Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Disengagement from Gaza

Aug. 20 2019

Fifteen years after Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip, and evicted the Jews who lived there, many of the former officers and other self-described security experts who supported the move at the time continue to argue that it was the correct decision, pointing to the decrease in the number of Israelis killed and wounded since then. But, argues Gershon Hacohen, this is the wrong yardstick:

[B]y making the number of casualties the main criterion by which to assess the security situation, as U.S. generals did in Vietnam to cover up their abysmal failures, the “experts” ignore the fact that a national-security equation does not by any means depend primarily on the number of wounded and killed. If that were indeed the key criterion, most struggles for national liberation would not have happened.

To begin with, Israel’s withdrawal reinforced Hamas’s belief that Palestinian victory will be won through “resistance” and not by political means, à la the approach of Mahmoud Abbas. . . . According to Hamas, it was not the yearning for peace that impelled the Israelis to withdraw from Gaza but operative and mental distress in the face of relentless “resistance,” similar to the panicky flight from Lebanon in May 2000. Hence the two-state solution has succumbed to a radical logic that paints it, according to Hamas’s former leader Khaled Mashal, in the colors of an ongoing phased strategy in the ceaseless struggle for Israel’s destruction.

For rockets, missiles, and mortars, as well as explosive and incendiary balloons, the fence [separating Israel from Gaza] is not an obstacle. Nor does it inhibit the tunnel threat. The fence does contribute to the regular security routine, but in symmetrical fashion it helps the enemy build up its power undisturbed. Under the protection of the fence, . . . Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been able to form an organized military force, comprising battalions and brigades, replete with a concealed and protected arsenal of rocket fire and supported by an effective command-and-control system.

Yet, writes Hacohen, these same experts wish to apply the same logic to the West Bank, risking far more disastrous consequences.

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza withdrawal, Hamas, Israeli Security, Vietnam War, West Bank

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month

Register

Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media