The Israeli Defense Force knows its latest policy will fail, so what is the real reason for going ahead with it?
Sunday 28 October began Israel’s latest measure to end the relentless barrage of Qassam rockets fired into Israel, by reducing the amount of fuel delivered into the Hamas run Gaza where the rockets are fired from, a measure that openly defies the 4th Geneva Convention since it collectively punishes the Palestinian people as a whole for the actions of the Qassam squads.
Everyone who knows anything about this conflict knows that this, as part of a larger drive which will eventually see Israel cut power to the Gaza strip every time a rocket lands in Israel, does not have a chance in hell of ending the Qassam attacks. In fact by increasing Palestinian resolve for resistance against the occupier bent on making their day to day lives miserable in every way it can, it might actually bring about an increase in the number of rocket attacks and even foster a new generation of suicide bombers among Palestinian children. frighteningly, statements in the Israeli press reveal that even the Israel Defense Force (IDF) knows this measure won’t halt the Qassams..
So why enact a measure with a better chance of making things worse than it has of achieving its intended aim?
I can’t answer this question definitively, but I will put forward several possibilities, one of which or all of which could well be the reason behind Israel’s current behaviour.
The most recent and relevant possibility is Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s explanation (from an interview on Israel radio) that the policies have nothing to do with halting the rocket fire but are simply another step in Israel’s disengagement from Gaza following the withdrawal of troops and settlers in 2005.
Vilnai’s exact words were:”This is the continuation of our disengagement, since the troops pulled out. This is not connected to Qassams (rockets), it is a deeper, broader disengagement.”
Some analysts, such as Haaretz correspondents Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff believe the move is partly further disengagement, but mainly an outward display that the IDF and Israeli government are doing everything in their power to end the Qassam’s in preparation for and to justify a planned and massive ground operation deep into the Gaza strip to end the rocket attacks.
Of course, we must throw into the mix the long-running accusation that a majority in Israel’s government do not want to return Palestinian land and do not want a peace deal that would inevitably lead to them having to return the land; therefore, a majority of the government wants to perpetuate the conflict. The best way for them to do so is to continually stir up Palestinian anger with these kinds of measures. Maintaining the fervent Palestinian resistance allows them to ensure that the conflict will be perpetuated from the Palestinian side, allowing Israel to claim self-defense in their measures, which again further stirs up Palestinian anger. Put simply, it allows Israel to perpetuate the conflict and to remain the good guys in the eyes of the outside world.
Finally, another possible explanation was revealed during the recent Israeli air-strike on what was claimed to be a fledgling Syrian nuclear program a few weeks ago: that Israel is poking and prodding at the boundaries of the international community’s patience, seeing just how far it can go before the international community responds so strongly that the U.S. is forced to do something about it — all in the aim of working out how much of a response a strike on Iran might provoke.
I believe one, two, or perhaps all of the above reasons, — and possibly more factors –explain Israel’s current policies of forcing yet more pressure on a population already racked by poverty from the original Israeli-imposed and internationally followed financial embargo, which has already brought the small coastal strip to the brink of a humanitarian disaster.