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The Gaza War
When Strategies Collide

Many wars are fought over accidents and misunderstandings. This is not one of those times. With key interests at stake, the conflict in Gaza is likely to continue.

Published on: July 25, 2014
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  • Curious Mayhem

    No chance for peace to have a chance. Hamas launched the rocket war out of desperation. They have attempted, since last fall at least, if not before, to start a third intifada. But that attempt flopped. The rocket war is the alternative. Iran’s subsidies are declining, as all resources go into saving the Assad regime.

    Meanwhile, Israel and Diaspora Jews have learned some nasty things about western countries, but also newfound willingness to denounce various bad actors, including the conventional news media and the UN. American Jews continue their overdue break from Obama — several years too late, but better late than never.

  • andrewp111

    Of course, the wild card here is ISIS, which is also an existential threat to Saudi Arabia. Prince Bandar was fired from his post for funding and building up this monster. History could make some unexpected twists and turns here.

  • brian_in_arizona

    Not mentioned is the reality that periodic post-war reconstruction of Gaza by the UN and various charitable organisations is a mainstay of the Hamas “economy”: Poke a stick in Israel’s eye, provoke fighting, get a cease fire, get $millions in reconstruction and relief aid……all at a cost of few hundred civilians deaths.

  • davidhouston

    The author seems to have missed the logical conclusion of his own arguments. Hamas (or at least it’s all powerful military wing) could not tolerate the new geopolitical status quo which starved it of the military aid and skimmed humanitarian aid that allowed it to survive as “political” player in the game, so it was forced to initiate a war that would bring tremendous harm on the people it pretended to represent in order for it to maintain it’s own selfish interests.
    It’s military strategy is “for a propaganda victory” in the Western press that will have the West impose a solution that restores their funding. Since there will never be peace or prosperity for the people of Gaza while Hamas desperately attempts to hang on to their “criminal organization” masquerading as a political party. The best course is for Israel to follow it’s current military strategy long enough to further degrade Hamas’s terrorism infrastructure and resit efforts from the West to allow Hamas to rebuild and then repeat this cycle in two years.
    The press could help if they would deny Hamas the propaganda victory they are so politically dependent on.

    • Cathy Schulbaum

      I think the author gets that, but is saying what s/he feels s/he can get away with, and kudos to for saying it!

      My only hope is that the central banks, IMF, UN, Crony corporations, media and Obama have taken us so far over the line that the people of the US and around the world, recognize what is really going on. Otherwise, we are in for some very dark times.

    • The Hamas leaders are not in the fighting. They are in deep bunkers or in other countries with their Swiss bank accounts safe.

      • Winston Smith

        There are now some news reports that HAMAS morale is crumbling. They are abandoning their weapons and suicide vests when Israeli forces get near their ‘stong points’.

        If so, it appears that the HAMAS leaders exhortations to their fighters don’t work any more. Especially when they are sitting on their well-fed behinds back in their tunnel safe-havens.

    • newageblues

      Hamas was forced to form a unity government with Abbas on Abbas’ terms because of their weak position. There’s is no way to have the needed new elections in Palestine without a unity government. Israel could have viewed Hamas’ capitulation to Abbas as a victory for them, but instead chose to see it as intolerable. Israel would have been better off ratcheting up the economic pressure on Hamas, in cooperation with the regime in Egypt. Now most of the people in this world who can’t stand seeing children and other civilians killed are angry with Israel, once again, for their excessive use of force.

      • mark abrams

        Yours is just the sort of “analysis” Hamas is depending upon to survive, especially the “excessive use of force” bit. Does that judgement derive from your own extensive urban combat experience or from Hamas propaganda?

        • newageblues

          I already told you what it derives from, I can’t stand seeing innocent people killed, whether they are Jews or anyone else. Israel continually acts to weaken peace loving Pals and strengthen rejectionists, it really seems like they do not want peace. They think they can break the Pals back, the Pals think they can break Israel’s. Bloody fools, both of them.

          • Fred_Z

            Nobody likes to see innocents hurt.

            Palestinian civilians are not innocent. They support and assist Hamas.

          • newageblues

            Little children are not innocent? You’re far gone, Fred Z., into collective punishment land. You have so much more in common with Hamas than you realize.

          • Stephen Morris

            This is the only thing that you have written so far that I can agree with.

          • newageblues

            But note how few people on this site agree with you or my comment, compared to those who like Fred Z the peacenik’s comment.

          • fishaddict

            No we are older and remember the hard choices that needed to be made to save the planet. The days of carpet bombing whole cities because either produced or were a transport hub for the germans or Japanese, those factories had many children as well as friendly POWs slaving away in them but they needed to be taken out to remove the threat of what they produced. Also when you drop hundreds of bombs hoping a couple hit target, more often not the majority fall all over the city in question killing innocents. Then of course there is little boy and fat man.

          • newageblues

            But do you remember all the mistakes that led to the rise of the Nazis in the first place, and all the mistakes that let them get as far as they did? Do you understand the role the ever expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank have in convincing Pals and others that Israel is not interested in peace? Is that an unreasonable conclusion? People don’t usually build in place with the idea that they’ll be leaving them.

          • fishaddict

            So explain the last 5 cease fires that Israel abided by and the PA broke. How about the tunnels that use concrete meant to help the PA citizens but instead are used to kill PA children who are being used as laborers to build the tunnels. Or the fact that their muslom neighbors in Egypt find them so distasteful that they too are blowing up tunnels. Too many fingers are pointing to the PA and not Israel for human rights, cruelty, war crimes when reality is involved. The whole “I promise not to punch you in the face followed by shooting you in the stomach “cease fire” attitude the PA has been using has got to end before any progress can be made.

          • newageblues

            You chose to ignore my comment about the ever expanding Israeli settlements playing a big role in promoting permanent war between Israel and Palestine. Maybe the expansion of the settlements also has to end before progress can be made. But you choose to only see things from the Israeli side.
            The PA broke the ceasefires or Hamas did? Or you don’t distinguish between the two?

