The Israeli defence Force is expected to clash with Palestinians in the West Bank around September this year, before the start of UN discussions on the establishment of a Palestinian state. Terrified by civil unrest in the region and losing Western support, Israel is unclear on what to do next. Caught in the middle is IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. Haaretz reports:
…Encouraged by the example of the Arab states over the last few months, the Palestinians won’t worry about reducing international sympathy for them – a sympathy that, on the wings of the Goldstone report and the Mavi Marmara raid, will increase and keep the IDF from effectively using its weapons. Thus will the old Arab dream come true, that of using foreign intervention to help curtail Israel’s military advantage.
The IDF did beat Palestinian terror, but five or six years have since passed and the children who have grown up did not experience Operation Defensive Shield and its consequences. The impression made by force has diminished. It took about the same amount of time for Egypt to go from being defeated in the Six-Day War to initiating the Yom Kippur War.
When the Palestinians make their effort to compel Israel to recognise a state whose borders have been agreed upon by the rest of the world, and even by a majority of Israelis, to what end will Israel’s government send the IDF to fight them? What will be the reasons given for the army to keep the Palestinians in check, at the high price exacted by Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and their colleagues, including those who themselves are calling for a Palestinian state, even if not through these methods? What explanations will be given for orders to fire and missions encapsulated by the concept that it is good to die for our land (but not for our country )? Will it be justified by fear of the settlers and the right wing of the Likud party?
…Gantz is sandwiched between a government that is losing its way and an army that is at risk of facing a severe crisis of confidence. He must issue a staunch warning now against an unnecessary war that is bound to fail and that must be headed off by a peace initiative.
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