As Israel’s troops and tanks sit waiting at the border to invade Gaza, I’m starting to wonder if they really will invade. For when I remember that Israel’s avowed aim is to get rid of Hamas, and then think of the options Israel has (I’ve concluded that a ground invasion was the best tactic), I get shpilkes. Can a ground invasion really get rid of Hamas when:
- Hamas will not only be spread widely throughout the country, but also hiding in tunnels, and some may temporarily go to Egypt. How can Israel possibly get rid of Hamas unless they kill or capture most of Hamas’s leaders and terrorists? Is that even feasible?
- A ground invasion, particularly one designed to get rid of Hamas and recapture the hostages (I see the latter aim as futile), will absolutely destroy Gaza—at least the northern part. Is this something that’s worthwhile given the likely response of the world? After all, the Middle East is already inflamed against Israel based on a hospital bombing that was likely caused by a misfired terrorist rocket. Widespread destruction of Gaza will engender a much stronger reaction.
- Even if Hamas is destroyed, won’t Israel’s actions in Gaza, especially if the infrastructure is largely destroyed, simply create another generation of militants that will replace Hamas?
I have no answers to these questions, and am losing confidence that Israel’s invasion (or a massive bombing attack) will accomplish its aims.
Nevertheless, Israel must respond to a brutal attack on its civilians, one involving rape, mutilation, murder, and the taking of 200 hostages.
This is a horrible situation, but of course besides Western countries, nearly all Middle Eastern countries will turn even more against Israel, scuppering any chance for peace, much less a two-state solution. The problem of terrorism and threats from countries like Lebanon and Iran (the latter helped bankroll the Hamas attack) will remain. (I’m not even going to mention dismantling settlements, which also won’t solve the terrorist problem.)
I wish that at the 2000 Camp David Summit, Yassar Arafat had accepted what I see as a reasonable offer of land for peace by Israel’s Ehud Barak. (This was one of several peace offers by Israel that the Palestinians rejected over the years.) Yet the laws of physics, as instantiated in Arafat’s misfired neurons, decreed otherwise. But that’s water under the bridge. The questions that I’d like readers to discuss are in the three bullet points above.