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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Eyeless in Gaza

Only with great effort have I forced myself to think about the current conflict in Gaza.  (Here's a useful backgrounder on the conflict since 1948 by WaPo:  Gaza conflict )

Do you even remember why it started four weeks ago?  In June, three Israeli hitchhikers were kidnapped on the West Bank.  PM Bibi Netanyahu blamed Hamas; Hamas denied it.  Israel then launched its current punitive war against Hamas positions in Gaza. (Not the West Bank.)

Was this punitive invasion Bibi's only option?   Was the threat from Gaza growing?  Seems hard to believe.

Some have speculated Bibi wanted to block a unity Palestinian government between Hamas and Fatah.  No way to know if this is true.

In retaliation, Hamas fired its useless missiles at Israel.  They didn't kill anyone.  Probably because many of them are homemade, and because Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defense system works pretty well.  Why do they still do this?  Just an act of defiance, probably .

But the Israeli Defense Force has killed 1,800 Palestinian civilians so far.  So much for just war theory's condition of proportionality!   The American public (and Congress) doesn't seem too moved by this, certainly not as much as it was by the accidental shootdown of the Malaysian Airliner over Ukraine.

Much of the bombing campaign has destroyed civil infrastructure in Gaza, from what little I have read.  (That was how Israel waged the 2006 war against Hizballah too, but destroying Lebanese infrastructure to punish Lebanon as a whole.)

Many Hamas tunnels have been destroyed.  (Egypt destroys these too.) These are used for smuggling since the Israeli blockade has been in effect.  I think these are mostly to circumvent the blockade, although some say they are used to infiltrate Hamas terrorists into Israel.  (Does Israel have a domestic terrorism problem?  I haven't heard of much lately.  Checked ADL website: last incident mentioned was in 2011. http://archive.adl.org/israel/israel_attacks.html

If I were an Israeli, I'd back the government's crackdown on Hamas.  Sure.  But do these heavy handed tactics lead to better security in the long run?  Israelis are asking these questions, too, if their media is any guide.

Since the 1983 invasion of Lebanon, might we say that Israel's security problem have been exacerbated by its own policies?
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