Will a major Israeli attack on Gaza improve Israel’s security situation?

Will a major Israeli attack on Gaza improve Israel’s security situation? I think the answer depends on what one thinks is possible between Israelis and Palestinians.

If, to take the view of many in the current government of Israel, the Palestinians and especially Hamas are not interested in a political resolution, then one develops a policy of containing the problem. That means using military means to control, weaken, and degrade Palestinian militants, e.g. in Gaza. Kill Hamas or other leaders, destroy weapons caches. In other words, the Israeli-Palestinian relationship is destined to be a series of skirmishes, attacks, wars, and the like. That is all that is possible (add “in this generation” if you like). Call it military conflict management.

If, however, there is a political pathway toward better relations, the frequent resort to military force itself becomes a central impediment to a political resolution. Maybe Israel should engage with Hamas and negotiate. Or maybe Israel and the Palestinian Authority should sit down and negotiate a two-state solution. In short, the refusal to seriously test a diplomatic solution undermines the claim that only force works and there is no diplomatic resolution. You cannot keep complaining about X (e.g. rocket fire) if your own policy locks in X.

In the first view, the fact that Israel just – in 2008-09 – fought a war against Gaza is a sad but true reflection of reality. Such wars are necessary to contain the problem. But in the second view, the fact that Israel may be launching a major military operation just four years after the last one in Gaza is a sign of the bankruptcy of the “Operation Fill-in-the-Blank” approach to Israeli-Palestinian relations. The need to launch the operation is proof that this pathway is not leading to greater Israeli security.


1 thought on “Will a major Israeli attack on Gaza improve Israel’s security situation?

  1. Pingback: Does Israel have political options? Yes. | Mideast Matrix

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