Israel Should Seek More from Hamas Than a Return to the Status Quo Ante

July 26 2018

The fighting between Israel and Hamas has not yet abated, but it’s possible that this round of conflict is coming to an end. Yet even if Israel succeeds in deterring Hamas from further attacks, writes Amos Yadlin, the result will be what he calls an “asymmetric strategic tie.”

Hamas has been able to erode the Israeli deterrence that was established since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, to breach the calm that prevailed in [Israel’s] south, and to try to define new “equations” and rules of engagement. To be sure, Hamas did not plan the March of Return or the kite- and balloon-based arson attacks, but it found in them attractive tactics and turned them into two central operational efforts. . . .

Israel has undoubtedly scored impressive achievements: its borders were not breached and its citizens were not harmed. Hamas weapons factories, training camps, and storage facilities were wiped out by the air force. Yet Hamas still has a sense of achievement. It has once again put the Gaza issue—both its humanitarian and political aspects—on the international agenda, damaged Israel’s image, undermined the sense of security among the Israeli population in the communities near the Gaza border, and challenged Israeli sovereignty in the Gaza environs.

In order to break this ongoing tie, Israel must adopt a proactive rather than a reactive strategy. It must take an approach designed to change the reality and not sanctify the status quo. . . . [First], efforts can and must be made to promote more modest understandings, namely, a limited hudna [Arabic for a temporary truce]. A fundamental condition for such an arrangement is a total halt of terror from Gaza and the return of Israeli civilians and bodies of the fallen soldiers held by Hamas. . . .

If the moves toward an arrangement are unsuccessful and Hamas clings to its position and continues to challenge Israel militarily, there will be no choice but to prepare for a broad military operation in Gaza. The minimum objective will be to cause very serious damage to Hamas, particularly its military wing, and reestablish long-term deterrence to facilitate the enforcement of a more stable arrangement with parameters that address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza while ensuring quiet and security on the Israeli side of the border. Meanwhile, effective mechanisms must be established to ensure that Hamas is neither building new military capabilities nor scoring points that will strengthen it in the Palestinian political arena.

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Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Protective Edge

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter