Israel's non-war

Moshe Dann
According to FM Tsippi Livni, Israel's goals are: "halting the rocket fire and terror from Gaza, stopping the smuggling into Gaza, and international supervision."

Boldly, she insisted: "We don't sign agreements with terror; we fight terror."

But that has not been her policy up to now. In fact, the Israeli government allowed smuggling and did not respond vigorously to rocket attacks; international supervision is an admitted failure. Having once agreed to a cease-fire with Hamas, the Israeli government is under pressure to renew the process. Despite its losses, this would be a clear victory for Hamas. Aware that they cannot win a conventional war with Israel, Hamas will accept de facto recognition as a consolation prize, and wait for the next round.  

Israel's current action in Gaza is the direct result of past failures: the failure to adhere to "red lines" despite years of rocket attacks and terrorism;  the failure to heed warnings of what would happen if Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, especially the area of smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border; unilaterally abandoning strategic positions -- destroying nearly 2 dozen thriving Jewish communities that provided jobs and stability to Arabs, as well as Jews; the failure to respond to terrorist attacks, e.g. when a soldier, Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, and thousands of deadly rockets hit Jewish communities throughout the area; and the failure to understand the dangers of a Palestinian state.

That this conflict is part of a much wider and deeper conflict is obvious. Its persistence is directly related to the failure of policies that rely on the establishment of a second Palestinian terror-based state, supported by Iran. As long as Israeli politicians and others support such a state and the appeasement of terrorism, organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah will not only survive, but continue to threaten regional stability and peace.

Israel's actions in Gaza, therefore, are not a war; there is no plan or policy to destroy an enemy, Hamas. Israel has, in fact, pursued the opposite policy, delivering food, humanitarian aid and money.

Nor is it coincidental that Olmert/Barak decided to act a month before elections. Perceived as weak, they needed to displayed strength. But it is too little and too late. Having maneuvered Israel into an intolerable position, as in the "Second Lebanese War" in 2006, Olmert/Barak must now engage a more formidable opponent. Ironically, it is an enemy they helped to create.

Suggestions that Israel must learn to "live with terrorism," serve to strengthen the motivation and determination of Hamas, Hizbullah and other genocidal groups. These policies are based on two assumptions: (1) that it is not possible to defeat such enemies, and (2) that such regimes are legitimate, especially because they have popular support.

That Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, however, does not mean that it has the right to rule. Israel has tried to make a distinction between denying legitimacy to the Hamas regime, while negotiating with it and providing humanitarian assistance and normal trade relations to the people, hoping that a popular uprising will vote their leaders out. Naïvely, this misunderstands reality: Hamas enjoys popular support and admiration and anyone who dissents is labeled a collaborator. The net effect of maintaining relations with Hamas is to reward terrorism.

Walking away with no more than a simple cease fire, will be a military victory for Hamas and its godfather, Iran, and a moral defeat for Israel as well as the world.
According to FM Tsippi Livni, Israel's goals are: "halting the rocket fire and terror from Gaza, stopping the smuggling into Gaza, and international supervision."

Boldly, she insisted: "We don't sign agreements with terror; we fight terror."

But that has not been her policy up to now. In fact, the Israeli government allowed smuggling and did not respond vigorously to rocket attacks; international supervision is an admitted failure. Having once agreed to a cease-fire with Hamas, the Israeli government is under pressure to renew the process. Despite its losses, this would be a clear victory for Hamas. Aware that they cannot win a conventional war with Israel, Hamas will accept de facto recognition as a consolation prize, and wait for the next round.  

Israel's current action in Gaza is the direct result of past failures: the failure to adhere to "red lines" despite years of rocket attacks and terrorism;  the failure to heed warnings of what would happen if Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, especially the area of smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border; unilaterally abandoning strategic positions -- destroying nearly 2 dozen thriving Jewish communities that provided jobs and stability to Arabs, as well as Jews; the failure to respond to terrorist attacks, e.g. when a soldier, Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, and thousands of deadly rockets hit Jewish communities throughout the area; and the failure to understand the dangers of a Palestinian state.

That this conflict is part of a much wider and deeper conflict is obvious. Its persistence is directly related to the failure of policies that rely on the establishment of a second Palestinian terror-based state, supported by Iran. As long as Israeli politicians and others support such a state and the appeasement of terrorism, organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah will not only survive, but continue to threaten regional stability and peace.

Israel's actions in Gaza, therefore, are not a war; there is no plan or policy to destroy an enemy, Hamas. Israel has, in fact, pursued the opposite policy, delivering food, humanitarian aid and money.

Nor is it coincidental that Olmert/Barak decided to act a month before elections. Perceived as weak, they needed to displayed strength. But it is too little and too late. Having maneuvered Israel into an intolerable position, as in the "Second Lebanese War" in 2006, Olmert/Barak must now engage a more formidable opponent. Ironically, it is an enemy they helped to create.

Suggestions that Israel must learn to "live with terrorism," serve to strengthen the motivation and determination of Hamas, Hizbullah and other genocidal groups. These policies are based on two assumptions: (1) that it is not possible to defeat such enemies, and (2) that such regimes are legitimate, especially because they have popular support.

That Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, however, does not mean that it has the right to rule. Israel has tried to make a distinction between denying legitimacy to the Hamas regime, while negotiating with it and providing humanitarian assistance and normal trade relations to the people, hoping that a popular uprising will vote their leaders out. Naïvely, this misunderstands reality: Hamas enjoys popular support and admiration and anyone who dissents is labeled a collaborator. The net effect of maintaining relations with Hamas is to reward terrorism.

Walking away with no more than a simple cease fire, will be a military victory for Hamas and its godfather, Iran, and a moral defeat for Israel as well as the world.