INTO THE FRAY – Gaza: Delaying the inevitable…again

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column

 Gaza: Delaying the inevitable…again

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Delaying the inevitable does not make it less inevitable—only more costly

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):


Several short excerpts: 

A fool can throw a stone in a pond that 100 wise men cannot get outSaul Bellow, (1915-2005)  

The ultimate test of this agreement will be a test of blood. If it becomes clear that [the Palestinians] cannot overcome terror, this will be a temporary accord and…we will have no choice but to abrogate it. And if there is no choice, the IDF will return to the places it is about to leave in the upcoming months-– Yossi Beilin on the Oslo Accords. 

Everything is reversible – Yitzhak Rabin on the Oslo Accords

The targeted assassination of the senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist, Bahaa Abu al-Ata, strikingly underscored two—curiously contrary—things. 

The paradox of Israel: Techno-tactical genius; strategic imbecility 

The one is Israel’s remarkable expertise and aptitude at the techno-tactical level that enabled such precise intelligence gathering and minimal collateral damage in the deadly accurate strike against the arch-terrorist.

The other is Israel’s blatant ineptitude, indeed imbecility, on the strategic level that has made the need for such impressive displays of techno-tactical genius to be employed so frequently, necessary in the first place. 

Withdrawal & War: Direct causal link

Assassinated senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander, Bahaa Abu Al Ata


… while it might be a matter of speculation as to what dangers Israel might have had to face had it avoided withdrawal from, and evacuation of, Gaza, there can be no argument as to severity of the dangers it is presently facing, having evacuated and withdrawn from it….there is a direct line of causal links between the decision to withdraw the IDF from territory in Gaza and to permit the deployment of armed terrorist militias in the hapless coastal enclave—first in 1994 with the triumphant arrival of Yassar Arafat and then in 2005 with Israel’s evacuation of the entire Strip—and the current turmoil. 

Reluctance to recognize recalcitrant realities

Yassar Arafat re-enters Gaza — July 1994

The latest round of rocket fire against Israel has once again renewed the debate on what solution there is for Gaza—if any.

By chance, this was precisely the topic I focused on in last week’s column, just a few days before Tuesday’s violence erupted. …In it, I pointed out that virtually all conceivable policy alternatives have been tried—unsuccessfully—except for the one that actually address the root of the problem. 

At the very foundation of the Gaza problem, is the ill-founded notion that it could be solved by foisting self-government on the Gazan-Arabs.

Reluctance (cont.)

This perennial failure to resolve the hostility has endured despite massive international support that made Gaza one of the highest per capita recipients of foreign aid on the face of the globe, only to have the bulk of it (mis)appropriated and channeled into efforts to produce the means to assault Israel—or to pad the pockets of well-placed cronies of the regime….To arrive at an effective policy formula, Israel must abandon the flawed assumptions that have underlain previous endeavors and confront the unpalatable realities head on.

Implacable enemy not potential peace partner; crucible not victim 

Palestinian Islamic Jihad forces

As I have repeatedly urged in the past, there are at least two widely held and wildly misleading assumptions that must be discarded.

Israel must come to the conclusion that the Palestinian-Arabs in general, and the Gazan-Arabs in particular, can no longer be assumed to be prospective peace partners, but implacable enemies…

Secondly, it is time to discard the assumption that the Palestinian-Arab public in general, and the Gazan public, in particular, is the hapless victim of their despotic leadership. Quite the opposite! The public at large is the very crucible in which that leadership was formed and from which it emerged.

Counterproductive calm

Attempts to create calm are, in many ways, counterproductive—for during periods of calm, instead of devoting energy and effort to the development of their society and economy, Hamas and its more radical offshoots/affiliates have focused on enhancing armaments and military infrastructures for the next round of aggression against the hated “Zionist entity”.

At the risk of being repetitive

I find myself ending this column—after this week’s fighting—in very similar vein to then manner, in which I ended my previous one—prior to this week’s fighting. For this, I make no apology. After all, repetition of a much needed truth can only help its much needed promotion.

* The only way Israel can ensure who rules – and does not rule – Gaza is for Israel to rule it itself.

* The only way for Israel to do this without “ruling over another people” is to relocate the “other people” outside the territory it is obliged to administer.

* The only way to effect such relocation of the “other people”, without forcible kinetic expulsion, is by economic inducements i.e. by means of a comprehensive system of enticing material incentives to leave and daunting disincentives to stay.

This, of course, will entail Israel retaking—and keeping—control of Gaza with all the cost and sacrifice that this will unavoidably imply. But the blame for the blood and treasure that will be expended on that endeavor must rest entirely on those, who urged Israel to leave the Strip in the doomed quest for peace in exchange for land.

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,

Best wishes,


Martin Sherman is the founder & executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies

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