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US and World Politics

Our Narrative…Operation Al-Aqsa Flood

By Hamas Media Office

Introduction

We re-publish verbatim the Hamas statement on Operation Al-Aqsa Flood published in January 2024. The narrative is composed of five sections as follows: Why Operation Al-Aqsa Flood?; The events of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and responses to the Israeli allegations (including details countering Israeli allegations); Towards a transparent international investigation; A reminder to the world, who is Hamas; and What is needed?

In the short introduction to the narrative Hamas states “We would like to clarify to our people and the free peoples of the world the reality of what happened on October 7, the motives behind its general context related to the Palestinian cause…and put the facts into perspective.”

We agree that this statement accomplishes those tasks beginning with some facts that show how: In 1918 Palestinians owned 98.5 percent of the Palestine land and represented 92 percent of the population on it, up until 1967 after which Israel controlled through expulsion, massacres, and occupation, all of Palestine.

The document continues with a timeline of major events up through 2023. It thoroughly refutes the lies of the Israeli government—lies repeated every day in the U.S. “mainstream” press, radio, TV, and internet. It clarifies and refutes the charge of antisemitism by Hamas, it condemns “the U.S. and other western countries’ complicit[y] and [as] partners to the Israeli occupation in its crimes and in its continued suffering of the Palestinian people.”

The narrative contains important, revealing statistics, officially sourced by the U.N., Israeli media, and Human Rights organizations. One example: “…in the period between January 2000 and September 2023, the Israeli occupation killed 11,299 Palestinians and injured 156,768 others, the great majority of them civilians.”

The answers to the Israeli allegations on the events of Al-Aqsa Flood validate Hamas’s claim that civilians were not the target of the October 7 attack—the purpose of the action was “to arrest the enemy’s soldiers to pressure Israeli authorities to release thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli jails through a prisoner exchange deal.” This section of the document cites Israeli sources that “many Israelis were killed by the Israeli army and police due to their confusion.” The Intercept article by Jeremy Scahill reprinted elsewhere in this issue of Socialist Viewpoint, explains, and validates these Hamas claims.

As revolutionary socialists, we stand in basic solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for liberation. We support resistance of oppressed peoples to all forms of oppression. We stand for a democratic, secular Palestine where equal rights extends to all people from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. —Carole Seligman

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful Our steadfast Palestinian people, The Arab and Islamic nations; The free peoples worldwide and those who advocate for freedom, justice and human dignity.

In light of the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and as our people continue their battle for independence, dignity and breaking-free from the longest-ever occupation during which they have drawn the finest displays of bravery and heroism in confronting the Israeli murder machine and aggression; We would like to clarify to our people and the free peoples of the world the reality of what happened on October 7, the motives behind, its general context related to the Palestinian cause, as well as a refutation to the Israeli allegations and to put the facts into perspective.

Why Operation Al-Aqsa Flood?

