My philosophy: Avoid wars. If you can’t avoid them, win them!
BTW when does an operation become a war? Just asking.
I began writing well aware that events might make this post obsolete before it is published. This morning (Tuesday) the Israeli Cabinet agreed to a ceasefire; Hamas disagreed on a ceasefire and by 11:30 rockets were raining down on Sderot, Askelon and Ashdod and other parts of Israel.
The IDF entered Gaza in force and I still hadn’t finished. Hopefully the operation will be over, if the talking-heads are to be believed. Then what?
As a general rule Five Minutes for Israel doesn’t seek to advise the Israeli government but my television is always on – perhaps something has happened in the operation. Every talking head is offering advice so why not me?
The only solution is military
We still hear the mantra that a military solution won’t fix the basic problems. On the contrary it is the only solution that will. Hamas has no intention ever to live next to a Jewish State or to be more precise any state that is not run to Sharia principles. There will never, ever be a negotiated solution with Hamas only at best a temporary truce till they are strong enough. They must never be allowed to be strong enough.
At some point Hamas has to be given their only options, surrender or death. I believe they will choose the first. Then Israel should try them in Israeli courts because I don’t believe there is any international court that we can trust.
There are some who argue that I wouldn’t say this if I had a child serving in Gaza. That is a serious issue, of course.
Brave Israeli soldiers will die. More than I had originally forecast. The enemy has been preparing this for several years and we are fighting on their turf. How many would have died had Hamas staged a Mumbai attack through the tunnels? Wouldn’t giving them another year to import and construct more weapons and improve their fortifications simply mean that in the end the casualties would be worse?
We can win if we want but clearly we have to accept there is far less IDF superiority on the ground.
My answer. It’s not an original thought, of course, but I will appropriate it as if I had thought of it myself. The purpose of an army is to protect the people not that the people protect the army.
The day after
One completely rational fear is that by creating a vacuum in Gaza something worse will take Hamas’s place. While I doubt the successor will be worse, even if an Al Qaeda or ISIS clone, the fear is legitimate. However a successor would, unlike Hamas, have to content without the veneer of elected respectability and with rivals of approximately equal armament and propensity for violence.
Others, also completely rationally, ask if Israel wants to rule over one and a half million hostile Gazans? Following, what I believe this war has convincingly exposed, the colossal blunder of the 2005 Gaza disengagement the chances of reestablishing Jewish communities is essentially nil so control means a military occupation in every real sense of the word.
There is a way around this.
I am in favour of overturning the apple cart because there is no way that the status quo will improve. That said, there is a method that I have heard no one else discuss to manipulate the fall of the fruit.
My plan is this. On the fall of Hamas Israel announces publicly, probably to the UN General Assembly is the best address, that Israel troops will withdraw immediately they are replaced by one or any combination of the following forces.
- United Nations forces on the single condition that only countries with full diplomatic recognition of Israel participate;
- Egypt, who we should recall ruled Gaza before and arguably have a historic claim;
- The Palestinian Authority, who still claim that Gaza is part of the Palestinian State.
Each of these potential peace makers has sound reasons for declining but also little choice but to accept. Each of the three is problematic but let Gaza be their problem.
How can the United Nations refuse to provide peacekeepers when asked? Isn’t that the whole point of Chapter 7† in the United Nations Charter? Even if those keepers include ‘dear friends’ like Turkey, Israeli soldiers are not fighting an insurgency.
True UN peacekeepers have generally proved to be fairly useless, as Lebanon has shown, But can it be any worse than now?
How can Egypt refuse if asked? They may not want Gaza yet they still had to be kicked out in ’67. The current Egyptian government under Sisi, sees Hamas as part of the Muslim Brotherhood, as indeed Hamas sees itself‡. A power vacuum or the return of Hamas is a threat to Egypt they may not be able to ignore.
The Palestinian Authority is a no-brainer. To refuse is to accept for all time Gaza is not part of Palestine and to publicly accept Israeli occupation. Don’t they know, It’s all about the Occupation?
It’s true that they are corrupt and lost Gaza in 2006 despite American arms and support. It’s also true that Abbas, wearing his PLO hat probably will never agree to peace and wearing his Fatah hat wants war to recommence when Israel is weak. But for all that there is a degree of Israeli cooperation with the PA that is totally missing with Gaza; the people by every measure are better off and Abbas has sound economic reasons not to rock the boat. The Islamic movement, despite the short-lived alliance, is Arab nationalism/modernism’s great enemy and Abbas is firmly on the nationalist side.
Could it be worse than now? I doubt it.
Accept no conditions for a ceasefire, even symbolic or token ones you have no basic objection to. Only an unconditional You stop shooting and we will stop shooting. Perhaps fortunately, Hamas shows no current sign of playing the ceasefire game.
When the Hamas leaders eventually resurface (literally, they are protected underground unlike their citizens) they will be asked, what did the hell you put us through achieve. The only acceptable answer will be nothing.
Any concessions will be only lead to Hamas declaring victory as they did in the last two Gaza wars and a return to hostilities when they are ready.
On the opposite side of the ledger when this war is over or declared over our government will have to persuade the bereaved families and Israelis, especially in the South that it was worth the cost.
Albert Einstein, reputedly said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. No one can be certain of the long-term results of any plan but at least the Five Minutes for Israel plan is novel.
Jingoistic? I hope not. Wars should be avoided. If you can’t avoid them, win them!
As always, responses are welcome.
- The Chances Of A Ceasefire, Brian of London, israellycool, 15 July 2014
- Egypt launches initiative to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict. Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller, Reuters, 14 July 2014
- Hamas rejects Egypt ceasefire plan for Gaza, Al Jazeera, 15 Jul 2014
- Israel accepts Egyptian ceasefire proposal, Hamas rejects deal, Itamar Sharon and Lazar Berman, Times of Israel, 15 July 2014
- Hamas is not alone in Gaza, David Oman, IDA, 16 July 2014
- COLUMN ONE: How to win in Gaza, Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, 17 July 2014
- The Challenges of an Urban Battlefield, IDF Blog, 18 July 2014
About the graphics
Five Minutes for Israel has no copyright permission for any of these graphics. That remains with the owners. Check out all the legal details at Cagle.com. It should be obvious in an Israel advocates’ site that I have selectively chosen those that support the Israeli case. Those that are arguably neutral or hostile you can find for yourselves.
Click on thumbnails for larger image.
† CHAPTER VII United Nations Charter: ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THREATS TO THE PEACE, BREACHES OF THE PEACE, AND ACTS OF AGGRESSION
Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.
Article Two Hamas Charter
‡ The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era. It is characterized by a profound understanding, by precise notions and by a complete comprehensiveness of all concepts of Islam in all domains of life: views and beliefs, politics and economics, education and society, jurisprudence and rule, indoctrination and teaching, the arts and publications, the hidden and the evident, and all the other domains of life.