(2) What happens when and if the physical nature of the resistance changes, and it adopts in turn this collective-punishment strategy in a more thoroughgoing manner than it has up to now?
(3) Has anyone in Israel or in Washington noticed that the supposed demonstration effect of this war in the region is the opposite of what it was supposed to be?
According to Dan Shiftan, head of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, this was all about rockets. Rockets, he says, have been the weapon of choice for "radicals" ever since Israel successfully stopped suicide attacks with the big separation wall. Rockets, he says, have been chosen because Israel is unable to stop them short of occupying the areas where they are fired from, and Israel does not want to do that. He writes:
The war in Gaza was aimed at preventing the entrenchment of the perception that the rocket resistance in conjunction with Islamic zealotry is the ultimate weapon Israel cannot cope with. Yet we can and should prove that even though Israel has no operative solution for it, it does possess a strategic response to this challenge.This is easily recognizable as the argument for 9/11 and all of the similar attacks against civilian populations: They purpose is "to show the political willingness (in addition to military capabilities) to sow disproportional destruction and hurt the assets that are dear to those who..." [and you can fill in the blank, for instance: "the assets that are dear to those who attack and militarily occupy Arab and Islamic lands"]. In the case of AQ and the other militant Islamic groups that adopt this approach, the argument is seen as an admission of evil--of outlaw status. In the case of Zionist Israel, the argument is seen as--what?
The strategic response is political willingness (in addition to military capabilities) to sow disproportional destruction and hurt the assets that are dear to those who fire rockets at Israeli population centers. The main objective is not to hit the last rocket, but rather, to enforce a fundamental change in the Muqawma's cost-benefit equation by dramatically raising the cost.
That is my first question: How is it that this kind of bare-faced admission of a strategy of inflicting large-scale civilian casualties is not the object of condemnation among the governments and governing elites of the West?
My second question is this: Suicide attacks brought about the Wall. Rocket attacks have brought about this policy of local collective punishment. Suppose they feel they have successfully established an armed garrison state with a Wall, surrounded by populations seething with anger and the desire for revenge. Fine. Suppose then that the "radicals" adopt to the full the Israeli/AQ "punish those dear to them" strategy and start attacking Jewish communities elsewhere in the world. What then? The Wall has been tried. Local collective punishment has been tried. Will it be a Global War on Terror, Zionist version?
My third question: This man writes:
Responsible regional regimes, which wish to avoid confrontation with Israel, can defend their policy only if they can showcase the intolerable results of such confrontation to the Arab public and its radical elites. Israel's image as helpless may force these regimes, as happened in the past, to lend their hand to provocations that cumulatively tend to escalate into war.This is the "showcase" argument. What they are showcasing in this case is the horrible scale of the collective punishment that results from local rocket attacks, and this is supposed to constitute an argument for the Egyptian and Saudi authorities for peace and accomodation with Israel.
Mubarak does not seem to be particularly grateful. In fact the result for him is the opposite: it is pressure to "open the gates of jihad" against Israel.
So my third question is this: Given that the Gaza war with its underlying theme of collective punishment has weakened, not strengthened, Israel's allies in the region, one wonders why this effect is not being recognized by the elites in Israel or in Washington.