Saturday, January 17, 2009
American Conservative: What Israel Lost
Another War, Another Defeat
John J. Mearsheimer, The American Conservative: When a ceasefire comes, Israel will declare victory. Don't believe it. Israel has foolishly started another war it cannot win... Israel's leaders remain determined to control all of what used to be known as Mandate Palestine, which includes Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians would have limited autonomy in a handful of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves, one of which is Gaza. Israel would control the borders around them, movement between them, the air above and the water below them.
The key to achieving this is to inflict massive pain on the Palestinians so that they come to accept the fact that they are a defeated people and that Israel will be largely responsible for controlling their future. This strategy... is commonly referred to as the 'Iron Wall.' What has been happening in Gaza is fully consistent with this strategy... Even before Hamas came to power, the Israelis intended to create an open-air prison for the Palestinians in Gaza and inflict great pain on them until they complied with Israel's wishes...
There is little reason to think that the Israelis can beat Hamas into submission and get the Palestinians to live quietly in a handful of Bantustans inside Greater Israel. Israel has been humiliating, torturing, and killing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories since 1967 and has not come close to cowing them. Indeed, Hamas's reaction to Israel's brutality seems to lend credence to Nietzshe's remark that what does not kill you makes you stronger...
But even if the unexpected happens and the Palestinians cave, Israel would still lose because it will become an apartheid state... There is also little chance that people around the world who follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will soon forget the appalling punishment that Israel is meting out in Gaza... Moreover, many of us who were once wholly sympathetic to Israel now see that the Israelis are the victimizers and the Palestinians are the victims. What is happening in Gaza will accelerate that changing picture of the conflict and long be seen as a dark stain on Israel's reputation.