False Dichotomies

LITERATURE HIP-HOP ISRAEL INDIA LOVE MISCELLANY

The Leaky Tap, the Wolf and the Tail: Gaza for the Umpteenth Time

The rocket fire from Gaza can be compared to a leaky tap that can’t be fixed no matter how skilful the plumber searching for a solution. And if I were a Gazan I hope that I would say ask why are we are pulling the wolf’s tail when we’re not capable of killing it.

Politics is the art of ignoring the impossible. It is concerned with action, facts on the ground, doing stuff. The conspiracy theories accusing Bibi of engineering this crisis for electoral gain are patently absurd (even if a war was necessary for him to secure a solid majority – which it isn’t – you would still have to explain why the terrorists in Gaza are willingly doing his bidding), but I do concede that an election campaign makes it more likely for a Prime Minister to get slippery with his trigger finger, if only because it’s a time when he has to prove that he’s capable of doing something about our problems.

Killing Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari isn’t going to work. In the short-term, there’ll be an escalation; in the medium-term there’ll be quiet; in the long-term we’ll notice that the tap is still leaking. This may seem insensitive when I live in a city where we don’t need to live 15 seconds run away from a bomb shelter (and even more insensitive when I don’t live in Gaza, which isn’t famous for its bomb shelters), but there doesn’t seem to be anything Israel can do that will stop the rockets from being fired. The only military solution that might do the trick would need to be more like the Sri Lankan Army Northern Offensive of 2008/9 than Operation Cast Lead, and I hope I don’t need to spell out why that’s a non-starter. As for the other obvious solution – a peace deal – sadly the impossibility of that solution (at least right now) needs even less explanation.

You can call me a defeatist but sometimes doing nothing – or at least doing less – is the wisest course of action. Destroying the long-range rockets makes sense; killing al-Jabari possibly less so. Now everything is unpredictable, and the political price we pay for short-term gains could yet be costly. We may not have opened the gates of hell, but we sure as hell haven’t stopped the tap leaking. As for that wolf…

2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Avram November 14th, 2012 8:35 pm

    “The conspiracy theories accusing Bibi of engineering this crisis for electoral gain are patently absurd”

    This was thrown famously before Begin’s order to bomb Osirak in ’81. The reason why I think it’s wrong because the ‘what if’ can swing either way – what if the Palestinians go on a suicide bombing campaign etc etc and bring back the early 2000s? He’ll lose. He’s going to war for the same reason Olmert went to war. He, the cabinet & the IDF brass, thinks it’s a necessity now.

    “if only because it’s a time when he has to prove that he’s capable of doing something about our problems.”

    This is the first time, I think, in his time as a PM Bibi has approved a major operation, or war. I don’t think the ‘slippery finger’ can be used here.

  2. Avram November 14th, 2012 8:45 pm

    I meant ‘thrown after’ obviously … not before!

Leave a reply