I looked back through the archives of this blog, to see what I wrote about the previous military interventions in Gaza. The comments I offered then seem to work pretty well for the current crisis too. From 2006:
These events are a tragedy in the strict sense of the word, where the traits of the main characters make certain events inevitable. Sure, Israel didn’t start it. Watch any one of the countless Greek Tragedies that will plague this year’s Edinburgh Festival, and you will see that it is never the protagonist’s fault. Hercules didn’t start it. Electra didn’t start it. Clytemnestra didn’t start it. But at the end of the play, when everyone’s dead, one still thinks “if only you had been different.” Nasrallah is the malevolent deity, nowhere to be found yet omnipresent at the same time. He laughs at how easy it is to provoke this tragedy.
I also wrote:
Another blood feud is created, ready to be concluded in some Tel Aviv pizza parlour in 2012.
That turned out to be right. In 2009 I wrote about how the asymetric warfare practiced by Hamas and Hezbollah can outmanoever Israel:
If you’re faced with a situation where bombing civilians seems to be the only course of action left open to you, then you’ve already been outmanoeuvered, you have already lost, and the only thing you are playing for is your own soul, your own humanity.
All this seems right for 2012, too.
This statement from President Peres seems to fall precisely into the tragic, circular logic discussed above:
— robertsharp59 (@robertsharp59) November 18, 2012
This is ridiculous for two reasons. First, collective punishment of the Gazans is not the only possible course of action. This fascinating but depressing article in the New York Times by Gershon Baskin, and Israeli negotiator who helped secure the release of Giliad Shalit, outlines just one alternative course of action that was open to Israel – negotiate a cease-fire with Hamas. According to Baskin, Ahmed Al-Jabari (the Hamas leader assasinated by Israel last week) was the man best placed to deliver a cease-fire, a project in which he was actively engaged at the time of his death.
Peres’ comment is absurd for a more practical reason – Israel’s “eye-for-an-eye” style retalitory policy has not made its citizen’s safer. Just the opposite, in fact: the military intervention has actually caused an increase in rocket attacks. The first Israeli citizens to die from rocket attacks this year were killed last Thursday, after the Government began bombarding Gaza. So the current military action fails on its own terms.