Home A Game Changer in Gaza
Home A Game Changer in Gaza

A Game Changer in Gaza

Terrorism is a game. The rules are simple. You have three choices. 1. Destroy the terrorists. 2. Live with terrorism. 3. Give in to the terrorists.

There are no other choices.

The first choice comes from the right. The third choice comes from the left. The second choice is
what politicians choose when they don’t want to make a decision that will change the status quo.

Despite all the explosions in Gaza, Israel is still stuck on the second choice. The air strikes aren’t meant to destroy Hamas. They are being carried out to degrade its military capabilities which will buy a year or two of relative peace. And that will be followed by more of the same in the summer of 2016 when Hamas will have deadlier Iranian and Syrian weapons that will terrorize more of the country.

That doesn’t sound like much of a deal, but these kinds of wars have bought more peace than the peace process ever did. The peace process led to wars. The wars lead to a temporary peace.

This status quo became the mainstream choice ever since Israelis figured out that the peace process wasn’t going to work and that their leaders weren’t about to defy the UN, the US, the UK and all the other U’s by actually destroying the terrorists.

When Netanyahu first ran against Peres, the difference between the center-right and the center-left was that he campaigned on security first and appeasement second, while Peres campaigned on appeasement first and security second. The center-right has dominated Israeli politics because most Israelis accepted Likud’s security first as a more reasonable position than Labor’s appeasement first.

Living with terrorism was a viable choice in the 80s. It stopped being a viable choice after Israel allowed terrorist states to be set up under the peace process. It’s one thing to manage terrorism in territories that you control. It’s another thing to deal with entire terrorist states inside your borders. Even physical separation isn’t enough. Not when terrorist groups can shell all your major cities.

Israel responds to that that threat with light air strikes which damage Hamas’ military capabilities. Hamas loses a few commanders, fighters and rockets, but scores a PR victory. Israel buys two years of peace while encouraging its enemies to attack it as a bunch of racist baby killers. Then Hamas replaces the rockets and fighters and launches a new operation and the whole thing begins again.

The left’s argument, framed by Washington Post pundits, Israeli leftists, Obama, assorted diplomats, retired security chiefs, activist busybodies funded by radical billionaires and the entire gang of foreign and domestic enemies, is that Israel has no choice except to default back to choice three; appeasement.

Israel has to gamble on appeasement because its situation is constantly worsening, they argue. What they neglect to mention is that the situation is worsening as part of their pressure on Israel to appease terrorists even though the current problems exist because of earlier appeasement.

“Drink this poison,” the doctors of diplomacy say. “It’ll cure you of all the aches and pains you’re suffering from the last time we told you to drink poison.”

“If you don’t drink more poison, you’ll get sicker and die,” they say. And if you do get sicker after drinking more poison, they’ll say it’s your own fault for not drinking enough poison. If only you had given away all of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the terrorists wouldn’t be attacking you again.

Israel has been caught between choices two and three, either live with terrorism or make concessions to terrorists, and it has been bouncing between these choices.

People and politicians choose the option that causes the least pain at any given time. Israel chooses appeasement in response to international pressure. And when appeasement leads to terrorism, it does enough damage to Hamas to serve as a temporary deterrent, without leading to too much international outrage, again choosing the least painful option.

This is the true cycle that Israel is caught in. It’s not a cycle of violence. It’s a cycle of expediency.

The first choice, destroying the terrorists, is the most painful option in the short term, but the least painful option in the long term. The third choice, appeasing the terrorists, causes the least pain in the short term, but the most pain in the long term and the medium term. The second choice, living with terrorism, is slightly more painful in the short term, less painful in the medium term, but still quite painful in the long term.

Israelis have accepted short term and long term pain in exchange for a certain amount of relief in the immediate future. The occasional terrorist attack and the more ominous escalating conflict, an example of which we are seeing now, is accepted in exchange for a year or two of relative quiet.

