What’s Israel’s Plan in Gaza?
The Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip continues. As this is an important situation from several perspectives, as well as being a child killing Kafkaesque nightmare, I’m going to post on it again. Especially since there is a small but growing possibility that this will morph into a much larger war, retaliatory attacks against Israel have already occurred. That alone pretty much makes this the story of the day.
And two points for today. First I want to reiterate my primary objection to how the western media covers the Gaza incursion. It is almost invariably referred to as a “fight” or a “conflict” or even a “war.” Even I have no doubt occasionally used similar terms, but that’s a terrible misstatement of the facts.
Imagine, if you were walking dawn the street and you rounded the corner and saw Arnold Schwarzenegger, wearing brass knuckles, beating an unconscious midget into a bloody pulp…would you immediately think “What are you guys fighting about?” I think it’s safe to say that most people would not characterize that as a fight. And if Arnold said “He kicked me in the shins, I’m teaching him a lesson!”…I think most people would find that insufficient as an explanation.
Yet the disparity between Israel and the Palestinians is far greater. Israel has everything, the Palestinians on their “reservations” have nothing. The IDF is the world’s fourth largest military, with enough reservists to put millions of troops in the field. The IDF has thousands of the most modern tanks and armoured vehicles, hundreds of ultra-modern jets and helicopters, a thousand plus self-propelled artillery gun, dozens of warships, and a virtually infinite supply of ammunition, drones, and supplies. Oh, and just for fun, Israel has 200 or more nuclear warheads.
The Palestinians have a few tens of thousands of fighters armed with rifles and limited supplies of home-made World War One era mortars, mines, and rockets. And Israel is threatened by the Palestinians? Israel out guns the Palestinians by millions to one and could slaughter them all in weeks if they chose, Hamas’s rockets have killed maybe a dozen people in the last seven years. Quite literally, drunk drivers are more of a threat to Israel than Hamas.
So why in the name of God do the Palestinians continue to fight even though they can’t possibly win and the Israels kill them in wildly disproportionate numbers? Because since 1948 millions of Palestinians have been unjustly deprived of property, liberty, and in many cases life itself by the actions of the Israeli government. This is a legitimate grievance, and no matter how many times the Palestinians are “taught a lesson” some of them are going to continue to fight until their grievances are acknowledged and addressed by Israel. As would any people under the same circumstances.
Which brings us to part two, what are the Israelis up to in Gaza? The only way this will stop the rocket attacks would be to occupy all of Gaza all the time, which seems unlikely. It would also mean that Hamas would have endless target opportunities to attack the Israel military inside Gaza. Israel claims they are trying to destroy Hamas, but unless they lock up or kill every male in Gaza, that ain’t going to happen. In fact there’s every reason to believe Hamas will come out of this more popular than ever. In childhood fantasies you can beat sense into people, in real life beating up your enemies just makes them more determined to fight back somehow.
So I dunno, I am reasonably sure that Israeli politics and the upcoming American regime change (such as it is, snort) influenced the timing of this, but there has to be more to it than that. Especially since every day this goes on the chances increase that violence will spill over or breakout elsewhere as a result. Hezbollah might resume rocket attacks. Another uprising on the West Bank. Egypt, Pakistan, or Iran destabilized as hard liners seize control or attempt to seize control. A 9/11 type retaliatory attack on Israeli or American interests somewhere in the world.
Yes, there’s any number of very unpleasant possible consequences to Israel’s assault in Gaza. And the longer this goes on, and Israel is showing no signs of letting up, the more I suspect that unpleasant consequences are indeed the whole point of this operation. The hard liners in Israel would like nothing better than an excuse to simply kick all of the Palestinians out of the occupied territories and to settle the issue of “greater Israel” once and for all. A wider war and instability in the Middle East just might give them a excuse to do just that, and maybe attack Syria and Iran while they are at it.
I don’t know what the plan is, but as I have stated before and any honest student of history would agree, wars rarely, if ever, turn out according to plan. And the bigger the war, the more likely it will turn out in way that no one predicted and few of any would have wanted.
God help the innocent people in Palestine, God help us all if the fighting spreads.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, is central to illustrating the post, and arguably is a historically important image. I’m pretty sure it’s a public domain image released by Israel in any event. It’s a picture of Israeli troops when they invaded Gaza the first time in 1967. Considering the numbers of invasions and military actions Israel has carried out since 1967, I’m going to venture that maybe the idea that peace can be achieved through war needs to be re-examined in some quarters.)