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Oh Yes, This Will Solve Everything: Israel-Gaza Edition

Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has a rather, well, interesting solution to his nation’s problems with Hamas and Gaza:

Anyone who thinks Hamas is going to beg for a cease-fire, that Operation Pillar of Defense will draw to a close and quiet will reign in the South because we hit targets in the Gaza Strip, needs to think again.

With the elimination of a murderous terrorist and the destruction of Hamas’s long-range missile stockpile, the operation was off to an auspicious start, but what now? This must not be allowed to end as did Operation Cast Lead: We bomb them, they fire missiles at us, and then a cease-fire, followed by “showers” – namely sporadic missile fire and isolated incidents along the fence. Life under such a rain of death is no life at all, and we cannot allow ourselves to become resigned to it.

A strong opening isn’t enough, you also have to know how to finish – and finish decisively. If it isn’t clear whether the ball crossed the goal-line or not, the goal isn’t decisive. The ball needs to hit the net, visible to all. What does a decisive victory sound like? A Tarzan-like cry that lets the entire jungle know in no uncertain terms just who won, and just who was defeated.

To accomplish this, you need to achieve what the other side can’t bear, can’t live with, and our initial bombing campaign isn’t it.

So, what, exactly is it that Sharon is suggesting? Well, he lays it out pretty clearly:

Why do our citizens have to live with rocket fire from Gaza while we fight with our hands tied? Why are the citizens of Gaza immune? If the Syrians were to open fire on our towns, would we not attack Damascus? If the Cubans were to fire at Miami, wouldn’t Havana suffer the consequences? That’s what’s called “deterrence” – if you shoot at me, I’ll shoot at you. There is no justification for the State of Gaza being able to shoot at our towns with impunity. We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.

Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.

Unpleasant would not even begin to describe the images that Sharon is envisioning.  At population estimated as of 2009 at 449,221 people covering a land mass of a mere 17 square miles, Gaza, or as it used to be known The Gaza Strip, is among the most densely populated pieces of land on the entire planet. Pursuing the strategy that Sharon advocates here would result in a tremendous loss of life and a massive humanitarian disaster. Perhaps it would achieve the goal that he thinks is most important at the moment in that it would silence, for a time at east, the rockets from Gaza in to southern Israel, however it would be at best a temporary reprieve. We’ve already seen that Hamas in Gaza has a tremendous infrastructure capable of launching these rockets and moving their locations with very short notice. There’s no reason to believe that this would change with the kind of “scorched earth” strategy that Sharon proposes here. Indeed, it would likely make the bombardment of Israel by Hamas rockets worse and it very likely would inspire terrorist attacks not just from Hamas, but from Hezbollah, and other organizations. Finally, I cannot fathom how a military operation like this could do anything put poison Israel’s relatively calm relationship with the Fatah-led government in the West Bank.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I support Israel’s right to take the actions necessary to suppress those that would indiscriminately fire rockets into civilian areas in southern Israel. I don’t think there’s any rational argument against a sovereign nation’s right to protect its citizens from a threat like that, and there’s no question that Hamas started this fight when it resumed the rocket attacks in violation of a cease fire agreement that had been in place for quite some time. However, the road that Sharon thinks his country should go down would only end in disaster. The kind of campaign he proposes in Gaza would end up being a massive humanitarian disaster which, at the very least, would only turn world opinion even further against Israel than it already might be at the moment. Additionally, it would likely lead to terrorist retaliation against Israeli (and, by extension, American) interests around the world while at the same time creating an entirely new generation of terrorists.

Israel has the right, indeed the responsibility, to respond to the indiscriminate rocket attacks that Hamas is unleashing on its population. However, the insane ideas that Gilad Sharon advocates will not only do nothing to solve his nation’s problems, they would only make them worse.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Nothing like a serious Israeli newspaper printing something essentially suggesting “a final solution to the Gaza problem”.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 1

  2. @Timothy Watson:

    I had that thought as well, but decided not to completely go there :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  3. Bleev K says:

    Gilad Sharon/Rick Santorum 2016!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Hamas is the legally-elected government of Gaza, freely chosen by the Gazans in open and honest elections.

    “Elections have consequences.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 16

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Well in AN open and honest election.

    “One man, one vote, one time.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  6. DC Loser says:

    I guess Sharon should start dusting off the German manual on how to conduct such operations (see Warsaw).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  7. @Jenos Idanian #13: @Jenos Idanian #13: So, I trust you have no problem with what William Tecumseh Sherman did to the South?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This sort of approach worked for the Romans against the Carthaginians, for the British against the Boers, for the U.S. against Japan and for the Western Allies and the USSR against Nazi Germany. Among others. Dresden for example wasn’t by accident and although various intellectuals and quasi-intellectuals objected it did serve a valuable purpose. The same holds true for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Have either Germany or Japan invaded anyone since then? Of course not. And that’s not coincidental.

    So it’s a viable albeit certainly a debatable military strategy, although for obvious reasons on the Internet and in liberal media-academe circles it reflexively will be rejected.

    The real issue if they went down this road is whether to have some sort of mini Marshall Plan-style rebuilding project for the aftermath or whether a Morgenthau Plan-style approach would be more apropos. Given that Hamas basically consists of animals in a state of nature it’s not entirely inappropriate to suggest that total military annihilation followed by something of a Morgenthau Plan for non-combatants is the correct approach.

    Politically speaking of course this is a non-starter, but often times politics and reality don’t see eye to eye.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19

  9. @Tsar Nicholas: You are aware that the Romans butchered anyone in Carthage, destroyed the city, and salted the Earth, right?

    You are aware that the British put Boers in concentration camps and left them to starve to death, right?

    You are aware that the Soviets went through Germany raping every German woman they could find, right?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Timothy Watson: It hastened the end of the war, and the South didn’t start it up again.

    But you’re such a great humanitarian, it seems. What would be your advice to Israel on how to handle it when Hamas uses school yards as rocket launching pads? Hospitals as military bases? Children as human shields for snipers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  11. tps says:

    How about Israel cutting off the power and water they supply and completely sealing their border? Let Egypt open their border with Gaza and take care of their Arab brethren.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @tps: Not a bad idea. And if they want plausible deniability, they could blow up a few key links and blame them on rockets from Gaza.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  13. Anderson says:

    “Dresden for example wasn’t by accident and although various intellectuals and quasi-intellectuals objected it did serve a valuable purpose”

    Nope. Made zero difference to the end of the war. Which is why Churchill, who’d boosted carpet bombing, got qualms all of a sudden after Dresden.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  14. Jc says:

    Why does Hamas continue to throw sticks at tanks? It’s like Fatah is the adult and Hamas is the angry teenager.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Jc:

    Fatah has earned nothing by its self-control because Netanyahu continues to humiliate them. Hamas has earned respect among Palestinians, and in the end the Israelis know they have to deal with Hamas and can ignore Fatah.

    But, hey, it’s all good for Bibi because he has the backing of President Romney and the discredited and aging-unto-death right-wing Bible-thumpers.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  16. @michael reynolds:

    To be honest, Michael, It isn’t like President Obama is pushing Israel on this issue, or that he’s likely to in the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  17. wr says:

    Good ol’ Jenos and Tsar, alwars cheerleading for mass murder, Jenos to prove he’s butch and Tsar to show he’s more sophisticated than the “intellectuals.”

    Of course it’s mass murder for people who don’t look like them.But hey, as Tsar explains, they’re all just animals, anyway.

    You two make me wish I believed in hell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You’re probably right. Bibi will get 95% of what he wants from Obama and might have gotten 100% from Romney. Plus a handjob since Romney would have needed Florida in 2016.

