The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Archive for the ‘israel’ Category

Best Description of the Gaza Conflict

Posted by Bill Nance on January 7, 2009

This cartoon pretty well sums it all up.

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Schools Hit By Israeli Missiles

Posted by Bill Nance on January 6, 2009

ABC News and Al Jazeera are both reporting that two schols in Gaza have been hit by Israeli missiles, resulting in an unknown number of deaths. As many as 350 people had sought shelter at one of the schools, according to ABC News.

This should not be surprising to anyone.

First, it’s a well-known fact that Hamas hasn’t the slightest compunction about using civilian sites for launching attacks, or about hiding behind civilians.  Second, it’s equally well known that the Israelis have few qualms about killing Arab civilians if there is a military target in their midst. Before my Israeli readers have a fit, I’m not equating Hamas with the IDF, but but Israel’s armed forces have a long history of giving fairly short shrift to the possibility of collateral damage to civilians.

Folks, this is what happens when two entities are engaged in a blood feud. And every time Israel engages it’s Arab opponents with large-scale military operations it gets sucked into the same cycle of over-reaction, excessive damage to civilians in the area of operations and further polarization between itself and its Arab neighbors, not to mention world opinion in general.

Right now, as far as I can see, Israel is playing Hamas’ game. No matter what the Israelis do at this point, Hamas wins. After all, all Hamas has to do is survive to claim victory. And after the wholesale killing in Gaza is complete, I doubt Palestinians will be likely to turn on Hamas. In war, everyone rallies round the flag. -Palestinians are no different.

There simply has to be a better way than this.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for killing Hamas fighters and leaders. They are nothing but a stumbling block to any hope of peace for the region and their stated goals are despicable. But a full-scale invasion of Gaza, complete with the inevitable large numbers of civilian deaths was not the best way to accomplish this.

The IDF had better start coming up with a lot better military solutions, including the types of snatch jobs, for which Israel was once famous. Another thing it has to do, in my opinion, is to stop being as afraid of casualties within its own ranks as it has been. Small-scale military operations, including assasinations, sabotage and kidnappings are far more likely to have productive results than full scale military operations. They are also, sadly, more likely to produce IDF casualties. But that’s the price to be paid for progress. As it is, the current strategy seems both guaranteed to fail, as well as being guaranteed to produce IDF casualties (6 dead so far and counting).

Taking casualties for no productive end result seems folly to me. And taking those casualties for no productive result, while at the same time killing hundreds of civilians seems bordering on evil.

Israel now is engaged in an exercise reminiscent of a wounded bull, lashing out at anything in it’s vicinity, indiscrimate of consequences. The political leadership needs to come up with a better way of dealing with enemies. If not it will simply be one Ariel Sharon-type disaster after another. That’s good for no one, especially the Israels.

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