The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Hey Israel. What’s the Goal in Gaza?

Posted by Bill Nance on January 5, 2009

I fail to see how Israel’s interests have been served by the latest actions in Gaza. To me, I simply don’t see an end-game here that enhances Israeli security.

Aside from pissing off the usual suspects in Europe (Is France ever not critical of Israel?) it seems an operation doomed to failure simply because Hamas, a religiouly motivated group, cannot be deterred. Deterrence doesn’t work when someone’s basis for existence is not power, but pleasing their God. So “punishing them,” as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has claimed, is not something that’s going to work.  As Christopher Hitchens wrote in Slate today:

…one understands exactly how disgusting and squalid is the behavior of the Hamas gang. It knows very well that sanctions are injuring every Palestinian citizen, but—just like Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq—it declines to cease the indiscriminate violence and the racist and religious demagogy that led to the sanctions in the first place. Palestine is a common home for several religious and national groups, but Hamas dogmatically insists that the whole territory is instead an exclusively Muslim part of a future Islamic empire

Hamas is not Fatah. Fatah, as screwed up as it is, is at least a political organization in the traditional sense. It has political goals and a desire to stay in power. You can work with such an organization, because it is possible to give them things they want in return for things you want. Hamas however, is a different kettle of fish. Like Al Quaeda, Hamas’ goals are not something with which Israel or the rest of the civilized world can coexist.

So Israel is in an impossible situation. The rocket atacks were totally unacceptable, but a coventional military campaign on the part of Israel will produce what exactly? Eventually the Israelis are going to pull out and the situation will have been largely unchanged. Southern Israel will still be in rocket range, the fanatics will still be fanatics and meanwhile, the destructioln visited upon innocent civilians who are not firing rockets will continue to horrify the world and further isolate Israel.

To me this latest action seems the lashing out in desperation and frustration, with no real hope of actually accomplishing anything. The only results I think, will be the killing of many Palestinian civilians, some Israeli soldiers and damage to Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud Party prospects in the upcoming election.

Come on Mr. Olmert, please tell us you have a real goal here beyond domestic politics.

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