  1. The battle of the Palestinian people against occupation and colonialism did not start on October 7, but started 105 years ago, including 30 years of British colonialism and 75 years of Zionist occupation. In 1918, the Palestinian people owned 98.5 percent of the Palestine land and represented 92 percent of the population on the land of Palestine. While the Jews, who were brought to Palestine in mass immigration campaigns in coordination between the British colonial authorities and the Zionist Movement, managed to seize control of not more than 6 percent of the lands in Palestine and to be 31 percent of the population prior to 1948 when the Zionist Entity was announced on the historic land of Palestine. At that time, the Palestinian people were denied from the right to self- determination and the Zionist gangs engaged in an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian people aimed at expelling them from their lands and areas. As a result, the Zionist gangs seized control by force of 77 percent of the land of Palestine where they expelled 57 percent of the people of Palestine and destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages and towns, and committed dozens of massacres against the Palestinians which all culminated in the establishment of the Zionist Entity in 1948. Moreover, in continuation of the aggression, the Israeli forces in 1967 occupied the rest of Palestine including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem in addition to Arab territories around Palestine.
  2. According official figures, in the period between (January 2000 and September 2023), the Israeli occupation killed 11,299 Palestinians and injured 156,768 others, the great majority of them were civilians. Unfortunately, the U.S. administration and its allies did not pay attention to the suffering of the Palestinian people over the past years but provided cover to the Israeli aggression. They only lamented the Israeli soldiers who were killed on October 7 even without seeking the truth of what happened, and wrongfully walked behind the Israeli narrative in condemning an alleged targeting of Israeli civilians. The U.S. administration provided the financial and military support to the Israeli occupation massacres against the Palestinian civilians and the brutal aggression on the Gaza Strip, and still the U.S. officials continue to ignore what the Israeli occupation forces commit in Gaza of mass killing.
  3. The Israeli violations and brutality were documented by many UN organizations and international human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and even documented by Israeli human rights groups. However, these reports and testimonies were ignored, and the Israeli occupation is yet to be held accountable. For example, on October 29, 2021, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan insulted the UN system by tearing up a report for the UN Human Rights Council during an address at the General Assembly, and threw it in a dustbin before leaving the podium. Yet, he was appointed in the following year—2022—to the post of vice-president of the UN General Assembly.
  4. The U.S. administration and its western allies have always been treating Israel as a state above the law; they provide it with the needed cover to maintain prolonging the occupation and cracking down the Palestinian people, and also allowing “Israel” to exploit such situation to expropriate further Palestinian lands and to Judaize their sanctities and holy sites. Despite the fact that the UN had issued more than 900 resolutions over the past 75 years in favor of the Palestinian people, “Israel” rejected to abide by any of these resolutions, and the U.S. VETO was always present at the UN Security Council to prevent any condemnation to “Israel’s” policies and violations. That’s why we see the U.S. and other western countries complicit and partners to the Israeli occupation in its crimes and in the continued suffering of the Palestinian people.
  5. As for “the peaceful settlement process”. Despite the fact that the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) stipulated the establishment of a Palestinian independent state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; “Israel” systematically destroyed every possibility to establish the Palestinian state through a wide campaign of settlements’ construction and Judaization of the Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. The backers of the peace process after 30 years realized that they have reached an impasse and that such process had catastrophic results on the Palestinian people. The Israeli officials confirmed at several occasions their absolute rejection to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Just one month before Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a map of a so-called “New Middle East,” depicting “Israel” stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea including the West Bank and Gaza. The entire world at that UN General Assembly’s podium were silent towards his speech full of arrogance and ignorance towards the rights of the Palestinian people.
  6. After 75 years of relentless occupation and suffering, and after failing all initiatives for liberation and return to our people, and also after the disastrous results of the so-called peace process, what did the world expect from the Palestinian people to do in response to the following:
    • The Israeli Judaization plans to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, its temporal and spatial division attempts, as well as the intensification of the Israeli settlers’ incursions into the holy mosque.
    • The practices of the extremist and right-wing Israeli government which is practically taking steps towards annexing the entire West Bank and Jerusalem into the so-called “Israel’s sovereignty” amid plans on the Israeli official table to expel Palestinians from their homes and areas.
    • The thousands of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails who are experiencing deprivation of their basic rights as well as assaults and humiliations under direct supervision of the Israeli fascist minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
    • The unjust air, sea, and land blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip over 17 years.
    • The expansion of the Israeli settlements across the West Bank in an unprecedented level, as well as the daily violence perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians and their properties.
    • The seven million Palestinians living in extreme conditions in refugee camps and other areas who wish to return to their lands, and who were expelled 75 years ago.
    • The failure of the international community and the complicity of superpowers to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    What was expected from the Palestinian people after all of that? To keep waiting and to keep counting on the helpless UN! Or to take the initiative in defending the Palestinian people, lands, rights and sanctities; knowing that the defense act is a right enshrined in international laws, norms and conventions.

    Proceeding from the above, Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7 was a necessary step and a normal response to confront all Israeli conspiracies against the Palestinian people and their cause. It was a defensive act in the frame of getting rid of the Israeli occupation, reclaiming the Palestinian rights and on the way for liberation and independence like all peoples around the world did.

    The events of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and responses to the Israeli allegations

    In light of the Israeli fabricated accusations and allegations over Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7 and its repercussions, we in the Islamic Resistance Movement—Hamas clarify the following:

    1. Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7 targeted the Israeli military sites, and sought to arrest the enemy’s soldiers to [put] pressure on the Israeli authorities to release the thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli jails through a prisoners exchange deal. Therefore, the operation focused on destroying the Israeli army’s Gaza Division, the Israeli military sites stationed near the Israeli settlements around Gaza.
    2. Avoiding harm to civilians, especially children, women and elderly people is a religious and moral commitment by all the Al-Qassam Brigades’ fighters. We reiterate that the Palestinian resistance was fully disciplined and committed to the Islamic values during the operation and that the Palestinian fighters only targeted the occupation soldiers and those who carried weapons against our people. In the meantime, the Palestinian fighters were keen to avoid harming civilians despite the fact that the resistance does not possess precise weapons. In addition, if there was any case of targeting civilians; it happened accidently and in the course of the confrontation with the occupation forces. Since its establishment in 1987, the Hamas Movement committed itself to avoiding harm to civilians. After Zionist criminal Baruch Goldstein in 1994 committed a massacre against Palestinian worshippers in the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in occupied Hebron City, the Hamas Movement announced an initiative to avoid civilians the brunt of fighting by all parties, but the Israeli occupation rejected it and even did not give any comment on it. The Hamas Movement also repeated such calls several times, but received by a deaf ear from the Israeli occupation which continued its deliberate targeting and killing of Palestinian civilians.
    3. Maybe some faults happened during Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’s implementation due to the rapid collapse of the Israeli security and military system, and the chaos caused along the border areas with Gaza. As attested by many, the Hamas Movement dealt in a positive and kind manner with all civilians who have been held in Gaza, and sought from the earliest days of the aggression to release them, and that’s what happened during the week-long humanitarian truce where those civilians were released in exchange of releasing Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails.
    4. We are confident that any fair and independent inquiries will prove the truth of our narrative and will prove the scale of lies and misleading information in the Israeli side. This also includes the Israeli allegations regarding the hospitals in Gaza that the Palestinian resistance used them as command centers; an allegation that was not proven and was refuted by reports of many western press agencies.

    Towards a transparent international investigation

    1. Palestine is a member-state of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and it acceded to its Rome Statute in 2015. When Palestine asked for investigation into Israeli war crimes committed on its territories, it was faced by Israeli intransigence and rejection, and threats to punish the Palestinians for the request to ICC. It is also unfortunate to mention that there were great powers, which claim to be holding values of justice, completely sided with the occupation narrative and stood against the Palestinian moves in the international justice system. These powers want to keep “Israel” as a state above the law and to ensure it escapes liability and accountability.
    2. We urge these countries, especially the U.S. administration, Germany, Canada and the UK, if they meant for justice to prevail as they claim, they ought to announce their support to the course of the investigation in all crimes committed in occupied Palestine and to give full support for the international courts to effectively do their job.
    3. Despite having doubts from these countries to stand by justice, we still urge the ICC Prosecutor and his team to immediately and urgently come to occupied Palestine to look into the crimes and violations committed there, rather than merely observing the situation remotely or being subject to the Israeli restrictions.
    4. In December 2022, when the UN General Assembly passed a resolution seeking opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of “Israel’s” illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, those (few) countries who back “Israel” announced their rejection to the move that was approved by nearly 100 countries. And when our people—and their legal and rights groups—sought to pursue prosecutions against the Israeli war criminals in front of the European countries courts—through the system of universal jurisdiction—the European regimes obstructed the moves in favor of the Israeli war criminals to remain running free.
    5. The events of October 7 must be put in its broader context, and that all cases of struggle against colonialism and occupation in our contemporary time be evoked. These experiences of struggle show that in the same level of oppression committed by the occupier; there would be an equivalent response by the people under occupation.
    6. The Palestinian people and peoples across the world realize the scale of lies and deception these governments that back the Israeli narrative practice in their attempts to justify their blind bias and to cover the Israeli crimes. These countries know the root causes of the conflict which are the occupation and the denial of the right of the Palestinian people to live in dignity on their lands. These countries show no interest towards the continuation of the unjust blockade on millions of Palestinians in Gaza, and also show no interest towards the thousands of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails held under conditions where their basic rights are mostly denied.
    7. We hail the free people of the world from all religions, ethnicities and backgrounds who rally in all capitals and cities worldwide to voice their rejection to the Israeli crimes and massacres, and to show their support for the rights of the Palestinian people and their just cause.

