The Blog

A Quick Victory?

4:09 PM, Dec 30, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Eric Trager says that's the best possible outcome for Israel:

...Israel should move towards asserting a quick victory - immediately. At the moment, Israel has Hamas cornered: through its air strikes on key Hamas targets, Israel has achieved a peak in its military offensive, and the threat of a ground invasion remains highly credible. Now would be the perfect time for Israel to recruit pro-western Arab states for pushing Hamas towards relinquishing its rockets; or extending the truce well into the future; or releasing IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit; or some other meaningful concession to which Hamas might agree under the circumstances.

That all seems a bit fanciful. Haaretz now reports that two rockets have hit Be'er Sheva -- the first time such rockets have reached so deep into Israel (about 25 miles from Gaza). If anything, it seems that Hamas has doubled down and in so doing cornered the Israeli leadership. How are the Israelis to escape this with a credible deterrent and a credible claim to victory if they cease fire while Hamas retains an arsenal capable of penetrating so deeply into Israel? Another ten miles and Hamas could hit Tel Aviv, precisely the threat which compels an occupation of the West Bank.

Also at Contentions, Noah Pollak offers what I think is the only acceptable outcome for Israel:

What would be far more stabilizing is if democracies around the world backed Israel's military operation until Hamas loses either its ability or its will to continue fighting. The Iranian-led resistance bloc would thus learn a lesson whose stabilizing effects would be felt around the region: the free world will support anyone forced to fight Islamic terrorism.

Obviously no such support will be forthcoming from most of the world's democracies, but most of the world's democracies are irrelevant in this fight. Israel has the support of the United States, and it will, presumably, continue to have such support in the wake of Obama's inauguration. If Hamas is not neutered, at least temporarily, then how can this be spun as a success, and how can Kadima hold on to power?