Our interests do not lie in the madrassas in either nation [Pakistan and Indonesia]; they lie with their governments and military ties, however imperfect or shaky. Likewise, our influence is with those bodies, not the fanatic-run madrassas. Our actions (or inaction) — and those of Israel — will never garner favor within those walls and inside the fanatic Islamist circles. And likewise, our actions (or inaction) are only used within that sphere as fuel for the greater fire: The destruction of Israel and the establishment of a regional — then global — caliphate.Schippert goes on to analyze what he thinks will be Israel's real goal and how it will go about achieving it. He basically agrees with what was expressed in last week in the conference call sponsored by America's Voices In Israel, about which I wrote:
Considering this, we should acknowledge such radical flame-fanning but never adjust our policy/actions (or support for Israeli policy/actions) to such. To do so would require faith in a conclusion that there is a chance for peaceful coexistence with these radical Islamist terrorist entities. There is no such chance, not because we don't want it, but because it is their compulsion to reject it. Violently. [emphasis his]
Schippert agrees on what the ultimate goal is and describes the 5 target-goals Israel will have to achieve along the way:The Ambassador [Deputy Chief of Mission in the Israeli Embassy in Washington Jeremy Issacharoff] said it is premature to say much more but there will be no return to the status quo—that is not an option.The General said that Israel wants to be sure that security is dramatically changed and that there will be new rules of the game.
He introduced the idea of having a legitimate representatives of the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority assert itself in Gaza and how Hamas is eventually phased out of control. He stressed that there are a lot of different things to address in such a ceasefire, such as smuggling arms form Iran. Israel is still not sure if it is at that point yet; they are still assessing.
I don't think, as Andrew seems to concur, that Israel will stop the offensive when "there is a good chance the rockets will stop," because that would indeed be a rather long and deadly endeavor. I don't happen to think this operation is the "end game"-seeking operation. Without pretending to be inside the heads of Israeli strategic thinkers, Operation Cast Lead appears to be meant to condition the battlefield — for an eventual battle that the IDF, ideally, will not take the lead in.
Israel is most likely setting the stage for a Fatah-Hamas showdown redux in Gaza. A couple of things have to happen to prepare for this eventuality first, however. Hamas has spent two years — under Iranian strategic direction, guidance, assistance and supply — duplicating Hizballah's offensive missile capabilities in order to lure the IDF into a Hizballah-modeled urban defense of tunnels, deception, firepower, and explosives. See here from earlier.
As such, Israel has to accomplish a few things under increased Gaza Hizballah-modeled defenses.
- Destroy known large weapons caches — for both immediate and down-the-road benefit.
- Disable the tunnel systems into Egypt that are used to re-supply Hamas's increasingly lethal arsenal.
- Seal sea-based approaches, as submersible containers are also used to ferry weapons ashore from cargo ships.
- Liquidate as much of Hamas's key leadership as possible.
- Liquidate Hamas terrorist ranks, especially rocket crews and builders, as much as possible.
Israel will stop the operations not when the rockets stop, but rather when Israel thinks it has crippled Hamas and hindered its regenerative ability to the point where the next incredibly challenging step can be taken: Assist and empower Fatah enough in Gaza that it can once again raise a significant challenge to Hamas's violent domination there. Fatah was decimated in Gaza by Hamas in '06 and '07. It must be rebuilt.
There are, of course, significant challenges and risks in trusting and empowering Fatah, the offspring of Arafat's PLO. But they are less than that of Israeli re-occupation of Gaza, which would be an absolute requirement for defeating Hamas fully and having "a good chance the rockets will stop."
There are two ways to fight Hamas. This, I believe, is Israel's preferred method.
The only problem, which being a political one is not addressed by Schippert, is what Gazans will have to say about the return of Fatah to Gaza. Are Abbas and the Palestinian Authority any more competent or corruption-free than before?
And here's a thought: let's say that Israel is 100% successful and Abbas is returned to power in Gaza--imagine the increased pressure that will be put on Israel to do everything necessary to create a second Palestinian state.
Let's not forget the statement made by the Quartet:
A quartet statement said the US-brokered bilateral process launched a year ago in Annapolis, Maryland "is irreversible and these negotiations should be intensified in order to put an end to the conflict and to establish as soon as possible the state of Israel, living side by side in peace and security with Israel."
If Israel is really able to see Operation Cast Lead to a successful conclusion, beware: the light you will think you see at the end of the tunnel will be an oncoming train.
UPDATE: Another source also sees this as a way to 'save' the two-state solution. From The Telegraph:
At one level the military operation is about saving the short term political careers of Miss Livni and Mr Barak, but they could argue it is also about saving their vision of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
They are both key figures in supporting the plan — backed by America, the European Union and the United Nations — of peace talks between Israel and the moderate Palestinian leadership under Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Under the plan Israel would be willing to give up some of the land it occupied in 1967 for a new Palestinian state but this is based on the assumption that the land would not be used as a base for attacks on Israel.
Right-wingers like Mr Netanyahu do not believe in a land-for-peace swap because they believe militants will continue to attack across any new Israeli-Palestinian frontier.
Miss Livni and Mr Barak are using force to try to prove Mr Netanyahu wrong, to show that militants in Gaza can be silenced once and for all prior to its incorporation into a future Palestinian state.
Bottom line, this operation is necessary even if the current leadership in Israel is doing it for the wrong reasons.
Thanks to Memeorandum for the link!
Crossposted at Soccer Dad