    A reminder to the world,
    who is Hamas?

  7. Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion. Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine. Yet, it is the Zionists who constantly identify Judaism and the Jews with their own colonial project and illegal entity.
  8. The Palestinian people have always stood against oppression, injustice, and the committing of massacres against civilians regardless of who commit them. And based on our religious and moral values, we clearly stated our rejection to what the Jews were exposed to by the Nazi Germany. Here, we remind that the Jewish problem in essence was a European problem, while the Arab and Islamic environment was—across history—a safe haven to the Jewish people and to other peoples of other beliefs and ethnicities. The Arab and Islamic environment was an example to co-existence, cultural interaction and religious freedoms. The current conflict is caused by the Zionist aggressive behavior and its alliance with the western colonial powers; therefore, we reject the exploitation of the Jewish suffering in Europe to justify the oppression against our people in Palestine.
  9. The Hamas Movement according to international laws and norms is a national liberation movement that has clear goals and mission. It gets its legitimacy to resist the occupation from the Palestinian right to self-defense, liberation and self-determination. Hamas has always been keen to restrict its fight and resistance with the Israeli occupation on the occupied Palestinian territory, yet the Israeli occupation did not abide by that and committed massacres and killings against the Palestinians outside Palestine.
  10. We stress that resisting the occupation with all means including the armed resistance is a legitimized right by all norms, divine religions, the international laws including the Geneva Conventions and its first additional protocol and the related UN resolutions e.g. The UN General Assembly Resolution 3236, adopted by the 29th session of the General Assembly on Nov. 22, 1974, which affirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including the right to self-determination and the right to return to “their homes and property from where they were expelled, displaced and uprooted.”
  11. Our steadfast Palestinian people and their resistance are waging a heroic battle to defend their land and national rights against the longest and brutalist colonial occupation. The Palestinian people are confronting an unprecedented Israeli aggression that committed heinous massacres against Palestinian civilians, most of them were children and women. In the course of the aggression on Gaza, the Israeli occupation deprived our people in Gaza of food, water, medicines and fuel, and simply deprived them from all means of life. In the meantime, the Israeli warplanes savagely struck all Gaza infrastructures and public buildings including schools, universities, mosques, churches and hospitals in a clear sign of ethnic cleansing aimed at expelling the Palestinian people from Gaza. Yet, the backers of the Israeli occupation did nothing but kept the genocide ongoing against our people.
  12. The Israeli occupation’s use of the “self-defense” pretext to justify its oppression against the Palestinian people is a process of lie, deception and turning the facts. The Israeli entity has no right to defend its crimes and occupation but the Palestinian people who have such right to oblige the occupier to end the occupation. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave an advisory opinion in the case concerning the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” which stated that “Israel”—the brutal occupying force—cannot rely on a right of self-defense to build such wall on the Palestinian territory. Furthermore, Gaza under the international law is still an occupied land, thus, the justifications for waging the aggression on Gaza is baseless and lacks its legal capacity, as well as lacks the essence of the self-defense idea.

