Friday, July 18, 2014

Can Israel Win In Gaza?

How To Win in Gaza -Caroline Glick

[I]f Hamas is able to produce a picture of victory that can burnish its reputation as the leader of the jihad against the Jews throughout the Islamic world, then it will be able to declare victory.

It is far from clear that the only way to destroy Hamas and end its capacity to harm Israel is to reconquer Gaza. [T]here is a reasonable chance that Hamas will face a full-blown insurrection once a ceasefire with Israel goes into effect.

Israel doesn't have to reconquer Gaza to destroy Hamas. We just have to humiliate Hamas and knock out capabilities like the tunnel networks that immediately threaten us. And then let the Gazans fight it out.

[I]n 2004 Israel was able to defeat Hamas through targeted killing of its commanders, repeating that success today without good human intelligence assets on the ground is a much more difficult prospect. This is why we are already beginning to see diminishing results from the air campaign. Without human assets on the ground, the IDF either cannot locate or cannot get to the remaining high value targets.

Unless Israel is able to change this situation fairly rapidly, it will not be able to sufficiently diminish Hamas's capabilities to convince Hamas's leadership that they are better off ending the current fight without achieving anything significant than maintaining it until they do.

This is why the government was finally compelled to order the ground campaign.  Ground forces are required to develop the information Israel needs to kill a large enough number of Hamas leaders and destroy the tunnel complexes and a large enough quantity of missiles and launchers to convince Hamas's terror masters to cry, "Uncle."  

While the ground operations continue, Israeli negotiators should be avidly agreeing to every ceasefire offer that denies Hamas any achievements. The IDF must continue to exercise an abundance of caution to prevent Hamas from luring our forces into a situation where we will be accused of massacring Palestinians.  

None of this is easy or simple. No result is guaranteed.  But in fighting Hamas today, Israel finds itself in a better position than it has faced in past fights with Hamas. For the first time, we face an enemy with a limited shelf life. Without supply lines from Egypt, Hamas cannot fight forever. Its allies at the UN can feed its forces and protect Hamas from an insurrection from a starving population. But the UN cannot rearm Hamas. It cannot reopen the smuggling tunnels from Egypt to enable materiel, money and trainers to enter Gaza.  

Hamas is desperate for anything it can call a victory. By denying it one on the one hand, while taking action to force its leaders to prefer organizational humiliation to personal destruction on the other, Israel can win a decisive victory.
[Jewish World Review]

Whatever happened to evil? -Rabbi Daniel Gordis

Where has the word “evil” gone? Why are so many otherwise intelligent people so incapable of calling Hamas what it so obviously is?

But Jews, even rabbis, can’t say that any longer. The murderers of Muhammad Abu Khdeir are pure evil (yes, actually, they are), but Hamas is not? What’s happened to us? At a recent meeting with a group of progressive American rabbis, I offhandedly used the term “Amalek” to refer to Hamas. One of the rabbis asked, very respectfully, if I could help him think about a different vocabulary to use about Hamas, one that “reflects Jewish values.” I was actually dumbstruck for a moment. I’d thought that in mentioning Amalek, I was referring to Jewish values.

Have we gotten to the point that tikkum olam and tzelem Elokim (being created in God’s image) are Jewish values, but that eradicating evil is not? That’s a bizarre bastardization of how Judaism has always seen the world. A world in which one refuses to call out evil is a world in which the meaning of goodness is also radically diminished.

[M]ust we Jews, and our religious leaders, be complicit in the charade? When Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the head of the yeshiva of Eilon Moreh (a settlement, some will note), remarked that the murderers of Muhammad Abu Khdeir should be executed, he quoted the verse “so that you may burn out evil from your midst” (Deut. 17:7). Rabbi Levanon is quite right. There is, in fact, very real evil in the world.
But if the only evil to which progressive Jews can point is the evil in us, our moral compass has been badly damaged.

If the only people we can call evil are Jews, then Hamas and its viciousness are the least of the threats to our longterm survival.
[Jerusalem Post]

Israel Knows the Price of Weakness - Dan Hodges    

People may not like the current Israeli assault on Gaza, but please, let's not pretend we don't understand it.     

The threat of annihilation is not an historical abstraction to the people of Israel. It was the reason for the formation of that state. The Jews of Israel learned in the most barbaric way imaginable that the price of being too strong is not as high as the price of being too weak.     

The images of what is happening in Gaza may sear our consciences. But when the Jews of Israel say "never again," they mean it.     
The writer is a former British Labour Party and trade union official.    

Create a Different Strategic Balance - Hillel Frisch

Destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas could lead to its "jihadization"; to a Gaza controlled by a variety of small jihadist groups at Hamas' expense who would neither be deterred nor subject to pressure to desist from terrorist activity.

Israel should adopt the highly successful anti-terrorist strategy it employed in the West Bank over the past decade and take over Gaza temporarily to destroy the terrorist infrastructure as much as possible.

Even if a weakened Hamas was overwhelmed by other jihadist groups, they might spend more time fighting each other than against the Zionist enemy, as we see today in Syria.
Prof. Hillel Frisch, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, is a professor of Political Science and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University. 
(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Why Israel Launched a Ground War in Gaza - Aaron David Miller

Sure, Iron Dome has ensured that there were almost no Israeli casualties from Hamas' rocket attacks. But [s]ooner or later Hamas was bound to get lucky. Its missiles, or some terrorists tunneling out of Gaza, would succeed in killing a significant number of Israelis. So Israel had to act now. 
The writer is vice president and a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. 

Why Israel Is Winning in Gaza - Jonathan Kay

Yes, some weddings have been cancelled, as well as a Neil Young concert. But that's pretty thin gruel for those Hamas supporters who see every confrontation as a chance to sweep the Zionists into the sea.
(National Post-Canada)

The Ugly Rage Against Israel - Brendan O'Neill

Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth. It is now becoming very difficult to tell where anti-Zionism ends and anti-Semitism begins.


Moral Clarity in Gaza - Charles Krauthammer
  • We routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent "cycle of violence." This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting?
  • Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d'etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.
  • Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? Nine years ago worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians.
  • Instead of building a state, Gaza Palestinians spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.
  • They built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. And they fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
  • To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed, moral and tactical insanity. It's to the Israelis' credit that amid all this madness they haven't lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve.
(Washington Post)

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