          • fishaddict

            No I don’t because I refuse to pander to it. Israel has been conceeding to that call for some time sending soldiers to evict settlers and the response they get is that those settlements are then used as platforms for new attacks. At what point do they stop? The PA has expressed they will not stop until all of Israel is pushed into the sea. They have not shown any proclivity towards stopping when they get concessions such as land, cease fire, and so on. The PAs are so barbaric that the Egyptians are blowing up their tunnels. They have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, monsters, and otherwise beneath contempt. Using children as shields, murdering Israeli families and then spreading the images saying the evil Israelis killed them is beyond reproach. We put down dangerous animals and the PAs are worse.

          • Cpt_Justice

            The children, above all, ARE innocent. They are the reason, however, that Hamas MUST be DESTROYED.

          • newageblues

            ANY limit to the number of children and other civilians that Israel is permitted to kill in the attempt to destroy the Hamas scum?

          • Cpt_Justice

            Don’t you mean “ANY limit to the number of children Hamas is allowed to sacrifice in order to create sympathy for themselves?”

          • newageblues

            That’s an equally important question, but I was asking about the jokers in Israel, not the jokers in Hamas, and you didn’t answer the question. Is your answer as many as necessary?
            I don’t know how much sympathy Hamas is getting from this. Anger at Israel is quite compatible with anger at Hamas.

          • Cpt_Justice

            When you ask questions that aren’t questions, especially so you can put words in other peoples’ mouths, you have to expect those accusations to be ignored.

          • To address your concerns (legitimate). About alienating moderates: In the Arab world, the rejectionists always call the shots. Look at Syria. I suppose that most Syrians despise both Assad and the Islamists, yet these are the defining forces. A relatively moderate administration like Abbas’s could only survive on a foreign power’s bayonets.

            As for innocent people getting killed, I agree. But hold your horses. What you see is not necessarily what is going on. On both historical and current experience, there is a lot of manipulation going on (e.g., while I have no idea what happened in the latest UNRWA shooting incident, I recall an identical account from 2009, complete with photos, that turned out a hoax). If you look at the tweets from the foreign journalists currently covering the campaign from Gaza, you’ll see that in spirit most of them support the Gaza side and are emotionally invovled with it. They have zero sympathy with Israel. This is not based on their experiences on the ground – it preceded that experience.

            As for younger Americans, again, I share your concerns. The logic of war, which Mead has so nicely elaborated, is counter-intuitive, and is not likely to appeal to people whose only experience consist in a dose of liberal multiculturalism (that’s not meant necessarily in a derogative way).

          • davidhouston

            But it would seem that your solution is to reward Hamas for deliberately putting their children in harms way by throwing them a life line and imposing a political victory for Hamas on Israel. As I said this was Hamas

          • newageblues

            That’s a reasonable comment, but the cost of what Israel is doing (perhaps I should call it the Israel-Hamas conspiracy to kill Pal civilians) is just too high in innocent life for me. Israel thinks the more suffering they impose on Gaza, the more Gazans will hate Hamas, but I think the opposite is closer to the truth.

            The Palestinians needed to have a unity government to prepare for very overdue elections. From what I understand Hamas caved to Fatah in the negotiations for the unity government. I don’t understand why Israel found that development intolerable, they should welcome new Palestinian elections, they might have clarified if Palestinians are interested in peace. Maybe that’s exactly what Israel’s current government was afraid of.

          • Cpt_Justice

            Once you include Israel’s name in any conspiracy to kill innocent people you lose any shred of credibility.

          • newageblues

            There’s not exactly an Israeli-Hamas plot to kill children, there’s an Israel-Hamas plot to kill the possibility of peace, and children and other civilians are getting killed in the process.

          • Tom Servo

            There is no such thing as “peace loving Pals”. They do not exist.

          • newageblues

            You’re crazy.

          • fishaddict

            I have said before, if the PA innocent civilian is so terrorized by the war…why are they not doing what every other civilian in war torn parts of the world are doing? Fleeing across the borders into all of the other moslem lands. Hell we have hundreds of thousands of Mexicans fleeing poverty, braving death and paying huge sums of money not only to protect their children but to give them a better life and many times they are just sending the kids. This is not to get them out of a war zone but to give them a chance for a better life in a semi hostile country crossing certainly hostile territory and yet the PA citizen can’t walk the equivalent of a high school cross country track to escape a war zone? For some reason I get the impression that aside from the democratic vote(sort of weird using that word) that elected a known terrorist org in charge of the country, dancing in the streets at many moslem on anyone attacks, and the fact that their is no pushback or flight from anything…except to whine whenever Israel destroys a known stronghold or platform or weapons store…something is not tracking correctly.

      • liberpolly

        The moment Hamas started shooting rockets into Israel, there was no option that didn’t involve warfare.

        • newageblues

          Warfare or de-hardening of the heart. I know the way Hamas hides among civilians. Even so, are you really confident killing so many innocent people will bring Israel closer to peace and security? It could easily do the opposite.

          • Tom Servo

            Destroying the tunnels and destroying the rockets hidden in them will absolutely bring Israel closer to peace and security.

            If civilians were allowed to stay away from the areas where those things are by Hamas, then their would be no civilian casualties. But those two items are such a threat that they have to be taken out even if civilians are being used as Human Shields by Hamas.

          • newageblues

            Temporary security maybe, at a very heavy price. Peace, I don’t see it, this just creates hatred piled on hatred, on both sides.

          • Tom Servo

            That reminds me of a friend of mine, once we were all out drinking at about 2 am and one of the boys asked him “hey, ain’t your wife gonna be mad at you for staying out this late?” and he said “oh hell yeah, but she’s already there, and they can only get so mad, and once she’s there it don’t matter what I do, it’s all gonna be the same. So the hell with it, give me another!”

