If war is diplomacy by other means, a war is only as good as the diplomatic objectives that it achieves. And so, despite the absolutely brilliant performance of the IDF and the improved, although far from brilliant, performance of Israel’s information services, the war was an utter failure.
In the objective battle for advantage with Hamas, the early termination of the fighting due to the cowardice of the political leadership — either from fear of taking casualties or fear of irritating Barack Obama on his inauguration day — prevented the achievement of any permanent goals, like the rescue of Gilad Schalit, the elimination of Hamas’ ability to terrorize southern Israel, or the destruction of a large part of Hamas’ leadership and fighting machine.
In the information arena the defeat was complete, with the unprecedented success of the IDF fighting in a densely populated area with minimal civilian casualties being portrayed throughout the world as a a brutal, even genocidal attack on a defenseless population. As the facts come out bit by bit and we see that as a matter of fact the IDF did not fire on the UN school, the casualties were far fewer than claimed, and most of them were Hamas fighters, we see that it doesn’t matter, any more than the truth about Mohammed al-Dura didn’t matter.
The truth is always less exciting than the bloody lies for the media, and it always comes too late.
Now the next phase of Hamas’ triumph is about to begin, in which the world — mostly the US and Europe — having accepted that a horrible wrong was done by Israel to the people of Gaza, will transfer about $2.8 billion to the Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere by way of the UN, NGO’s, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and other channels.
I’m sure this will be presented as a way to empower the ‘moderates’ and divert the Palestinians’ energy from war to economic and social development. I’m sure the example of how Germany and Japan were rebuilt as peaceful economic powerhouses after WWII by aid and guidance from the US will be given.
But there are several big differences. One is that, unlike in postwar Germany and Japan, the same bad actors remain in control, both Hamas in Gaza and the Arafatist PLO in the PA. And neither of these entities has the slightest intention of ending their ‘struggle’ until the state of Israel has been eliminated.
But isn’t the PA committed to a negotiated, peaceful two-state solution with Israel? Here’s what Ami Isseroff, someone who considers himself firmly in the ‘peace camp’, has to say:
Owing to an insistent campaign that has not been answered by any government or other advocacy, it is now falsely established in the public mind that the Annapolis talks failed because of Israeli “inflexibility” about Jerusalem. The truth is the opposite. Mahmoud Abbas announced and admitted on November 11 2008, that Israel had offered a compromise on Jerusalem but the Palestinian Authority rejected it, because the Palestinians insist on obliterating Israeli rights in East Jerusalem. It is not compromise that the Palestinian Authority demands from Israel, but rather unconditional surrender. — ZioNation
We might add that Abbas and even his ‘moderate’ Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and have further refused to compromise on the ‘right of return’ for refugees. This is not surprising, since Abbas has not deviated from the original principles of his former boss, Yasser Arafat, except insofar as he seems to shave more often. Abbas even met with child-murderer Samir Kuntar on his release from an Israeli jail, and congratulated his family.
Although the money is supposedly going to be distributed in a way that will ‘bypass Hamas’, practically speaking this is impossible. Hamas has complete control — either by ideology or by fear — over everything that happens in Gaza, including the activities of the NGO’s and even UNRWA, many of whose employees are Hamas operatives.
Not only will funds be required, but restrictions will need to be lifted, say the Palestinians:
But Palestinians and international diplomats say they are concerned that the pledges could be for naught unless Israel agrees to lift its 19-month blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and allow in the needed cash, supplies and materials to rebuild the coastal territory. Egyptian officials say that lack of Palestinian reconciliation would also complicate efforts to rebuild the Strip.
“What is the value of all of these millions of dollars if Israel is not allowing in a single material needed for construction, like cement, glass, metal, or tubes?” said Mustafa Barghouthi, a Palestinian MP representing the Palestinian National Initiative faction. “The Israeli siege and closure on Gaza will prevent any reconstruction unless it is removed,” he said.
Tubes? Yes, metal tubes — you know, the ones that are used to make Qassam rockets.