Saturday, March 01, 2008

Sisyphus Speaks Hebrew, Not Greek

Israel has once again - after weeks of deliberation - undertaken operations to stop the rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip at her border communities. As of this writing, 47 Palestinians have lost their lives, and we can bet that if the raids continue, Israel will lose more than just the two soldiers she already did on Saturday evening. Once again, we shouldn't be fooled by there being more Arab than Jewish casualties; as it always does, the world will call for Israeli restraint (despite Israel's obvious restraint - remember we're talking about a nuclear-armed country) and the Palestinian leadership will accuse the Israeli leadership of orchestrating a massacre.

If it wasn't so sad, such predictability would be comical.

Until Hamas decides on its own to put the kibosh on rocket fire from territory it controls, rocket fire meant to scare, maim and slaughter Israelis, and so long as the "Purity of Arms" remains a core principle guiding the generals, commanders and ordinary grunts of the Israel Defense Forces, attempting to stop the rockets will be a Sisyphean task for
the Jewish State. Soldiers will die unnecessarily because the politicians in Zion care more about protecting Palestinian civilians than they do about achieving tangible, meaningful results. The rockets might stop, temporarily - but rest assured, sooner or later they'll start flying toward Sderot and Ashkelon once again.

Cutting off power to the Gaza Strip didn't work. Blockading Gaza hasn't worked. IAF air strikes at launch sites, ex post facto, haven't done the trick. Hamas operatives demolished security barriers on the Egypt-Gaza border; God-only knows how many terrorists and their supplies poured into the Strip thanks to the breach. Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are, once more (big surprise), on the verge of collapsing. Children - whose only crime was being born Jewish and Israeli - are still being wounded and killed in the streets of Sderot.

Personally, I think Jerusalem should risk the ire of Washington and refuse to negotiate with the Palestinian leadership so long as rockets are still being fired from the Gaza Strip and being deliberately aimed at civilian communities in Israel. Granted, the Palestinian Authority has no current say in the affairs or governance of Gaza, but Gazans are still Palestinians - Israel should not negotiate with Palestinians while Palestinians remain committed to war against Israel. It's common sense.

"Peace in '08" be damned; you can't force it and expect it to work.

I also think that Israel should take a page from the Hamas/Palestinian/Gazan playbook, and announce that for every rocket launched from the Gaza Strip at an Israeli town or city, Israel should launch a reciprocal number of rockets/missiles at Gaza City, Khan Younis, Rafah, etc. Since Gazans and Hamas are so fond of "random" acts of violence, I say give them random acts of violence in return. Let rockets beget rockets. Israel doesn't have to aim them at any specific targets; let 'em fly and let God handle the details.

As my good friend Avram has pointed out to me, the world would "shit a brick" if the latter course were to be undertaken; the way I see it, though, the world shits a brick anytime a Jew or Israeli picks up a weapon in self-defense anyway, so why worry over it? Ensure that there is enough mortar and/or toilet paper, cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.

Unfortunately, we're not likely going to see anything like what I suggest happen anytime soon, if ever at all, because Israel is like Hillary Clinton: She wants you to believe she can stand on her own two feet, but still needs ever-popular hubby Bill around to campaign for her. Israel wants into the clubhouse clique, and thus feels it can no longer afford to be militarily assertive or imaginative out on the course.

Israel's desire for approval on the world stage outweighs its desire for security; this means that unless it changes its tactics (or returns to its old school, black-eye-for-black-eye mentality, since a Six Day War-style KO is difficult to achieve these days) Israel will continue to be a Sisyphus...metaphorically confined to Tartarus for eternity, forced over and over again to push a boulder up a hill and then watch as it rolls back down. Peace will forever be elusive, so long as nothing really changes in Israel's defensive mindset.

This conflict has gone on for too long; it's time to make the enemy as war-weary as we are. Enough should have been enough long ago. If the game is to be played, let it be played for keeps.

Playing for keeps is the only way to win, after all.

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