Thursday, January 15, 2009

What if Israel Had Used Petraeus’ Strategy in Gaza?

This might be impossible now. But as long as I’m just another anonymous blogger to whom nobody pays attention, I’ll go ahead and wonder.

Suppose we could roll back time to when some ceasefire was implemented, like maybe the 2008 ceasefire. At such a time, both sides may have felt more inclined to talk and work out disagreements than now.

Israel would have had to insure that no more rockets would be launched at them by militant elements of Palestinian society. What if they had addressed this threat as Petraeus did in Iraq?

In this plan, Israel would have sent in troops with an aim toward rebuilding Palestinian society. They would have had to fund building projects, but surely that would not have been as expensive as war, and probably many portions of the world would have been glad to help. They would have had to reach out to the Palestinian leaders more inclined to talk, and build their trust. Through them, perhaps they could have built more communication channels to other leaders who had initially been less willing to talk. And through these connections, perhaps they could have worked to ferret out the “rogue elements” intent on firing missiles. Surely there would be fights as well, but with the right combination of “hard and soft power,” as is said of Petraeus’ strategy, over many years a better state of being might have been achieved.

My problem with Petraeus strategy in Iraq is that who knows what will happen when the U.S. army leaves. A stable democracy will only be left behind if the mindset of the Iraqi people supports it, and we have yet to see if this will be the case.

But Israelis and Palestinians live right next to each other, so this strategy would have been worth Israel’s investment. They would not be deploying their soldiers halfway around the world where, ultimately, they would have little sway.

You might say the hard-liners would not like handling Palestine this way. But hard-liners in the U.S. applaud Petraeus’ strategy in Iraq and blame Rumsfeld and company, their own hard-line representatives in government, for screwing things up initially.

Aww, never mind. In any case, such constructive relationships will be harder than ever to build now. I do seriously wonder if this attack on Gaza is meant to foul any plans Obama may have for reconciliations. For example, if things in Iraq deteriorate as a backlash from this Gaza war, it might be harder to remove our troops. So far though, I'm not aware of this happening and that is good.

1 comment:

Ajit Anthony Prem said...

Dang, this makes a lot of sense.