Hamas says three of its top Gaza commanders killed by Israel | The Times of Israel   ‘ Palestinians say 7 killed in overnight strikes; Mohammed Deif’s fate remains unclear; Kerry in contact with Qatar, Turkey to renew truce; UN urges return to negotiations; rockets shot toward Tel Aviv, airport ‘

Can this be regarded as a plus for Israel or a minus? I guess it all depends on how you look at it.

Degrading the enemy’s capacity for conflict by taking out some of the other side’s key personnel would seem to be a positive, even an inevitable move. But it also signifies a deepening of that conflict, a hardening of attitudes and a focus on tactics, something that can be done but often only at the expense of whatever overall strategy is in place. If there is one, that is.

Will these deaths make things any easier for Israel? In the short term it’s possible but over the longer one, they may serve only to intensify the struggle between Palestinians and Israelis and not diminish it. Violent death under such circumstances does have a tendency to do just that.

What then are the strategic objectives facing both sets of combatants in this contest?

To prevail by force of arms against the other?

To outlast the enemy’s will and capacity to fight on?

To demonstrate a moral superiority, a religious one, a military proficiency, an economic dominance?

To find some means of peaceful coexistence despite all indications that such a thing is impossible, not worth even a moment’s consideration?

The first three have such negative connotations that they should be entertained only as policies of desperation, being essentially point-blank refusals to think outside the box.

The fourth is more of a challenge, demanding a singleness of purpose, universal acceptance of methods and decisions that only the ingenuity of human beings can devise and deliver, even in conditions of utter despair.

www.laxiankey.com  – ‘ for those of us with better things to do.’