            This is kinda the same situation – Hamas already hates Israel as much as is humanly (maybe even inhumanly) possible. No matter what Israel does, Hamas can’t hate them anymore than they do already. So Israel might as well do whatever it wants to, as far as Hamas’ feelings are concerned, it’s all a freebie from here on out.

            (Hatred has been piled on hatred for thousands of years over there, and it will always be there as long as human beings live there, and there’s nothing you or I or the man in the moon can do about it. So screw it.)

          • newageblues

            It’s going to be a very bleak world if people with your views prevail. You demonize the Pals, the Pals demonize you> Is everybody having fun yet? Is everyone feeling secure about their future yet? The hardliners on both sides are, because they know God is on their side. but what about everyone else?

          • Tom Servo

            “Going to be”???? Have you looked at Libya lately? Or Syria, or Iraq, or Ukraine, or Cameroon, or any of the other thousand hellholes that define life for most people today?

            It IS a very bleak world, and those who think like you make it worse every day. Because you loudly oppose the only actions that can actually make things a little bit better in some (but not all) of these places.

            When the Nazi’s took over Europe, we didn’t sit back and say “oh please, will you only execute 100,000 people this month instead of 200,000?” Nope, we bombed them and blew up their cities and invaded their lands and killed their civilians until they weren’t in power anymore, and peace only happened AFTER we had killed a whole lot of people. Same thing happened with Japan.

            and the same thing happened here in the US,150 years ago – 1 million people had to die, a LOT of them civilians, before we could get rid of slavery. That’s war. That’s how war works, that’s why war happens, that’s what war is. War is hell, and the sooner that everyone realizes it is hell, the sooner they will end it, but the only way to get there is to bring home to the fighters that they and their families and their cities will be in absolute hell until they make peace.

            And those that don’t ever get it can die.

            That’s how war works. That;s how the world works.

          • newageblues

            Your conviction that there was only one way to get rid of slavery matches Israel and Hamas’ conviction that there is only one way to deal with their enemy. Whatever hardline policies accomplish in the short term, you all here are not taking a serious look at the possible long term consequences. Just as an example, note that young Americans are far less approving of Israel’s behavior than older ones, do you really think Israel’s free ride in US public opinion will continue forever? This new slaughter of refugees at a UN facility being reported today will only confirm and strengthen what many people are feeling. The world works in many ways, and you’re ignoring a lot of them.

          • Tom Servo

            Interesting to know that you think we should have allowed the South to leave peaceably, and for slavery to continue. That is, of course, what all of the anti-war “copperheads” wanted at the time.

            As far as the “slaughter” today, you mean the deaths at the Hamas Rocket Storage facility that happened to have a UN flag on top of it?

            You make one good point – what you call “Israel’s free ride” won’t continue forever, so they need to destroy Hamas and kill all of its supporters now, while they can. What you’re ignoring is the fact that the growing criticism of Israel, from people like you, means that the all-out war between Israel and Hamas needs to happen NOW. No settlement, no more cease-fires.

            Victory or Death, for both of them. Here and Now.

          • newageblues

            I didn’t want slavery to continue. Neither did the Brits and the French, they were very anti-slavery by then. They were also fearful of the growing power of the US. If Lincoln wasn’t so obsessed with keeping the Union together by force, he might well have been able to cut a deal with them: He wouldn’t use force to keep the South in the Union and in return they wouldn’t buy slave grown cotton or allow it to be shipped to Europe. They might well have jumped at this offer, giving them something they very much wanted in return for them helping to make happen something else they very much wanted. How could the South have survived if they couldn’t sell their cotton to Europe? But Lincoln never considered anything like that, keeping the US together by force was his top priority.

          • newageblues

            “You make one good point – what you call “Israel’s free ride” [in US public opinion] won’t continue forever, so they need to destroy Hamas and kill all of its supporters now, while they can.”
            You’re dreaming if you think more slaughter will solve anything. The same stinking dream Hamas has. And Israel is going to need US support in the future the same way they do now. For one thing, they are quite vulnerable to economic sanctions.

          • Cpt_Justice

            Except that nothing else has been shown to work, especially not concessions. The west leans on Israel for so many concessions, refusing to understand that attacks from terrorists come AFTER them, not to *get* them; Israel is seen as weak when she gives in even the slightest bit.

          • newageblues

            Has offering the Pals a viable state ever been tried? People claim Barak and Olmert did that, but without seeing maps and all the details, that’s quite impossible to verify.

          • Cpt_Justice

            Several times, the two most notable in ’48 & at Wye. It got turned down every single time, because they wanted it all.

          • newageblues

            At Wye? Is there a map you can show me? 90% of the land doesn’t mean that much if all the main roads and the main aquifer are included in the other 10%.
            I know about 1948, and they should have taken the 45% they were offered. Arab states decided for them, and now they are struggling to get a state on only 22% of the land under dispute.

          • Cpt_Justice

            Is there some strange reason you couldn’t find a map? I put “wye accord map” into Google & this came right up http://jafi.org/JewishAgency/English/Jewish+Education/Compelling+Content/Eye+on+Israel/Maps/36.+The+Wye+Agreement.htm

        • teapartydoc

          You can’t talk to people like newageblues. They have already convinced themselves that they are both smarter and more compassionate than anyone else on the planet, and their moral narcissism blinds them to the fact that people in the real world (the one their minds are genetically incapable of inhabiting) have to make real decisions with real consequences.

          • newageblues

            That’s certainly the same way I feel about almost everyone in this echo chamber. Cheers.
            I definitely do not think I am more compassionate or smarter than everyone else. I wish I could write the way John Judis in the New Republic and Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian have written about this madness.

      • MM

        ‘Excessive use of force’
        Hmm- does dropping leaflets begging residents to go, and phoning residents telling them to leave to save themselves and using pre-bomb mini warning explosives to warn residents qualify as ‘excessive force’? It is Hamas that locates its missile batteries in homes, hospitals and schools – not Israel. Israel begs the residents to leave so they can surgically take out the missile batteries. Hamas tells them not to leave, and that they should stay.

