the long war
The Grim Lessons of “Protective Edge”

Israel’s long-term strategy against Hamas will not bring clear, satisfying victories, but attrition is its only viable option.

Published on: August 31, 2014
Raphael Cohen is an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation. Gabriel Scheinmann is the director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center.
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  • In the end, the lack of decision is not really about military technology. It’s a reflection of the Zionist middle ground, which was occupied earlier by Labour but currently by the Likud leadership (if not the ranks). Its basic insight is: Israel alone can’t really decide. It can inflict damage on the other side and hope to gain time until the next round. Detractors on the right want heroic victory; those on the left seek kumbaya peace; but the middle ground, from Ben Gurion on, played for time, knowing that Israel always has a tactical advantage on the ground, and that it uses its time better between the rounds than the decaying Arab societies; but knowing also that on the macro level, Israel’s strengths will never be enough to convince the Arab world by military or peaceful means to let Israel alone.

    • S.C. Schwarz

      As long as most of the world sports the Arabs, as they do financially, politically and emotionally, Israel can never end these conflicts. The best they can do is survive and nope for better days.

  • dailypenny

    At the current time, the truce is probably the best that can be hoped for. Israel’s friends, such as the United States, are wrapped up in periodic bouts of moral confusion, not knowing what to do or when, and paying the price for not being more capable in the field foreign policy. Probably the most important thing that has happened is that Israel has now realized it is on it’s own, and is acting accordingly. The Arab countries are caught in a mass of confusion-many of them cannot stand Hamas either-and are pawns in a larger game. Regardless of what the world may think, Israel must stand for itself and defend itself. There is no other way for now.

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