It’s easy to criticize Israel for not finishing off Hamas, but let’s look at what is really standing in its way. Israeli Prime Minister Rabin deported 400 Hamas terrorists, including many Hamas leaders. In a Knesset speech he warned that, “We call on all nations and all people to devote their attention to the great danger inherent in Islamic fundamentalism. That is the real and serious danger which threatens the peace of the world in the forthcoming years.”

Instead the international community decided that the peace of the world was threatened by deporting Hamas terrorists. The media spent months covering the “suffering” of the deported Hamas terrorists. The United States voted for a UN resolution condemning Israel and ordering it to “insure the safe and immediate return of all those deported.”

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations said that deporting Hamas terrorists does "not contribute to current efforts for peace."

In 1988, Israel had deported a handful of Hamas and PLO terrorists. One of them, Jibril Mahmoud Rajub, vowed that if Israel didn’t let them back in that they would “infiltrate in as human bombs with explosives belted around our waists.”

Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead warned Israel that if it didn't reconsider the
deportations "damage to our bilateral relations will occur."

If that was the reaction by the Reagan and Bush administrations to deporting a few terrorists, imagine the reaction by Obama and the EU to a comprehensive effort to force Hamas and the PLO out of Israel. And yet the inevitable can’t be postponed forever.

If Israel had not folded in the peace process, it might have been able to maintain the status quo of the intifada. But the second choice is no longer a viable long term option. The attacks have long since passed the point of mere terrorism and are taking place on a military scale.

Tolerating terrorism has ceased to be a long term strategy. That is something that both the left and the right agree on. The attacks are pushing Israel into choosing either large scale conflict or large scale appeasement. Appeasing terrorists has failed every time. Only destroying them can work.

Israel has a left that is eager to embrace the destructive policies of appeasement without regard to the consequences. It needs a right that is equally heedless of consequences when it comes to war to overcome that pain threshold which prevents it from doing the right thing and reclaiming the future.


  1. Anonymous14/7/14

    What would an effective option #1 "Destroy the Terrorists" look like. Greenfield
    has suggested the uprooting and expulsion of Hamas from Gaza. But how is this to be done? A Hamas rally in Gaza will bring out a sea of green flags and 20,000 supporters. The killing of Hamas "leaders" will have new leader in place before
    the funeral of the old leader. And As Hamas has stated over and over again it arises from the pages of the Koran and the hearts of the people. And worse of all is the professional Left. that supports Hamas. So as long as Gaza exists as a place for television network to exploit, or flotillas to sail to, or morons like Cynthia McKinney or Vanessa Redgrave or Rachel Corrie to make common cause with then Hamas will regenerate itself. But if Gaza simply ceases to exist as Jenin ceased to exist as anything other than some concrete rubble in the sun with its population moved elsewhere than we are making progress. If Gaza was relocated to a nice new UN village in Sudan or southern Egypt with an influx of welfare money to sustain it and several hundred miles of sand separating it from Israel then everything becomes much less dramatic , With no "oppressors" the Left gets bored, the television cameras turn off, and soon no one comes to visit. Flies, garbage, and Islam takes over. Soon it is a forgotten. Has anyone mentioned Jenin recently?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. It is true that for the most part Israeli's have politically embraced the center-left.
    The problem is that once these "right-wingers" get elected, they govern as if from the left, for all intents and purposes lying to the Israeli public.
    Of course the most glaring example would be Arik Sharon getting elected on the promise of not leaving Gaza, only to almost immediately upon election pull a 180.
    It's hardly the only example.

  4. The last real opportunity Israel had to save itself was Rabbi Kahane zt'l. But the Israeli Left and Right decided keeping power was more important then anything else. So they banned the Kach party. The only long term solution is the mass expulsion of the Arab population and the establishment of a theocratic state, preferably a Malchut.

    Yes the Goyim wont much like it, but they dont much like the Jews anyway.

