“That old familiar cringe has hit the air, the unmistakable feel of the slope turning slippery,” writes Bradley Burston in his Haaretz blog, hitting the nail precisely on the head. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1048931.html
The calls are growing in Israel for a wider military offensive in Gaza and I’m feeling a familiar sense of foreboding. Avi Dichter, Internal Security Minister, has given Israel’s next war a name before it has even broken out – and by calling it “the First Gaza War” I guess he believes there will be a second one. He said we must plan contingencies and objectives: the short-term objective of this war is to halt the rocket fire; the long-term one is to disarm Hamas.
These are war aims that no sane Israeli would challenge – but how likely are they to be achieved?
It seems to me we can predict how the First Gaza War would play out. At some point Israel will respond to the avalanche of rockets descending on the Negev with a military offensive. Hamas will be embedded in the midst of civilian areas, armed to hilt with long and short-range missiles, just like Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel will hit one of the civilian areas unwittingly and will be lambasted internationally for the disproportionate response. A ceasefire will eventually be brokered without our objectives being realised and we’ll be back to square one - just as we were in Lebanon.
If only we could cut out the middle man – war and the pointless loss of yet more young lives on both sides - and move straight to the ceasefire.