Peter Beinart caused an almighty stir with his book 'The Crisis of Zionism', published earlier this year. He's a regular contributor to The Daily Beast, and in a column today asks a question that quite a few of us are asking, and indeed that has circulated around the independentvoices.com desk: what does Israel hope to achieve? Isn't it possible that every bomb it drops will radicalise hundreds of Palestinians? And if so, isn't this extremely counter-productive?
Here's Beinart: "Will Israel’s offensive accomplish anything? Yes and no. For a while, it may cow Hamas into submission. And for the long-suffering people of southern Israel, any respite is a welcome thing. But there’s a problem. Israel can bomb Gaza from air and sea. It can even invade Gaza by land, as it did four years ago. But Israel cannot expel Hamas and other militant organizations from the tiny strip of land where Samson fought the Philistines, because it cannot hold Gaza. The cost of turning Israeli soldiers into beat cops on a thousand Gazan streets where even the 5-year-olds want them dead is too high. The Jewish mothers of Israel will not allow it."
Hard to disagree, huh? "At best, therefore, whatever quiet Israel’s offensive wins its people will be temporary. Once the cameras leave, and the dead bodies on both sides are beneath the ground, Hamas will rebuild its armaments and regain its moxie. And sooner or later Israel will find itself in the same position it is in today—except that Hamas and other militant groups will have better rockets, able to kill more Jews."