Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gaza: Temporary relief or definitive cure?

The Jewish Press has a front-page article by "combined news sources" about a planned invasion of Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces to destroy the Hamas infrastructure and put an end to the daily rocket attakcs on Sderot and other places in the Negev and as far as Ashkelon. I believe the article goes into too much detail about what the IDF plans to do and how they plan to do it; back in World War II there was a saying that "loose lips sink ships."
The gist of the story is that sometime soon, and with at least the tacit approval of President Bush, the Israelis will bomb and then invade Gaza, stay for several weeks to several months, destroy Hamas's installations and ability to make mischief and then leave. The aerial bombardment is meant to reduce the numbers of Israeli troops in the ground invasion and thus the number of Israeli casualties. If so, the plan is flawed on several counts.
The Gaza problem is not new, nor did it begin with the ill-conceived disengagement in 2005. It has been going on since 1948. Fedayeen, al-Fatah, Hamas, only the names change, the daily terror attacks on civilians remain the same. In 1956 Israel responded to eight years of daily provocation by invading and capturing the Gaza Strip and the whole of Sinai up to the Suez Canal, only to withdraw against its own interests at the insistence of Britain and France (who participated in the invasion and then got cold feet) and President Eisenhower. A United Nations force was put in place as a buffer against terror attacks, and that more or less worked until 1967, when Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser flicked his finger and the U.N. force, the proverbial umbrella that folds up as soon as it begins to rain, left. The Six Day War and Israel's miraculous victory ensued, and that overwhelming show of strength kept the peace until Israel's foolish decision to negotiate with enemies sworn to its destruction. Still, several settlement blocs placed with the approval of several Israeli governments, left and right, kept a lid on the violence. Then the disengagement. As anybody with any sense of history would have been able to predict (and did predict), the enemy kept on "engaging" with deadly effect. Duh, appeasement doesn't work. Munich anyone? So now, repeating the errors of the abortive Sinai campaign, the U.N. folding umbrella and the placement of settlements only to remove them when the going got tough, Israel is set to embark on an illusory quick fix instead of a definitive solution.
The American experience in Iraq should show us that aerial bombardment does not win wars. All it does is prepare the battlefield; wars are won by boots on the ground and plenty of them. That means casualties, but there is no choice since the existence of the State hangs in the balance; if Israel is perceived as weak and unwilling to take casualties, the enemy is emboldened to increase its attacks, not just from Gaza but from South Lebanon. All of Israel will be in missile range from north or south. It also means a lot of diplomatic heat, but again there is no choice; diplomacy never defeated Arab terror and never will. Israel has no one to rely on except God and its own strength. Limited war is an oxymoron; one must go whole hog or not at all. While Israel should not go out of its way to attack civilians, when the enemy hides its military assets in civilian areas, as those brave Arabs always do, Israel's air force should drop some very dumb bombs from very high altitudes and put the fear of God in the enemy. Cold, clawing fear is what the Arabs understand. And forget about leaving in a few weeks, months or years. How do you think Hamas came to power in Gaza? In as free an election as any you could get in that part of the world (except Israel!). And what will happen as soon as the IDF leaves? That's right - Hamas comes right back, rearmed by their Syrian and Iranian sponsors, and the rockets start falling again and worse. Gaza is part and parcel of Eretz Yisrael and Israel must stay there forever. The expelled pioneers of Gush Katif are, for the most part, still in temporary housing and would return in a heartbeat and rebuild everything that the Arabs destroyed after the disengagement and then some. Golda Meir once said that Gaza is a dagger sticking into Israel's heart and must never be surrendered (she also told the world, straight from the shoulder, "The future of Jerusalem is not negotiable."). They didn't call her the only man in the cabinet for nothing. The Arab population must be dealt with the way Poland and what were then Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union dealt with the Germans in the huge chunks of German territory they inherited after World War II. To wit, complete the exchange of populations begun in the 1950s when tens of thousands of Jews from Arab countries were expelled and came to Israel with little but the clothes on their backs. Let them go to the Palestinian state that has sat on 80% of mandatory Palestine since 1946 and is known as Jordan. Or let them come to America. Gaza's Arabs for Brooklyn's Jews? Israel can do with a lot of brainy English-speaking Jews who can take the sun as well as any Arab, would be happy to never look at a snow shovel or bundle up like an Eskimo again and do not pose a security risk.
And what is this business of seeking the approval of President Bush before acting? Is Israel a colony of the United States? The first duty of any government is to protect its people. The safety of Israelis, not Americans, is at stake here. What do you think President Bush would do if border towns in New York were under constant rocket fire from Canadian territory? I have little doubt that he would have the U.S. Air Force give Canada an early spring. Indeed, when President Bush was criticized for invading Iraq without a consensus of world opinion, he replied that he will never wait for a permission slip to keep America safe. The same principle applies here. Go in and clean out the viper's nest once and for all.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with invading 'Aza is that it doesn't end the problem. The reason 'Aza was quiet from 1967-1993 was because the Arabs believed that any attack on Israel would bring a swift reprisal.

So what if Israel invades and destroys the terrorist infrastructure? They will be condemned by the world for attacking "civilians". And when they finally pull out, Hamas will use Saudi and Iranian money to rebuilt everything from scratch. After a few weeks, the problem will start again.

Keep an eye on Kosovo and note the similarities between Serbia and Israel, and Kosovo and the Arabs. Then remember how no one stuck up for Serbia not wanting to lose a piece of its territory.

That's why Israel needs US approval.

Fri Feb 22, 01:53:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

History shows aerial bombardment rarely works. The germans tried it on england in WWII and only emboldened the british further. The british in turn tried it on the Germans in Hamburg and Dresden, the result was germany reaching its peak of industrial arms development as late as 1944! And then of course is the second lebaneese war, where hezbollah was able to hold out despite israel bombing them back into the stone age (then again did they ever leave?). Large bombing missions can only succeed in conjunction with a large scale invasion. War means casualties and killing. The good news is that the faster we bomb and invade the less amount of killing needs to be done.
Oh one more thing. The seige on Gaza will never work. a)Religious fundamentalists don't mind starving for their faith. And b) The 'humanitarian' relief that olmert, barack and their cronies give to the palestinians defeats the very purpose of a seige. For a former ramatkhal Barack is a TERRIBLE strategist. I remember at the very beginign of the seoncond intifada he gave the palestinians till tuesday to stop the violence. Then when tuesday rolled around he gave them an extension. My god! I can see general sherman rolling in his grave!
The cutting off of electricity in Gaza can only work in conjunction with a massive invasion. I find it hard to believe that gazans have an overabundance of night vision goggles. Turn off the electricity, shut off the gas, and cut off the food, then invade. Gazans can't shoot at what they can't see. They cant drive their forces from different fronts without gas. And they can't really fight with a hunger headache.
In short the lesson is: don't start what your unwilling to finish.

Mon Feb 25, 02:33:00 AM EST  
Blogger Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

What's missing is hasbara. Before the Israelis turn off the power, they should take out ads in every major paper, have all their ambassadors appear on every major news show around the world and shout out "They are shooting rockets at us! They are threatening to destroy us! Who would give free electricity and gas to such an enemy? You wouldn't. Admit it, you wouldn't and now, neither will we!"

Mon Feb 25, 07:52:00 PM EST  
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