Monday, December 29, 2008

The Real Issue...

...with the Israeli response to Hamas rocket attacks does not lie in considerations of proportionality. It lies in the fact that none of the strategies under contemplation going forward will have any effect on anything beyond the shortest of short terms. Furthermore, nobody in the Israeli leadership structure really expects them to. Here's Yossi Alpher, from a couple of days ago:

The official end of the six-month cease-fire with Hamas in Gaza is not going to change very much in Israel-Hamas relations. Of course, it could change a lot for those Israelis and Palestinians who may now again be exposed to more intense physical danger. But just as before the cease-fire and during the cease-fire, the country will continue not knowing what to do about Hamas.


AN ALTERNATIVE military strategy not yet invoked would be to launch a full-fledged military invasion aimed at reoccupying Gaza and physically eliminating Hamas. The high price the country would pay in civilian and military casualties, the difficulty in maintaining control over 1.5 million civilians in reoccupied Gaza, the trauma of an unsuccessful military campaign in Lebanon in 2006, the regional and international complications and, most glaringly, the absence of a workable exit strategy that could turn over a pacified Gaza Strip to an alternative sovereign capable of maintaining control - all combine to prohibit such an adventure. Of course, this doesn't prevent some of our politicians from talking about it endlessly.


Meanwhile, yet another strategy - cease-fire - has failed, at least for now. The development of effective anti-Kassam and anti-mortar weapons that could neutralize Hamas' offensive capabilities is years away. Hamas appears to be here to stay - on the Israeli, Palestinian and Middle East Islamic scene. Under these circumstances, whether we are now entering into an informal cease-fire, a new round of conflict or something in between appears to be largely irrelevant to the big picture. That we have difficulty acknowledging this fact - that our ineffective leaders continue to bluster day in and day out with an utter lack of credibility about what we are going to do to Hamas rather than acknowledging strategic bankruptcy as a first step toward more constructive thinking - is part of the problem.

Here's Yossi and others from today's Guardian. Note that the most anybody is hoping for is, come the next cease fire, "more acceptable terms".


janfromthebruce said...

And the deadly assault has to do with upcoming elections and the dominate hopeful winner is very right-wing party. So also see this as politics within politics - and winning the hearts and minds of conservative minded Israeli voters.

Harry said...

All good points BCL.

Fact is that no one has a good 'day after' scheme in place, and more is yet to play out. It's very fluid, and very violent.

I'm guessing that the Israelis might
just re-take the Philidelphi corridor along the border with Egypt, and do a 2-3 kilometre buffer zone "no-man's land" to stymie the tunnel smuggling and Hamas' primary strategic capability.

They won't completely re-occupy, because that means taking care of them. And that's just not on.

I don't think the shooting will stop until the Hamas pleads for a ceasefire and holds up their end of it. Which they probably won't, preferring to use the suffering of their own people as a moral bludgeon against the Jews, at least for a time.

Problem with that is that they've cried wolf too many times. They've burned their bridges with their Arab neighbors, especially Egypt; which has been trying to broker peace, but the Hamas are very single minded in their quest to eradicate israel and kill all Jews. This is more more important to them then the well-being of their own people. Perhaps when that reaches critical mass, the people of Gaza will finally have enough of Hamas and throw off their chains. Another internal civil war.

Then Abbas and the PA can move in again. If that happens, then statehood and normalization between the Palestinians and the Israelis is a distinct possibility.

Fred said...
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pogge said...

The real issue is 41 years of military occupation that has included the theft of land and the brutalization of the population. You can't discuss the issue properly without that context though people certainly try.

Harry said...

"The real issue is 41 years of military occupation that has included the theft of land "

The real issue?

We've been talking about Gaza. Which has been Judenrein since 2005. That's when The Israelis pulled back to the 1948 armistice line.

Did you know that the population of Israel is 20% Arab?