Monday, November 26, 2012

 

Israel is Paying the Price for Two Decades of Strategic Blunders

Proponents of Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip used to call their plan "Gaza First," meaning that this would be a test of Arab willingness to live in peace with Israel: in theory, Israel would withdraw from Gaza and all would be well in the world, while if the Arabs continued to attack Israel then no one in the international community would criticize Israel for fighting back against unprovoked aggression. Critics of this strategic concept retorted "Gaza First--and then what?" It seemed patently obvious to anyone who has a shred of common sense--or the slightest acquaintance with Middle East history--that an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza would neither lead to peace nor grant Israel any credit from the international community. Caroline Glick points out that the critics of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza have been completely vindicated:

Israel is in a strategic trap. And it is one of its own making. Starting with the Rabin-Peres government’s decision to embrace the PLO terrorist organization as a peace partner in 1993, Israel has been in strategic retreat. Each incremental retreat by Israel has empowered its worst enemies both militarily and diplomatically and weakened the Jewish state militarily and diplomatically.

Glick argues that Israel does not have any good choices now:

Israel has only two options for dealing with the ever-escalating threat from Gaza. It can try to coexist with Hamas. This option is doomed to failure since Hamas seeks the annihilation of the Jewish people and the eradication of Israel. Recognizing this state of affairs, in a public opinion survey taken on Wednesday for Channel 2, 88% of Israelis said that a cease-fire with Hamas will either not hold at all or hold for only a short time.

74% of Israelis opposed accepting a cease-fire.

The other choice is to destroy Hamas. To accomplish this Israel will need to invade Gaza and remain in place. It will have to kill or imprison thousands of terrorists, send thousands more packing for Sinai, and then spend years patrolling the streets of Gaza and arresting terrorists just as it does today in Judea and Samaria.

Whereas the first option is impossible, the latter option is not currently viable. It isn’t viable because not enough people making the argument have the opportunity to publish their thoughts in leading publications. Most of those who might have the courage to voice this view fear that if they do, they will be denied an audience, or discredited as warmongers or extremists.


Glick notes that writers who criticized Israel's appeasement strategy were shunned by both left wing and right wing publications:

All commentators who warned of the strategic calamity that would befall Israel in the aftermath of a withdrawal from Gaza were marginalized and demonized as extremists.

Glick concludes:

The millions of Israelis who opposed the withdrawal from Gaza do not seek personal vindication for being right. They didn’t warn against the withdrawal to advance their careers or make their lives easier. Indeed, their careers were uniformly harmed. 

They did it because they were patriots. They felt it was their duty to warn their countrymen of the danger, hoping to avert the disaster we now face. They should be listened to now. And their voices should be empowered by those who shunned them, because only by listening to them will we develop the arguments and the legitimacy to do what needs to be done and stop fighting to lose, again and again and again.

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