"Politics is war by other means."Invading Lebanon did not enhance their security in 1982. Instead, Israel only succeeded in radicalizing the Lebanese population against them as occupying the country became a strategic liability. Israel was also weakened by their disproportionate response to the kidnapping of their soldiers by Lebanon's Hezbollah in 2006.
With respect to what is happening in Gaza today, Israel is playing into Hamas's hands. The truce was for Hamas to exploit a strategic pause and mobilize against Israeli ground forces. They want this fight. Just as Hezbollah gained prestige in 2006, Hamas will also be strengthened politically as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza intensifies. Meanwhile, Abbas and his Fatah movement will be further weakened while Hamas presents itself as the Palestinians only legitimate government standing up to Israeli aggression. And the rockets being fired against Israel won't stop and will never stop until a peace settlement is reached. A just peace settlement is infinitely more difficult to achieve when much of the civilized world is opposed to your actions.
Hamas of course also merits condemnation as they prefer shedding blood over coexisting with a Jewish state. They would rather provoke a humanitarian crisis among their own people then acknowledge Israel's right to exist and negotiate a settlement. From Hamas's point of view the deaths of their own people represents acceptable collateral damage that will gain sympathy and enhance their prestige. These people are thugs and Israel took their bait.
As Booman writes at Booman Tribune,
"I doubt that Israel can stop the rocket attacks without further worsening their reputation in the world, which is now about as low as it has ever been. Israel outsmarted itself with its settler policy and they're never going to have security again, ever, until they concede that the settlers are the gravest danger to their Nation's security and do something about it.I agree with Booman's observation and would only add that the Israeli government is afraid taking on their settlers will result in a civil war. These fundamentalist nut jobs believe they answer to a higher authority then any civilian law and are more than willing to wage terrorism against their own government in opposition. The only hope Israel has is for their body politic to express itself and give new leadership a mandate to not back down against the settlers.
You'd think a country that was defending itself from rocket attacks would get some leeway. You'd be wrong."
But Israel's body politic will never elect the right caliber of leadership until the the United States is perceived as an "honest broker." The nascent Obama Administration won't have the political cover to become an honest broker as long as The American Israel Public Affairs Committee ('AIPAC") is perceived as the most representative voice in Washington of American Jewish opinion. Israel's worst friend in America is AIPAC because they're encouraging behavior that is both immoral as well as self-destructive.
American Jewish opinion however is far from monolithic. And Jewish Americans like me need to mobilize and present a counterweight to voices such as AIPAC's. Israel's security as well America's are at stake as well as the lives of Israelis and Palestinians on both sides.
American liberal Jews like me often feel beleaguered. Many on the left truly are Anti-Semitic and regard the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a pretext to justify their hatred of Jewish people. I've seen it on the blogosphere where even liberal Jews opposed to the occupation are vilified and accused of being right wing apologists. To them the Palestinians bear no responsibility and any Israeli deaths are morally acceptable. Meanwhile, we have family and friends that believe Israel can do no wrong and we're selling them out. Yet express ourselves we must or the cycle will never end.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said,
"An eye for an eye, and soon the world is blind."Sixty years after Israel was founded both sides of the conflict continue to go blind.