Monday, January 5, 2009

Possible Reasons for the Gaza Invastion

Jewish Atheist has a post making an intelligent case against Israel's actions. Essentially, he argues that while Israel has the right to defend itself, this military action is not likely to accomplish its objections and stop Hamas rockets (which can be easily made). So this action is likely to kill lots of Palestinians and not accomplish much.

JA's challenge is a reasonable one. Obviously, Israel cannot simply "defeat" Hamas and end the problem. But I think there are three strategic objectives that Israel has and that it could accomplish that might meet JA's objection.

1. By killing Hamas fighters and destroying a lot of Hamas's resources, it simply makes it more difficult for Hamas to fire rockets. It won't stop it, but it will reduce it. If the numbers go from (say) 200 rockets per day to 195 rockets per day, the Israeli attack might not be worth it. But if it goes from 200 rockets per day to 30 rockets per day, it might be worth it.

2. The "international community" (if that is even a coherent term) has been ignoring Hamas's rocket attacks. If they put pressure on Israel to agree to a cease-fire, there is a reasonable chance that the cease-fire agreement will include some provisions for monitoring Hamas rocket attacks, tunnels, arms, etc. And that would be a step forward.

3. Israel's attacks might raise the cost to Palestinians of voting for Hamas over Fatah. I've got to think that an ordinary Palestinian citizen in Gaza is quite conflicted now. On the one hand, he or she hates Israel, blames Israel for the killings, and wants revenge. This action risks further radicalizing Gaza (assuming that this is even possible). On the other hand, the average Palestinian in Gaza is probably thinking that the West Bank looks like a much nicer place to be right around now (not to mention Egypt or Jordan). And the average Palestinian certainly realizes that Hamas's rocket attacks are a but-for cause of the Israeli military attacks, regardless of whether the attacks are justified or not.

The next time there is an election, the Palestinians must sort out these conflicting thoughts and decide whether to vote for Hamas or Fatah. This attack might push at least some Palestinians towards Fatah.

blog comments powered by Disqus