July 23rd, 2014

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I am very much afraid it will get worse before it stops

The Gaza crisis is heading in exactly the wrong direction. As in 2006, it stems from the inability of Hamas to understand Israeli motivations.

Short version: Hamas (and the broader Palestinian population, and I suspect the broader Arab world) believe that the more credible a military threat they are, the more likely Israel is to back down. Believing Israel to be monsters who understand only force, a population of foreign colonizers engaged in a policy of colonial enslavement, coupled with an utter unwillingness to engage -- Hamas believes it will win by threatening Israel's economic and social security. Essentially, the belief is that Israel are a bunch of big cowardly bullies who will stand down if you stand up to them.

Actually, the Israel motivation is reverse. The primary motivator for Israel aggression is fear. When Israelis feel they have the upper hand is when the Shalom Achsav and B'tselem guys come out. When Israel feels its existence is actually threatened, as opposed to merely theoretically threatened in the abstract, they have TOTAL FLIP OUT. There is nothing like 10 centuries of persecution to give you a persecution complex.

So, the more Hamas looks like a credible threat, the more likely Israel is to actually increase its assault.

Say this to folks who don't understand it and this usually gets a rather sneering answer: either along the lines like 'right, they are already committing genocide, how could it be worse.' Or something equally stupid like 'Oh, so you're saying they're justified in committing war crimes.' None of which is actually helpful or changes the situation.

Which is why I'm depressed. The dynamic is exactly like the one that triggered the government shutdown. And just as unavoidable given the current set of players and motivations. Hamas (and now apparently Fatah) think they have hit on the winning strategy and if they can only hold out long enough Israel will cave and give them concessions because Israel will have no choice. But the more Hamas demonstrates its credibility as a military force, the more Israel will feel compelled to destroy it and the less they will care about anything other than NEVER AGAIN!! KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL!!! until the threat diminishes down to a level where the panic goes away.

This is what happened in '06 in Lebanon. Hezbollah kept upping the military assault on a theory that they could drive the Israeli army back by inflicting casualties. In fact, the more Israel felt it was in a real war, the rougher and more desperate they got until they reduced Beirut to a smoking ruin and Hezbollah declared "victory" and agreed to a return to the basic cease fire.

So I believe this is going to continue to get very ugly for the foreseeable future. Which is why I am disabling comments. I really have no interest in the usual blather that has about as much to do with what is happening as discussions about fairness affect the physics of pennies dropped off the Empire State Building. My passionate wish that the universe would be otherwise has nothing whatsoever to do with what my Mentat brain gives me as the prime projection. if y'all don't like it, you can decide I don't know what I'm talking about.