Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kassams, Air Strikes, Gaza Invasion, UN Resolutions, Withdrawal, Kassams... and then what?

I've lost track of how many “Now we've had it” operations we've seen over the years. There was Lebanon in the summer of '06, after Hizballah kidnapped soldiers. There was a massive raid in the West Bank four or five years ago, after a series of terrorist massacres; that was when the IDF confined Arafat to his Muqata. And before that, and before that...

The problem is straightforward: We have to do something, but there's nothing to do.

To sit on our hands while thugs bomb our cities is suicidal madness. Certainly, they lack the means to destroy our country. But the psychological toll on a population under threat is huge. They count on it – that's why they launch the kassams. Their goal is to make Israelis want to get out. Not out of Gaza, but out of Israel.

So we need to do something... but what?

Diplomacy is meaningless. You're talking to people whose declared goal is to eliminate you. Your goals run directly counter to theirs. So how can you gain their support for your vision? To borrow from Ury, how to Get to Yes?

Threatening bluster is just that, bluster. It accomplishes nothing, the equivalent of a frustrated cry at a television screen or computer monitor.

Sanctions do nothing, because the people running the show in Gaza are happy to let the people suffer. They enjoy it, knowing it brings headlines and international sympathy.

And so we are left with military force, with airstrikes and a ground assault and a lot of burned out buildings and dead bodies and UN resolutions.

Eventually, because this operation will run true to the same pattern we have seen every time before, because this Israeli government has no strategy, no goal, no benchmark of success or definition of victory, the troops will pull back. Hamas will launch a few missiles to show it still can, to save face, to declare triumphant victory.

And the rockets will resume.

And we'll be back where we started from.

And who know where Gilad Schalit will be?


  1. i think when there is a problem, it's human nature to look for a definitive solution. perhaps some situations are more a condition, like dandruff or acne; it requires periodic treatment, but there is no real cure.

  2. Michael-
    In other words: "If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact, not to be solved, but to be coped with over time."

    You know who said that first? You may be surprised.

  3. I am very concerned about Shalit, but truthfully I am not very optimistic for him.

  4. The truth is, we still haven't figured out how a democratic nation-state ought properly to respond to guerrilla warfare.

    When the enemies are mixed inextricably with noncombatants, you have to choose between killing the innocent and letting threatening guilty people resume their deadly activities.

    The U.S. doesn't have the answer. Look how we've screwed up our own "war on terror."

    Europe doesn't have the answer. Xenophobia and riots/bombings are still fairly common events.

    Africa doesn't have the answer - their internicine fighting has killed more thousands than Israel ever will.

    Asia doesn't have the answer - totalitarianism is not the direction we choose.

  5. Great post. I struggle with the same. Gotta do something. Nothing seems to help. Can't not do something.

    Tzipporah's comment is right on.

  6. Or Am I-
    Thanks, and thanks for linking. May we merit to agree on happier things as well.