The ugly middle ground
Posted by aogWednesday, 05 July 2006 at 12:27 TrackBack Ping URL

As the Israeli action in Gaza continues, it seems to me that the Israelis are finding the worst possible response to the problem.

As many have noted with regard to dictatorships, the worst thing to be is somewhat oppressive. Such a stance creates anger but not enough fear and the result is disaster for the rulers. Although Israel is a democracy, the same mechanisms operate among the Palestinians. Israel hits at them, hard enough to hurt and create anger, but not hard enough to serve as sufficiently strong disincentive. This not only makes the cost of attacks against Israel low enough to be sustainable, but also implies a long term victory, if that’s the worst Israel can do (it’s not, of course, but the impression is created that it is).

As I noted almost exactly a year ago, Israel does not seem psychologically able to respond to Palestinian agression in a way that would resolve the issue. It wouldn’t even have to be real war making in Gaza — giving some 500 lb high speed responses to the Hamas leadership would work. And my other point holds as well, that without a clear discussion of how to deal with continuing violence even after a de facto Palestinian state, Israel would be stuck just as it is now, unable to act in a truly responsive way.

Eventually, I expect the Palestinians to create the resolution, by finally managing to do something so atrocious that even the Israels will drop the big hammer on them.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Michael Herdegen Wednesday, 05 July 2006 at 18:01

Yeah - it takes 9/11 to arouse sufficient anger. The Pal’s lob all kinds of missiles into Israel, but they rarely even injure somebody that way, much less kill.

When the big one hits, the Pal’s are going to find out that they have no friends, that they’re only tools for other groups and nations.

cjm Thursday, 06 July 2006 at 10:09

israel has a death wish, a need to replay masada. it is clear they will never do what is necessary to stop the attacks. tears for israel are wasted water.

pj Monday, 10 July 2006 at 20:29

I think Israel’s leaders know that their real enemies are countries like Iran and Syria, but they lack the strength and domestic support to take them out. They know that fighting the Palestinians will not solve the problem, so they temporize and hope the situation gets better. 9/11 helped them because it got the U.S. to take out one sponsor of Palestinian terrorism, but there’s at least two more still to go.

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