      • Y.K.

        Well, you sort of answered your own question when it comes to why did Israel oppose the unity deal. That deal was purposely unclear on the salary issue and on management of Gaza. The worry was it let Hamas get rid of its governing responsibilities while allowing it armed control and paying its members under the guise of ‘salaries’ (i.e. some version of the ‘Hezbollah model’), essentially obviating the same economic pressure which you advocate.

      • Y.K.

        As far as innocent lives go – letting Hamas be has a much higher price than removing it.

        Since Hamas is what it is, it can’t stop until Israel is gone. That’s not very likely soon, and if we disallow removing Hamas – this means endless war, and eventually a much higher price in innocent lives than the current operation, regardless of how Israel or even Hamas fight.

        Even when it is at peace there’s an high cost. In 2012 alone, about 160 Gazan children died digging tunnels[1].

        If you want to stop civilian death, the best way to do that is to remove Hamas’s control of the Strip. So far, I haven’t heard any convincing method of removing Hamas with less collateral effect other than getting Israel to do that with force. Perhaps you have a better idea here?


      • fishaddict

        Look at it this way. Ask yourself what would they do if they were able to do whatever they wanted with no global or moral repercussions. Israel is in a tenuous position because they truly have the power to stop all of this by simply wiping them all out. They have the manpower, weaponry, resources, and reason to end this forever but they don’t. They strike targets based on threat to stop already used threats from continuing to be used. the priority is to prevent collateral damage. If they wanted to, the would be able to use the superior firepower and simply walk across the country bombing and shooting anything that moves. Hamas, on the other hand, has the self expressed purpose of eliminating Israel and all Jews…genocide. Specific targets of choice are children and people protesting in support of Hamas who happen to be Jews. One fights for peace and life while the other wishes nothing but the most horrid of genocide.

  • Godfrey de Bouillon

    Israel can get peace when it annihilates Hamas, creates a buffer in Gaza, disarms the Palestinians, and seals off its border (or, if needed, takes more extreme action). The only alternatives to that are: 1) more war; or 2) the Palestinians deciding that they want to live in peace next door to Jews. Since 2) doesn’t look likely any time soon, the future seems kind of bleak for that part of the world.

    • Cpt_Justice

      That’s why the outcry against the security fence has been so great: because IT IS EFFECTIVE.

  • Anthony

    Sobering exposition WRM (,,,and neither side thinks it can live with the consequences of a defeat gives evidence) and remainder that Ottoman hegemony, Sykes-Picot, British/French mandates, etc. are yet impacting geography that has been in serial combat my entire life. That said, multiple interests and players cited in essay do not augur well for solution. Indeed as Richard Hass says all problems don’t inure themselves to a solution – this appears to be one (the “New Middle East” or same Middle East with new narrative).

    “It is a region wracked by religious struggle between competing traditions of the faith. But the conflict is also between militants and moderates, fueled by neighboring rulers seeking to defend their interests and increase their influence. Conflicts take place within and between states; civil wars and proxy wars become impossible to distinguish. Governments often forfeit control to smaller groups – militias and the like – operating within and across borders. The loss of life is devastating, and millions are rendered homeless.” Such is “magnitude” of complexities challenging President Obama in this theater alone.

    “Policymakers must recognize their limits. For now and for the foreseeable future – until a new local order emerges or exhaustion sets in – the Middle East will be less a problem to be solved than a condition to be managed.”

  • Thoughtful and insightful. Each of the participants is working towards their national interest. About the only one who does not understand this would appear to be the White House. Obama and Kerry seem to be bent on upsetting all our friends and cozying up to our enemies. They have no national agenda but do have personal agendas. God help us!

    • docfjs

      Boy you can say that again! Kerry gives stuffed shirts a bad name. He makes Hillary look like a genius.

      • Nobody can make Hillary look like a genius. Kerry looks like he has always looked. Like a loser.

        • Andrew Allison

          Let’s be fair, he was smart enough to save $500K taxes by parking his yacht in Rhode Island, and to marry the woman whose money bought it.

    • CiporaJuliannaKohn

      Hamas does not have what you call a national interest. Hamas is an Islamic terror group and it is solely devoted to the destruction of Israel.
      Hamas is a proxy of Iran. That means that Hamas receives its advanced missiles, its training, expertise in digging tunnels and moneys from Iran.
      It was in the interest of Iran to provoke this war at this specific time given the July deadly for the nuclear weapons deal which was now postponed for four months.
      Hamas, as the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood will always attempt to destroy Israel as long as it has the terror infrastructure to do so.
      Israel has been preparing for this confrontation for quite some time. Israel obviously knew about the sophisticated tunnel system being built under Gaza and which branched out and had many exits inside Israel. These tunnels were meant to let Hamas and other Jihadi terrorists enter Israel, slaughter and kidnap Israelis.
      The unrelenting missile terror attacks which Hamas has fired into Israel had to be stopped.
      As a sovereign, Israel could not accept that her population continue to be at increased threat from missiles and tunnel infiltrations. The build up of the terror infrastructure by Hamas and Islamic Jihad had become intolerable.
      The time now was right since Israel knows that it cannot count on the Obama administration for much of anything, especially with regard to Iran. On the other hand, for the first time in a very long time, Israel is in a fair position diplomatically.
      Israel had spent time to develop a strategy to try to defeat Hamas decisively and destroy its terror infrastructure. Israel’s rejection of the unrealistic Kerry cease fire proposal shows just how far apart are Israel and the Obama administration and just how determined Israel is to finish the task at hand.