  5. That first sentence should read "...embraced the center-right"

  6. Anonymous15/7/14

    This is depressing:) There must be some biblical insight to lead Israel in the right direction.

    "Despite all the explosions in Gaza, Israel is still stuck on the second choice. The air strikes aren’t meant to destroy Hamas. They are being carried out to degrade its military capabilities which will buy a year or two of relative peace."

    True. It's the wrong time of year to be pondering Maoz Tzur but aren't all but the sixth stanzas about temporary redemption by man and G-d, not total, irreversible Divine redemption? Can divine redemption occur within a man waged war?

    I don't know. But IMO Israel needs to exercise political restraint in terms of not dealing with the UN, US or any other nation or organization dangling a peace carrot in front of it. Until there is a final, divine redemption Israel must fight. It would be unconscionable to allow innocents to die at the hands of terrorists without fighting to keep Jews alive.

    Please tell me that Israeli politicians aren't still concerned about accusations of using disproportionate force against her enemies.


  7. Anonymous15/7/14

    Any idea of what the Jordanians feel about this? Aren't the Palestinians actually Jordanians? Is Jordan taking a hands off approach to Gaza as a Palestinian state?


  8. denisO15/7/14

    "some biblical insight" to lead Israel in the right direction:
    Consider "...his command to King Saul of Israel: “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” (1 Samuel 15:3 NIV) Camels and donkeys? Children and infants? Or how about this statement regarding Israel’s destruction of Jericho at God’s prompting: “They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys”? (Joshua 6:21 NIV)
    Apparently, it worked.

  9. Israel, more than most countries, does not have the political license to be ruthless enough to shut this stuff down. So the country ends up with choice 2: Live with terrorism. At least for now. And when they can not live with it any longer? Then they better actually have the nukes they are rumored to have

  10. Anonymous15/7/14

    TY Denis


  11. One of the rare times that I disagree with DG analysis. The three options are not this white and black. What happens if Israel destroys Hamas in Gaza -- The "peace loving" Mahmud Abbas takes over, and the world puts full press pressure on Israel to make peace with ALL Palestinians. Hamas supporters still exist, but now they are less visible. As we all know, there is no one to make peace with on one hand, and on the other, we are not quite ready for the one state solution (despite Caroline Glick's excellent book). Therefore, it is in Israel's interest to maintain status quo for now -- the time is on our side. Therefore, Netanyahu's solution to weaken Hamas and stop the rockets for couple of years is a bad solution, but the best Israel can afford at this time. Besides, Israel needs to focus on the threat from Iran. I am still hopeful that there is a plan to destroy Iranian nuclear capabilities at the right time.

  12. Anonymous16/7/14

    A very radical solution:
    1. Israel to bring Hamas and others to their knees and destroy all weapons.
    2. Israel to allow a friendly company to develop Gaza's oil and gas, the operator will pay high royalties to the state of Palestine for the purpose of building infrastructure etc.
    3. Palestine to be weapons free and will have international security guaranties.
    4. All Palestinians will lose their refugee status and will take responsibility for their own affairs.

  13. In for a penny in for a pound. Why should Israel always so meticulously calibrate its response when the world is always going to react as though it's launched a genocide. There is simply zero gain any more in Israel pulling its punches. It should launch a planned all-out war, a war that's intended to last 10+ years. Its objective should be to utterly break the will of any Muslim ever to think of using terrorism again. Then Israel should send execution teams after terrorist scum who scurry away when it becomes clear Israel is 100% serious. Just go for it and damn the opprobrium the fascist Left will inevitably hit Israel with, whatever it does. I've lost respect for Netanyahu. He's not thinking clearly, not weighing what future this default appeasement is leading Israel into. Launch ALL-OUT WAR, and don't stop until they surrender or Israel is defeated. Period. That's the only real option left. Otherwise it should just roll over and die b/c leftist anti-Semitic hate is all the rage now.


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