Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Gaza boat incident

Some thoughts:

1) Every IDF soldier should have a video camera mounted on their helmet. EVERY scene of conflict must be recorded, and immediately prepared and (if useful) released for publication by a PR crew on duty 24/7. (UPDATE: Apparently this kind of mechanism exists and just wasn't used.)

2) Right now Israel has "peace" (i.e. diplomatic relations) with several Muslim countries, including Egypt and Turkey. At the same time, both Egypt and Turkey are knowingly aiding military action against Israel. Egypt chooses not to stop arms smuggling into Gaza, and Turkey allowed boats containing weapons and hostile personnel to set out for Gaza. Once upon a time, before all the "peace" agreements, we could prevent this kind of action by threatening or using military force, both retaliatory and preventive. Now we can't. "Peace" means that we cannot do anything to prevent actual war which is being conducted against us. Perhaps we would be better off ending these "peace" agreements.

3) As isolated as Israel is now, historically it was much more isolated. The UN "Zionism is racism" resolution, for example, was only repealed in 1991. Israel has always been a pariah state, except from about 1991-2008. One important reason for this is obvious. The US, the only country ever willing to admit to being an Israeli ally, was the unchallenged single superpower during this period. Before 1991 it was balanced by the Soviet Union; now it is increasingly balanced by China and the rest of "BRIC". Israeli isolation is natural, since its existence is opposed by 60+ Muslim states who control the world's oil. So regardless of its policy choices, Israel will have to get used to being isolated. It survived isolation beforehand, and will again.

4) As usual, the IDF operation was labeled "disproportionate". That term is actually not a bad first reaction to the events. After all, when we killed 10 of them and they killed zero of us, isn't it obvious we were more aggressive? Shouldn't we have stopped and claimed victory once the body count was 8-0 or 9-0? We reply that the 10th casualty (like the 9th and 8th) was still a lethal threat to IDF soldiers, and could not be stopped in any other way. But that argument relies on facts, many of them unverifiable, which our enemies simply deny.

Another necessary approach may be to question the whole idea of disproportionality. Perhaps such an argument goes as follows. Supposedly a 10-0 body count is wrong because it is "disproportionate". If so, then if the body count were 10-10, the IDF would be morally justified. Effectively, the only way for IDF soldiers to be morally justified in their actions is to die. The only moral Israeli is a dead Israeli. The doctrine of disproportionality inherently leads to that conclusion, and a doctrine that implies obviously wrong conclusions cannot in itself be correct. This argument is emotional as well as logical, and must be presented as such. Hearing the rhetorical question "Must Israelis die in order for Israel to be considered moral?" from an Israeli leader could do a lot to reframe the debate in a more sensible direction.

5) As for general Israeli policy, this article presents my exact position, more elegantly than I could have.

No comments: