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Why Israel should not attack in Gaza

A terrorist attack in Israel has claimed seven victims. Barak plans a large-scale attack on Gaza. We shouldn’t do it.

Seven Israelis were killed earlier today in a terror attack in the south of Israel, near Eilat. As these words are written, IAF fighters are circling in the skies of Gaza, and reports just came in of an airstrike in Rafah that claimed three lives. We still don’t know who is responsible for the attack, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak has already found the guilty parties, the residents of the Gaza Strip. Borrowing the language of the settler pogromchiks, he actually promised a “price tag” operation (Hebrew). In Gaza, people are already huddling in shelters, and following the tweets from there, you can feel the despair, the terror, the feeling of “not again”.

We are all familiar with this circle: Attack, terrorist attack, attack, terrorist attack, attack, major terrorist attack, major operation, terrorist attack, attack and so on and so forth. Maybe we should, for once, break the circle? Here are a few reasons why:

A.    Enough with the Pavolvian instinct. Barak wants to take us to a major operation in Gaza? He should first explain to the public what proof he has the attack originated there. I may well be proven wrong in the coming days, but right now this looks more like an Al Qaeda job, certainly much more professional than anything Hamas ever managed to pull off. Al Qaeda has already attacked Eilat before (a rocket attack – Hebrew), and it threatened an attack on it last year (Hebrew). Secondly, Barak should explain how, precisely, will his attack change the situation. The ease, almost absent-mindedness, in which the government can take us to war should be stopped.

B.     Nobody does it anymore. Israel is one of the few countries still clinging to the punitive raids method of the 1950s. Does Barak claim the Hamas is responsible for the murder of Israeli citizens by a rocket attacks on busses? He should go the UN and demand an investigation of what seems to be a bona fide war crime. What does Israel stand to lose, if for once it should let international law take its course, instead of breaking it? Will the coming blow will show any different results from the previous ones? Take a deep breath, let the blood recede from your eyes, let’s talk this over; don’t make decisions when you’re in this state.

C.      Fear for civilian life: The IDF does not know how to fight without harming civilians – even assuming that i wants to. Much of its lore is fighting against civilians, making them a pre-mediated target. This began in the late 1960s, with the bombing of the Suez Canal cities, and reached its climax in operations Grapes of Wrath and Law and Judgment in 1990s Lebanon – both of which directly attacked the population so that it would pressure its government to end the fighting. Barak led one directly and was involved in the planning of the other. Politically and diplomatically, Israel cannot afford another such operation, particularly not after Cast Lead.

D.     The suspicion of a putsch: A large segment of the Israeli people will not believe that a major offensive – which will entail the calling up of reserves – is the result of today’s attack. Given that one deputy minister, Ayoub Qara, already asked the tent-towns of the J14 protests to go home, and given that this morning saw particularly heavy fighting between the Treasury and the Ministry of Defense, this suspicion would be very hard to disperse. Particularly when the minister in charge is Ehud Barak, whose cynicism is only rivaled by the hatred the public feels for him.

Let’s, for once, not open fire as our first move. If this fails, we can always fire later.

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    1. aristeides

      Too late.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jenny

      Too late. Latest reports have 6 Gazans dead, one a child.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben Israel

      Israel will not initiate any large-scale military operations as long as this government is in power. All the major outbreaks of violence since Oslo in 1993 have occurred when “peace” governments are in power. The Right knows that if they take the initiative (i.e. without massive Arab provocation far beyond the kind of attacks that provoked the 2006 Lebanon II and 2008 Gaza wars) there would be a firstorm of outrage with many Israeli Leftists calling for international condemnation. The Left, when they are in power, knows, on the other hand, that in a war, the Right will support them. Thus, I wouldn’t worry if I were you.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Rob

      “Let’s, for once, not open fire as our first move. If this fails, we can always fire later”
      “WE CAN ALWAYS FIRE LATER”?????????
      Please explain that one….

