Israel: Next Time there will not be a political truce

How Israel responds to military pressure from the Palestinian enclave and from Hezbollah, would be radically different if their patron Iran crosses the nuclear threshold
For two decades, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have fired tens of thousands of rockets indiscriminately at Israel’s civilian population, over 1,100 in the recent round alone. It is an unacceptable situation that no country would tolerate. Unfortunately, it is also one of a number of “unacceptable” situations that Israel has had to accept over the years.
Some 40 years after the threat first emerged, Israel still does not have an effective offensive capability to prevent and suppress rocket fire. While offensive operations have gradually diminished the threat in each conflict and imposed costs on Gaza that ultimately forced Hamas or Islamic Jihad to accept a cease-fire, Israel has had to rely on defense, primarily Iron Dome.
The number of casualties Israel suffers in each around is small, but the disruption to national life, hardening effects on public opinion, and costs to Israel’s international standing are not.
After repeated rounds in Gaza, it is abundantly clear that there is no purely military solution to the problem and that – the right’s self-delusions notwithstanding – the Palestinian issue cannot be wished away, even after the Abraham Accords. It is not that Israel cannot defeat Islamic Jihad, Hamas (or Hezbollah). It can. It is that the cost of doing so and of “solving” the problem, as suggested by some of our verbally nimble but cerebrally leaden political leaders, exceeds the magnitude of the threat.
To effectively counter the rocket threat, Israel would have to occupy all of Gaza, or Lebanon, spend months rooting out the rockets, and lose hundreds of soldiers in the process, all for what would probably be a short-lived benefit: Once Israel withdraws, the rocket arsenal would likely be rebuilt rapidly.
As painful as the rocket threat is, primarily for those who live near Gaza, the remedy is still worse than the illness. We may ultimately have no other recourse, but there is a reason that all of the governments in office since the threat emerged – Sharon, Olmert, Netanyahu, Lapid; left, right, and center – have abjured a major operation designed to “solve” the problem and limited themselves to limited ones to mitigate it.
If there is no purely military solution to Gaza, the even worse news is that there is no purely political one either – the left’s self-delusions notwithstanding – that peace would be achievable if Israel would just make further concessions. Without significant progress toward peace, the problem will certainly not end, but even that may not suffice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *