I$raHell ‘defeat’


Benjamin Netanyahu on CNN.

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

John Kerry in Israel. Is he preparing to offer US troops to help enforce a ceasefire in Gaza?

I wouldn’t be surprised, though accepting an overt American military presence in or near Israel would be a first. Since Israel is an American military client state they might as well go all the way. It can only help Israel and, at least for the moment, the Palestinian Authority. Finishing off Hamas isn’t Israel’s plan anyway. Extending the PA’s power is.

The world is abuzz with moral indignation and Israel’s own losses continue to increase. But the ratio of Israeli and Palestinian deaths, not to mention those injured, is enormous – and typical. Israeli deaths are well within what Israel’s military expected. Like the civilians of Gaza, these soldiers are considered by Israel to be collateral damage.

Some pundits are calling Israel’s invasion of Gaza a defeat. Even Israel’s international airport is under assault and some airlines are refusing to land there. A blow to Israel’s pride for sure. However, this analysis rests on the assumption that Israel goes to war to win – as in defeat the enemy once and for all. This assumption is false. No Israeli military analyst thinks Israel will win the Gaza war in the traditional sense of that term. Rather Israel goes to war to buy time, to further de-develop Palestinian society and to go about its business elsewhere, say in the West Bank.

As for the ceasefire proposal by Hamas, it’s a ten year humdinger that doesn’t include real independence or even an end to occupation. Israel should accept this proposal as a gift. If Gaza is quiet, imagine what the West Bank will look like in ten years.

So it goes. Of course, the people of Gaza need a ceasefire and a loosening of the noose. They need relief. In the next days expect a move from Iron Death back to the norm, Iron Fist.

The world will gladly oblige Gaza this. Don’t expect much more.

In this time of outrage, it is important to think about what the world powers – including the United Nations – want and can deliver. Their desperate attempt to halt the bloodshed is noble. Yet sometimes the best laid plans are, in the long run, traps of unexpected dimensions.

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