This just in: "Gaza mission a failure" and "I told you so"
The Israeli media is swimming in pronouncements from anonymous Israeli defense officials that the Gaza offensive has accomplished all it can in Gaza and yet has not dismantled Hamas’ infrastructure. Hamas has played it safe and is still capable of shooting just as many rockets per day as previously. Senior defense ministers back an immediate ceasefire. Meanwhile Israeli diplomats are beginning to worry about the long-term impact of the lost media war, EU relations are freezing, the northern front with Lebanon simmers, anti-Semitic incidents the world over are increasing, and the Arab world is inflamed.
The Gaza mission’s stated objectives have failed. From the very, very beginning I said it, we said it and publicly: The military option never worked in Gaza, even when soldiers were stationed inside day and night for years. Why would it be different this time? There is no military solution to a political problem and the military operation will not bring Israel security.
Let me call a few other things out here:
Every tactic the pro-Israel rallies have aggitated for has failed. Israel has by military action set itself back diplomatically to the Second Intifada, shitting away the little good will left in the Arab world earned by the Disengagement. Israel has “discovered” that military action is not sufficient, and instead requires a “breakthrough diplomatic accord.” It’s time to stop taking their arguments with any seriousness. AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents, and (ha) the Israeli government deserve our skepticism on military matters. (Due note however, that the polls for Labor are up, and Diaspora Jews “felt Jewish” again. Maybe this explains why they love wartime.)
Not that this conflict is without its silver lining, but it’s hard to think about it when there are nearly a thousand dead Palestinians and Israel is backed into a corner. For example, the Jewish pro-peace movement found it’s muscles working, as Congress gave both AIPAC and Americans for Peace Now its Gaza resolution to edit. This despite wishful thinking that it was proven ineffective. In a similar vein, Arab opinion over Gaza is (relatively speaking) more divided that in the past. This is a pyrric victory, considering the lost lives and diplomatic cache, and the virtual return to Square Zero.
It’s time to go back to the root of the conflict: negotiating two states for two peoples.