Sunday, January 4, 2009

Israel is Just Stupid

Israel is now in the midst of invading Gaza. Justified or not, it is just stupid. Ultimately, it seems like the only thing that matters in this never-ending war between Israel and the entire arab world is how it plays out PR-wise in the rest of the world. And on those terms, Israel loses every time its military goes on the offensive. They end up killing lots and lots of arabs, many of them civillians, and so they look really really bad.

If I were in charge, I'd just let the rockets come. Not because I want Israeli civillians to be killed, but because they are so damn ineffective that hardly anyone will be hurt. Further, as history has shown, you simply can't stop them anyway. The benefit to letting them come is it lets Israel and ONLY Israel claim to be the victim. They can show on TV all of the innocent civillians hurt or killed after each attack. They can make much of this. Meanwhile, the Palestinians, since the Israelis aren't launching attacks of their own, will have no such images and no such claims to air. Then Hamas will just look like the murdering thugs that they are and they will have no argument that it is justified for them to randomly murder civillians.

This would have to be combined with Israel allowing open borders, so there is no difficulty with humanitarian aid getting in, and the trade will help people find work other than just launching rockets.

I don't expect it will change things overnight, but over time, as this pattern is repeated - Palestinian murder accompanied by Israeli restraint and clear humanitarianism, attitudes will change. Eventually they will even change in the arab world, though that will take some time. Before someone starts calling me naive or starts pointing out the duty of a nation to protect its citizens - I will say that I realize this and this is exactly about protecting citizens. Israel's existence is in no way threatened by random small rocket attacks. It just isn't. Israel has a massive advantage against the Palestinians militarily. This massive advantage is what allows them to sit and not respond with force. They don't need to. It is like how a massively muscled man can basically ignore a tiny person's attack on himself with punches that really don't hurt. Retaliate, and the strong man looks like a bully. Stand there, ignoring the ineffective punches while trying to calm the small attacker down makes the big man look compassionate and diplomatic and makes the small attacker look more and more foolish.

Israel is playing right into the terrorists' hands right now. Sort of how Bush did so after 9/11, giving Bin Laden his biggest wet dream of the US overreacting and alienating the world. And that is just stupid.


Andrew said...

The BBC News recently had comedian Alexei Sayle on making much the same case. He described Hamas' weapons as 'stupid little home-made rockets'. A day or two later they found another comedian to 'counterpoint' him. This other comic had had a relative killed by such a rocket. Right. He'll be suitably objective, then.

The basest emotional appeal goes 'how can you do nothing while people are dying' and won't accept that nothing might be the best thing you can do, regardless of its merits. And that's why we'll never find out if you're right.

DBB said...

I can see how that could go. My counter-counter argument would be that 1) it isn't doing "nothing" it is simply doing things other than killing Palestinians and 2) maybe that other comic's relative might not have been rocketed if this had been tried earlier and so there were fewer people feeling agrieved enough to want to make a rocket attack. The only way to stop such attacks is to change conditions such that fewer people want to make them. Probably those who launch those rockets have dozens or maybe even hundreds of family members who have been injured or killed in previous Israeli offensives. I wonder how many relatives of the thousands killed by Israel this round will be up launching rockets at Israel in the future?

The only way to stop the cycle of violence is to stop it. One side, unilaterally just needs to stop it, and it has to be the stronger side. Otherwise, it will just continue endlessly and more comics will lose relatives on both sides of the border.

The Barefoot Bum said...

If I were in charge, I would either give the Palestinians full civil rights in Israeli society, or create a separate Palestinian state.

The only other options are continued violence or genocide.

DBB said...

Probably a separate state is the only workable solution. The way things are now, if there was one state, the Palestinians I think would outnumber the Israelis, and given their mood, may just vote Israel out of existence.

It would help if the Palestinians would actually recognize Israel instead of pledging death to its citizens - and the only way that will ever happen is if they do what I suggest and just stop killing Palestinians - even those that might deserve it.

But really, if the Israelis are going to be idiots, I don't really have much sympathy for them. I don't lose sleep over people who act like idiots and bring problems upon themselves. It would be nice if the US did not contribute to the problem, but beyond that, it is up to the Israelis (and the Palestinians too) to do the right thing. If they don't, they will face the consequences of their actions.

The Barefoot Bum said...

It would help if the Palestinians would actually recognize Israel instead of pledging death to its citizens.

That would help, but it's not necessary. Even if the Palestinians had a sovereign state, they would lack the effective capability to annihilate Israel, or even cause it more than minor inconvenience. It should be noted that Israel is surrounded by more-or-less hostile sovereign states and is still there. One more Palestinian state — even if it's implacably hostile — isn't going to make any difference.

At this point, the conflict on the Israeli side is driven by nothing but racism and stubborn vanity.

DBB said...

BB - I agree it isn't necessary for the Palestinians to stop the "death to Israel" as policy. As I noted above, the rockets are ineffectual and no real threat to Israel. Israel can afford to let them fall without retaliating militarily - and doing so just makes things worse anyway.

But even if it isn't necessary, I'd still say it should be called for, and loudly. It contributes to the problem - I'm sure seeing near 100% approval for murdering all Israelis and throwing them into the sea makes it just a tad easier for the Israeli right-wingers to justify their stupid military operations against the Palestinians. Why give them the ammunition? While I agree with you it is up to Israel to show restraint and stop the killing, it is pure idiocy for the Palestinians to openly call for death to Israel, rather than calling for a stop to all violence and a peaceful coexistence.