Certainly some women, and all infants, are innocent victims of the conflict. But Hamas successfully makes all women and all “children” victims, knowing that the sob sisters/brothers of the West accept this for their own reasons. Those reasons may vary, from cultural anti-Americanism, historic anti-Semitism, or the peculiar European adoration of everything Third World.
All this being said, and concentrated in the simple statement that Hamas is not deterrable and its supporters are seldom real “civilians,” why does anyone—especially the Israeli government, elected to protect its citizenry and territory—pretend otherwise?
The answer, and a disturbing one, is that Israel, or at least its elites, are more “Western” than is good for them or their people. The implicit message of the Israeli officials’ claim that “regime change” in Gaza is not an objective of Operation Cast Lead is problematic. If sincere, Tel Aviv is wasting lives—Jewish and Palestinian—for very short-term success. If not, the problem is worse, because it only creates confusion—in Israel, among Palestinians, and elsewhere.
Ultimately, the only solution—itself limited in time because of the permanency of dysfunctional Palestinian political culture—is the physical destruction of Hamas in Gaza, by killing most of its militants and leaders, be they “political” or “military” (is there a difference, outside Western artificial legalistic and emotional circles?)
As it is now, Israel’s claim that the goal is not Hamas’ removal from power in Gaza is either dishonest, a PR statement, or delusional. The destruction of Hamas’ military/terror capabilities would make it unattractive to Gazans, who like winners (if they kill Israelis). Anything else would convince most Gazans, who are always ready to be convinced, that Hamas is the way to go, electorally or practically.
Ultimately, the total physical destruction of Hamas in Gaza and the introduction of PA elements, even and especially if that means renewed intra-Palestinian conflict, is the only stable, if not permanent, solution. Since Hamas cannot be deterred, dealt or “negotiated” with it, a fact Hamas itself admits, is a lost cause—it simply has to be destroyed. Hence all Euro-pacifist demands or UN pseudo-solutions are inherently irrelevant.
The whole idea, or so-called principle, of total protection of undefined “civilians” promoted by leftists supporting Hamas without the courage to say so (the perennial Bianca Jagger, etc.), is not limited to Gaza’s conflict. That is just the latest pretext of a peculiarly irresponsible phenomenon. Thus the government and people of Sri Lanka are on the brink of finally winning their decades-long war against one of the world’s worst terrorist groups—the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the “inventors” of suicide bombings and responsible of some 70,000 fatalities since 1984. The reaction from Amnesty International and associates? “Too many civilians” are being killed or displaced—not the rational question of how many civilians, Tamil or others, would be saved by ending the war.
But no, self-proclaimed human rights or humanitarian NGOs, when not actively encouraging irregular forces by treating them equally with state actors, push for regulations on states, since they cannot do so on Hamas or similar non-state actors. The result is always that the conflict between state and non-state actors, whether in Gaza, Israel, Colombia, Sri Lanka, or elsewhere, is prolonged—with more “civilians” and innocents, whatever their definition, falling victim to violence.
It may appear cynical or brutal to say that in some circumstances—the Gaza conflict now being an obvious one—more violence, if correctly targeted, means fewer real civilian victims and better long-term chances of calm, if not peace. If Israel and those who truly seek calm in the Middle East in the long-term are serious, they should support the total military defeat of Hamas, rather than spill tears over the loss of “civilians.” This is a lesson that can be applied to conflicts far away from the Middle East. However, the prospects of this happening are not good, and the result is likely to be more and more “civilians” such as infants sleeping in their cribs being killed from Kyber to Mullaitivu to Gaza. Lack of clarity and reason truly kills.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Also found this interesting analysis on the Foreign Policy Research Institute website: