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Israel - Hamas War XII


kissdbyfire
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I’ll start by reposting something that I feel didn’t get as much attention as it deserves. We had heard these claims before, that the Israeli government ignored warnings about the possibility of an impending attack by Hamas. And now more stuff is coming out about that. 
 

Haaretz had a piece about it on November 20:

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-11-20/ty-article-magazine/.premium/the-women-soldiers-who-warned-of-a-pending-hamas-attack-and-were-ignored/0000018b-ed76-d4f0-affb-eff740150000


There are others, like this one from Politico

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TEL AVIV — Did Israel’s security chiefs brush off warnings from women border surveillance soldiers who had evidence that something was brewing in Gaza ahead of the murderous attacks by Hamas militants on October 7? 

That’s the explosive accusation coming from several soldiers in Israel’s predominantly female border surveillance forces — known as the tatzpitaniyot, or look-outs in Hebrew. The soldiers are telling the media their superiors did not heed warnings of unusual activity inside Gaza, such as Palestinian guerrillas training with explosives or rehearsing attacks on a replica tank and a mock observation post. 

Their statements to the media are piling pressure on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing a firestorm over last month’s catastrophic intelligence blunder. The country’s fabled spy services ultimately failed to detect an impending Hamas onslaught, in which an estimated 3,000 Palestinian fighters killed some 1,200 Israelis and abducted about 240.

In addition to the implications of sexism, the charges feed a sense that Netanyahu and his security services were complacent, believing they had nothing to fear from Hamas in Gaza. Netanyahu’s opponents even argue he was actively boosting Hamas in Gaza, with support from Qatar, in a risky game of “divide-and-rule” that played the Islamists off against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The women’s warnings, made over several months, did not correspond to the received wisdom that Hamas had been tamed. In what may transpire to be another major mistake in a series of cascading errors, the women say mainly male top commanders dismissed their concerns, insisted Hamas had no plans to go to war, and ordered them to stop being so alarmist. 

Known as the “eyes of the army,” the tatzpitaniyot use security cameras and sensors to monitor a 15 to 30 kilometer stretch of land they’re each responsible for. The surveillance includes any small changes in activity, including farmers altering their routines. The work requires great patience, concentration and hours spent monitoring screens

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Relic said:

Pretty crazy that this Israeli massacre of Gazan civilians is being led by a guy who claimed his country's courts held too much power. Only god can judge me, and so on. 

Yeah, the playbook 10 out of 10 fascists and wannabe fascists employ, destroy, diminish, accuse, besmirch the judicial system. 

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In undisclosed call, Pope Francis warned Israel against committing ‘terror’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/11/30/pope-francis-israel-war-terrorism/

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Israeli President Isaac Herzog held a fraught phone call with Pope Francis. The Israeli head of state was describing his nation’s horror over the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 when the pope issued a blunt rejoinder.

It is “forbidden to respond to terror with terror,” Francis said, according to a senior Israeli official familiar with the call, which has not been previously reported.

Herzog protested, repeating the position that the Israeli government was doing what was needed in Gaza to defend its own people. The pope continued, saying those responsible should indeed be held accountable, but not civilians.

That private call would inform Israeli interpretations of Francis’s polemic statement, at his Nov. 22 general audience in St. Peter’s Square, that the conflict had “gone beyond war. This is terrorism.” Taken with the diplomatic exchange — deemed so “bad” by the Israelis that they did not make it public — the implication seemed clear: The pope was calling their campaign in Gaza an act of terrorism.

“How else could it be interpreted?” said the senior official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.

The Vatican declined to clarify whether the pope was publicly or privately describing Israeli actions in Gaza as “terrorism.” But in a statement to The Washington Post, it acknowledged a call between the pope and Herzog. “The phone call, like others in the same days, takes place in the context of the Holy Father’s efforts aimed at containing the gravity and scope of the conflict situation in the Holy Land,” the statement read.

