on the telephone to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, and the leaders of Egypt, Syria and Iran, claiming he wants to negotiate a ceasefire. The man responsible for spilling vast quantities of blood around the world, and especially in Ukraine, now says: ‘What matters now is to stop the bloodshed.’

If the Russian president thinks his intervention will make any difference, however, he is deluding himself. The idea that Moscow could any longer hold significant sway in the Middle East is farcical. Whatever reputation it had as a world power has been shattered in Ukraine. We’ve seen yet more reasons why this week.

On Tuesday, Kyiv’s surprise ATACMS long-range missile strike against Russian airfields in occupied Berdyansk and Luhansk sent Russian forces reeling – some are calling it the most significant strike by the Ukrainians in months. The Russians reportedly suffered significant losses and will be forced to move aircraft further away from the front line – operationally damaging as well as publicly humiliating. In the area of Kupyansk, meanwhile, Ukrainian forces appear to have blunted a significant Russian offensive – a miniature blitzkrieg – that had been building for weeks.

Although Putin’s forces have adapted and expanded from their lowest point last autumn, it bears repeating that his army remains in dire straits 18 months on from the three-week campaign planned for February last year. Russia is still heavily constrained, both economically and militarily, and has limited freedom of action beyond its all-consuming war.

As such, Middle Eastern countries, once impressed by Russian prowess – or at least the illusion of it – have seen Moscow’s failure to subjugate a markedly less powerful state and its accompanying debasement on the battlefield as a sign that it is a declining power. In Syria, for example, where Putin once held great sway following his support of the monstrous dictator Bashar al-Assad, Russia is losing traction, not least because it has had to redeploy some of its forces to Ukraine.

Continue reading

An attack on Israel, an attack on the West

Article by Rafael Bardají published by Voz Media,  23 October 2023.

The barbarity and horror unleashed by Hamas on October 7 against Israeli citizens, foreign workers, visitors of many nationalities and soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces, not to mention the continuous bombardment from the Gaza Strip with rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli soil, no matter where they land, is not only a Palestinian attack against Israel. In fact, it would be a grave mistake to stick to this interpretation. It is true that Hamas terror had a direct impact around Gaza, in southern Israel, and that under the shock of that moment we have been focused on what is happening in the area. But the Hamas attack goes far beyond Gaza itself and Israel.

And we are not referring to the growing possibility that Hizballah will open a northern front as soon as Israeli troops penetrate Gaza – after all, both groups, though very different, obey their masters in Tehran. Staying at the regional level would also be a mistake. It must be stated clearly. By attacking Israel, Hamas is attacking the Western world. The demonstrations that have been taking place in most European capitals and major American cities, the widespread outbursts of anti-Semitism, the calls for holy war from our streets and squares, and, unfortunately, the multiple attacks, some of them regrettably deadly, perpetrated by Islamists shouting the slogan ‘Allah is the greatest’, are not only a clear proof of the extension and penetration of Islamism within our democratic and liberal societies, but also the mobilization capacity of Islamism disguised as a pro-Palestinian national cause.

October 7 2023 will go down in history as one of the worst days experienced by the Jewish people and, possibly, as the worst in Israel since its establishment. On Yom Kippur, just 50 years ago, there were armies that wanted to annihilate the tiny Jewish State; now, it has been terrorist militiamen who have assaulted, tortured, mutilated, burned and kidnapped essentially civilians, whom they took as the preferred target for their orgy of terror.

We already know that the Hamas attack was possible by its audacity and, above all, by three tactical, operational and strategic failures on the part of Israel. It is true that there were not enough troops on guard; it is true that, without communications or a clear idea of ​​what was going on, it reacted slowly. But perhaps the most serious thing is not all of the above, but the belief accumulated in Israel over years that Hamas was content to initiate a cycle of limited violence every two years, absorb the retaliation and return to its trenches until the next attack. Israel, which knew itself to be always stronger, believed it could control Hamas because its leaders were rational. Without rational actors there can be no deterrence.

Well, from a strategic point of view, what Hamas has achieved is to dynamite in one day the Israeli consensus. Hamas is no longer just another Palestinian actor, in competition with the Palestinian Authority, but, in its nature, a jihadist group comparable to the Islamic State, ISIS, Daesh or whatever you want to call it. Therefore, a group with which no negotiations can be sustained, with which no dialogue can be held, and from which any accommodation can be expected. From this new vision, the only future that can be planned for Hamas is that of its disappearance.

Continue reading

Israel at war

Article published in The Daily Express, 16 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

After the largest mobilisation in Israel’s history, IDF troops are now ready on the Gaza border, waiting for the order to go in. When that will be depends on the progress of the air war and perhaps also on the weather. Rain is forecast to continue for a couple more days and given the importance of precision air support for ground troops, commanders might wait for optimum visibility.

An even greater factor is what happens across the border in Lebanon. The last few days have seen the most intensive attacks by Hizballah since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. I was in the border area today when terrorists fired anti-tank missiles, rockets and small arms into Israel, answered by IDF airstrikes. One Israeli was killed and three wounded by anti-tank fire at the village of Shtula. The situation in the north is tense — many civilians have left, fearing all-out missile fire and even the possibility that Hizballah terrorists might cross the border and attack their communities.

Some Middle East experts say Hizballah is deterred from a full-blown war with Israel by fear of their own destruction. But many experts said the same of Hamas even days before the terrorist massacre a week ago. Iran, which has been threatening revenge against Israel if attacks on Gaza don’t cease, will be ready to push Hizballah into action when it judges the time is right.

If that happens Israel will be facing a two-front war. The IDF has prepared for that, but nevertheless it would be hugely challenging. If the IDF assess an onslaught from Lebanon is likely, it might choose a major pre-emptive strike to seize the initiative, possibly even delaying the ground offensive into Gaza.

Across the Golan Heights in Syria, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces are reported to have moved closer to the border and rockets were fired at Israel on Saturday. The IDF responded with strikes against Aleppo airport. If major Israeli action becomes necessary there could even be a risk of direct confrontation with Russian forces in the country.

If sustained attacks are launched from either Lebanon or Syria, Israel might well decide to take military action against the hand that controls the terrorists in both countries and so it is not inconceivable we could see strikes launched against Iran. If that happens it is unlikely to lead to an even wider regional conflagration, as most Arab countries are certainly no friends of Iran and fear its growing regional dominance. Behind closed doors their governments, deeply concerned about the rise of Islamist radicalism at home, would also like to see the quick eradication of Hamas, also proxies of Iran.