To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
--- George Orwell

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Michael Oren's 'Savage War Of Peace' In Gaza

It’s essential to recall that when he launched “Operation Protective Edge,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the goal was to restore “quiet” between Israel and Gaza. Moving the goal posts, he then started to declare that the ultimate objective was to root out Hamas network of tunnels, which have an interesting psychological hold on Israelis. Now, Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the US and CNN commentator, articulates a much more far-reaching mission, in a Washington Post op-ed I missed last week while I was away. The piece, headlined "Isreal Must Be Permitted To Crush Hamas" calls on world leaders to give Israel “the time and the leverage it needs to alter Hamas’s calculus.” So here are Oren's ideas on Israel's ultimate---if not the final—solution for Gaza. I wonder whether Oren has made, or will be making, this argument on CNN. I've been in touch with journalists covering the Middle East, as well as the network's corporate communications shop, to know that Oren is a very polarizing figure. Many question Jeff Zucker's judgement and political/ethnic sympathies in making Oren a paid, on-air commentator, even as the treatment meted out to foreign correspondent Diana Magnay over an accurate, if somewhat intemperate tweet, has intimidated many at CNN from speaking out against Zucker's hire.

As Operation Protective Edge enters its third week , responsible world leaders can give Israel the time and the leverage it needs to alter Hamas’s calculus. They can let the Israeli army ferret Hamas out of its holes and make it pay a prohibitive cost for its attacks. They can create an outcome in which the organization, even if it remains in Gaza, is defanged and deprived of its heavy arms. Of course, Hamas will resist demilitarization, and more civilians will suffer, but by ending the cycle once and for all thousands of innocent lives will be saved.

Life in Gaza is miserable now, but if Israel is permitted to prevail, circumstances can improve markedly. U.S.- and Canadian-trained security forces of the Palestinian Authority can take over key crossings and patrol Gaza’s porous border with Egypt. Rather than be funneled into Hamas’s war chest, international aid can be transferred directly to the civilian population to repair war damage and stimulate economic growth. Terrorist groups and their state patrons can be put on notice: The game has changed unalterably.
And by letting Israel regain its security with regard to Gaza — with all the pain it entails — the United States and its allies will be safeguarding their own. Though bitter, the fighting between Israel and Hamas raging in Gaza’s alleyways is merely part of the far vaster struggle between rational nations and the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-like forces seeking their destruction. Relative to that global conflict, Operation Protective Edge may seem small, but it is nevertheless pivotal. To ensure that it concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world’s fundamental interest. To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance.

Hey, it worked for France in Algeria, didn't it? 

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