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Attacking Gaza

The Israeli press is all atwitter about whether or not Israel should launch a major military operation to curb Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Israeli communities down south. (Read about JTA’s Jacob Berkman dodging Palestinian rockets last week here.)

The consensus, it seems, is against an operation.

“It didn’t work before, and it won’t work this time either. It is merely an attempt to buy time that won’t lead us anywhere,” writes Ariella Ringel-Hoffman in Ynet:

The proposal for one decisive blow should be replaced with creative ideas that would bring Gilad Shalit back home and expand the lull agreement, so it will have the potential of creating dramatic change in the region.

In an editorial Wednesday, Ha’aretz advises pursuing an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire with Hamas rather than launching a war Israel cannot win:

There is no persuasive reason for a military action, except the fact that we cannot accept continued firing on Israel, and Hamas’ continued arming. In contrast, there are a number of reasons for a cease-fire, however temporary. The main reason is that Hamas can no more be eradicated than could Hezbollah.

The Jerusalem Post’s reliably hawkish Caroline Glick finds the idea of a ceasefire politically expedient but strategically disastrous:

For the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government, a cease-fire is attractive politically. By providing a temporary respite from the jihadist missile attacks against southern Israel, the cease-fire will suspend the local media’s coverage of the grave and gathering threat to Israel’s security in the South. And the lull in media coverage of the Iranian threat in Gaza will provide breathing room for the scandal-ridden and deeply unpopular Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government as it seeks desperately to avoid new general elections…

The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government’s political opponents have claimed that with the ongoing corruption probes against the prime minister, the government lacks the political legitimacy to conduct a military campaign in Gaza. This is a false assertion. As Israel’s elected leaders, the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government has a duty to defend the country and the only way to do so is to launch a military campaign in Gaza.

The only problem, writes Glick, is that the current government is incompetent to carry out such an operation successfully. Of course, the real question isn’t whether the government is capable or not of staging a successful military campaign in Gaza, but whether the IDF is.

For his part, Meretz MK Yossi Beilin sees a looming IDF operation in Gaza as dangerously close, and as dangerous folly:

We can still prevent clearly selfish considerations, crude partisan reasoning and other political motives from sweeping the country into an unnecessary war after a break of less than two years. It is still possible to try to reach a cease-fire instead of the war, and to overcome the primitive thought that the cease-fire must be preceded by a major strike so as to rehabilitate “deterrance.”

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