Tuesday, August 5, 2014

War aims

Photo from Electronic Intifada via Tom Pride.
First Israel was fighting to rescue the kidnapped Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, although they knew the boys were already dead, then to punish the Hamas organization for killing them, though they knew the organization hadn't done it.

Then Israel was fighting to stop firing of thousands of Hamas rockets (which set a kind of record by not even slightly harming a single person during the whole month of attacks), only they didn't know (contrary to their claims) where the rockets were. But they could find some of the tunnels Palestinians had built out of their prison camp to attack their guards on the other side of the border, so they fought to destroy those.

That one stuck, with a brief interlude in which they were fighting to rescue the "kidnapped" Lt. Hadar Goldin, although they knew he was dead and the IDF itself may indeed have killed him in keeping with the so-called "Hannibal directive". But destroying the tunnels proved to be the best of the ex post facto war aims after all, so that now Gazans are to be allowed to have some peace for three days, maybe for another couple of years, for which everybody needs to be grateful.

The only true possibility of peace remains what Yitzhak Rabin called the Peace of the Brave, in which Israelis accept that there is a certain amount of ineluctable risk. There is a risk that some Israelis will be hurt if there is peace; if Gazans are permitted to travel in and out of the territory, or if Palestinians in general are permitted to constitute themselves as a state.

Then again some Israelis will certainly be hurt if there is no peace (64 IDF soldiers in the course of the current adventure dead, for what?). The Israeli government seems to have adopted Dick Cheney's "one percent doctrine" in which if there's a one-percent chance that something dreadful will happen you must act, but if there's a 90% certainty (e.g. that America's coastal cities will be drowned over the next century by the ongoing rise in the sea level) you can ignore that. It's the War of the Hysterically Frightened.

Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.

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