Is there anyone sane or rational observing the Gaza war? This is madness

As the war in Gaza escalates and the latest peace talks in Egypt have seemingly faltered, the Times of Israel’s analysis on the conflict reads:

Direction of Israel-Hamas war hinges on fate of Muhammad Deif

If Gaza terror chief was killed on Tuesday night, Hamas will feel obligated to escalate the fighting; if not, we may yet see a return to the Cairo talks

Hamas announced on Wednesday morning that Deif’s wife, Waded and his son Ali, were killed, as was Ahmed al-Dalo, 20. Hamas presented a document with Shifa hospital records, recording the time at which the bodies of Deif’s wife and son were brought in.

…But if Deif has survived, the issue of revenge becomes personal, rather than political, and Cairo might again host another effort at indirect negotiations on a long-term deal.

Perhaps the most coherent analysis of the current conflict lies in the words “if Deif has survived, the issue of revenge becomes personal.”

As the fog of war descends even further into more attrition, personal vendetta, and bloodshed, other voices work to inflame the fight further. According to The Jerusalem Post, some politicians are so far to the right that even Netanyahu isn’t hawkish enough:

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman implicitly criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, accusing him of surrendering the initiative to Hamas in the wake of the collapse of the latest cease-fire in the South.

In a Facebook post titled “Bring Hamas to submission,” Liberman writes: “I hope that it is clear now that the policy of ‘quiet will be met with quiet’ means that Hamas is the one that takes the initiative and the one that decides when, where, and how many rockets it fires on Israeli civilians, while we are making do with reacting. Even if our reaction is a strong one, it is still a reaction.”

While Liberman voices the belief that Israel should take the “initiative,” even though the death toll is over 2,000 Palestinians (mostly civilians) to less than 70 Israelis, such sentiments must be seen from a less emotional and more analytic vantage point. The view that Israel could bring Hamas to “submission” after the terror group’s leader just lost his wife and son seems not only a bit ludicrous, but almost insane. Of course Hamas will now want to cause even more mayhem; the group’s leader just lost his family in a bombing raid. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or defense expert to realize that killing the family of a terrorist will make that terrorist (especially if he wields power within his group) even more intent on revenge against civilians.

In yet another description of the recent assassination attempt, Haaretz ran the following headline and analysis:

Israel gambled on a morale boost, but it looks like Hamas’ military chief got away

Surviving Israel’s latest attempt on his life, will only serve to reinforce the myth surrounding Mohammed Deif, a serial assassination-attempt-survivor.

Thus, in addition to the possibly failed assassination attempt, the updates found in The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, and Haaretz can be seen as an accurate description of the nightmarish world that Israel and Gazans have descended into and seemingly can’t escape. Peace talks failed, the Palestinians asked for too much and launched rockets, and Israel retaliated and killed a terror leader’s family. However, the IDF might not have killed him and now the future is even more uncertain because a mourning terrorist wants revenge; as if he wasn’t already a threat before the death of his family.

Arutz Sheva covered the recent news by highlighting the debate between conservative and liberal politicians:

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) commented on the latest attempt to end Deif’s life; the terrorist leader has until now evaded five IDF assassination attempts, losing both of his legs in one airstrike…

Sa’ar called for the Cairo truce talks to end, after the Israeli delegation was pulled Tuesday following the ceasefire breach.

“You can achieve quiet through a war of attrition, and you can achieve it through a ground operation into Gaza City,” said Sa’ar. “The goal has to be breaking the military strength of Hamas, or subduing Hamas.”

Opposition leader and Labor Chairperson Yitzhak Herzog had a different take on Israel’s path forward, saying that while military strikes were justified, Israel should still continue to pursue diplomatic channels.

“We are in an additional round of conflict. Certainly Israel must take off the gloves and give the required blow to bring Hamas back to the process of truce talks, as I think the talks need to be an international platform and not just a negotiation in Cairo,” stated the leftist MK.

So the “leftist” MK wants to “take off the gloves,” as if the gloves weren’t already off, but still negotiate and the right wing Likud Interior Minister wants to achieve “quiet through a war of attrition.” Fortunately, the moderates in government haven’t asked to launch nukes, so it’s good to know not everyone is living in an alternate reality.

Is anybody sane, or even somewhat objective, observing this?

How can any nation believe that long term security goals will be achieved through a war of attrition and how can anyone not consumed with nationalistic passion belief that “terror” could ever be eradicated by the “required blow?”

Hamas is a terrorist organization but its stated goal of destroying Israel is a fantasy that it can’t achieve and wars of attrition lead to further wars of attrition, not sustainable peace. Is this never-ending carnage at the expense of heaven forbid… concessions… good for Israel’s long term national security? That being said, there are relevant issues and grievances (medicine shortages, death tolls, sewage leaks, child trauma, etc.) on the Palestinian side that should be addressed in a normal diplomatic forum and process, not under threat of constant bloodshed.

Finally, the BBC offered another summary to the dreadful events of recent hours:

The picture was bleak even before the fighting resumed, and there was not much optimism among the members of the Palestinian delegation.

The gaps between the two parties were too wide to bridge.

The Egyptian mediators had tried to work on getting the blockade of Gaza eased without asking Hamas to lay down its weapons, a key Israeli demand.

They were keen to delay discussing the more thorny issues, like the construction of a seaport and airport in Gaza. But even that plan did not bear fruit…

Palestinian representatives said Israel was seeking guarantees that Hamas and other factions in Gaza would be disarmed, while the Palestinians were demanding an end to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of Gaza, and the establishment of a seaport and airport.

So if the gaps are to wide to bridge, I guess more fighting and death will solve long term, sustainable peace between two nations of people who will never, ever be more than thirty or forty miles from one another… ever.

What a wonderful situation for God’s Holy Land to be in; politicians wagering that wars of attrition will gain security, Hamas more intent on revenge than ever, moderates on both sides marginalized, reservists and IDF soldiers who could lose their lives in a prolonged ground war, blindly patriotic supporters who never read the news and believing that Hamas will be destroyed any day now, and civilians on both sides (especially Palestinians) subjected now to an even more dangerous world. This, mind you, is just today’s analysis.

You can’t bang someone over the head with a hammer and expect them to shake your hand. Hamas can’t dictate Israel’s every move and if it does, foolish politicians will lead innocent people on both sides to an even more dangerous world. Killing a terror chief’s family doesn’t lead to less terror, it leads to more instability. I urge Israel to please consider the future, ten years and twenty years ahead, and focus on sustainable security through rational endeavors, not continuously overreacting to the predictable actions of Hamas. You can’t destroy the word, “terror,” but the belief in its inevitable end only leads to more madness.

About the Author
H. A. Goodman is an author and columnist published in numerous publications and websites.