US doesn’t want to see Hamas crushed

Chief of Staff Benny Gantz talks to troops waiting near Gaza border

Chief of Staff Benny Gantz talks to troops waiting near Gaza border

Until recently, Jewish communities in Christian or Muslim principalities existed on the sufferance of kings and princes. If the ruler was not theologically hostile to Jews and/or if he found their presence useful, then they were able to live relatively unmolested lives; although in most cases there were restrictions placed on them, ranging from the prohibition against a Jew riding a horse in Muslim lands, to the exclusion of Jews from various trades in Europe.

But if the prince had a problem with Judaism, or even owed big debts to local Jewish moneylenders, then things could turn ugly. Rulers could turn a blind eye to pogroms — or even incite them — and total expulsion of Jews from a nation was possible, as happened in England in 1290, France in 1306 and Spain in 1492.

Zionism was in part supposed to be a solution to Jewish powerlessness and dependency. In a sovereign Jewish state, it would no longer be necessary to cater to, bribe and flatter non-Jewish authorities in order to exist.

Well, the joke seems to be on us. Although there is a sovereign Jewish state, Israel, it is “the Jew among nations,” trying to stay in the favor of the powerful nobles of the world (including the most powerful, the President of the US).

Of course there is a difference: the Jews of the diaspora were physically powerless, while Israel has the IDF. But what good is an army if someone else has veto power over its use?

The present situation, in which savage antisemites have launched (as it were) a pogrom against the Jews of Israel, is precisely the right time to use the power of the Jewish state, to do what the Jews of Kishinev could not do in 1903: stop the pogrom and destroy the ability of the antisemites to hurt them in the future.

This can be done with Hamas and the other terrorist factions in Gaza, but it requires an incursion into the densely populated cores of the cities where Hamas’ command facilities are located. A partial military solution, such as was accomplished by operation Cast Lead in 2008-9, only provides time for the terrorists to rearm and prepare for the next round, incorporating lessons learned.

It cannot be accomplished by negotiations. Diplomacy succeeds when it can provide benefits for both sides, but when one side’s very reason for being is to destroy the other, there isn’t a mutually beneficial solution.

But Israel’s arm is restrained by the patron to which it is most beholden, the USA, as well as the lesser potentates of the EU and the UN. Israel’s PM seems to have agreed — or been forced to agree — to wait a few days to see if an acceptable Egypt-brokered agreement can come about. Meanwhile, tanks and reserve soldiers sit idle near the Gaza border.

The international princes are ostensibly horrified by the potential for harm to civilians (this from the folks that burned Dresden and Tokyo!), but it’s hard to credit this when 30,000 mostly-civilians have been killed in Syria’s civil war, not to mention the millions of black Africans who have died in that continent’s unending conflicts, with little or no response beyond talk.

Whatever the reason, they don’t want to see Hamas crushed.

Israel’s leaders know that there isn’t a diplomatic solution. But what can they do? Over the years, Israel has become so dependent on the US — for advanced weapons, spare parts, etc. — that it is almost impossible to say no to US demands. Possibly some of the attitudes that we developed in the Middle Ages remain with us, as well.

I don’t have a quick fix. Maybe a tiny nation like the Jewish people must always be dependent to some extent. But it should be a national goal to reduce this dependence as much as possible, to be able to survive even when the occupants of the royal palaces of the world are unfriendly.

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5 Responses to “US doesn’t want to see Hamas crushed”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    What does it mean to ‘crush’ the other side?
    We can go into Hamasland and root out every rocket launcher and rocket. We can take away every weapon they have. We can kill every person who has any kind of military experience at all. We can kill all their leadership. We can take control over every piece of ground there. We can crush them in all these ways. But what happens the day after?
    We can’t stay there. Why? Because we do not want to have them as citizens of a democratic Israel. Remember we are not just a Jewish state but a democratic one, and one which aims not simply at being another state but one which aims at having a certain virtue and moral justification.
    So we leave Gaza crushed, leaderless. What happens next?
    (And this of course without considering even the possible consequences of crushing them in terms of possible military action from Egypt, possible total isolation from the U.S. and democratic allies)
    The same people in Gaza who hate and would destroy us now remain there. The same Arab world which would hate and destroy us remains. The same Islamic fanaticism remains. It takes some time for them to rebuild but they in a few years achieve the same level of primitive military development they now have. Time has been bought.
    But for doing this we have become outcast and isolated, in perfect position to be assaulted and not receive support for responding from others that hate us. Hizbollah, Iran, whoever comes to power in Syria, the whole mess of them including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan Egypt,Turkey etc etc.
    It is necessary to be pragmatic, realistic and deal with the present power relationships in the best way we can. Our aim is not simply military but strategic and political. We want to survive here and to do so we need the support of others, and too a sense of our own rightness and moral decency.
    PS I do not know how this will end, and certainly that will define the success or failure of this operation. I do not believe we can have complete success or complete failure. As it is now the Government and the Military have done very well. So have the people in listening to the instructions of the Home Front Command and minimizing casualties.
    We have to get the best we can, not an ideal perfection the striving for which will make it all worse.

