Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Israel And The Gaza `Problem'

Hi Mom! Lookee, it's me, Ahmed at the car swarm!Hey, I'm on TV!


In response to yet another barrage of Qassam missiles that injured a child and his mother in Kibbutz Zikkim near Sderot , the IAF made a token response, taking out 16 Islamic jihad commanders and fighters in airstrikes in Gaza today, including Majd al Harazin, head of Jihad Islami’s military arm in Gaza and Karim Dahlul, who was in charge of Qassam missile production. Meanwhile,

For those of you who may have forgotten, Islamic Jihad (mostly Sunnis) is funded, trained and sponsored by Shiite Iran - more proof, if needed that the Shiite-Sunni divide means a lot more to western `analysts' than it does to Muslims when it comes to jihad against the infidel.

While this was a welcome response to the beleaguered residents of southern Israel, it's far from ending the problem. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have built a huge terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, aided by the western arms and facilities they captured almost intact from Fatah...and of course, by the short-sightedness of the Olmert government, which allowed them to do so undisturbed. It will be no small task to uproot it, and it will only get more difficult the longer it's delayed.

I've written about Israel's options to deal with the war being waged on them from Gaza before. If anything, Israel's inaction has only made things worse.

So far in 2007, the Palestinians in Gaza have fired off 2,359 missiles and mortar shells into Israel, over 6 per day. That's around twice the amount fired off in 2006. It's not to far a stretch to extrapolate and say that unless the Israelis do something drastic, the 2008 figure will probably double what the Palestinians threw at Israel this year. And that doesn't take into account what might be coming at Israel from the West Bank or from the North if Condi Rice gets her way.

These are the poison fruits of the Gaza retreat, exactly as some of us predicted - just as the Hezbollah threat was the result of Israel's precipitous retreat from south Lebanon.

The conventional wisdom has it that to end the missile barrages into Israel, the IDF is going to have to go in and retake it in force, destroying the military infrastructure, killing or capturing its leaders and cutting off the smuggling routes from Egypt. Not impossible, but not an easy proposition either.

The real problem with pursuing that course is what happens next.Do the Israelis really want to re-occupy the area and assume responsibility for a population of genocidal Arabs? Giving Gaza back to Abbas and Fatah is worthless; they barely have the ability to hold on to Ramallah in the West bank, let alone Gaza and Hamas will just reconstitute and take it back again. Turning Gaza over to the UN is an exercise in futility. One only needs to look at UNIFIL and south Lebanon, where Hezbollah has rearmed, is back in all its' old strongholds and is actually protected by the UN forces to see that.

Short of expelling the population wholesale, repopulating it with Israelis and annexing it to Israel, there is no permanent long term solution for Gaza. And while this would work, that last scenario is unlikely,not only because of the diplomatic repercussions it would involve but because it would mean that the current Israeli government and their enablers would have to admit that they made a major error in kicking the Jews of Gaza - the `settlers'- out of their homes in the first place.

Israel really has only two other options, the way I see it.

There's no chance that Hamas or Islamic Jihad will ever make any agreements with Israel that mean anything. Aside from their poisonous ideology, making peace with Israel would severely effect their bottom line and leave them open to overthrow by more motivated Syrian and Iranian sponsored successors.

But if the leadership of these groups and a substantial number of their fighters could be liquidated, it might just be possible for Israel to come to financial arrangements with the clans and local gang leaders like the Dugmush clan and Jaysh Islami to keep the peace. It's not ideal by any means, and a fairly volatile situation, but it might work in the short term for quite some time.

The other option would involve a major change in the way Israel deals with Arab attacks on its citizens.

Israel should first insist on getting the UN to agree to what anyone with common sense already knows, that Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, has no current authority over its affairs and has no further responsibility for the population there. This may seem superfluous, but believe it or not, the UN still considers Israel the `occupying power' in Gaza and responsible for its affairs, which should give you some idea of the hypocrisy involved. If the UN refuses to recognize this, the Israelis should simply inform them that the alternative is that Israel reoccupies Gaza, annexes it to Israel and deals with its affairs and population in accord with its own sovereignity and desires.

Second, so there's no mistake in intentions, Israel should publicly announce to the Hamas rulers of Gaza that any further attacks on Israel on unacceptable and that the next attack on Israel would be followed by massive response...after which the Israelis should actually follow through and act.

This response should involve cutting off Gaza's electricity entirely and taking out Hamas leadership and infrastructure in the beginning, and progress to attacks on Gaza's population centers if the attacks continued. Attacks on Israel would then become far too costly in terms of the benefits achieved.As an additional benefit, a substantial portion of Gaza's hostile population, faced with no electricity and limited fuel would likely leave the area permanently.

Those are the options in a nutshell; reoccupying Gaza and expelling its hostile population, liquidating much of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and bribing Gaza's gang leaders to make peace or using massive retaliation to make attacks on Israel too costly to pursue.

None of them are perfect and all of them are costly in one way or another, but stupidity has its price. At any rate, continuing along the present course amounts to national suicide for Israel.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Looks like the latest round of attacks in Gaza is having some effect; Hamas is reportedly asking for a cease fire:
http://www.yahoo.com/s/256157/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071219/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians