The invasion by Hamas militants from Gaza is only the latest of the uprisings of the Palestinians against Israel but the most telling in its surprise and savagery. The Israeli response has been to declare the invaders “barbarians”; to lay siege to the whole of Gaza, cutting off electricity, food, water, fuel and other needed supplies to the over 2 million people; and to drop thousands of bombs (“military targets” only) in preparation for an invasion to “crush” the Hamas militants. The “civilian” population has been told to get out of the way, a task the Israeli leadership knows is next to impossible.
If Israel attacks, there is essentially no way its soldiers can distinguish between Gazan civilians and Hamas soldiers. They are co-mingled, as it were, and the actual fighters do not wear uniforms. Wiping out Hamas will likely have the look of genocide. On the other hand, doing nothing will make Israel look weak. It is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t.
The problem for the brightest minds in Israel, and perhaps the world, is to find an intelligent way out (check out “I Saw What Happened to America’s Postwar Plans for Iraq. Here’s How Israel Should Plan for Gaza” by Thomas S. Warrick, The New York Times, Oct. 16). I have a terrible feeling that Bibi Netanyahu and his extremist followers are not up to this task or even see it as a problem to be solved. If it is the case, as seems likely, that they view Hamas, and Palestinians in general, as inferior to them, then anything goes. This is an irony that should be top of mind for even the dimmest of Israelis. Not so long ago, their ancestors were the victims of just such a mind-set.
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