  2. Vic Rosenthal says:

    I suggest disarming them and killing their murderous leaders. Then seal off the Philadelphi corridor so they can’t get more weapons. Yes, they will still hate us, but they won’t be able to hurt us. Yes, we might have to do it again some day.
    I don’t advocate annexing Gaza.
    Israel is ‘outcast’ because of European Jew-hatred and American opportunism and left-wing politics, not because of its actions. We can’t fix that, but if we behave submissively we will amplify it.
    What’s the alternative? Hunker down under Iron Dome on the assumption that it’s OK to shoot at Jews and it’s up to us to protect ourselves?

  3. Robman says:

    We have to deal with the possibility that Egypt will join the fight, or even Turkey, or others.

    I would say respond as viciously as possible with the most powerful weapons, short of nuclear, that Israel posseses, and perhaps even threaten those if need be.

    That may sound like an outlandish solutions. But there is method to my “madness”.

    The problem is that up to now, even with the establishment of Israel – with the clear exception of the ’67 war – Israel has not driven home the lesson that it is NOT A GOOD IDEA TO FORCE ISRAEL INTO A CORNER.

    The current situation bears a lot of similarities to the eve of the ’67 war.

    The U.S. under Obama is playing the role of France under DeGaulle.

    There is no clear equivalent today of the U.S. under Johnson/Nixon then, ready to take the place of France. But the Chinese – the de facto leading power today in any event, since the U.S. is practically leaderless under Obama – sure to like Israeli technology, and at least they aren’t anti-Semites. Hmmmmmm.

    Israel is far more integrated into the world economy than the Israel of ’67, with far more to offer various players.

    Israel is also far more powerful militarily in relation to her immediate neighbors/threats. In ’67, she had no clear technological advantages, and on paper, was vastly outnumbered. All that saved her then was superior leadership/training/tactics. Now, she’s got that, plus vastly superior technology and firepower.

    It is time to teach the world another ’67-style lesson.

    As for Gaza itself, I say annex temporarily. By that I mean Israel only give up control if Egypt agrees to take responsibility for it, and it becomes part of a larger DMZ that includes the Sinai. Short of that, the troops stay, and the Gazans are told they are citizens of Egypt as far as Israel is concerned, and if they don’t like living under Israeli control, they are free to move to Egypt or Jordan or whoever will take them, and Israel will even help finance that.

    Vic, I agree with you vholeheartedly about the sources of Israel being ‘outcase’…I note the distinct lack of certain Asian actors in your very accurate assessment. With that in mind, as I reference above, yes, many will hoot and scream at Israel in my scenario, but Israel has to make it plain that it is very dangerous to act upon such impulses…and will reward those who resist them.

  4. Shalom Freedman says:

    We disarm them. We kill their leaders. We do not annex Gaza. All of this is fine.
    But what happens in the territory of Gaza itself? Who is responsible for supplying the needs of the civilian population? Who holds the territory? If it is us then it is a military occupation condemned by the world, and involving a continual drain in casualties.
    Someone has to have control there. And if it is not us it will be those hostile to us, who will begin building their power to attack us.
    I prefer a border, sealing Gaza off from us, stopping our supplying them, letting them have their own world without us, and attacking them in a devastating way from air and sea should they attack us in any way.

  5. juvanya says:

    Disarm and destroy the Hamas and other leadership.
    Encourage local elections and a Gaza council, with a weak executive. Support tribal ties, but dont encourage tribal feuding.
    Greatly increase trade between Gaza and Israel, along with Gaza and the world. Businessmen do not like wars and they will not like warmongers in Gaza. Promote an Arab middle class. They will also have more contact with Jews and “Zionists” and see they arent evil.
    Trade ties will bring peace.