The Hammer

Posted: March 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, war | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Here is something Yeditoth Ahronoth’s Nahum Barnea, maybe Israel’s top diplomatic reporter and political analyst, wrote in his influential weekend column: 

“Operation Cast Lead in Gaza was meant to reestablish Israel’s deterrence towards Hamas and to change the rules of game in the south. On both objectives, it was a complete failure. Hamas wasn’t deterred nor softened, and smuggling of guns into Gaza goes on, as does the rocket launching. The people of Gaza are now viewed worldwide as victims of Israeli vengeance. The US and Europe are demanding to lift the siege and are raising money to rebuild the ruins in Gaza. Egypt is working to establish a “national unity” Palestinian government, which might help Israel in the long term, but is bad news in the short term.

“In three words: we got screwed”.

Barnea goes on to noting that this time around (as opposed to past wars), there were no military failure, no limitation on the IDF actions and there was a political consensus within Israel in support of the war. Israel can’t blame anyone for this failure.

But Barnea doesn’t come to the obvious conclusion: that maybe the war was the wrong choice. Maybe Israel should have negotiated a cease-fire, like Hamas asked for. Maybe there were other diplomatic solutions. Maybe we should have retaliated when Hamas launched rockets at us, but not open a full-scale war. But as the saying goes, when the only tool you carry is a hammer, all problems tend to look like nails. 

Since Barnea wrote his column, the PM of the Palestinian authority, Salam Fayed, resigned, probably so as to make way for a new unity between Hamas and Fatah. This completes the Hamas’ victory in this round: it will end up becoming a legitimate political actor, and the siege will be lifted. And Israel – having chosen a government that opposes negotiations – is the one that will become isolated.

The thing is, that our problem was not that our leaders couldn’t read the map right. It’s something bigger. As I wrote before, since the Litani operation in 1978, Israel has fought many wars, and all but one had one enemy – the Palestinians, and their fight against the occupation. Isn’t it time to understand the hammer of “a military solution” (to the Palestinian problem) won’t do here?


One Comment on “The Hammer”

  1. 1 What’s Buzzing? » Blog Archive » Promised Land » Blog Archive » the Hammer said at 6:25 am on March 12th, 2009:

    [...] “Operation Cast Lead in Gaza was meant to reestablish Israel’s deterrence towards Hamas and to change the rules of game in the south. On both objectives, it was a complete failure. Hamas wasn’t deterred nor softened, and smuggling of …Page 2 [...]