A spokesman in the Israeli president’s office declined an opportunity to comment, saying, “We are not inclined to make reference to private conversations.”

But the public words from the pope have sparked an outcry from pro-Israel groups, such as the American Jewish Committee, and rekindled historical tensions between some Jewish leaders and the Vatican.

In a sense, the pope’s comments crystallized growing global horror over the loss of civilian life in Gaza. More than 13,300 people have been killed there since Israel launched its military campaign in early October, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Francis seemed to react much as humanitarian groups and other world leaders had.

Yet there is concern among some pro-Israel organizations that, even while the Vatican holds less moral sway than it once did, Francis has greater potential than most political leaders to influence global sentiment. ....

.... On Nov. 22, in the hours before his general audience and “terrorism” comment, Francis held two emotional meetings: One with relatives of people killed in Gaza and the other with families of hostages taken by Hamas.

In the session with the Palestinians, the pope wept as they spoke of the massive death toll, said Shireen Hilal, a professor who lost two family members. She and others in attendance said Francis used the word “genocide” in English. ....

 

 

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3 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

ery good interview w/ Avril Benoît, Executive Director of Doctors without Borders.

I heard her interviewed on a different program.  So exhausted her voice is hoarse. Yet she was calm and cogent and coherent, while also being passionate.

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Apparently, the IDF uses AI in target selection.  This is extremely troublesome, and would explain how they are able to identify hundreds of targets each day.  I initially saw a reference to the use of AI by the IDF in Al-Jazeera, so I did some googling to see if I could confirm this.

"THE IDF INTRODUCES ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO THE BATTLEFIELD – A NEW FRONTIER?"  This is an article posted on the website of the Lieber Institute at West Point.  Article is dated March 1, 2023.

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In recent weeks, several high-ranking Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officers informed the press that Israel is deploying AI tools as part of its military arsenal. According to a thorough interview in Hebrew, the IDF uses AI to assist its offensive decision-making, for example to determine if a target is a military or a civilian one. In addition, some defensive tools are used to alert forces that they are under threat of a rocket or missile attack, or to aid in better safeguarding border movement, especially after the new IDF AI strategy was launched in 2022.

It is possible that the AI explosion in the public sphere, with the introduction of Chat GPT3 and Microsoft’s announcement that it will add an AI toolbar to Bing, influenced the IDF in declaring openly its novel use of AI. The decision to come into the open in this regard asserts technical supremacy and has value in terms of deterrence. Yet is this the right time or manner in which to do so?

...

The tendency to lean on AI is obvious, as such a tool can calculate in a few seconds some things that humans will need weeks to do, if they can achieve them at all. Yet, so long as AI tools are not explainable (as the International Committee of the Red Cross, and others, have pointed out), in the sense that we cannot fully understand why they reached a certain conclusion, how can we justify to ourselves whether to trust the AI decision when human lives are at stake? The public statements acknowledged that some of the targets attacked by the IDF are produced by AI tools. If one of the attacks produced by the AI tool leads to significant harm of uninvolved civilians, who should bear responsibility for the decision?

This could explain a lot.  Such as why the target selection seemed so indiscriminate.  Or why they would approve a hit against a Hamas commander despite the likelihood of hundreds of casualties. 

We know nothing about the quality of these AI models, how they were trained, or what type of verification testing was done.  The models could be garbage.  The training of the models could be garbage.  The data being input into the trained models could be garbage.  There are so many things that could cause the output of the AI models that they are using to be complete garbage.

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9 minutes ago, Mudguard said:

who should bear responsibility for the decision?

Definitely concerning. As to the question, the only possible answer is, whoever deployed the IA tool/model/ whatever. IMO.

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9 minutes ago, DanteGabriel said:

It's a big step towards SkyNet and a whole genre of post-apocalyptic fiction.

I think it is very reckless and shows a disregard for the lives of civilians. I don't know if 'lazy' is the right word, but I would expect people to take more care when waging a war, unless they are using this as an opportunity to 'test' the system further, or don't care about civilian casualties.

