Israel and Gaza Trapped in Tragic Tape Loop

Innocent Casuaties Mount With No Real Solution in Sight

When Will We Learn? There is no military solution to Israel’s fight with Gaza. So why is another futile war looming?
getty images
When Will We Learn? There is no military solution to Israel’s fight with Gaza. So why is another futile war looming?

By Leonard Fein

Published November 20, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Given the history of Israel’s relationship with Gaza, and its continuing siege of Gaza, military action cannot and will not solve the chronic problem. That is why I have said that Israel’s current bombardment of Gaza is futile.

Observers of the current events who have not just tuned in for the first time experience a sense of déjà vu. It is as if an endless tape were being played and replayed.

What then? If military action is a dead end, then, obviously, what is left is political action. Even if the current violence is contained in the coming days, we may be confident that it will burst out of its containment again and then again. At some point, as distasteful as it may be, Israel will have to talk with Hamas and Hamas with Israel. It must do that both because that is the only way the chronic violence might be ended and also because it is for sure the only way collateral damage can be avoided.

It is no help to explain that Israel is justified in a harsh response to Hamas attacks launched from Gaza, that it is merely exercising its legitimate right of self-defense. That may be so, but so what? Are legal formulas persuasive? Meaning: Do they bring the violence to an end? Patently, they do not.

In fact, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, retired Major General Giora Eiland said in an interview with Ha’Aretz on Sunday, November 18, that “The Israeli government will need to make political compromises in order to reach a security arrangement that will ensure the end of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.” This sort of agreement would include “a mutual cease-fire and an Egyptian guarantee of not just quiet, but also that no weapons will enter Gaza, and would be guaranteed by additional parties, for example, Qatar and Turkey.” Specifically, Eiland listed among the political compromises that could be made in exchange for such a security arrangement lifting the naval blockade of Gaza “so that the European Union member countries could send under supervision dinghies into Gaza’s port.”

In the meanwhile, Gaza remains a territory under siege, and that is a recipe for continuing unrest. It is a recipe for periodic outbursts of lethal violence and for more collateral damage. One need not be a dove or a peacenik to see that; one need only load the tape once more.

A close friend in Israel, one who loathes Prime Minister Netanyahu, tells me that the country has never been as united as it is now. That, as Israeli elections draw close, may help explain Israel’s behavior. But be the motives for that behavior benign or malignant, their result is both lethal and barren.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.