  • docfjs

    This is actually good news. If Egypt and Saudi Arabia are turning away from the Muslim Brotherhood and towards Israel this may eventually end in some kind of long lasting d├ętente in the area. The stakes are very high and a perceived win by Hamas will embolden Iran and terrorists everywhere.
    If we did not have a moron in the WH and State Department, we would be putting a lot of pressure on Turkey and Qatar to back off. We also would have never suspended service to Ben Gurion AP. Turkey and Qatar are vulnerable to US pressure but I doubt if Obama or Kerry have even thought of this strategy.

  • Alex Ferrari

    there are two axes forming: iran, russia, syria, hamas vs. israel, egypt
    and saudi arabia. it seems to me like the europeans are joining up
    with the iranians out of jew hatred. the US is unfortunately also
    teaming up with them, if unintentionally, despite the obvious
    anti-american unifying nature. american liberals are literally too
    stupid to survive

  • nadadhimmi

    Obama’s strategy has always been one of not confronting, but rather aiding Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in all it’s forms, and the Mad Mullahs of Iran. Obama single handedly propped up and saved the Iranian Mullah’s in June of 2009. At the same time, Obama has attacked the Israel he so hates. I’m sorry if some readers don’t like to hear it, but reality can be harsh. And even harsher is the realization that the President of the United States, HATES the United States.

    • Duperray

      Barak Hussein Obama cannot love jews.

    • Dylan Robnett

      Interesting that you accuse Obama of aiding Hamas while we supply Israel with F-16 fighter jets, missiles & jet fuel so they can send rockets into Gazan schools, homes, and hospitals. Further, with our assistance, blockades assure that ambulance drivers can’t get enough diesel fuel to bring injured people to safety. Seems pretty clear who’s side we’re on.

      • Fred

        You mean the schools, homes and hospitals from which the rabid animals in Hamas are launching rockets at Israel? How dare those dastardly Joooos defend themselves!

        • John Morris

          Yea, I want that little point cleared up by the left at some point. Exactly how many Jimmy Carter approved, free and fair elections does it take before there are no innocents left; i.e. they have the government they clearly wanted and are fighting a war they equally clearly desire. And since the human shield tactic isn’t exactly new they should not be allowed to complain anymore.

          No, bomb them into submission and end the war. Bomb them until every last one of them knows utter despair, knows that ‘from the river to the sea’ was a hopeless quest that has damned them all to lives of misery. Until they hang the bastards who insisted on such a suicidal policy who are within reach of a rope and listen no longer to the ones sitting safely in foreign salons urging them to sacrifice yet another generation to a cause they suffer not at all for themselves.

          Then there can be peace.

  • Diggsc

    Columnists keep mentioning the price Israel will pay around the world if there are more Palestinian deaths. Does anyone really think that the average American, European, Asian…anyone for that matter except the Palestinians, cares more than a few minutes after they see a picture of a dead Palestinian. The level of concern is in inverse to the age of the Palestinian, but still, the half-life of sympathy over a dead Palestinian is approximately five minutes in most of the world.

    • Cpt_Justice

      I beg to differ. Soft-hearted Americans care more for the Palestinians than they do for themselves, Europeans following Americans. And antisemites “care” in that they can use the dead children to stir up more antisemitism.

  • alang2

    A balanced assessment except it forgets history; on 9/11 the Palestinians … whatever group that name denotes … cheered. Let’s have a cheer for them now and remember the motto of the JDL “NEVER AGAIN”.

  • Andrew Allison

    “Hamas on the other hand is elated by its success in temporarily but significantly hampering operations at Ben Gurion Airport (arguably the most significant single Palestininan[sic] tactical accomplishment since the 1948 War).”
    “(The biggest political mistake of the war so far? The American officials who banned U.S. flights from using the airport made a cease fire much harder to obtain.)”

    Hamas didn’t hamper operations at Ben-Gurion, America did, thereby handing Hamas a PR (not tactical) coup. The missiles are surface-to-surface and, even if what hit the ground in the vicinity were one and not, as has been reported, debris from an Iron Dome intercept, the chances of one hitting an aircraft are infinitesimal.

  • tps

    I also hope Hezbollah gets involved so Israel can knock them both out. Israel will need to clear those flanks because it will soon have no choice but to go into Iran, sooner rather than later, and degrade significantly their nuclear capacity.

  • Steve Rodriguez

    The current occupant of the WH is a criminal anti-American traitor, brought to us by intellectuals such as Mead. The west is doing nothing in the Middle East because what is happening is what Obama wants. Our safety has never been at greater risk. Israel must cut deals with Sunni’s in order to survive. Where America retreats, the world collapses. This is what the occupation regime wants.

  • Winston

    The pattern of this conflict is mind-numbing. Hamas/Hezbollah/Fatah/Fill in the Blank starts a war, violates very conceivable norm of warfare, adopts a human shield strategy and the media plays along.

    The problem here is that Hamas acted so brazenly and the media game has been so transparently crude that it hasn’t worked. The world gets it: Hamas will place and fire rockets from schools, hospital, residential buildings. Hamas will not wear uniforms and will make no attempt to segregate combatants from civilians. The NY Times may be meekly playing along (although a ray of light has even dawned in that cloistered echo chamber), along with the usual suspects in Europe, but the rest of the world, even Egypt, gets it.

    Victory is based on reality. The surreal reality is that Israel should be permitted to expel Hamas from Gaza but because respectable opinion says no, it isn’t allowed to complete the job, it will have to make due with destroying Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure (the countless terror tunnels Hamas has dug) and rocket stockpiles.

    Now, if our feckless president had a clue, he would support Israel getting rid of Hamas and trying to to make Gaza into a functioning society. No peace is possible with Hamas. Period. But we are talking about Obama, the Muslim Brotherhood supporting buffoon, who has already tried through the FAA to pressure Israel. Hamas is counting on the president. Which is why Egypt gave Kerry the hilarious cold-shoulder. A bit late in the game for Obama to be exerting “influence” after he incompetently threw the region to the wolves.

