Not to be outdone by its dismal showing during the Lebanon War, the IDF is attempting to give it the old college try once more in Gaza. In response to the Fatah-Hamas civil strife over the past few weeks, in which Fatah came out on the losing end, and Hamas’ renewed rocket barrage on Sderot, the IDF has decided to strike back. So far, this has been the result:
Since May 17, when Israel escalated its strikes, 47 Palestinians have been killed by air attacks, including 15 civilians, seven of them under the age of 16, said Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. More than 170 have been wounded.
In other words, 33% of the dead have been innocent civilians and 13% have been children. Nice. Just remember that pinpoint accuracy. Remember the IDF spokespersons and pro-Israel ideologues who tell you the IDF goes out of its way to prevent harm to civilians. Right.
Of course, the IDF hasn’t been lazing around in other spheres as well. It’s arrested two Hamas cabinet ministers claiming there is incontestable evidence that they were up to their eyeballs in terror. That’s on top of the 40 Hamas parliament members it arrested and held since the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. One of the officials arrested yesterday was the education minister! But in order to grok the twisted thinking of the IDF you have to understand that merely being a member of Hamas makes you a terrorist, even if you are the education minister.
One Palestinian analyst I heard on NPR yesterday stated things most clearly: any Israeli military action in Gaza plays directly into the hands of Hamas. Arrest their ministers, they become martyrs for the cause. Punish the Palestinian people by killing their civilians, it distracts them from the horrid violence Hamas has instigated against Fatah in Gaza over the past weeks. There is nothing like a brutal Israeli attack to close Palestinian ranks behind those perceived as leading the resistance to Occupation–in this case Hamas. So if you want Hamas to win the struggle against Fatah and other more moderate forces–keep going down the path you’re following now.
John Yorke says
Well, Richard, to some, the military mind has often seemed unconcerned in relation to long-term consequences of its actions. Perhaps, through circumstance, it can’t always afford the luxury of too much speculation as to the whys and wherefores of the situations it has to face. Or, perhaps, it’s all too well aware and is simply waiting for the rest of us, those who may have that luxury, to come up with options better than those currently within its remit.
It’s strange but only very recently I’ve realised the method I’ve been advocating through the good offices of your website is not unlike a military tactic in itself.
It resembles nothing less than a minefield. A virtual minefield, of course, but a minefield nonetheless.
And what do minefields do? They slow down the opposition when it tries to advance. And, if by some mischance, all the maps showing minefield locations went missing, then this has the effect of limiting movement for everyone concerned. Neither side gets to go too far forward and, for those that do, it’s usually a very slow and painful progress. My ‘minefield’ would seek to replicate this scenario but could also respond by expanding according to whatever inroads are made upon it. As this is an exponential expansion, its deterrent value soon increases to far outstrip whatever means might be deployed to circumvent it. Those would be exclusively violent means, naturally.
Maybe the military mind is to be found somewhere in all of us. If it is, then isn’t it time we made much better use of it. When it comes to strategy and tactics, the human race has centuries of experience to draw down upon. We have waged war for more generations and brought into being more ways of killing our fellow man than I care to think about.
Surely, in this day and age and with so much expertise, we must have reached the point where we can easily figure out how to go about doing just the opposite.
And if we have, then the long-term consequences of our inaction here may be, potentially, just as harmful as almost anything else.