69 million page views

The Limited Elasticity of Appeasement

Reader comment on item: Thoughts on the Israeli Incursion into Gaza

Submitted by Alex (United States), Jun 29, 2006 at 14:17

Olmert and company seem to have fallen prey to a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby if they refrain from using force for long enough, the only logical choice when they finally decide to use force is to use it massively. A helpful metaphor for understanding this dynamic is that of a rubber-band that represents Israel's (or any other nation's) sovereignty. The rubber band can only be stretched so far until it ruptures (i.e. when Israel allows itself to be destroyed), yet by stretching it to near its limit (as in Olmert's plan to set Israel's "final borders" by 2010), Olmert, as well as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, have dictated that, if Israel is to remain a sovereign state, the minute they stop applying pressure to the rubber band of its sovereignty, they bounce back in the other direction much more violently and, perhaps, unexpectedly than other more hawkish leaders would.

Also, by allowing events to dictate their policies, they are both more prone to missteps over which they may feel regret or embarrasment not long afterwards, and subject to the plans and standard operating procedures of the defense and security agencies in Israel that they have so long ignored (hence the IDF's reintroduction of its old tactic of cutting Gaza into three separate sections).

Other motives for this (unexpected, in my mind) current Israeli military response may be personal, as in Hamas breaking its several-months long truce with Israel to fire rockets at the home of the otherwise dovish Defense Minister Peretz, and political, as in the Hamas takeover of the PA making Hamas look all the more audacious by attacking Israel.

Lastly, by allowing events to dictate their policies, Olmert and his advisors are playing right into the hands of those actors who have a vested interest in maintaining pressure on Israel unhindered by any "hudna": radical Islamists like Hamas' Politburo, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and their state sponsors in Iran and Syria.

A bomb went off on the road connecting the homes of Hamas PM Ismail Haniya and President Mahmoud Abbas immediately after they signed a preliminary document that would recognize Israel, as Ayman al-Zawahiri and Khaled Meshaal had warned them not to do. The Debkafile reports that dozens of al Qaeda operatives have flooded Gaza in recent weeks, on the run from Egyptian security forces in the Sinai. They appear to have brought contingency plans with them, the first of which is to destroy Hamas' informal truce with Israel and to ignite a crisis that takes pressure off of their state sponsors.

As I said, Olmert and company may soon regret their recent harsh moves, and so the buzzing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's palace in Latakia will look like a grand bluff if it is not the beggining of an effort at regime change.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to The Limited Elasticity of Appeasement by Alex

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2022 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)