  • Jane the Actuary

    Here’s my blog post in which I throw out the admittedly unrealistic suggestion that Egypt retake Gaza and integrated it into the country: full Egyptian citizenship for Gazans, Egyptian military/police enforcing peace, recast “refugee” aid into general foreign aid for Egypt. http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-to-fix-gaza-strip.html

    Yes, I know it’s not going to happen. But there is no scenario I’ve seen in which Hamas can be a proper functioning government for the people of Gaza, simply proposals in which they can be contained, in the same way as we imagined Iraq being contained, pre-invasion. (Gratuitious 2nd blog link: http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2014/07/remember-iraq.html).

    There has to be a long-term answer other than just containment. And, no, the answer is not the fantasy that “Hamas will be peaceful and live in harmony with their neighbors as soon as we grant them their demands.”

    • mnemos

      No disagreement, but just want to say that sometimes the best long term solution is containment until the problem is solvable.

    • Arup_2

      I love the uniformed hubris of designing nations in smoke-filled rooms!

      How is the “Sykes Picot” working

      • Jane the Actuary

        Sometimes, self-determination is great. Sometimes it’s just not possible. Besides, Egypt had controlled Gaza from ’48 to ’67 and at various points further in the past, so there’s a connection there.

        And, anyway, you got a better idea? The “two state solution”? Really? In what world?

        • rakesh

          very simple- what Gandhi and Nehru proposed. One federal goverment with all religions living with equal rights. Stop conflating Israel and Jews. The problem is not the religion. It is the messianic sense of superiority of monotheisitic religions.

          • Steve Goldstein

            Muslims living in Israel have full civil rights. Jews living in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territory have… oh wait… no Jews are allowed in those areas.

          • Arup_2

            Israel is a very complex society. At the top of the civil ladder lies the Ashkenazim, then comes the Sephardim, then African Jews and then the Arabs. There are no equal Housing laws in Israel to there is a ghettoization of population. The Ultra Orthodox [vis-a-vis Reform Judaism] is another parallel society which also is broken into Ashkenazim & Sephardim. [Google Beit Shamesh from some entertainment]

            You should be more aware to whom Haredim supports in the Gaza War…

            The interesting part of this this modern reform Judaism with its belief in an impersonal God is closer to a moderate Islam than to their Talmudic cousins. Is there were really to be a TRUE religious war then Shas would join with Hamas!

            In the middle east religion is less metaphysical and more tribal.

          • Fred

            You must have some kind of agenda because I simply refuse to believe that anyone over the age of five is that naive.

        • Arup_2

          “Egypt had controlled Gaza from ’48 to ’67 and at various points further in the past”
          Great Britain controlled USA at various points further in the past.

          My Idea.
          (a) First, lock up Netanyahu & Mashal in a room and ask them to come out with a solution an then the doors will open. DO NOT INTERFERE. [something like what was done to Ian Paisley & Martin McGuinness]
          (b) Second, send the proposal to the Israelis and Palestinians for a referendum.
          (c) Third, if (b) fails go back to (a)
          (d) If successful facilitate the implementation.

          We can best facilitate a political disposition. We should never impose one.

          • Jane the Actuary

            Then you’re far more optimistic than I am about the ability/willingness of the parties involved to solve this on their own!

          • Arup_2

            That is what people thought about Ian Paisley & Martin McGuinness.

  • Winston

    Incidentally, while I like Mead, he is on too many occasions clueless. (This after all is the man who insisted that Obama was the slightest bit intelligent despite mounting evidence to the contrary).

    As an example, notice the assertion that Hamas has a claim to have the blockade lifted. Huh? That blockade was imposed by Israel and Egypt because of Hamas’s bellicosity, and is meant to prevent weapons from reaching it. So logically the result of Hamas starting yet another mini-war for Mead is that the blockade should be lifted completely? That makes no sense at all. And of course the blockade was loosened in 2010 significantly.

    The point is that Mead is like so many “respectable” voices utterly delusional. Obama was always a nitwit and Hamas was and will always be a cadre of bloodthirsty murderers regarding which no peace is possible. That’s the grim truth. No semblance of nuance required.

    • John Stephens

      you assume he believes all that he says, and says all that he believes. There are limits to what a man like WRM can say in public.

      • ljgude

        Exactly, being a member in good standing of The Eastern Intellectual Establishment significantly limits what one can say – particularly for a barely acceptable conservative like WRM. Seen from that perspective I think WRM gets in some solid shots to the body while a lot of what he can’t say comes out in the comments.

    • Duperray

      All Hamas and other terrorists groups are terrorists by Faith, and nothing on Earth can change this. As a poorly eductaed local population is driven to hate for a century, not a single palestinian desire peace with neighbors, they hate, hate and hate. Even crushed to the last one, he will still want to kil a foreigner: Remember japanese troops at the end of WWII: Only when the Emperor ordered to stop fighting did they actually stop.
      But there is no Emperor in muslim civilization, anybody can claim himself “to be inspired by Allah”. I am sorry for them.

  • pabarge

    Walter Russell Mead voted for Barack Obama both times.

  • toumanbeg

    One small correction. This is not a war but a battle. The war is the Arab/Israeli Conflict and started in 1947. This will be the 4th or 5th Battle of Gaza, depending on how one counts the various IDF punitive actions.
    The war will not end until one side destroys the other.
    The traditional way of defeating tunnel warfare is to block the exits. Turn every house in Gaza to rubble. Buldozers for the standard mud brick hut and 1-ton bombs for the apartment buildings. Then you use Napalm down the tunnels to exhaust the air inside them. The tunnel complexes cannot be as extensive as those faced by Americans in the Philippines Vietnam or Okinawa. Gaza isn’t very big.

  • kurtmudgeon

    Can you imagine the plight Israel would be in, if the Obama-supported Moslem Brotherhood controlled Egypt?

