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Tactics vs Strategy in Gaza

Reader comment on item: [Israel's Gaza Withdrawal:] A Democracy Killing Itself

Submitted by Kierkegaard (United States), Aug 16, 2005 at 16:21

I have, for most of my long adult life, followed the various careers of Mr Sharon with great interest.

Not so very long ago he was feared and derided by the Arab elites as the 'Jewish Napoleon'; as I recall, Anwar Sadat was particularly convinced of his personal plans for future military conquest. This is the man who famously buried ammunition during one war so that it might be used again in the next. If Sadat was correct even to a minor degree, then I believe the melodrama now playing out in Gaza can end only in one sequence of events; greater belligerence and violence on the part of the 'victorious' Palestinians under the leadership of Hamas (in alliance with the so far largely mythological Al Qaida presence) and an even more violent reaction by the Israeli government.

In other words, this may simply set up the provocation that Mr Sharon (or his successor) needs to finally impose a traditional military solution on the West Bank--he is quite correct in discounting the strategic significance of Gaza, which, after a severe miltary defeat involving a great loss of life, would finally revert to its historical role as an uneasy possession of Egypt. To those who fear such a heightened state of war, I can only point out that Israel has been in a continual state of war since its birth; the Intifada simply insured that the violence would be one-sided and championed by the Western press, presumably until the time Iran is able to develop mobile nuclear weapons. By clearing the chess-board, Mr Sharon allows for aggressive Israeli re-engagement sooner rather than later and with Al Qaida as the new enemy.

I must apologize if I offend those who believe in any sort of mystical Israeli right to Gaza; even the most passionate of archaelogists must admit that such claims are weak at best--unlike the West Bank, which is a far more important prize, for which a 'hot war' would provide a number of subtle but crucial tipping points. As matters now stand, without evacuation the Gaza settlements exist only as a sort of 'Mines of Moria' in the making. Even after a rapid re-conquest, they cannot be held without the sort of actions associated with Hitler or Stalin and rightly rejected by Israel (though I personally would think nothing of them; luckily for the world, indolence has dogged my otherwise inevitable rise to a position of naked power.)

However, if I were a Palestinian resident of Gaza right now, I would buy a metal detector and search for buried ammunition.
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