Israel Palestine Infos
Cast Lead 2
DID WE win? Tomorrow
marks the first anniversary of the
Within the Israeli consensus, the answer has already been given: Certainly we won, the Qassams have stopped coming.
A simple, not to say
primitive, answer. But that is how it looks to the superficial observer. There
were the Qassams, we made war, no more Qassams. Sderot is thriving, the
But anyone who wishes to understand the results of this war has to pose some hard questions.
Was the real aim of the
war to stop the Qassams? Could this have been achieved by other means? If there
were other aims, what were they? Is the final balance sheet positive or
negative, as far as the interests of
I PITY the historians. They have to scrutinize documents, peruse protocols, disentangle tortuous texts.
Documents are misleading. If Talleyrand (or whoever it was) was right in saying that words were invented in order to hide thoughts, this is even more true for documents. Documents falsify facts, hide facts, invent facts – all according to the interests of the writer. They disclose a little to hide the rest. Anyone who has been involved in public affairs knows this.
Therefore, let’s ignore the protocols. What were the real aims of those who started the war? I believe that they were as follows, in order of decreasing priority:
Let’s examine the results, one by one.
THIS WEEK, hundreds of
thousands gathered in the
History buffs were not surprised. When attacked by a foreign foe, every people unites behind its leaders, whoever they are. Pity that our politicians and generals don’t read books.
Our commentators portray
the inhabitants of
It seems that most of the
people in the
The main aim of the operation has failed completely.
THE SECOND aim, on the
other hand, has been achieved. The Olmert government, which lost public
The army has restored its
self-confidence. It has proved that the military deficiencies, that came to
light at every step in the
THE QUESTION whether the third aim – deterrence - has been achieved is closely connected with another question: Who won the war militarily?
In a war between a
regular army and a guerrilla force, it is hard to decide what “victory” means.
In a classic battle between armies, victory belongs to the side which remains in
control of the battlefield once the fighting ends. Obviously that does not apply
in an asymmetrical contest. The Israeli army did not want to stay in the
Some argue that Hamas won the war: if a band of ill-armed guerrillas holds out for three whole weeks against one of the strongest armies in the world, that constitutes a victory. There is a lot of truth in that.
On the other hand, the deterrent force of the army has certainly been restored. All Palestinian factions and all Arab forces in general, now know that the Israeli army is prepared to kill and destroy without any restraint in any military confrontation. From now on, the Hamas leaders – as well as the Hizbullah chiefs – will think twice before provoking it.
THE QASSAMS have stopped almost completely. Hamas has even imposed its authority on the small, extreme factions, which wanted to continue.
No doubt the newly
restored deterrent force of the army has had a bearing on that. But it is also
true that the army is taking great care not to cause regular incidents, as was
their wont before Cast Lead. At least for now, the deterrence in the
It can be asked whether a
means could have been found to stop the Qassams short of war. If the Israeli
government had recognized the Hamas authorities in the
THE RELEASE of Shalit – a secondary but important aim in itself – has not been achieved. If Shalit is freed, it will happen only as part of a prisoner exchange, and that will look like a huge victory for Hamas.
TAKING INTO consideration all these results, one can draw the conclusion that the war has ended in a kind of draw.
Except for Goldstone.
This war has dealt a
fatal blow to
Is that important? David
Ben-Gurion famously said that “it is not important what the Goyim say but what
the Jews do.” Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, said that no nation can
afford to behave without “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind”.
Almost all our spokesmen and journalists, from the President down to the last TV talk-show host, keep parroting that the Goldstone report is “one-sided”, “vile” and “lying”. But people around the world know that it is as honest a report as could be expected after our government’s decision to boycott the investigation. The damage increases from day to day. Some of it is irreversible.
It is impossible to measure the results of the war without laying this fact on the scales. The upshot is that the damage done to us by the war outweighs any benefits.
Some people in our
leadership silently accept this conclusion. But there is no lack of voices –
both in the leadership and in the street - which talk openly about a “Cast Lead
A saying attributed to