Israeli tanks and troops move near the border with Gaza on October 28th. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images). Israelis describe their strategy as being based on deterrence. To avoid fighting wars they must show how well they can fight if necessary. Potential adversaries must be persuaded not to take aggressive action by warning them of the consequences if they do.
‘Another feature of deterrence is that it appears as all stick and no carrot. There is no reason in principle why negative threats cannot be combined with positive inducements, but it is not a requirement of the strategy. And if the threats are working there is less reason to find incentives to encourage a potential adversary to coexist peacefully.’
To me this is the key paragraph in the post. If as Professor Freedman so clearly explains deterrence isn’t the solution (my interpretation) then political solutions will be pursued.
The lessons of Ireland are relevant.
It will take statesmen to lead. Netanyahu is tainted in many ways and there is no way back for him.
Rabin paid the price.
Is there no one in Israel capable of following his lead?
Interesting but also begs the question whether a future based on external agencies is possible or sustainable.
Very thought provoking essay
Two questions. Did deterrence fail in part because Hamas and Israel were fighting two different wars? Israel was attempting to deter/prevent/punish Hamas strikes on Israel. Hamas' strategy was actually to incite Israeli response so that over time it could build a different narrative of Israeli actions and build international support for its cause? The generational aspect of the strong demonstrations around the world in support of the Palestinians in spite of (or just plain ignoring) the brutality and horror of the 7 October Hamas attacks on civilians suggest that this Hamas strategic is working. On the evening of 7 October I remember quoting Star Wars "It's a trap!". Second question: given the generation that has grown up under Hamas schooling, how do find any government that would have any legitimacy that wasn't Hamas or wasn't at least just as opposed to Israel?
No one should think that "Never Again" is just a slogan. If a UN peacekeeping for is formed for Gaza, it should come from Arab or other Islamic Nations ( Iran, Russia and China need not apply). It is time they did something constructive.
Gaza's fate will always be tied to Israel, if only for geographic and economic reasons. great piece, thank you
An informative read but it seems the really important political/diplomatic activities will have to wait until the ground offensive is finished, which looks like being bloody for all sides, especially the Palestinian civilians. As I understand it, Hamas's senior leadership isn't in Gaza so they'll be no problems sprouting again after Israel's unusually close 'mowing of the lawn' is finished. I fear they'll be no shortage of vengeful recruits after the invasion. One of the key determining questions is going to be how long it takes for the Israeli leadership to realize that they haven't been able to achieve their stated goal - the elimination of Hamas. I fear the medium to long term outlook for a bit of sense and rationality amongst key decision makers on all sides is not good.
Israel is overwhelmingly strong, but does not consider how the country should live with its neighbours. For that reason it is now in the role of Monty Python’s Black Knight, “Tis but a scratch”.
Splendidly rational and perhaps it may influence US and other govt. policy-makers who bother
to read it past the first five paragraphs. If in Foreign Affairs magazine some policy-makers might
pay attention to it.
Hamas isn't Sunni, it's Wahhabist, just like the Muslim Brotherhood - there's a difference, and it's important. See https://english.khamenei.ir/news/4867/The-Roots-of-Wahhabism-What-Everyone-Should-Know for details. Probably the only solution will be to turn Gaza into parkland where no one lives - no water, no electricity, no food. Without water, you've got three or four days, max, and you can't drink seawater. The only reason the problem continues is that Israel has been fooled/guilted into subsidizing it. No more water, and the problem goes away.
Deterence was being used elsewhere in Israel.
At the time of the attacks mounted from Gaza, a good part of the active IDF was tied up guarding checkpoints in the labyrinth of roads and settlements of the West Bank, and if tales be true, even securing sites of ultra-Orthodox pilgrimage.
With all eyes on Gaza and the Lebanese border, who is watching over the extremists of the West Bank and East Jerusalem now? Who is making sure they aren't given weapons by sympatizers in Netanyahu's government?
Could there evolve somehow a 1 state solution after the manner of Northern Ireland, with US and Arab states in position of UK?
As this article makes clear, if Gaza is ever to become peaceful and peaceable a new governing authority will need to establish and maintain security.
The practical challenges will be enormous.
For example, tens of thousands of police officers will need to be retrained or recruited with their priority the protection of civilians and to ensure that armed groups do not undermine whatever security can be established.
It's a tall order, but perhaps a model for this could be the UN peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (https://peacekeeping.un.org/mission/past/unmibh/background.html).
Good article. I am convinced the path forward for the Middle East will be realized from the ideas of Liberalism and Republicanism.