There Is No Military Solution To This Conflict

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories has been going on for over 40 years now. Israel has bombed; killed and injured thousands of Palestinians with tank shells, missiles, and guns; arrested, detained, and interrogated thousands of Palestinian men; bulldozed land and demolished homes; confiscated land for hundreds of settlements and for the bypass roads that connect settlements to each other and to Israel, and diverted natural resources (like water) for settlers’ use; built a wall , ostensibly for security, that Palestinians see as a land grab because it does not follow the Green Line (it’s actually twice the length of the Green Line); and subjected Palestinians to constant, daily indignities and acts of humiliation just in going through their daily routines of work, school, shopping.

None of it has made Israel the tiniest bit more secure, or closer to the day when security will be at hand. I would argue that Israel is actually less secure now than it was before the Occupation began. Since 1967, two generations of Palestinians have grown to adulthood having never known any existence other than squalid refugee camps and military occupation. Hamas itself was born out of this reality. It was founded in 1987 at the time of the First Intifada. In 1987 the first generation of Palestinians born under Occupation were just coming of age. In 2000, when the Second Intifada began, a second generation born since 1967 was entering adolescence and young adulthood.

Get the picture? In what conceivable way does continuing its current military policies serve Israel’s long-term national interests or make Israelis safer or more secure?

On a similar note, Spencer Ackerman thinks Israel is making it up as they go along, and it’s not working:

The invasion of Gaza has begun. As the bombardment of Gaza has failed to break Palestinian “will,” now the gamble is that ground troops will. According to Ha’aretz, a significant portion of Israeli “top commanders” dissented from the decision to invade, arguing that the airstrikes had already dealt Hamas a “heavy blow” and that Israeli casualties could be heavy as well. Clearly they shared the concern that Israel was escalating the war without regard for strategy. How will Israel de-escalate? How can it invade Gaza on the empty goal to engage in an “all-out war” with Hamas and plausibly leave before that unfulfillable end-state is achieved? How can Israeli commanders and politicians who believe a war is going well be persuaded to back down before they commit hubristic blunders that decimate the people of Gaza and make sustainable peace and security less achievable?

This is a plea for what amounts at this point to cynicism. Israel should arbitrarily declare victory and get the hell out of Gaza. Hamas will claim victory too. But it was always going to claim victory, and every hour Israel is in Gaza pummeling them without destroying them is an hour that Hamas will be able to claim that more plausibly, just like Hezbollah did in 2006. That’s how these types of asymmetric wars work; and also why it’s better for the larger party not to launch them. Israel may not want to hear this now, but it’s playing on Hamas’ strategic terms. Stepping back is the truer “success” at this point.

Via Memeorandum.

2 Responses to “There Is No Military Solution To This Conflict”

  1. Liz says:

    Glad I stumbled upon your blog! It’s good to see a little bit of outrage.

  2. Kathy says:

    Glad you stopped by, Liz; stick around!

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