November 26, 2012

Moshe Arens wants more people killed on both sides next time

Here's a bizarre article in Ha'aretz from former Israeli cabinet minister, Moshe Arens, arguing that Israel didn't achieve its objective in the recent, Pillar of Defence, attack on Gaza.

I can't agree with any of his assumptions:
If the mission of Operation Pillar of Defense was to free the civilian population of southern Israel from the recurrent threat of rocket attacks by terrorists from the Gaza Strip, this mission was not accomplished. They are today, after the cease-fire, as exposed to this threat as they were before.
These ferocious attacks by Israel are becoming a staple of incumbent governments' electioneering. The idea that defence was the aim is just one bogus assumption.  There is also the unmentioned assumption that Israel couldn't possibly consider negotiating with any Palestinians in good faith.  They've never done it before, why start now?  But let's repeat the stated aim a couple of times:
The government was quite modest in defining the operation's goal and received compliments from many quarters for this sober behavior. No goal that might be beyond reach was announced. Presumably the lessons of the past had been learned - a modest goal was set that could be matched by modest achievements. To "change the security situation," the government announced was the aim
But look, Arens has noticed something:
As modest as the announced aim was, the result of the eight-day long operation was even more modest. Has the security situation really changed substantially in the wake of the operation?
Now this could be because his assumption that the stated aim was the true aim was simply wrong.
The arsenal of rockets in the Gaza Strip is today substantially diminished. So is the Israeli arsenal of "Iron Dome" missiles. Both will, no doubt, be replenished in short order. The active manpower of terrorist organizations has been hit by air strikes, but there will be no shortage of replacements for those who are gone. The terrorist command infrastructure has been hurt, but will be rebuilt. In terms of the physical balance, it will not be long before it will be difficult to observe a substantial change in the security situation as compared to what existed before the operation.
Oh please consider the fact that it wasn't really about the security situation.....
Was there really no alternative at this time to a cease-fire brokered by Morsi, an ideological ally of Hamas? To bring about a real change in the security situation in the south the rocket arsenal of the Gaza terrorists and their rocket manufacturing facilities would have to be destroyed, and the renewal of supplies through the Sinai would have to be blocked. Considering the small size of the Gaza Strip this is not an impossible mission for the IDF. However, it could not be accomplished solely from the air. It would require an incursion into the Gaza Strip by IDF ground troops.
Is it not possible that Morsi wasn't simply talking to Israel and Hamas but also to the US and Turkey?  After all, what direct pressure could Egypt and Hamas bring to bear on Israel?  Hilary Clinton thanked Morsi.  They must have spoken during the operation.  Arens is assuming, taking him at face value, that Israel ceased firing because it was persuaded of something by Egypt.

But look what Arens wants rather than a brokered cease fire that might collapse just in time for the election after this one.
an incursion into the Gaza Strip by IDF ground troops.
But in spite of his refusal to face let alone state reality, he is at the end of the day, a realist:
Such an operation would, no doubt, involve losses. But it is high time that soldiers replace the civilians in the front line. The civilians have been at the front for too long. This should have been done during the first few days of the operation. Thereafter, the international pressure for a cease-fire agreement became difficult to resist. [Aha, so it was the USA thanks to Egypt and Turkey]
Now, very few Israeli civilians have been killed by these rockets and there are various means by which Israel could stop them which don't involve killing lots of people but these would involve the dangerous precedent of good faith negotiations.  But Arens doesn't want good faith negotiations, he wants more people killed on both sides than has been the case so far.  What a wonderful shitty little country.

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