There Goes the Neighbourhood

by matttbastard

The New York Times:

Israel’s military operation in Gaza is aimed primarily at forcing Hamas to end its rocket barrages and military buildup. But it has another goal as well: to expunge the ghost of its flawed 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and re-establish Israeli deterrence.

[…]

“In the cabinet room today there was an energy, a feeling that after so long of showing restraint we had finally acted,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking of the weekly government meeting that he attended.

Mark Heller, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said that that energy reflected the deep feeling among average Israelis that the country had to regain its deterrent capacity.

“There has been a nagging sense of uncertainty in the last couple years of whether anyone is really afraid of Israel anymore,” he said. “The concern is that in the past — perhaps a mythical past — people didn’t mess with Israel because they were afraid of the consequences. Now the region is filled with provocative rhetoric about Israel the paper tiger. This operation is an attempt to re-establish the perception that if you provoke or attack you are going to pay a disproportionate price.

Which is, essentially, a banal affirmation of what Gideon Levy wrote yesterday:

The IDF launched a war yesterday whose end, as usual, is hoping someone watches over us.

[…]

A hero against the weak, it bombed dozens of targets from the air [Saturday], and the pictures of blood and fire are designed to show Israelis, Arabs and the entire world that the neighborhood bully’s strength has yet to wane. When the bully is on a rampage, nobody can stop him.

Y’know, most people respond to a midlife crisis of confidence by purchasing an impractical European sports car, or perhaps having a May-December relationship–not dropping heavy munitions on the neighbours (even if they are a pain in the ass sometimes). At least no one is accusing Barak of being soft (on Palestinian rocket fire) anymore.  Who needs little blue pills when you can call for a series of devastating air strikes, eh?

Related: Rabbi Michael Lerner says the best way to “destroy Hamas” is for Israel to “rebuild Gaza and the West Bank with a massive Marshall Plan type enterprise—adopt our Strategy of Generosity and renounce the strategy of domination.”

h/t Kai Chang (by way of Sylvia/M via IM)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

6 thoughts on “There Goes the Neighbourhood

  1. about the levy piece, i’m getting pissed off with the equivalence/proportionality meme – had a discussion going on ff about this very equivalence issue but it got disappeared – a bit too hot for the originator of the thread, which was too bad cause it was the only talk about gaza – several of us posted but hardly any discussion – maybe join in? i’m ernieyacub on ff.

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  2. Fragment from a letter published on September 24, 2003, signed by 27 reserve pilots and former pilots already exempt from reserve duty. One of the signatories was a famous former pilot, Brigadier General Yiftah Spector.
    In their letter, the pilots stated:

    “We, veteran and active pilots alike, who served and still serve the state of Israel for long weeks every year, are opposed to carrying out attack orders that are illegal and immoral of the type the state of Israel has been conducting in the territories. We, who were raised to love the state of Israel and contribute to the Zionist enterprise, refuse to take part in Air Force attacks on civilian population centers. We, for whom the Israel Defense Forces and the Air Force are an inalienable part of ourselves, refuse to continue to harm innocent civilians. These actions are illegal and immoral, and are a direct result of the ongoing occupation which is corrupting all of Israeli society. Perpetuation of the occupation is fatally harming the security of the state of Israel and its moral strength.”

    Nuff said.

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  3. What are you guys babbling about?
    Yes, some politicians always have some secret agenda behind everything and this operation is no different. It may serve Israel with more purposes than just to stop the constant missile attacks on its civilians.
    But stop and read again: “MISSLE ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS”. Those are going on for 8 years now!!!

    Any other western country, including the one you’re living in, would have already flattened Gaza by bombs, caring less than Israel about trying to minimize innocents being hurt.

    So lets not get carried away. This operation is defensive, it comes after all other options were exhausted and it is a righteous one.

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