Arab rioters on rhe Gaza border
Arab rioters on rhe Gaza borderAbed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of the British military forces in Afghanistan, spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva on Sunday about the Hamas-launched war on Israel in which over 350 people have been murdered so far and stated that Russia's hand can be seen in the attack in addition to the hand of Iran.

The attack began with a coordinated breach of the Gaza border fence at multiple locations accompanied by the firing of thousands of rockets into southern Israel, allowing squads of terrorists to penetrate into Israel and attack numerous communities and cities in southern Israel in the early morning. Israel was caught completely off-guard by the assault, representing a massive intelligence failure.

"I have no doubt that questions about this intelligence failure are being addressed now in the Israeli government," Col. Kemp said of the failure to predict and stop the deadly Hamas onslaught. "I am sure there will be a full inquiry when the current situation is stabilized. Until then we can only speculate. This attack has been called Israel’s 9/11 by some people, or Israel’s Pearl Harbor, both of which were also accompanied by tragic intelligence failure."

He stated that Iran and Russia were behind the attack which was, according to him, "too complex for Gaza terrorists to pull off on their own."

"The specific date was chosen by the Palestinian terrorists to take advantage of the Israeli holiday period, very much like the Yom Kippur War that began around the same time in 1973. But the strategic context is threefold. First, Iran’s hand was behind this attack. They fund, arm, and direct Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Iran is dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish State as their leaders have repeated again and again.

He explained: "Second, Russia would have also been behind this attack. Moscow and Tehran are close allies who have cooperated over the mass murder of civilians in the Ukraine war, for which Iran has supplied killer drones. Leaders of Islamic Jihad and Hamas have visited Moscow in the last few months meeting senior Russian government officials. Russia’s motivation here is to foment instability in the Middle East to distract US political bandwidth as well as resources away from Ukraine."

"Third, in their pursuit of chaos and Iranian hegemony in the Middle East, both Russia and Iran want to disrupt the normalization negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel," he said. "It is hard to assess the impact this will have [on the negotiations with Saudi Arabia], but it will certainly complicate negotiations and may even lead to their temporary abandonment."

To the question of how Israel should respond to such a brazen and deadly attack, he responded that "the laws of war on proportionality have no bearing on strategic objectives, only on the conduct of operations where civilian life might be endangered. Israel is well known for its proportionate use of force in defense of its citizens despite the propaganda campaign that suggests otherwise. I think this attack will have changed Israel’s strategic calculus and it will have to inflict unprecedented damage on Hamas’s and Islamic Jihad’s leadership. That may mean a ground operation into Gaza that leads to a long or medium-term military presence on the ground. I think the immediate goal will be to destroy Hamas and Islamic Jihad as viable terrorist bodies."

"As to the hostages, this is perhaps the most difficult challenge Israel faces. Rescuing large numbers of people no doubt dispersed in secure locations around Gaza may well be impossible but I have no doubt the Israeli government, intelligence, and IDF will make every conceivable effort to do so. Perhaps the best hope would be international pressure on the terrorists but these hostages are a prize they will be most unwilling to give up," he said.

"The West must recognize Iran’s and Russia’s hand in this. The US in particular should stop appeasing Iran. Western governments should treat Hamas and Islamic Jihad as their enemies and support Israel in its efforts to destroy them as well as applying their own punitive action against them. Western leaders should speak loudly in support of Israeli military defensive action now and for the long term, working to counter the anti-Israel narrative that will be boosted by Israel’s necessary actions to defend its population, Col. Kemp concluded.