Friday, March 26, 2010

BiBi's Bullets

I was a big supporter of Israel's last incursion into Southern Lebanon...

I'm pretty sure it was unwise to punitively destroy the Lebanese infrastructure. I understand that Israel hopes to turn the rest of the Lebanese population against Hezbollah, but they'd have been better served limiting their attacks to the people who ambushed their troops. It's not as though the other players in Lebanon tolerate Hezbollah by choice.

But no sovereign state can allow its troops to be attacked, killed and taken prisoner by a paramilitary group based just across its border. It'd be as though a Mexican drug lord jumped an ICE patrol and dragged the survivors to Juarez. The execution of the operation was a disaster, but it was undoubtedly the right policy.

I have less sympathy for the Gaza incursion. A timeline (p.72)
of the 2008 ceasefire makes it clear that 1) the Israeli's were engaged in a deliberate policy of economic blockade against the population of Gaza, with the intent of delegitimizing Hamas. (Precisely the tactic employed in Lebanon). 2) The utter harmlessness of Qassam rockets. The launch of what are essentially ambitious model rockets (they have precisely the same guidance system) into the Negev Desert cannot be construed to constitute a national security threat to the Jewish State. They've managed 22 fatalities in the last 10 years with this junk.

Nevertheless, I believe in results. Following the invasion of Gaza, incidents of rocket fire from Gaza have been effectively reduced to zero. The inhabitants of Gaza continue to suffer a grinding poverty, and the Israeli/Bush Administration objective of fostering resentment and anger towards Hamas by its constituents proceeds, although I can't find any polling of Gazans later than Feb. of '09.

But this latest crisis...

I define terrorism as the deliberate targeting of non-combatants. In no way shape or form was Mahmoud al-Mabhouh a non-combatant. But the inevitable, foreseeable result of that assassination was going to be the firing of more Qassam rockets at Sderot, one of which might actually defy the odds and injure a non-combatant.

What does one call an organization that takes actions which will obviously and inevitably result in terrorism?