Monday, November 19, 2012

To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war

or What's (really) Happening in Israel


Israel, as a Jewish state, is in grave danger. The portents are unmistakable. The Arabs have a much higher birth rate. Aliya is down. Yerida is up. Popular opinion around the word has been slowly turning against Israel, and in the democracies, at least, this means government policy will soon follow. Hezbollah recently fought Israel to a draw, and has already rearmed. Iran has nukes in development, and a lunatic at the helm of state. Israel's Arab citizens often openly support Israel's enemies, and by 2040 they'll be the majority. The future is bleak. As Benny Morris put it recently in an Op-Ed printed by the New York Times: Many Israelis feel that the walls — and history — are closing in on their 60-year-old state.

The war on Hamas is a short term solution that seems able to accomplish only three things (1) Prop up the Labor government in advance of the upcoming elections (2) Instill some pride and perhaps a sense of patriotism in the hearts and minds of Jewish Israelis (3) Destroy Hamas's capacity to launch rockets into Israeli population centers. Only the third is a legitimate war goal, and it's an objective I support, but not wholeheartedly.

Here's why: As Morris says in the article cited above, Israel can't invade Gaza, or topple Hamas unless it has some sort of magic plan for dealing with 1.5 million angry, desperate Arabs, and unless Hamas is replaced, its only a matter of time before the rockets return, launched, most likely, by the furious orphans of this week's war.

On one of my threads, a prescient comment summed it up this way: How many new terrorists did Israel create this week? To that, I'll add some additional questions: How much more radicalized are the Israeli Arabs this week? How much international support and good will has Israel squandered this week? How much closer to the edge was the already insane Aslamajedad pushed this week? How many more reasons was Hezbollah given to align itself with Hamas this week? Yes, the rockets have been destroyed, and are for now out of commission, with many hundred Hamas fighters killed - two war aims I support - but at what cost? What sort of more serious trouble has Israel created for itself tomorrow?

The real dangers Jewish Israel faces are the loss of international support, the Aliya and Yerida trends, the Arab birth rate and the ascendancy of Iran. The war on Hamas did nothing to address any of these troubles, and in some cases may have made things worse. I wish I knew what Israel could do instead - I wish I saw solutions instead of problems - and I wish I had more to offer than pessimism and a 50 year old Churchill quote, but there it is.

Originally written by me in 2008

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Solomon said...

I would bet there is a bigger strategic element here. Three weeks ago, Israel bombed a weapons plant in sudan that was a step in the Iran-Gaza supply chain. If this cuts supply, and Amud Anan (quite possibly wih ground effort) can mascerate the missile stocks, this would eliminate a southern retaliation for an Iranian nuclear facility attack. The western world's relatively loud support for Amud Anan leads me to believe the likelihood of an attack on Fordow is very much on the table.

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