Edited by Craving Peaches
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So uh, how does this impact that whole "Israel is being very selective in its targets, those casualties are unavoidable" thing? Cause I just straight up don't believe an "AI" could be anymore accurate than throwing darts at a map. Shit you'd probably get better input by booting up a copy of Steel Talons and have the aircraft copy the inputs from the game.

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4 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

Cause I just straight up don't believe an "AI" could be anymore accurate than throwing darts at a map

What I see so far with regards to AI makes me think the model would not be reliable.

6 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

So uh, how does this impact that whole "Israel is being very selective in its targets, those casualties are unavoidable" thing?

I'm sure someone will come up with an excuse/handwave yet again. 'IDF has really advanced model' or 'we can't say that it's not accurate because we don't know what intelligence they put into it'.

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1 hour ago, Craving Peaches said:

I think it is very reckless and shows a disregard for the lives of civilians. I don't know if 'lazy' is the right word, but I would expect people to take more care when waging a war, unless they are using this as an opportunity to 'test' the system further, or don't care about civilian casualties.

I'd call it hubris.

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Very interesting investigative piece from +972

https://www.972mag.com/mass-assassination-factory-israel-calculated-bombing-gaza/

A rather disturbing passage from the article

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In one case discussed by the sources, the Israeli military command knowingly approved the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in an attempt to assassinate a single top Hamas military commander. “The numbers increased from dozens of civilian deaths [permitted] as collateral damage as part of an attack on a senior official in previous operations, to hundreds of civilian deaths as collateral damage,” said one source.

“Nothing happens by accident,” said another source. “When a 3-year-old girl is killed in a home in Gaza, it’s because someone in the army decided it wasn’t a big deal for her to be killed — that it was a price worth paying in order to hit [another] target. We are not Hamas. These are not random rockets. Everything is intentional. We know exactly how much collateral damage there is in every home.”

 

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It seems pretty clear that Israel will not stop this campaign nor do they seem very interested in minimising civilian casualties. The objective is to obliterate Hamas no matter the cost, no matter the death toll. I don’t believe them when they say they are trying to avoid killing innocents; tbh, from where I’m looking it seems like thousands upon thousands of dead civilians is the price and Netanyahu & his cohorts are willing to pay it. And not only that, but from several statements from several government officials we can see they also want to go much further than just eliminating Hamas. We don’t have to assume this because they’ve said it repeatedly. 
 

So this only ends when the US puts a stop to it. When the US tells the Israeli government, “enough”. The question then becomes, when will this happen? Yes, the tone has changed a bit, the statements and comments coming out of the State Department are different now from what they were initially. There’s this bear-hug diplomacy at play, and Biden says publicly that “Hamas wants the war to continue so we shouldn’t give them what they want”, etc. - and this was quite clever actually, say it’s Hamas who don’t want to stop when it’s in fact Israel, and if Israel keeps pushing for more death and destruction it then seems like they’re giving Hamas what they want.  Still, though, all this stuff takes time, so I ask again, how much longer must this go on? 
 

The interview linked above w/ the director for DwB paints a pretty harrowing picture, and it’s not going to get better once the war resumes. How many more people have to die? 

 

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1 hour ago, kissdbyfire said:

So this only ends when the US puts a stop to it. When the US tells the Israeli government, “enough”. The question then becomes, when will this happen?

The US will not tell the Israeli government to stop because, among other things, this would be a 180 degree turn from its rhetoric. However, the US did tell Israel to be more careful with regard to civilian casualties and Secretary Blinken claims that he has an agreement with the Israelis about that.

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2 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

So this only ends when the US puts a stop to it. When the US tells the Israeli government, “enough”. The question then becomes, when will this happen?

The NYT has confirmed their reporting lines up with your post to start the thread. Israel had some intelligence about a possible attack, they ignored it and then lied about it afterwards. Shocking. Netanyahu may very well get pushed out sooner than expected and perhaps a new leader will have a much better chance of making the situation better.  

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