    But beyond this administration, I think Netanyahu and Likud have broken the link between the American people and the Israeli people. He threw in with the religious right and lost any chance to sell Israel to a new generation. Not that I’m part of anything “new” but he’s lost me, and I’ve been a lifelong supporter. He’s let Israel be redefined as crazy settlers and ultra-orthodox in alliance with American religious nuts. That’s not a brand that is going to be gaining steam in the future. Israel already seems dusty, a relic of a very old politics. Now we’re pivoting to Asia, and as we rely less on ME oil we’ll decouple from Israel.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  19. michael reynolds says:

    You know what’s probably most meaningful in all this is the success of Iron Dome. The age of the missile defense system has arrived. I believe the computers have finally caught up with Mr. Reagan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  20. Jc says:

    @michael reynolds:
    As long as the middle east’s massive reserves exist we will never get away from the region. With them representing so much of the supply and any supply disruptions = increased oil price, we are stuck with the middle east.

    Do you think Hamas would agree to a two state solution with a different PM?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. Lori says:

    Is anyone aware of the fact that Israel basically gave the Gaza Strip to the Arab Gazans? (sorry, no such thing as a Palestinian.) Israel GAVE them that land with the condition that there finally be peace. Gaza never honored the accord. Perhaps Israel should take the land back. The Arab Gazans can go to Jordan, if Jordan decides to not reject them again, as they did in 1948.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 13

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Jc:

    Hamas might not but Fatah might. If the West Bank became a genuine state Gaza would be drawn into it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Anderson says:

    Genocide … is there anything it can’t solve?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  24. Anderson says:

    ” Perhaps Israel should take the land back. The Arab Gazans can go to Jordan, ”

    You can string the words together, but can you imagine them in practice?

    What is it with Israel “supporters” who think the Nazis were role models?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  25. @Lori: If there aren’t any Palestinians, then there aren’t any Israelis. Let me guess, you supported Newt for President?

    @michael reynolds: The only problem, as one of the nightly news programs pointed out, is that each Iron Dome interceptor costs $50,000 but each Katyusha rocket only costs $800 or so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  26. Davebo says:

    Would it totally blow the minds of some here to point out that those living in
    Gaza are actually Semites and that those idiots that don’t even recognize this are “Anti-Semites”?

    I realize it’s not fair, but hell most twelve year olds could have figured this one out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    It is pricey. But if you measure it against a playground full of dead and injured kids it’s a pretty good deal.

    It’s more interesting though in terms of Iran. One of Irans’ few directly retaliatory weapons are missiles. It’s 1600 kilometers from Tehran to Tel Aviv and Iran has missiles with a 2000 km range. Except that they don’t if Iron Shield’s as good as it seems to be.

    If we posit for the sake of argument that Iran has supplied weapons to Hamas either directly or through Syria, we can speculate that Iran wanted this armed confrontation. Maybe a reminder to the Israelis that it has enough problems without attacking Iran. Only now the Mullahs are getting a preview of how badly outclassed they are militarily.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. Stonetools says:

    I say we put the Turks back in charge of the whole sorry region.
    More realistically , I think Obama had the right idea when he just went ahead with his Asia trip and ignored the latest craziness in the Middle East. In the end, you can’t make peace when the two sides are determined to make war.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  29. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Good ol’ Jenos and Tsar, alwars cheerleading for mass murder, Jenos to prove he’s butch and Tsar to show he’s more sophisticated than the “intellectuals.”

    Sorry, sweetheart, but it’s the Palestinians who are “cheerleading for mass murder.” Hamas’ very charter calls for genocide.

    @Davebo: Oh, that stupid old point. Yes, technically the “Semitic” people include the Arabs. But the term is now pretty much reserved for the Jews. Tell the average Palestinian that he’s a Semite and indistinguishable from a Jew, and you will probably get yourself beheaded.

    That’s a totally pointless argument, usually put forth by Jew-haters (I won’t use “Anti-Semite” in this context) as a way of denying Jewish identity. The others who push it? Morons.