  • One lesson I learned as a boy from my father was that “Any job worth doing is worth doing right the first time.” If I failed to do one of my chores properly, I might be awakened in the middle of the night to re-do it properly.
    Going to war is such a job that should be done right the first time. If you aren’t willing to go in and kill your enemies until they stop whatever evil behavior that made war necessary, then it’s not worth doing to begin with. If you must fight, then you should fight to win, and that means ignoring the handwringing of bleeding-hearts and whiners. In the long run, it is more humane to crush your enemies quickly and completely the first time, rather than having to go back later and do the whole thing over again.
    This was the lesson of World War II: We didn’t stop fighting Germany and Japan until we destroyed their war-fighting capacity and they surrendered, completely and utterly. We didn’t have “humanitarian ceasefires.” We killed Germans and Japanese until they were ready to stop being Nazis and Bushido militarists, and we didn’t really try to limit it solely to military combatants. People who are living in the rubble of what used to be their homes and workplaces are much more malleable in terms of reassessing their old beliefs that brought them to such circumstances. Germany and Japan became peaceful, prosperous democracies because of that, and the fact that we imposed such forms of government on them, and occupied them with military forces for forty-odd years after the war ended.
    Would it have been kinder to have offered humanitarian armistices to Germany and Japan, instead of fighting the war to its bloody and atomic conclusion? Those who died in the final phases of the war certainly would have thought so. But those who would have died in (hypothetical) subsequent wars probably would not. In the end, Israel should ignore the critics and do what needs to be done, completely and thoroughly. Destroy every tunnel. Target every militant leader. Make it a really unlucky thing to be a Hamas terrorist. Finish the job.

    • Cpt_Justice

      The only thing more unfortunate than the truth of your statement is that fact that Israel is forcibly kept from doing so, if only by her own morality.

  • Arup_2

    The source of foreign policy tectonic shifts are somewhere else.

    A) Afghanistan: Washington is slowly accepting the rude fact that (i) it has to stay in Afghanistan for a looooong time and (ii) it cannot fully co-operate with Pakistan on this. They have been helping Taliban and discovery of OBL was the last nail in the coffin. Furthermore sending goods to Afghanistan is Karachi was becoming increasingly difficult.

    B) It is here the strange case if Iran comes in. Iran is on the West of Pak and India is sending its goods to Kabul via this Western route. Something envied by Washington.

    C) The Nuclear deal may be a smokescreen. The real reason is to have USA – Iran *military* deal leading to a Military base near Pak border. Apparently it is due to military demand. Iran is also scared of Sunni terrorism.

    D) This is the “bigger picture”, Washington has realized that it cannot fight and fund AQ/Taliban at the same time. AQ, ISIS are creations of Saudi Arabia with Pakistan as the willing lieutenant.

    E) Honestly, which of our “ally” can harbor our GREATEST ENEMY on its soil while taking military gifts. Then complain when we killed him and them take further gifts!

    F) Iran is more technologically advanced civilization than Saudi Arabia. [Dont tell anybody: There is a joint Nuclear Fusion startup with an Iranian University cleared by Sate Dept!!]

    F) Here is the tectonic shift coming: USA is moving towards Iran & India moving away from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

    Right or Wrong?

  • hosspuller

    …”(The biggest political mistake of the war so far? The American officials who banned U.S. flights from using the airport made a cease fire much harder to obtain.)” … True enough. This administration can’t see beyond its nose. “Lead from behind” actually means its head is up its “behind”

    • Arup_2

      You mean the WH phoned FAA to ban flights. You must be joking!

      You wanna take a plane full of passengers where a madman is shooting rockets for fun!

  • sander

    Where does al-Qaeda in Iraq fit in this picture? Who are their allies, who supports them?

  • rakesh

    Let us sort out what is American interest. Unless we recognize that the root cause of radicalization is Saudi Arabia we are not going to get anywhere. The islamization of a relatively tolerant Pakistan is traceable to Saudi funding. Other examples abound. They are doing it to over up the dissipated life style of the rulers. It is Saudi’money that financed Alqaeda, Saudi money is now financing ISIS.

  • Sam Amer

    All Hamas needs to do it to keep the pressure on Israel. The rich Jews, in time will immigrate from Israel to safer heavens. It is already happening. It was wrong to create Israel in the Middle East in the first place. It caused nothing but disaster for all concerned including the Jews themselves. It is time they faced reality and started to get out of there.

    • contrarian90

      substitute the word “Arab” or “Muslim” for the word “Jew” and that will tell everything about the worthiness of your statement.

    • Cpt_Justice

      It’s sad when people live in a dreamland. Even sadder when their dreams are vicious.

  • xonk

    The bottom line is and always has been the bottom line: In their heart of hearts, the Israeli’s really do not want a two nation state and the Palestinians only begrudgingly say they do once in awhile because they are virtually powerless. With so many 2nd and 3rd generation displaced Palestinians in the region, groups like Hamas will always be able to recruit soldiers to their cause. You have an apartheid condition on the East and West parts of Israel, high unemployment, a young, angry population and a third world GDP in the Palestinian areas which creates a situation that is untenable. I am not condemning either side; but under these existing conditions, does anyone really think that anything will work? Beatings (by both sides) will continue until morale improves.

    • John Morris

      Stop with the pretend moral equivalence. If Israel could be convinced the Palestinians actually wanted co-existence there would be peace instantly. If they wanted the land they could, at any time, simply drive the current inhabitants out and seize it. What? World opinion would hate them for it? Any less than it does now and has since the day of their founding? Really? They don’t do it because it wouldn’t solve the problem.

      Their problem is the still existing state of war that exists between themselves and every Middle Eastern nation with the exceptions of Egypt and Jordan. It is those countries that keep the Palis in place and miserable as pawns in their ongoing war. Remove them and their neighbors would be forced to mobilize and fight an overt war in the open.

      • xonk

        So the reason the Israeli’s don’t drive the Palestinians from their land is not because they don’t want to but because they too are using the Palestinians as pawns to keep themselves from being attacked by the countries that surround them?. That’s Israel’s big problem? That without the Palestinian’s, they would risk having to fight another 73 war? There is no pretend moral equivalent here; It’s actually a very simple problem that does not have a simple answer unfortunately. Neither side really wants the other on that piece of land.

