According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
By this definition, the current Government of Israel must be insane. Since the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Israel has carried out innumerable air raids & bombardments to stop rockets being fired from Gaza into Southern & Central Israel and twice (in 2008 & 2012, both cases just before an Israeli General Election) sent in ground forces to destroy infrastructure that supposedly is supporting the Palestinian groups who fire these rockets. The effect of these actions by Israel has been to lessen the rocket fire for a while but not to stop it completely and, rather than destroing Hamas and the other Palestinian Groups, the militants seem to get stronger after every Israeli attack.
You would think that after twice failing to deal with Hamas through force, the Israeli Government would learn some lessons and try another way to achieve a proper cease fire and to allow the residents of Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Gat, Kerem Shalom and the other Israeli towns & villages close to Gaza to resume normal lives and their children to be able to play in the open in safety.
No, another escalation is happening, Hamas looked for an excuse to fire some more rockets, and the heavy handed reaction of Israeli security forces to the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers provided it, knowing the probable response from Israel and again, like a drunk returning to the bottle even when they know it is killing them, the Israeli Government returns to the threat of a land invasion of Gaza. How will this particular invasion differ from the last two? Will the massive superiority of arms Israel enjoys successfully wipe Hamas & Islamic Jihad from Gaza for ever? Or will the brutal nature of these events repeat the sad scenario of the last two such invasions, that is more deaths of civilians in Gaza, more destruction of homes, roads, schools, hospitals for what is one of the poorest and most deprived areas anywhere in the world, Israel’s image to the rest of the world tarnished once again by the (admittedly one sided) reporting of the events and the inevitable suffering caused, support for Hamas increases and (after a short lull for replenishing their stock) the rockets start up again.
If the Israeli Government really wants to stop the rockets from Gaza (and in my more cynical moments, I am
not sure it does) then it has to stop playing petty short term party politics with Israel’ security and come to the table for substantive peace talks with Palestine, be prepared to make concessions and to accept Palestine’s right to self-determination. Similarly, if Hamas really wants a better future for the people of Gaza (again, I am not sure it does), it must stop provoking Israel by continually make the life of those in the border area untenable, accept Israel’s right to exist in peace and come with other Palestinians to the negotiation table also prepared to make concessions.
The current repeating rounds of rockets from Gaza and incursions by Israel will only lead to more deaths, both of fighters on both sides and also civilians, more grieving parents, no security for Israel and no state for Palestine, the only ones to gain are those that are putting their short term problems above the lives of other. It is time for to put an end to this inhuman obscenity and stop taking the insane option.