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Assessing Gaza

Assessing Gaza

Here’s an image of some Israeli soldiers not happy with the decision not to sent ground troops — them — into Gaza, Soldiers spell out critique of Netanyahu as a ‘loser’ for not using ground forces in Gaza:

My emerging assessment:

There is no way to spin this as an Israeli victory.  But that doesn’t make it a loss.  Think big picture.

Israel probably destroyed 80% of Hamas’ capabilities, and thereby destroyed 80% of Iran’s southern base to launch attacks against Israel in the even of a war over Iran’s nuclear program.  To achieve the remaining 20% would have required efforts which may have damaged Israel’s ability to deal with Iran.

The fact is that Israel never has a free hand.  When the President of the United States calls up and explicitly or implicitly says Stop, an Israeli Prime Minister needs to think through the consequences of saying No.

There may be times when No is the answer, but yesterday was not one of those times, when there are more existential threats to be dealt with in the coming year.


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I hope they took out 80%. There is only one thing terrorists understand, and that is force. Israel did the right thing.

Casualties in Israel are (fortunately) very light. Hamas took one on the chin. The only thing better would have been to drone-zap Khaled Mashaal, but he’s too cowardly to show his face where the Israelis can get him.

Plus the Israelis proved that Iron Dome, and thus missile defense, works splendidly.

How is this anything less than a victory for Israel?

    It was a victory for Israel but only a partial one, simply because Israel was not allowed, or did not allow itself, to finish the job. And if not finish right to the bitter end, at least continue for another few days, even without a ground incursion.

    The feeling of frustration among Israeli citizens is very real and very deep. I wonder how this will be reflected in the January elections.

BannedbytheGuardian | November 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm

it gave Israel some decent practice. Palis know that one extra button could have them all wiped out & yet again no arab came to help.

stevewhitemd, BannedbytheGuardian:

You may be right. Tactically, they failed; however, strategically it may well have been a victory. It’s unfortunate that people have to suffer the disruption of terrorism in order to prove a point.


I’m not convinced it’s a tactical failure. They zapped a number of Hamas hard-boys, including some number-three’s (can’t run an organization without number three’s). They disrupted Hamas significantly, and they showed that the Iranian-supplied missiles can’t penetrate the defense shield.

In doing so they did NOT have to go into Gaza on the ground; that would have been a mess. They did not risk street fighting and a lot of deaths on their own side.

I think the Israelis won this round.

    In the Middle East, it doesn’t matter whether Israel or its supporters thinks it won this round. What matters is whether the Arabs think Israel won. If they think they won, they will be back with the missiles and terrorism almost immediately. If they think Israel won they will think a lot more carefully before starting with Israel again.

    In the Arab Middle East perception is everything. Seeing reality with a clear eye comes a distant second.

    The perception is that Israel lost because it didn’t go in, and it was obviously restrained just when it was really getting going. The fact that you and other analysts are right does not impinge on this perception.

JackRussellTerrierist | November 23, 2012 at 12:06 am

Israel should just nuke them and get this over with. The “Palestinians” and the muzzie nations are never going to stop this.

It’s time to go Hiroshima on their ass.

    That’s never going to happen. Israel will not nuke a whole territory for two reasons:

    a) Most importantly: it’s immoral.
    b) Gaza is right on Israel’s doorstep. Fallout anyone.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but nuking is not part of it.

      But nuking Iran will be a good solution. And it will satisfy the clerics desire to get to paradise and their 72 virgins. And it will remove the nuclear threat that Iran poses to everyone. Carry on, Israel.

I’m not sure how useful it is to talk about winning and losing. It’s not a zero sum game. Israel had limited goals–degrading the Hamas capability to attack Israel (particularly when it comes to the recently introduced long-range missles) and weakening Iran’s hand. Only the Hamas leadership and the intelligence agencies of Israel, the U.S., Egypt and others know how successful Israel was as regards the former. It’s obvious that the latter was achieved.

Israel chose the time and method for the confrontation. Other players were largely passive or reactionary. Egypt’s Morsi seized the chance to gain prestige and consolidate his power. The U.S. benefitted through Iran’s diminished prestige and influence. Hamas’s standing within Gaza and the West Bank was enhanced, but they were already in ascendance in this arena. Although there was some loosening of the Gaza blockade, the Netanyahu government has been gradually loosening it for the better part of a year, so I suspect it was going to happen anyway–just made for low-cost bargaining chip in the cease-fire negotiations.