What is needed?

Occupation is occupation no matter how it describes or names itself, and remains a tool to break the will of the peoples and to keep oppressing them. On the other side, the experiences of the peoples nations across history on how to break away from occupation and colonialism confirm that the resistance is the strategic approach and the only way to liberation and ending the occupation. Have any nation been liberated from occupation without struggle, resistance or sacrifice?

The humanitarian, ethical and legal imperatives necessitate all countries around the world to back the resistance of the Palestinian people not to collude against it. They are supposed to confront the occupation crimes and aggression, as well as to support the struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate their lands and to practice their right to self-determination like all peoples across the globe. Based on that we call for the following:

  1. The immediate halt of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, the crimes and ethnic cleansing committed against the entire Gaza population, to open the crossings and allow the entry of the humanitarian aid into Gaza including the reconstruction tools.
  2. To hold the Israeli occupation legally accountable for what it caused of human suffering towards the Palestinian people, and to charge it for the crimes against civilians, infrastructure, hospitals, educational facilities, mosques and churches.
  3. The support of the Palestinian resistance in the face of the Israeli occupation with all possible means as a legitimized right under the international laws and norms.
  4. We call upon the free peoples across the world, especially those nations who were colonized and realize the suffering of the Palestinian people, to take serious and effective positions against the double standard policies adopted by powers/countries that back the Israeli occupation. We call on these nations to initiate a global solidarity movement with the Palestinian people and to emphasize the values of justice and equality and the right of the peoples to live in freedom and dignity.
  5. The superpowers, especially the U.S., the UK and France among others, must stop providing the Zionist entity with cover from accountability, and to stop dealing with it as a country above the law. Such unjust behavior by these countries allowed the Israeli occupation over 75 years to commit the worst crimes ever against the Palestinian people, land and sanctities. We urge the countries across the globe, today and more than before, to uphold their responsibilities towards the international law and the relevant UN resolutions that call for ending the occupation.
  6. We urge for standing against the Israeli attempts to cause another wave of expulsion—or a new Nakba—to the Palestinians especially in the lands occupied in 1948 and the West Bank. We stress that there will be no expulsion to Sinai or Jordan or any other place, and if there is any relocation to the Palestinians, it will be towards their homes and areas they were expelled from in 1948, as affirmed by many UN resolutions.
  7. We call for keeping the popular pressure around the world until ending the occupation; we call for standing against the normalization attempts with the Israeli entity and for a comprehensive boycott to the Israeli occupation and its backers.

Palestine Chronicle, January 2024

https://www.palestinechronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/PDF.pdf

Comments from readers

In our decision to publish this important document, friends and readers of Socialist Viewpoint helped illuminate its importance, excerpts follow, slightly edited for space.

From Chris Kinder:

As Israel’s barbaric, genocidal war rages on in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Resistance Movement—known as Hamas—has made a statement to the world which reports in some detail the history of Israel’s decades-long series of attacks on Palestinians which predate the current war and explain why the events of October 7th were justified. Hamas is not a raving gang of blood-thirsty maniacs looking for Israeli babies to kill and women to rape. Hamas’s actions on that date were a counterattack to inhuman treatment at the hands of a colonial settler state which aims to take over all of Palestine for itself. Imperialist oppression by both Britain and the U.S., working in support of the racist Zionist project goes back over 100 years. As for Hamas’ actions on October 7th this statement gives us a frank and honest report. The capitalist media machine will burn in hell before they print or even report on this vital statement, so please circulate it widely.

From Mark Harris:

Shortly after the October 7, Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American writer who wrote a book several years ago on her experiences in the occupied territory, wrote a commentary in October, published in the San Jose Mercury News. There she made the point that the Hamas revised charter of 2017 explicitly stated that their enemy was Zionism, not Judaism. This statement reiterates that point in Section Four.

Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion. Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish, but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine. Yet, it is the Zionists who constantly identify Judaism and the Jews with their own colonial project and illegal entity.

The University of Chicago foreign policy scholar John Mearsheimer said recently that it is known that a number of the Israelis who died on October 7 were killed not by Hamas but the Israel Defense Force (IDF). He says we don’t know how many. This document addresses these issues, too. So, there’s much here people should know about.

From Brian Schwartz:

What is overlooked by most [people] is the September 2015 UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), declaring that Gaza could be unlivable by 2020. The Hamas forces, allied with other Muslim groupings, started training for the “Al- Aqsa Flood” (October 7) in 2020, as reported by the BBC this past November 23. Ninety-five percent of Gaza’s water comes from coastal aquifers and none of it is safe to drink. Gaza was only able to generate enough power to provide 40 percent of the electricity needed for normal consumption. Palestinian refugees relying only on UN food distribution were 72,000 in year 2000, increasing to 868,000 by 2014.

Norman Finkelstein, whose parents survived the Holocaust, is one of the premier voices defending the Palestinians since the beginning of this 2007 Gaza blockade. Norman was asked how we should approach the Hamas October 7 breakout. Summarized as I heard it, but not verbatim, he told the interviewer, “I read and thought about this question deeply. I looked at the [U.S.] Nat Turner rebellion where the rebel slaves killed unarmed men, women, and children. Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison never condemned Nat Turner and his followers. Garrison thought it was a tragedy that women, children, and unarmed men died. Garrison stood firm and declared; ‘we warned you that this abominable institution would lead to rebellion.’” Finkelstein couldn’t condemn the Hamas raid because Israel had been warned repeatedly that the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine would bring about dangers for both Israelis and Palestinians.

In 2018, a mass demonstration of men, women, and children, gathered at the Gaza barrier between Israel and Gaza. A few dumb asses threw some projectiles towards the wall, otherwise the intent of the Palestinians was a peaceful demonstration to the world that the Blockade against Gaza had to be lifted.

The only criticism I have of Hamas was the need to better prepare the civilian population with bunkers and small arms for anyone willing to carry them. In addition to an armed and defended populace, there needed to be a plebiscite as to whether the people would rather live and endure the present conditions of blockade, or break it, knowing full well that a fight to the death would follow.

From Henry Johnson:

I thought the fourth section (A reminder to the world, who is Hamas?) was especially important. Zionist and imperialist propaganda have portrayed Hamas as a blood thirsty organization that must be wiped out because it wants to kill Jews. In addition, the imperialist countries have masqueraded as the friends and protectors of the Jewish people when in reality the antisemitism that led to the Holocaust was a European and Western phenomenon. The Middle East and North Africa often provided havens for Jews when antisemitism in Europe became unbearable. I once saw an elderly Jewish man say that before the Nakba, Jews and Muslims often babysat for each other. He said that on Jewish holidays, Muslims would watch after little Jewish children so that their mothers could go to the synagogue and that on Islamic holidays, Jews would take care of small Muslim children while their mothers went to the mosque.

From John Blackburn:

I do not see Hamas as liberators of the Palestinian people. Various reports that I have read from trusted journalists (Patrick Cockburn in particular) have described Hamas as running Gaza like an Islamic state. I also think that the Israeli secret service would have known this was coming (they have the most sophisticated intelligence service in the world) and allowed the Hamas action to happen as it gave the excuse to invade Gaza. They were just as prepared to sacrifice their own people. This also helps to keep Netanyahu out of prison. That is speculation.

It is clear that they want to establish an Islamic state which of course I am absolutely opposed to and here we should learn from the mistakes made about the Iranian revolution. I have no disagreements with the historical account that they give in as much as I know it and that needs to be continually publicized and reiterated.

My program is for the Muslim, Jewish and non-religious working class in the region to unite and create a democratic secular socialist republic. At root is my adherence to Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution. That is considered utopian, but anything other will mean permanent conflict.