      Reply to Comment
    5. André

      never to late to think of how to get out of the vicious circle of tit for that — trouble is that bibi and co. would have to start changing not just their behaviour but also their way of thinking (and that’s definitely a no starter for bi&av)

      Reply to Comment
    6. Deïr Yassin

      Reading Ben Israel again and again, I sometimes wonder: who does he hate most: the Arabs or the Israeli Left ? And is he paid by the Yesha to dump his sh.. crap on left-wing blogs ?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Dimi Reider

      He’s perfectly right about the body-count ratio under “left” and right-wing govts in the past, say, 20 years, however.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Danny

      @Ben Israel,
      Too late!
      It is crystal clear to everyone with a functioning brain that Israel and Hamas are two sides of the same coin. Both of them are more interested in revenge than in progress for their people, and neither of them has any compunction about killing innocent civilians. Shame on both of them!!!

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      As usual, reports are calling these “gunmen from Gaza” without any proof. Maybe they were from Norway.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Dan

      I doubt the Israeli attacks in Gaza are directly linked to the attacks on Israelis along the Egyptian borders earlier, either in a ‘Pavlovian’ or in a ‘punitive’ sense. It is reasonable to asume that Israel’s military policy vis a vis Gaza is a long term one; the Israeli military view is likely that quiet in the Gaza strip is bad strategically because it allows Hamas and militant factions to arm and organise and intrenches Hamas rule. The military collects a list of targets over time, and ministerial approval for hitting these is given in accordance with the level of casus belli provided. These are not ‘punitive raids’ – not one for one attacks – but a long-term strategy of agression vis a vis Hamas, which is implemented piecemeal whenever a sufficient casus belli is provided.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Deïr Yassin

      I wonder if these “targets” Dans speaks about include the nine years old boy just killed in Gaza, or is it ‘collateral damage’.
      I also of course expect Ben Israel – who had the chutzpah to claim that I approved of killing Israeli children, though I’ve clearly stated the contrary – to condemn the killing of this child by The-Most-Moral-Army-In-The-Middle-East. Don’t worry, the lack of sincerity is hard to detect on a screen.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Hamas’ behavior should determine whether Gaza is attacked or not.

      If Hamas regards the incident as illegal (unlike the similar attack on a school bus two months ago that it claimed credit for), and seeks to stop and/or punish terror originating within its area of control, then Hamas can be seen as acting for moderation.

      They would then have a chance of achieving the release of the 900 prisoners (or however many in the latest count) that they offered in exchange for Shalit’s live (or dead) body.

      That is gone now, as is the claim that the Palestine would be peaceable at 67 borders that is the content of the petitions before the UN to recognize Palestine.

      Like all terror, it mutually feeds the right, the right-wing Palestinian solidarity and the right-wing Israeli “caution”.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Is there any evidence that any part of the terror originated in or occurred in Gaza?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Shanzdah-e Shirin

      Because turning the other cheek is a Jewish value.

      What!? It isn’t?!

      Reply to Comment
    15. Michael S

      I seem to recall that when British soldiers or civilians were killed in Belfast, the RAF did not bomb Dublin. RIP the civilian victims of the attack today, but shame on Israel for its usual, rabid reaction.

      Reply to Comment
    16. teri

      Way too late; no doubt the fighter planes were circling even before this happened. I hope they do a real investigation instead of just claiming Hamas did it, of course, and I would hope the UN would conduct a separate investigation. If those employees are still able to do that sort of thing. I am more disgusted by the day.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Koshiro

      “He’s perfectly right about the body-count ratio under “left” and right-wing govts in the past, say, 20 years, however.”
      I don’t think so, at least not unless you call Sharon’s government ‘left’. Mind you, I wouldn’t have called Olmert’s ‘left’ either.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Palestinian

      When Israelis are killed its called a terrorist attack ,when Palestinians are killed its an “IDF” operation in response to …..Those who were killed were soldiers , legitimate targets .Who is responsible ? who will benefit from the attacks these days ?

      Reply to Comment
    19. Danny

      Palestinian, you’re wrong. Only one of the dead was a soldier, the rest were civilians.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Y.

      I usually restrain myself from answering to G.’s ravings, but I must point out that ‘Nobody does it anymore’ can only be right if one defines ‘nobody’ as ‘everyone on the planet’.
      We can start with NATO/Americans in Afghanistan, Turkey in Iraq (combating PKK by airstrikes and ground operations from time to time), Russia in Chechnya the second time, etc., etc.
      In fact, I can think of zero cases of any ‘intl. law solution’, which is probably since the latter simply does not exist in practice beside giving the aggrieved party a casus belli. If it did, the entire Palestinian leadership would be behind bars at the very least.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Koshiro

      “Palestinian, you’re wrong. Only one of the dead was a soldier, the rest were civilians.”
      That contradicts what I’ve read so far. Two IDF soldiers were killed – according to the news reports I’ve seen – in the IED attack alone, and possibly more (how many?) in the bus attacks. But I’ll admit, the news reports themselves are not quite clear on it.

      Reply to Comment
    22. too late 🙁

      When will Barak in particular and the government in general learn…?

      “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome” Albert Einstein

      Reply to Comment
    23. Palestinian

      Danny , things arent clear but I read from several sources that more soldiers were killed.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Borg

      When Israelis are killed its called a terrorist attack ,when Palestinians are killed its an “IDF” operation in response to …..Those who were killed were soldiers , legitimate targets …. Translation-every Jew is a legitimate target because they will grow up to be a future soldier.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Philos

      Ah let’s face it. These terrorists, whoever they may be or from wherever they may be, have played right into the hands of Netenyahu. I’m sure when he excused himself for the toilet during his senior cabinet meeting he blew a huge sigh of relief and smiled at himself. The cycle of escalation can begin now. Most Israelis can’t distinguish the nuances between the disparate Palestinian militant organizations and increasingly Hamas has been equated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in public discourse. So even if these terrorists for arguments sake came from Algeria it wouldn’t make a difference to the media narrative because Hamas is al-Qaeda is Syria is Iran. So drop a bomb on some Hamasniks to provoke them and let the macabre and cynical logic of political violence go. For all I know the Saudis sent them because the last thing they want is the Palestinians going to the UN and giving them a massive headache with their own people.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Dani

      how I hope that one day the governmnet of Israel will rake on the strategy you have suggested!

      Reply to Comment
    27. Moshe

      Your right “Nobody does it anymore” No country would accept continues attacks on their civilians on their sovereign soil. To these terrorists every Israeli is a legitimate target, even you Yossi Gurvitz, since every Israeli potentially is, was or will be a soldier. Given the constant attacks with rockets etc., acts of war by definition, any civil country would go for all out war rather then tit for tat responses and wouldn’t stop until the price extracted is deemed high enough. Yet we are expected to just accept the cold blooded murder of our people and the constant attack on our cities. If we were any other country we would bomb them like Dresden. Because collateral damage and all those are the facts of war. Its time to Wake Up!

      Reply to Comment
    28. Ben Israel

      Here is another article of interest to people like Yossi “no one does these things anymore” Gurvitz:


      It describes an American missile attack on a house. It is not known how many “innocent civilians” there were among the casualties. And this is President Obama’s American doing these things.
      Besides that item, the article describes how good Muslims are dealing with each other in that Muslim state, Pakistan. Just remember, all Muslims are brothers, but Zionist Jews, on the other hand, they have a problem with.

      Reply to Comment
    29. aristeides

      Oh, the mythical “constant attacks with rockets” again.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Taoist

      So, our resident Hasbara is justifying the bombing on the daily massacres of civilians that take place in the Af/Pak front? He is going the right way, without saying that the constant killing of civilians in Af/Pak has swollen the ranks of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, and the hatred against NATO/ISAF/US among the civilian population has increased a hundredfold.

      Despite claims by Regev they had “precise intel” about the perps, none of that was presented to anyone. Of course, there was already a poster justifying it on “compromising the sources” (what a load of BS), a line of thinking that takes anyone to step over a basic moral line with impunity.

      Israel is, as usual, overreacting, and making a “war” out of this attack, their usual “strategy,” which allows them to blow any threat out of proportion, and retaliate with, well, and out of proportion response, that magnifies the threats before the world, and make them appear as the perpetual “victims” of Palestinian terrorism, blurring all examination of the context for this type of attacks, aided and abetted by Obamas’ blah, blah, blah, and the usual wingnuts declaration.

      IMHO, this is a diversionary attack, period, and even if it is not, the timing is perfect for Israel/US to get as much mileage from it as possible.


      Reply to Comment
    31. RichardNYC

      ” He should go the UN and demand an investigation of what seems to be a bona fide war crime. What does Israel stand to lose, if for once it should let international law take its course, instead of breaking it?”
      I hope this is a joke. Also, the right to self-defense supercedes everything in the UN Charter. Maybe try reading it instead of serving up nonsense legal opinions about “international law” like Joseph Dana.

      Reply to Comment
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