Gaza War Analysis

  • #51
seycyrus
Sure, they have tried, but have they really tried hard enough?
They have tried harder than virtually any other military in world history. They certainly try harder than Hamas.

Anyway, If they are not achieving their aim of keeping the moral high ground in this conflict, perhaps a new shift in strategy is required?
Keeping the moral high ground is not their primary aim. Existence is.

Edit: I mean *Appearing to* keep ...
 
  • #52
mjsd
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Evidently many believed that it wouuld have been a far greater strategic mistake to allow the thousands of rockets to continue to fly into Israel for years to come.

That might seem to be a flip statement, but it is more than that.

Israeli leaders are not stupid. They knew ahead of time what risks they were taking. They weighed the pros and cons of reataliating for the Hamas rocket fire and against the pros and cons of doing nothing and continuing to let the rockets fly.
No doubt, there is a risk. It is just a question of whether they want to win the propaganda war or win control of Gaza? Apparently, at this point, you can't win both. Judging by their recent offensive, it appears that winning control is more important than their image in the World.
 
  • #53
Art
russ_watters;2024872 Hamas needs to provoke Israel and firing rockets said:
exquisitely[/i] well calculated and coordinated: Despite some claims to the contrary, that Hamas is not in control; they are.
If your assertion was correct one would expect Hamas to be the instigator of military exchanges and yet a detailed analysis of who breaks truces and ceasefires first (including the last one) shows it is overwhelmingly Israel who breaks the peace.
this analysis shows that it is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict: 79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern -- in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause -- becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kanwisher/reigniting-violence-how-d_b_155611.html

obviously Israel is keen to show itself as the victim defending itself against unprovoked attacks but this analysis shows this is simply untrue. Rather than suppose that Hamas has some master plan to commit suicide at the hands of the Israelis it seems far more likely that things are simply as they appear. Hamas' firing of rockets is a show of rather futile defiance against a brutal occupying force.
 
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  • #54
mjsd
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Keeping the moral high ground is not their primary aim. Existence is.

Edit: I mean *Appearing to* keep ...
you might be right, but it still seems a bit far-fetched, I cannot really visualise how Hamas or the entire Palestinian population has the ability to threaten the existence of Israel. Israel is far too strong with their nukes and US backed military hardwares.

frankly, exactly what Israel wish to accomplish here is unclear to me at this point. Only time will tell.
 
  • #55
seycyrus
If your assertion was correct one would expect Hamas to be the instigator of military exchanges and yet a detailed analysis of who breaks truces and ceasefires first
It is of simplicity itself to note that the study only counts when Israelis are *killed*. not when rockets are fired at Israel.

Why the obvious deception?
 
  • #56
Art
It is of simplicity itself to note that the study only counts when Israelis are *killed*. not when rockets are fired at Israel.

Why the obvious deception?
You misread it. Click on the link I provided. It gives full details of ALL rockets fired and when.

Figure 1. Number of Palestinian rockets fired in each month of 2008 (adapted from The Israeli consulate in NYC [pdf])
 
  • #57
seycyrus
you might be right, but it still seems a bit far-fetched, I cannot really visualise how Hamas or the entire Palestinian population has the ability to threaten the existence of Israel. Israel is far too strong with their nukes and US backed military hardwares.

frankly, exactly what Israel wish to accomplish here is unclear to me at this point. Only time will tell.
On a grand scale Israel must weigh the local situation with Hamas with future global implications. Iran undoutedly complicates the issue.

On a small scale, maybe Israel just wants to stop the stupid rocket attacks!

And that certainly makes sense to me!
 
  • #58
seycyrus
You misread it. Click on the link I provided. It gives full details of ALL rockets fired and when.
There is a discrepancy between the tile of the article and statements in the article... for instance...

****
Thus, a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.
****

Note, the use of the word "kill".
 
  • #59
seycyrus
FURTHERMORE, from the text taken under figure 2 in the article...

****
For conflict pauses of different durations (i.e., periods of time when no one is killed on either side), we show here the percentage of times from the Second Intifada in which Israelis ended the period of nonviolence by killing one or more Palestinians (black), the percentage of times that Palestinians ended the period of nonviolence by killing Israelis (grey), and the percentage of times that both sides killed on the same day
****

Note the use of the word "Kill".

Again, why the deception?

Oh, that's right I know why.
 
  • #60
mjsd
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On a grand scale Israel must weigh the local situation with Hamas with future global implications. Iran undoutedly complicates the issue.
what? this has implications in "Israel vs rest of the world" in the grand scale? Perhaps, only if you are talking about the humanitarian crisis which has been created!

btw, one doesn't make friends by showing others what kind of destruction one can made to one's neighbours.

Either Israel has some hidden objectives that we don't know, or it may be doing this all wrong right now... oh but wait, there is an election coming right?
 
  • #61
seycyrus
what? this has implications in "Israel vs rest of the world" in the grand scale? ...
Oh, my scale wasn't that grand. I guess I meant to say that they need to think about Iran.
 
  • #62
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what? this has implications in "Israel vs rest of the world" in the grand scale? Perhaps, only if you are talking about the humanitarian crisis which has been created!

btw, one doesn't make friends by showing others what kind of destruction one can made to one's neighbours.

Either Israel has some hidden objectives that we don't know, or it may be doing this all wrong right now... oh but wait, there is an election coming right?
Israel is a state that cannot survive without force. It must from time to time show its strength to the world - sort of like "don't mess with us". That's the main goal of the current offensive, the rest is details.
 
  • #63
CRGreathouse
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you might be right, but it still seems a bit far-fetched, I cannot really visualise how Hamas or the entire Palestinian population has the ability to threaten the existence of Israel. Israel is far too strong with their nukes and US backed military hardwares.
I'm really not a supporter of the state of Israel (though only in the sense that I am not a supporter of Venezuela or Nepal -- certainly they have a right to exist), but I don't think I can let this one stand.

Any state subject to prolonged attack is threatened. If the citizens of a country don't feel that it can protect them, that is a real danger to the state. The state must act to protect its citizens, though it's not always clear how.

Further, you seem to suggest that Israel should not attack into the Palestinian territories, which would seem to negate the advantage of their US-backed military...
 
  • #64
siddharth
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Any state subject to prolonged attack is threatened. If the citizens of a country don't feel that it can protect them, that is a real danger to the state. The state must act to protect its citizens, though it's not always clear how.

Further, you seem to suggest that Israel should not attack into the Palestinian territories, which would seem to negate the advantage of their US-backed military...
I think the point myself and mjsd were making is that innocent civlians and children shouldn't be killed on such a massive scale.
 
  • #65
russ_watters
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Since this thread seems to have gone off track, we'll probably end up locking it, however....
Why should previous war be a valid context for Israel's actions? People's sensitivities change.
True, peoples sensitivities change, but you need at least something to use as a reference. Perhaps a different question, though: why have they changed and does the change make any sense? Present a logical argument for the change.
IMO, the scale of Israel's attack is completely unacceptable, if one considers the number of civilian casualties.
What formula would you use to calculate an acceptable number of civilian casualties?
I object to your second point in the strongest possible terms. Perhaps I lack your ability to objectively look at the events to determine possible strategies, but How can the death of (innocent) children and civilians ever be the correct course of action? Obviously Hamas are very guilty themselves, which brings me to my next point...
What I was getting at was correct insofar as the action was most likely to help achieve their goal, not correct as in morally correct. I made no statements in that post about whether either sides actions were morally correct or incorrect.
Do you think that every dead civilian was used as a shield?
Almost certainly not directly, but it is a very tough issue because both sides have made choices to help cause the civilian casualties. It is, however, completely within Hamas's power to avoid all civilian casualties. For example, rather than launching rockets from civilian areas, Hamas could launch rockets form the middle of the desert, which would vastly reduce the risk to their civilians. And rather than have their fighters hide in the cities, they could send their fighters into Israel to engage the Israeli army openly.

Obviously, both of these strategies would result in virtually no Palestinian civilian casualties, yet both would also be sure to result in a resounding defeat for Hamas. However, a third option would be to not fight at all.
What do you make of new reports like this?
Could you make a point, please and ask me what I think of your point? I don't do open ended questions like that. All I see is news stories and no point.
I cannot imagine how anyone can *ever* justify actions which lead to such results.
That's why the intent of this thread was not value judgement. Actions on both sides led to these results and focusing on one or the other just leads to the same tired arguments that go nowhere. I wanted to have some actual analysis that may help figure out why both sides are acting the way they are and what it might lead to.
While the blame game can go on forever, I hope you realize that Israel isn't entirely innocent in trying to maintain peace.
I realize they are not.
In my opinion, that is absolute nonsense. I think it's far more likely that the palestinian individuals, and members of Hamas, view this war as a freedom struggle to get back the land which they think belongs to them. I don't think they would deliberately try to maximize civilian causalities.
Your point does not disagree with my point: they are not mutually exclusive. Do you have any other reasons why you would believe that Hamas would not put it's own civilians in harms' way intentionally? Heck: what are suicide bombings? A good fraction are committed not by seasoned freedom-fighters, but by brainwashed kids!
 
  • #66
russ_watters
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this is not a war or a equal fight
one side has home made rockets and some guns
the other has tanks and modern jets
Just because it is not an equal fight does not mean it isn't a war.
and is far closer to the IRA vs brits then not
you need to explain why it is not in you view
plo-hamas-gaza has no more troops or equipment then the IRA did
It is blindingly obvious: Hamas is not a branch of Israel's government and Gaza is not a province of Israel. Ie, what would you expect - for Israel to just go in and arrest all of Hamas? That's just silly, ray.
...]people invading their homeland...
You just described it as a war. Not accuratly, but still...
 
  • #67
russ_watters
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Having said that, since Israel is far stronger than Hamas, it seems to me that Israeli strategy is to push all palestinian resistance out by force rather than by negotiation. Mmm... not sure whether it can work in the longer term though.
The best strategy may, in fact, be to reboot: take over the land again, depose the terrorist government, sweep the terrorists away, and set up a functional, sovereign government.

See: Afghanistan. Where Israel went wrong when they left is that they left governing the new country of Palestine up for grabs. You can't depose a bunch of terrorists and then leave a vacuum and expect they won't just come back.
 
  • #69
russ_watters
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If your assertion was correct one would expect Hamas to be the instigator of military exchanges and yet a detailed analysis of who breaks truces and ceasefires first (including the last one) shows it is overwhelmingly Israel who breaks the peace. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kanwisher/reigniting-violence-how-d_b_155611.html

obviously Israel is keen to show itself as the victim defending itself against unprovoked attacks but this analysis shows this is simply untrue. Rather than suppose that Hamas has some master plan to commit suicide at the hands of the Israelis it seems far more likely that things are simply as they appear. Hamas' firing of rockets is a show of rather futile defiance against a brutal occupying force.
The second paragraph of the link destroys the thesis: Hamas, in fact, never stopped attacking Israel for a period longer than about a month. And btw, it looks a lot worse if you include mortars - Hamas never went below 11 in a month: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rock_mort_gaza_2008.JPG

The second analysis only looks at kills. I fully agree that Hamas is a largely ineffective killer. That doesn't mean they don't try and it doesn't make Israel the agressor to attempt to stop them.

Regarding the Nov 4 attack: Hamas got caught with it's hand in the cookie jar. Having a cease fire does not mean it is ok to dig a tunnel under the border as long as you don't shoot!

[edit: I hadn't read the whole thread yet - someone else picked-up on the obvious deception already]
 
  • #70
russ_watters
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Israel is a state that cannot survive without force. It must from time to time show its strength to the world - sort of like "don't mess with us". That's the main goal of the current offensive, the rest is details.
Perhaps, and that is something the newspapers have commented on a little. Your tone implies something that isn't quite right, though, so to clarify: Israel must occasionally show it's military strength in order to keep the terrorists on it's borders at bay. History has shown that when Israel's enemies sense weakness, they attack.
 
  • #71
russ_watters
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I think the point myself and mjsd were making is that innocent civlians and children shouldn't be killed on such a massive scale.
Define "massive". How many civilians should each side kill?
 
  • #72
BobG
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With rocket fire from Lebanon and a UN resolution for a cease fire approved by the Security Council (14-0 with the US abstaining), it would look like Hamas is meeting more of its goals than Israel is.

On the other hand, since both Israel and Hamas have completely disregarded the UN resolution, maybe Hamas's only victory so far is having the fight expand to the Northern border, as well.
 
  • #73
devil-fire
Having said that, since Israel is far stronger than Hamas, it seems to me that Israeli strategy is to push all palestinian resistance out by force rather than by negotiation. Mmm... not sure whether it can work in the longer term though.
I don't see why it wouldn't work in the long term. Anyone outside influences on the conflict are effectively moot while the USA vetoes any actions and supports Israel as a proxy. If it wasn't for the possibility of losing the support of the USA, Israel can do anything it wanted to the population of Gaza without concern of reprisal from outside forces. The neighboring Arab states aren't about to directly interfere or risk being caught indirectly interfering with Israel's actions because of Israel's nuclear weapons and other Superior arms. The point I'm trying to emphasize here is that I vary much believe that pushing all Palestinian resistance (to anything) out by force would be vary effective at this time.

Keeping the moral high ground is not their primary aim. Existence is.

Edit: I mean *Appearing to* keep ...
The question of Israeli existence isn't an issue here. Whereas Israelis being pushing into the sea (or the destruction of the Israeli state) used to be a sound justification for an overwhelming use of force to deter any other potential aggressors, that simply isn't a factor any more. Israeli has shown how soundly they can defeat likely aggressors several times.

Israel is a state that cannot survive without force. It must from time to time show its strength to the world - sort of like "don't mess with us". That's the main goal of the current offensive, the rest is details.
Again, Israel isn't under threat here. I don't believe that Israel is displaying their military superiority here to deter Iran for example.

I think the point myself and mjsd were making is that innocent civlians and children shouldn't be killed on such a massive scale.
If I understand the purpose of this topic, it isn't to advocate what "should" or "should not" be done, but to try to understand if these things helped or hurt either side. For example, is the killing of massive amounts civilians and children interfering with Israel's goals in this conflict? And what exactly are those goals, considering all that has happened preceding and durring this conflict? What impact does this massive body count have on the goals of Hamas?


Almost certainly not directly, but it is a very tough issue because both sides have made choices to help cause the civilian casualties. It is, however, completely within Hamas's power to avoid all civilian casualties. For example, rather than launching rockets from civilian areas, Hamas could launch rockets form the middle of the desert, which would vastly reduce the risk to their civilians. And rather than have their fighters hide in the cities, they could send their fighters into Israel to engage the Israeli army openly.

Obviously, both of these strategies would result in virtually no Palestinian civilian casualties, yet both would also be sure to result in a resounding defeat for Hamas. However, a third option would be to not fight at all.
It sounds like what you are suggesting here is that if Hamas wanted to prevent all civilian casualties, while not being utterly destroyed, they should practically surrender to Israel or effectively disarm themselves.

It sounds like these civilian casualties could in some way benefit Israel if the view being adopted by the American people is that the best solution to stop these civilian casualties would be Hamas stopping all resistance.
 
  • #74
russ_watters
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With rocket fire from Lebanon and a UN resolution for a cease fire approved by the Security Council (14-0 with the US abstaining), it would look like Hamas is meeting more of its goals than Israel is.
I agree. The resolution includes the primary concession Hamas is trying to get via this particular aggression: opening the border with Israel (not sure about the border with Egypt). So it would seem the strategy is working.

Now where does that put us? If Israel accepts this deal and accepts a "cease fire" that includes a "only" one or two missiles or shells a week fired at their civilians, where does that leave them? Israel can't be happy with that and while Hamas will be happy that it won a small battle, the war for Israel's destruction will have to continue. So after a short lull to consolidate their political power, Hamas...well.... lather, rinse, repeat.
 
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  • #75
russ_watters
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It sounds like what you are suggesting here is that if Hamas wanted to prevent all civilian casualties, while not being utterly destroyed, they should practically surrender to Israel or effectively disarm themselves.
Yes, that is essentially what I am suggesting. Israel has shown both a willingness to live in peace next to a Palestinian state and a willingness to unilaterally give back land when it is convenient to them. If peace is established, there would be no reason for Israel to continue policies intended to protect Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people. The alternative choice (for Hamas) is to continue going the way they are going, which may eventually chip away a piece of land they are happy with (doubtful), but it will certainly ensure decades more of misery for the Palestinian people. The biggest sticking point to me is that Hamas wants nothing less than the annihilation of Israel. It is tough to go to a negotiating table when you know you'll never get any deals suggested that don't contain 'but eventually, we're going to kill all of you' in the fine print.

That said, Israel has tried unilateral concessions in hopes it will bring peace. Hamas has never even tried accepting the concept of peace.

I don't know if we have any Tom Clancy readers here, but "The Sum of All Fears" starts with a peaceful resistance movement sweeping across an occupied territory and an Israeli police officer getting angry and shooting a protester in cold blood. Sort of a Tienanmen Square incident but where the tanks didn't stop. Though the incidents we see today generate controversy only a clear-cut good/evil moment like that could truly shift world opinion toward the Palestinians. The world has to believe they want peace before they will pressure Israel (for real) to back off.
It sounds like these civilian casualties could in some way benefit Israel if the view being adopted by the American people is that the best solution to stop these civilian casualties would be Hamas stopping all resistance.
Well, I don't speak for the American people. I'm a little harder than average. And based on the UNSC resolution, I don't think world opinion has shifted toward the Israelis, and it isn't surprising: not many people will unequivocably support the country who'se name is printed on the bomb if it kills a lot of civilians, even if there is a legitimate target in the middle of the crowd.
 

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