The Blitzkriegs, both military and media, launched by Israel on Gaza, has failed so far. While Israel controls the skies and continues its pulverization, the Gazans remain strong in their defiance, launching even more and longer-ranged rockets, while burying their dead, and tending to their wounded as best they can, what with the shortages of medicine and the hundreds of victims. It is a sad and distressing spectacle and will get worse.
The Israeli military wants to redeem itself after the debacle in 2006. It wants to regain its lost prestige and regain its pride and the vaunted position it lost. Beginning in 1982, the I.D.F. has been gradually losing its aura of invincibility and this is considered to be very dangerous to the security of the country. Fear was the major force that was evoked amongst its many enemies…” you take on the I.D.F. and you lose “. Well no more, as was demonstrated by Hezbollah. Now there is something to prove, and thus the military are going to use Gaza to demonstrate that it can get the job done and re-establish itself as invincible. This means that an invasion is necessary. This will be disastrous. You cannot fight successfully in the alleyways. As has been shown in Iraq, the advantage is not to the best armed and equipped. Urban warfare can best be fought by small hit and run units, roadside bombs and other booby traps, not lumbering tanks. It will prove to be a sinkhole
Ehud Olmert, came late to the idea of a two-state policy, but tried in talks with the Palestinians to work something out, but beset with legal problems and leading a fractious coalition, and dealing with an intractable and divided Palestinian leadership he was unable to get much beyond talks, even though he went further than any previous Israeli leader on the issues of the West Bank settlements and the return of Palestinian refugees. He also initiated talks with the Syrians, but that too did not get very far. It is too bad. He got little to show for all his efforts, and thus a great opportunity has been lost and there will be more death and destruction. Olmert, the peacemaker will instead, be remembered as a warmaker. He launched two wars. The first was disastrous and this second, will not achieve its objective of destroying Hamas. It will strengthen Hamas’ resolve and Israel is in for attacks by suicide bombers, who are lining up to become martyrs.
The media blitz launched prior to the Israeli offensive has failed to win support. Israel’s reason has not been accepted, and condemnations and protests are widespread. Even Livni, the foreign minister ( who is trying to show that she is tough enough to be Prime Minister ), has difficulty selling it, even going so far as to summon Israel’s representatives from around the world, getting Israeli support groups ( eg.AIPAC ), to beat the drums of support and appearing herself on al Jeezara. Her political fate hinges on the outcome. Ehud Barak’s tough talk, and that of other leading military and civilian Israelis will only set the bar higher and make the task, that more difficult to reach.
In 1967, I.D.F., took 6 days to take the West Bank and Gaza and deal a critical blow to its Arab enemies. It is now 8 days and, while over 400 Palestinians have been killed, over 1,500 wounded and many buildings destroyed, little else has been realized.
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(Fig 2a) The Death of Innocents
Ishwar R. Prashad recently retired from over 47 years of teaching.