Gaza: All options are bad options

By Ted Belman

Under the headline IDF exit plan: Gaza invasion will bring multinational force Yaakov Katz reports in THE JERUSALEM POST today,

    Israel is considering a large-scale incursion into the Gaza Strip during which it would present an ultimatum to the international community for the deployment of a multinational force as the only condition under which it would withdraw, defense officials have told The Jerusalem Post.

Israpundit reported on this plan a few days ago suggesting that NATO had agreed. Barry Rubin, our guru, said “nonsense”. NATO, according to him would never accept a role that would pit it against Hamas. What is laughable here is the suggestion the international community would be threatened by non-withdrawal. Occupation of Gaza is more of a threat to the IDF because Hamas would keep attacking them. It would be worse than the occupation of South Lebanon where one IDF soldier a month was being killed.

In fact I believe that the international community would hope that we reoccupy Gaza so that the power of Hamas is reduced and so the “peace process” can go forward.

Livni and Olmert have learned nothing from the Lebanon War. They based all their decisions on getting an international force deployed with a robust mandate. In the end they got a very small force UNIFIL with an insignificant mandate. That force is showing signs of evaporating starting with the troops from Spain. Now they want to repeat the exercise. But Katz reports it thusly

    Toward the end of Israel’s monthlong war against Hizbullah in the summer of 2006, Israel told the US and Europe it would not agree to withdraw its troops unless the UN force in Lebanon was beefed up and given more aggressive rules of engagement. In the end, a cease-fire was reached after European countries pledged their participation in UNIFIL.

And what a lousy ceasefire it was. There is no way Olmert would have allowed the IDF to remain in occupation in Lebanon with or without a international presence. I wrote at the time that No Ceasefire is better than a Bad Ceasefire.

Katz reports,

    However, Defense officials told the Post on Sunday that the current thinking in the defense establishment was to launch an operation in Gaza if deemed necessary by the political echelon, even without a multinational force in place. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has called for the deployment of such a force numerous times in recent months.

    “We are talking about the Second Lebanon War model,” a defense official said. “To go to war and tell the world that if they want a cease-fire and for us to leave then they will need to send a force to replace us.”

If Israel were to reoccupy Gaza, she would have to stay there until the Palestinians were able and willing to meet their obligations in Phase I of the Roadmap which is forever. And there is no way the international community would send a force to replace the IDF in Gaza and the Westbank.

Or she would have to find an alternate solution.

Olmert reported to the Cabinet on Sunday,

    “After today’s Cabinet meeting, there will be a ministerial consultation on the issue of structural reinforcement in Sderot and other communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The Government has several tracks for dealing with this issue. First of all, there is the operational activity of the IDF and the security establishment. I have already said that there is an almost daily war in the south and terrorist leaders are certainly a target, and we will not slacken on this issue; we will continue to struggle in order to reduce to nil the threat that is upsetting the quality of life of residents of the south.

    Of course, there are also other measures that we are using, such as sanctions and reducing the supply of materials that could serve the terrorist organizations, including energy, and these are being carried out according to the decision of the Cabinet, in coordination with the security establishment at the behest of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, with my assent.

    I think that Israel is acting correctly, prudently and responsibly. These actions may not be popular but they are an important part of counter-terrorist activity. On the reinforcement issue, we have invested hundreds of millions of shekels in public and educational institutions. We are building 13 new schools, which will be completely reinforced. Today, we will also discuss the issue of home reinforcement. The Prime Minister’s Office and the Defense Ministry have been dealing with this for a long time. You will recall that NIS 50 million was transferred in early January as per the commitment that was given in the Knesset to advance this issue. Today, proposals will be formulated, which will be submitted for Cabinet approval next week and which are designed to complete home reinforcement. As was mentioned, this activity is being carried out by the Defense Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.”

Olmert made no mention here of a full assault. If such an assault were really immanent there would be no need for reinforcement. Its either one or the other. So I conclude that Israel will continue just as they are doing with perhaps some escalation. But occupation, never.

February 18, 2008 | 8 Comments »

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8 Comments / 8 Comments

  1. I like the idea of taking control of the education of Arabs in the territories. Teaching hatred should be illegal, nomatter who teaches it. This begs the question of how much civilian authority the Israelis should exercise. It is a creeping path to annexation and citizenship for the resident Arabs. Still, I see no real choice. Israel cannot permit a resident Arab army teaching hatred to young Arabs, not to mention that they are teaching their legend, i.e. the Jews stole their land, etc.

  2. The only way there will ever be peace is for Israel to take control of the Arab education system and media. Mass media and schools are teaching the Arabs to hate. That must change. During the next 60 years of Israel’s existence, Israel must send an hourly dose of pro-Israel, pro-Jewish information and advocacy to all the Arabs in Israel, the territories and Gaza. In other words, deprogram and reprogram them and eventually they will become Jews. Then peace will ensue.

  3. Every few years we come up with a new dogma. The current catch phrase is international force for the purpose of policing our enemy. It is a ridiculous concept proven not to work in Lebanon. It just gives cover to Hamas and Hezbollah. The invasion of the Gaza district should take place with the objective of killing Hamas soldiers, disarming the district, and preventing attacks on Israel. The land should be divided in such a way that it cannot become a terrorist stronghold and Jews should be invited to settle the district as part of the ancient Jewish patrimony, if any are trusting enough to do so. Maybe those who were uprooted could be induced to return, with government compensation. No foreign troops should be allowed in and no local militias should be permitted.

  4. After envading and defeating Hamas and other terrorists in Gaza, why should Israel have to police the territory with the IDF? All that is necessary would be to annex Gaza and expel the terrorist survivors. A thourough search of Gaza to take all of their weapons, explosives and other arms would be prudent. After that, normal police would be sufficient.

  5. The current Israeli government would in effect be admitting its core philosophy of territorial retreat and uprooting Jewish communities was a fiasco. That’s why an invasion is not going to happen – at least not without a fig leave that leaves intact the political leadership’s Disengagement rationale. They’re invested in this and for them going back into Gaza would be political suicide.

  6. The notion that Israel can subcontract its security is laughable. No other country would be stupid enough to take Gaza off Israel’s hands. The truth is Israel either polices Gaza herself or stays out. There is no “middle ground” option where a country’s national security is at stake. Israel’s imbecilic political leadership should have understood that that while the West has interests in Lebanon – it has none in Gaza. And Israel’s proposals to have the West subcontract the job there on its behalf will all be rejected – as they should be. No – Israel is going to be alone to take on Hamas’ jihadstan.