    Which are you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    This might be a good moment to review the Hamas charter, so folks have no excuse for misunderstanding what they’re all about.

    Some key excerpts:

    Article Seven: …The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

    Article Eight: The Slogan of the Hamas
    Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.

    Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences
    [Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement… There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.

    Nice side you’ve chosen there, wr.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  31. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    What would be your advice to Israel on how to handle it when Hamas uses school yards as rocket launching pads? Hospitals as military bases? Children as human shields for snipers?

    Well, hell, it’s obvious what your’s would be:

    Obliterate the schools.
    Destroy the hospitals.
    Kill the children to deprive the snipers of the shields.

    I’ve said it once before, why are the 4-F fvcks the most blood-thirsty?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @sam: You’re right. Israel should just hope the rockets hit nothing important. Eventually the Palestinians will feel guilt and remorse and stop shooting rockets.

    Alternately, we could follow international law — when a protected site like a school or a hospital is used for military purposes, it loses its protected status.

    Seriously… you wanna take the moral high ground, actually take it and take a stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  33. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Alternately, we could follow international law — when a protected site like a school
    or a hospital is used for military purposes, it loses its protected status.

    Because we all know that the true reason you don’t shoot toddlers is not the fact that they are childrenbut the fact that they have protected status. I think you earned a place on my blocklist.

    Honestly, when did Jenos cross from cranky old man with teenage delusions of superiority to full-out psychopath?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  34. ozarkHillbilly says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius: He has always been there. Just the other day he was asserting that when a Palestinian child is killed by an Israeli bomb obliterating a building, it was an “accident”. What he really meant was it was the child’s fault for being in the way when the bomb fell.

    As to the post,Related:

    Gaza Youth’s Manifesto for Change is an extraordinary, impassioned cyber-scream in which young men and women from Gaza – where more than half the 1.5 million population is under 18 – make it clear that they’ve had enough. “Fuck Hamas…” begins the text. “Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!”

    “Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed,” reads the extraordinary document. “We are afraid of living, because every single step we take has to be considered and well-thought, there are limitations everywhere, we cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want, sometimes we even can’t think what we want because the occupation has occupied our brains and hearts so terrible that it hurts and it makes us want to shed endless tears of frustration and rage!”

    The text ends with a triple demand: “We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. emdfl says:

    So I guess that EB, wr, and their fellow arab apologists would be okay if their neighbors stepped out of their houses and shot a few rounds at THEIR houses and families every couple of days?

    If the state of Israel had done early on what King Hussein in Jordan did when Arafat tried his s**t in Jordan, this conversation wouildn’t be necessary.

    Of course if the peanut farmer hadn’t sent the US 6th fleet to rescue Arafat and his thugs off the beaches, life in the ME would also have taken a very different turn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  36. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Sorry, sweetheart, but it’s the Palestinians who are “cheerleading for mass murder.” ”

    Oh, little Jenos, you’re so cute when you try to pretend you give a damn about other human beings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. Tony W says:

    I will never understand this fascination with Israel, let em fight it out if they want to argue over whose invisible friend is better. Meanwhile I will live in reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Yes, little Jenos, I’ve “chosen the side” of the Palestinians because I don’t believe that genocide is a good idea.

    This election really must have rattled you, if you have to stretch so far just to troll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. wr says:

    @emdfl: I don’t know who the hell you are, but you may promptly go to hell.

    Yes, it’s true that if Israel had committed genocide a long time ago, they would not have this particular set of problems.

    It’s also true — although right wing evangelical scumbags who only embrace Israel because they hope to see God rapture it out of existence shortly — that Israel, like America, was founded on a set of ideas. And the most pressing of those ideals was “never again.”

    Maybe you don’t know what that refers to. Look it up someday.

    And keep hoping for that rapture. I’m sure the God you worship loves cheerleaders for genocide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  40. Geek, Esq. says:

    The real question is: why is the US so preoccupied with a tribal land war in a distant land that dates back thouands of years?

    The two-state solution died a long time ago. Liberal zionism is a nostalgic fairy tale that our political establishment pretends is still reality. The only question is whether we get two peoples living under one state or South Africa on the Mediterranean.

    Demographics are destiny. Israel’s demographics tilt every day towards becoming more like Alabama than like New York. And at some point Jews in that area will be outnumbered by Arabs.

    There is literally no way out of that mess, and the US should remove its thumb from that poisonous pie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  41. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @wr: Yes, little Jenos, I’ve “chosen the side” of the Palestinians because I don’t believe that genocide is a good idea.

    I realize you’re too stupid to actually think, but Hamas’ charter explicitly calls for genocide against the Jews. And they have the backing of the Gazans.

    Unless you’re one of those “genocide doesn’t count when it’s against the Jews” types, are you? I knew you were stupid, but I didn’t think you went that far…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  42. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius: Honestly, when did Jenos cross from cranky old man with teenage delusions of superiority to full-out psychopath?

    If your definition of “psychopath” is not “people who use schools and hospitals as shields,” but instead people who say “how do you deal with such situations,” then please, put me on your block list.

    It’s remarkable. No one here challenges that the Palestinians are doing horrifically inhuman things, that they have done them in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. Instead, they want to talk trash about the targets of the Palestinians, and those of us who refuse to put on the blinders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  43. Rob in CT says:

    they want to talk trash about the targets of the Palestinians

    You have apparently forgotten the topic of this thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. John425 says:

    If Obama had anything resembling testicular fortitude he’d announce the US position that no Palestinian state will ever be recognized or financially aided unless they (Palestinians) recognize the state of Israel’s right to exist in peace.

    Personally, I’d drive the Arab Gazans into the Sinai and let the Egyptians deal with them. Alternately, I’d say that for every rocket fired by Hamas into Israel would result in one square kilometerof Gaza being seized, leveled and annexed by Israel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  45. CB says:

    @John425:

    yeah, because the conflict isnt ultimately about dispossesion or anything. thats a hell of a strategy, right there. you know, contrary to your fellow travelers’ beliefs, no one here likes watching hamas shoot rockets into israel, but im fairly sure wed also try to recognize a solution that does nothing but inflames the root of the problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @John425:

    Not to complicate your lunacy with reality — I wouldn’t want to pop that bubble you live in — but you’re talking about pushing 1.6 million people into a desert. That’s more than the population of Philadelphia or Phoenix. A large percentage of that 1.6 million are children. Old people. Sick people. Women. Men who have no interest in politics or may even oppose Hamas.

    So you would terrorize 1.6 million people by presumably attacking them, blowing up homes, markets, schools so as to leave them literally no choice but to flee into uninhabitable desert, without water, food, medical care.

    And of course you’re a Christian.

    Wow. Blessed are the peacemakers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  47. grumpy realist says:

    If I had my way, I’d aim a (deflectable) asteroid towards that area of Earth they’re all fighting over and give everybody one week to reach peace. No peace, hello asteroid. Maybe if the only land to fight over is 100 ft below water the idiots will finally quiet down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  48. Dave Anderson says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Iron Dome is used against low flying and fairly slow (comparatively speaking) small projectles. Hitting intermediate range ballistic missiles that can deploy decoys and whose terminal speeds are in the mid single digit Mach numbers is a very different challenge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. Rob in CT says:

    This all boils down to the argument that ever more force is the answer. Of course the logical endpoint of that is ethnic cleansing and/or outright massacre. Thankfully, the vast majority of Israelis aren’t monsters. They’re not actually going to slaughter the Palestinians (or drive them into the desert, or try to deport them all to Jordan or anything else comparably stupid/evil).

    This leaves them without a “final solution.” Their ability to win with force is thereby, IMO, removed. There are good reasons for this. Anyway, fantasizing about that sort of thing is not only morally repugnant, it’s just plain dumb. It’s escapist. In the real world, expelling the Palestinian population isn’t going to happen. It’s not a real option. So those who go on about it are just masturbating.

    Right now, with Hamas ascendent and the PA a joke, there really aren’t any good options. Granted, I think Israeli policies played an important role in creating the present situation but… we’re in now now. What happened to then? We missed it. When? Just now. [A little Mel Brooks to help me get through contemplating a situation that just makes me sick to my stomach]. As did Palestinian actions, of course.

    I think both sides are engaged in different versions of trying to run out the clock. Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups figure that they’ll keep up the fight until Israel is so outnumbered and isolated that they can win. Or something. This strikes me as pretty superficial analysis on their part, as it really fails to deal with how strong Israel is, even if it’s small, and what a freaking joke most of their allies are. But you’re not exactly dealing with the sharpest tools in the shed here.

    Meanwhile, Israel pursues its multi-decade settlement policy in the West Bank. How the backers of this strategy really think that’s going to play out in the long run I don’t know. Little hill forts of Israeli settlers, connected with fortified roads, crisscrossing the West Bank, populated by masses of angry Palestinians. How does that end well?

    Gaza’s a ghetto. What are you going to do with it? Egypt doesn’t want it. You don’t want it (at least not with its present inhabitants). You can’t just totally ignore it (though the Israelis sort of try). But you can’t just level it either. So you get this cycle of relatively low-level warfare instead. It’s treading water. And they’re treading water because neither side really wants peace or believes peace on terms they could accept is possible.

    It’s sad. But I no longer have the energy or inclination to get all fired up about it. I’d rather things were done differently. I’d rather my country’s politics on the issue were different. But they’re not. Maybe Reynolds is right and it’s changing. Even if that’s true, it will probably take some time and may not even result in improvement. I see no case for optimism here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  50. Rob in CT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Cute fantasy, except for the part where you end up wiping out millions of reasonable people because extremists on both sides thwart peace efforts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @Dave Anderson:

    Thanks for that bit of education Appreciated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Not to complicate your lunacy with reality — I wouldn’t want to pop that bubble you live in — but you’re talking about pushing 1.6 million people into a desert.

    And Hamas is talking about slaughtering — or driving into the sea — 7.6 million people. Or, if they decide to spare the Muslims and Christians and other faiths that “collaborate with the Zionist entity,” 5.8 million or so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  53. CB says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I often try to consolidate my feelings about and interpretations of the conflict into something digestible, and usually fail. But you just nailed it. Very well put.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. Dave says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And Hamas clearly has the capability do so (sarcasm off). I suspect that reasoning like that is why you’re not taken too seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  55. Whitfield says:

    We see the leftist news media supporting the terrorist criminals in Palestine. They ignore all the missiles launched over the last year into Israel, but when Israel finally does something, they go haywire against Israel. Typical.

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  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Dave: So, just because they can’t succeed, they should be permitted to keep trying?

    It’s like the eight-year-old who throws rocks at you and threatens to kill you every time he sees you. The chances of him actually succeeding are virtually nonexistent, but you wanna just laugh it off as he keeps trying and trying? Or are you gonna take some action to get him to stop?

    Poor metaphor here, as there are no “parents” or “police” or “city officials” to notify, but in their absence, I’d support smacking the kid and telling him to knock it off or you’ll smack him around again.

    And I wouldn’t look too kindly at the neighbors who keep telling the kid how bad I am and giving him more rocks, either.

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  57. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I have to say I am surprised — pleasantly so — by Obama’s handling of this so far. Keeping the UNSC out of it, statements of support for Israel — it looks like he has done nothing wrong so far. Not too much right, either, but this is a case where a light touch — “leading from behind” — is a good choice. There’s no reason for us to get very much involved in this matter at this point, and Obama is treading just light enough.

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  58. Wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: In Jayland, if a kid is throwing rocks at you, the appropriate response is to kill all the children in his school.

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