Letter from the Program Director about the attack on Israel

Letter from the Program Director about the attack on Israel

9th October 2023

NSF Community,

I have finally regrouped somewhat after the stunning news on Saturday morning of the brutal attacks on Israel by Hamas. News reports out of Israel for the last three days have been gut wrenching and horrifying. Hundreds of civilians murdered, countless more taken hostage. Over two hundred people gunned down while celebrating at a music festival…ironically billed as an event for peace. Hamas, the terrorist organization that has “governed” Gaza since 2006, displayed unconscionable horror and tactics of terrorism, while demonstrating an unexpected level of strategic military planning and operations. Israel had to respond to the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history. Israeli Defense Forces are, as expected, pummeling Gaza with relentless air attacks on military and civilian infrastructure. More civilians are dying on both sides. A ground invasion by Israel into Gaza is expected in the next few days to weeks. As we witness another cycle of terrorism, military response, endless news reports, and political punditry, our world seems crueler and much less secure.

As many of you know I called Jerusalem home for almost four years in the late 1980s and early 1990s when I was a postdoctoral researcher in the Fritz Haber Center for Molecular Dynamics at the Hebrew University. That was during the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising called “the shaking off”). I learned then, from many of my colleagues who regularly served on milu’im (military reserve duty), about the dangers and despair in Gaza. I also spent many peaceful times on moshavim and kibbutzim near the border with Gaza. Friends who lived there knew the risks and ached for peace. That was over thirty years ago. The situation there now is inconceivable and heart wrenching. My heart goes out all of Israel, innocent civilians in Gaza caught up in a war not of their making, and to the children of my Israeli colleagues who are now being called up to fight a war with roots back generations.

NSF will be hosting a forum (or more than one) in the coming weeks on the Israel-Hamas War covering topics that I know are on many of our minds. We are still in the fog of war, so I want to wait until we have a better understanding of the situation on the ground. I am currently recruiting speakers to address topics including the intelligence and policy failures that led to this being a surprise attack, the role of Iran in supporting or directing Hamas to attack, risks of this war expanding into a regional conflict, where do Russia and China stand, and the future role of the US and Arab nations in brokering an end to conflict in the near term and a peaceful settlement in the long term. If there are other perspectives you would like covered, please email me your thoughts to: [email protected]

In the meantime, I recommend the following resources (in addition to the usual news outlets) to learn more about the conflict from different perspectives. Note that some of these sites may require a subscription after a limited number of articles:

Thoughts and prayers for peace to the people of Israel, Gaza, and all those caught in conflict around the world,



Maureen I. McCarthy, PhD
Director, Programs & Commentary
Email: [email protected]
URL: https://nationalsecurityforum.org