Will Israel’s aims be achieved by the current military action?
Israel's current military action in Gaza is one more chapter in an ongoing saga that has persisted for decades.
We ask what chance force and militarism has of creating a lasting peace in the region, or of addressing the underlying issues that have consistently obstructed peace.
You can also add to the debate by leaving your comment at the end of the page.
The military action is wholly justified.
Hamas’ ongoing rocket attacks into Israel justify the current military action.
Since 2005 Hamas has fired some 6,300 rockets at Israeli civilians from Gaza, killing 10 and wounding more than 780 [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051140769338457.html].
Furthermore, the high civilian casualty rate in Palestine is largely due to Hamas deliberately locating its bases in residential areas, in an attempt to deter Israeli attacks.
As such, the action is defensive and retaliatory, rather than aggressive and invasive. World opinion and support for Israel will reflect this reality.
Hamas' terrorist action comes as a direct result of the embargo on movement in and out of Palestine. The war is ultimately unwinnable, and counter-productive.
Israel claims to be aiming only to crush Hamas, but civilian casualties have been high. As long as severe restrictions on movement in and out of Gaza remain in place, Hamas has vowed to continue its campaign of rocket attacks.
Freedom of movement is a basic human right, and although the legality of Israel's embargo on movement is less clear, such a situation is artificial and amounts to a slow strangulation of the country.
The US will continue to support Israel, despite the change of regime in America.
Israel has enjoyed the support of the US, the world superpower, for decades.
Though Barack Obama is likely to be a more liberal President than Bush, domestic US support for Israel is traditionally strong. Furthermore, Israel remains a highly important military and political ally for America in a region largely adhering to an anti-American sentiment.
Noam Chomsky points out that a similar move to eliminate the Hezbollah terrorist threats to Israel, (the 2006 invasion of Lebanon), was wholly mandated by the Bush adminstration, going so far as to call it ‘the US-Israeli invasion of Lebanon’ [http://chomsky.info/articles/20060819.htm].
Israel risks losing the crucial support of the US.
The incoming Obama administration has pursued a markedly more liberal rhetoric than the incumbent regime.
Although Obama said in July that a response to the rocket attacks is understandable, he has been silent on the issue since becoming President-elect.
Without the mandate of the US, Israel’s position would degrade rapidly, and (for them) potentially disastrously.
If an aim of Israel is to maintain military superiority over its neighbours, it will succeed.
There is in this conflict a latent aim of ensuring the maintenance of the current status quo of power-balance.
One prevalent view is that stability translates largely as obedience to the US and its own aims in the region; namely to perpetuate the regional power levels.
To the extent that Israel can be said to exist largely with the military, financial and political support of the US, and thus operates in the main as an extension of US ambition in the region (to secure the supply of oil and to maintain a vicarious presence close to Iran), the military action is likely to succeed, at least in the short term.
The military action is a good opportunity to cripple Hamas as a terrorist force.
Hamas’ ongoing rocket attacks on Israel would not be tolerated by the US, the UK, or any other major Western country.
The more damage Israel can inflict on Hamas as a terrorist force, the better the chances for long-term peace. Israeli commentators opine that the stronger Hamas becomes, the more difficult the conciliatory task faced by Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas will be [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051140769338457.html].
Any sovereign country in the world, if faced with even one rocket from an enemy country, would respond with disproportionate force. Could you imagine a situation in which America's citizens got hit with tens of thousand of missiles, and the American state would do nothing? How can anybody not understand Israel's military action, when they know that they would do the same? If Hamas is attacked enough, it will know that it is not worth it's while to attack Israel, and will stop, at least for the time being.
The current conflict is destabilising the region as a whole.
Political and social instability in Middle East as a whole will be heightened, contrary to Israel’s stated aim of achieving national security. A more volatile region means greater risk of terrorist action against Israel.
Israel has little chance of defeating Hamas by force. If Israel cannot eradicate Hamas as a terrorist force, as it also failed to do with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, its regional political position and standing in world opinion will suffer greatly.
will israel's aims be achieved by the current military action
They have no choice, it is the only way to deal with a terrorist organisation who have pushed them into a last resort situation.
Israel is damaging its standing in world opinion.
A prominent view of Israel as expansionist and war-mongering will be strengthened by the current military action.
As such, Israel risks further damaging its support in the UN and among previously neutral foreign countries – the military action will thus be contrary to Israel’s aims.
No other country in the world would stand on the side and watch their citizens being killed and wounded by rockets from an enemy country, and therefore the UN should understand that Israel has been pushed into this situation by terrorists who want to destroy it, and have no choice but to defend themselves.
The war will just strengthen support for Hamas.
Hamas was born from perceived injustice. The civilian collateral casualty rate in the current conflict is so high that public support for Hamas is likely to increase.
Attempting to eradicate an underground, guerilla resistance group by means of head-on military assault will only succeed in strengthening its resolve to continue resistance.
The best means of stopping terrorism is to address its roots; that is, to come to a greater compromise on Hamas’ terms.
Israeli security hinges on more than stopping Hamas
The main aim of the assault on Gaza is to attempt to make Israel more secure by eliminating Hamas. Yet whilst one can sympathise with the notion of stopping rocket fire into Israel, the wider picture of security will not be aided by such action, even if the assault is successful. As has been stated such action is likely to create more enemies in the world community, with Bolivia recently declaring it will cease diplomatic ties with Israel. Due to their very sensitive position in the Middle East military action is always going to reignite tensions with their neighbours, and whilst inaction on the part of Israelis is understandably
unattractive, the most practical measure for security is a ceasefire - a prospect made more distant by the conflict.
Hamas will not be wiped out by an offensive like this.
The way that Israel has attacked is bound to give some results, but not absolute ones. They have bombed anyone and everyone, and even though some targets were genuine Hamas, much were civilians. Because of the indiscriminate attacks, Hamas will not only survive, but also gain support and will continue firing rockets into Israel.
What do you think?