  • Y.K.

    This is a fine essay, but I don’t understand the conclusion:

    What is exactly the US interest in letting Hamas control the strip? They are, at best, at a permanent spoiler role which will unilaterally stop any half-way successful peace process. There’s no sympathy either for the brand of Islamist jihadism. Is it the humanitarian cost of eliminating their control of Gaza? Well, Hamas won’t sit back and enjoy the tequila, they’ll sooner or later initiate another war, with a greater human cost, and so on, until they are removed or they take over Israel (the latter not likely anytime soon, so expect lots of wars in that scenario). Since AFACIT the US doesn’t have any other plan of removing them – and I don’t expect an heavily armed terrorist organisation to give in quietly – it sure sounds like it should be on its nominal allies’ side and help them get rid of Hamas (or at least deny it of any further accomplishments).

  • DiogenesDespairs

    As Mr. Mead has described, the stars are aligned for removing Hamas from power in Gaza, and leaving them discredited politically as a failed Sunni terrorist group dependent on Shia (read Iranian) support.

    I think the IDF is capable of toppling them in Gaza, provided it has the time it takes and the Israeli government can take the heat in the meantime. The major stumbling block to that is, long-term, srael cannot govern Gaza and its 1.8 million Arab inhabitants. But now it doesn’t have to. It can let Egypt do that now, or ultimately the Abbas regime once Hamas’ power is broken.

    Let’s do it.

    Commenters troubled by civilian deaths, and in particular deaths of innocent children, should rejoice at the prospect of removing from the scene the one power – Hamas – that goes out of its way to expose civilians and children to lethal risk by placing missiles, other arms, headquarter elements and assault-tunnel entrances among civilians and even inside their homes, schools and mosques, and does what it can to prevent civilians from fleeing such scenes, the better to generate civilian casualties. These are monstrous acts on the part of Hamas, and even if you support Palestinian Arabs, you must oppose and stop such monsters for the moral redemption of the Arabs, or be revealed as morally corrupt yourself.

    • Cpt_Justice

      It’s sad that this is one of the best solutions I have come across. As in: horrific, necessary & something the major powers obviously cannot bring themselves to say out loud.

  • Isaiah

    Again everyone is playing chess on the board of people’s lives. We have not evolved an inch from the cavemen mentality or the tribes we all came from.
    Our leaders political and religious have kept us the the dark ages. Its time
    our leaders that we follow like zombies break the shekels of history and lead us
    to peace. Egypt’s Sadat is the greatest leader of our lifetime, he made a bold
    move above all the hatred in our society and created peace.
    Why can’t our leaders do likewise? Why doesn’t one leader stand up and say
    “enough is enough! I’m going to end it all for peace” All it takes is one sentence.

    No tanks or bullets can penetrate this idea. There are no winners or losers here.
    Everyone who has played this chess game on this e-mail is acavemen, wake up
    and push for something constructive instead of being right and others are wrong.

    • John Morris

      Idiocy like what your ilk spew is WHY there is no peace. Two sides want something that is utterly incompatible with the other’s very existence. There will be no peace unless a) a third path acceptable to both is essentially forced upon them or b) one side wins.

      Pick your poison. Then, after the dust settles out, there will be peace. All your blather does is stop the fighting before a resolution on the battlefield, ensuring that as soon as Hamas rearms it will start shooting again. Because it has no other option and it believes that sooner or later they can murder enough of their own people that idiots like you will give them a victory just to make the unsettling images go away from your evening news. It won’t of course so the pointless killing just goes on and on.

  • Beavus B’head

    We need to keep in mind that conventional warfare is not conducted by any of the major powers anymore. Remember the old saying “rape and pillage”? That used to be expected in war. Heck, it was a recruiting tool to get people to fight!! The west and western allies no longer fight to win anymore. “War is inhumane and anything done to win is inhumane as well”. Although it seems that fighting a humane war seems to be the right thing to do, it usually does not produce victory. Now terrorist use our “humanity” (even though they do not practice it) to limit what we can do in war. Until we as a society come to grips with this we will continue to lose battles and lands to evil people. People who could care less about living in peace or freedom.

    • Cpt_Justice

      “Now terrorist use our “humanity” (even though they do not practice it) to limit what we can do in war.”

      Brilliantly put. Unfortunately.

  • standfast24

    An excellent analysis, and far more insightful that the twaddle being spewed by the MSM leftists and chattering class. You are spot on,

    Obama has no seat at the table, he is not feared, nor taken seriously by Israel, Egypt and the Saudis. His desire to appease Iran and elevate Turkey as a “pretend” regional power have reinforced the questions about his judgement. Turkey continues to veer toward an authoritarian model and was utterly incapable of containing the Syrian crisis, nor the rise of ISIS. .The refusal to aggressively challenge Iran has weakened his standing with those fearful of Iran’s leadership and nuclear ambition.

    Obama’s is a prisoner of his ego and wishful thinking. John Kerry, like Hillary before him, are the errand boy/girls of this “land of make believe” foreign policy.

    The feckless EU leadership has their hands fill with Russia, so how can they expect to influence Nethanyu ? Sure the Press can attack Israel but like the US, their power stops at the border.

  • Egyptsteve

    “Unhappily for the Obama administration, the best way for the U.S. to
    hasten the arrival of a durable cease fire in Gaza is to promise a more
    robust and hawkish policy in the rest of the region.”

    Right. Because Bush’s hawkish strategy in Iraq did so much to bring peace in Israel/Palestine. Oh wait … it did nothing. But maybe this time will be different … heh.

  • ToursLepantoVienna


  • Egyptsteve

    The real strategy is a domestic political strategy. U.S. lawmakers who enthusiastically take the side of any foreign power against their own government and the interests of their own country need to be called out and pilloried as traitors. Full stop.

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