Jul 12, 2006

What alternatives does Israel have?

As Israel invades Lebanon after two more of her soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah, some people are wondering whether Israel is making the right choice.
Israel insists, though, that it has no choice. The security situation in both Gaza and the Lebanon border had passed the point of intolerability for Israel. The status quo could not be allowed to continue in Israel's estimation. So it sent in the armed forces.

All of which means that Israel was forced to react to circumstances rather than create them. Yet the real initiative is political, not military, and Hamas and Hezbollah (unjustly) hold the high ground there. I doubt that Israel's military actions will reverse that.

We must note that Israel under Sharon compelled Jewish settlers to vacate Gaza and destroyed their homes in an attempt to gain a political advantage. It didn't work. Hamas and Hezbollah will always revert to violence to subvert Israel's political gains. That's what they've done here.

Israel loses the initiative to Hezbollah as well as Hamas

What possible choice does Israel have at this juncture? Israel's entire history can be seen as a reaction to outside forces. Yet she never gets credit for it in the court of world opinion; instead, Israel is condemned for contributing to the cycle of violence. And the condemnations have already begun.
One wonders, however, what the Israeli exit strategy is here. Total annihilation of Hezbollah and Hamas is impossible without genocide, given how organic they seem to be. Does Israel plan to annex and permanently occupy these terroritories? They’ve tried that without solving the terrorist problem. They also can’t go the route that the U.S. has gone in Iraq: The current governments are, in both cases, the result of the democratic process.
How can Israel worry about not committing genocide when its very survival is at stake? When it comes down to a battle between "us and them," who can fault a nation for choosing the latter?

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