What Does Israel Hope to Achieve with Ongoing Conflict?

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In summary, Israel continues to fight in the region because they believe they are being attacked. They are trying to gain something by this fight, but we are not sure what it is.
  • #1
russ_watters
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To those who see Israel as an agressor in the ongoing fighting in their region of the world, I ask a straightforward question:

What does Israel seek to gain via their continued fighting?

Expanding: if the fighting stopped now and Hamas permanently ceased the launching of rockets and mortars at Israel, terrorist bombings, etc., and the current borders in the region were made permanent, what goals of Israel's would go unmet? What would be lost that they seek to gain?

Some potential answers (not that I think they are true...):
-Israel seeks the extermination of the Palestinian people.
-Israel seeks to continue feeding it's military industrial complex with American money.
-Israel seeks to annex Gaza and make it a permanent part of Israel.

My reason for asking the question is a simple piece of logic. If Israel has nothing to gain by continuing to fight, then there is only one logical reason why they are fighting: they are fighting because they are being attacked.
 
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  • #2
Taking the view that Isrealis are just like anyone else then it's probably down to a set of politicians wanting to be re-elected.
"vote for $PARTY_1, look how tough we are on terrorism. $PARTY_2 are a bunch of homosexuals/communists/pacifists/vegetarians that support terrorism."
 
  • #3
They are in a no-win situation.

And it is their own fault.
 
  • #4
russ_watters said:
What does Israel seek to gain via their continued fighting?
I can't comment on the question as posed, but I can imagine that aggressive actions against Palestine might serve the political interests of Israeli politicians seeking election/re-election.

Also, actions that do not appear to serve the broad, long-term interests of Israelis may still be perpetrated by members of the IDF at different levels along the Chain of Command, and this can become a big problem if there aren't sufficient checks and measures in place to prevent them.

PS: I see mgb's got my point #1 above.
 
  • #5
Ok, that's not bad (political self-interest of politicians). However, that does require the long-term forwarding of an undesirable and counterproductive - and perhaps even dishonest - political position. I would liken it to Bush leaving office last month with a 70% approval rating...

I don't consider that to be a very likely scenario - but it's a pretty good argument.
 
  • #6
russ_watters said:
However, that does require the long-term forwarding of an undesirable and counterproductive - and perhaps even dishonest - political position.
And this would be new in what way ?
 
  • #7
You can also put this question

What does Palestine seek to gain via their continued fighting?

Expanding: if the fighting stopped now and Israel permanently ceased ... Palestine etc., and the current borders in the region were made permanent, what goals of Palestine would go unmet? What would be lost that they seek to gain?

I think it's irrelevant in this thread to consider the Palestine side but I don't even see why one would ignore one side and blame everything on the other (even if one is blaming Israel).


mgb_phys said:
Taking the view that Isrealis are just like anyone else then it's probably down to a set of politicians wanting to be re-elected.
"vote for $PARTY_1, look how tough we are on terrorism. $PARTY_2 are a bunch of homosexuals/communists/pacifists/vegetarians that support terrorism."

:smile:
 
  • #8
russ_watters said:
What does Israel seek to gain via their continued fighting?

perhaps we can find some answers to this by simplifying the question and replacing the word "Israel" with "humans"...

also replace the "self-interest of politicians" with "self-interest of certain individuals" (most likely the very wealthy),...

then, common sense kicks in... we are fighting because we, humans, are selfish, and do not like to share without pre-conditions.
 
  • #9
mjsd said:
perhaps we can find some answers to this by simplifying the question and replacing the word "Israel" with "humans"...

also replace the "self-interest of politicians" with "self-interest of certain individuals" (most likely the very wealthy),...

then, common sense kicks in... we are fighting because we, humans, are selfish, and do not like to share without pre-conditions.

Does that mean all countries are aggressive?
 
  • #10
mgb_phys said:
And this would be new in what way ?
Mostly the "long term" part...

This isn't an economic policy that can be difficult even for experts to judge and therefore easy to fool people into accepting for decades (social security...? imo). Peace vs war is a relatively straightforward issue and if there really is no benefit, but politicians are 'wagging the dog', arguments for it should eventually wear thin.

It's not impossible, but I don't see it as being all that reasonable or logical to believe it could be sustained and I don't see any evidence to suggest it is real.
 
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  • #11
rootX said:
You can also put this question

I think it's irrelevant in this thread to consider the Palestine side but I don't even see why one would ignore one side and blame everything on the other (even if one is blaming Israel).
Perhaps you could start another thread with that question, then...

Actually, to me that seems a much more complicated question than the one I asked anyway.
 
  • #12
mjsd said:
perhaps we can find some answers to this by simplifying the question and replacing the word "Israel" with "humans"...

also replace the "self-interest of politicians" with "self-interest of certain individuals" (most likely the very wealthy),...

then, common sense kicks in... we are fighting because we, humans, are selfish, and do not like to share without pre-conditions.
That's too generic to be useful because, as rootx points out, not all countries are in perpetual states of war with their immediate neighbors. And also, there are many different kinds or manifestations of self-intererst. In fact, pinpointing the exact one is kinda the whole point of the thread! Ie, IMO, the particular self-interest that causes Israel to continue fighting is self preservation.
 
  • #13
The Isreali government (past present and future) benefit because they have an external enemy to blame everything on and use as an excuse for anything they want to do. An anybody that objects is a terrorist-sympathiser/vegatarian etc

The Palestinian terrorist group of the day get to do whatever they want because they are sticking up for the poor oppressed peasants. anybody who talks about democracy is just a pawn of the facists oppressors.

The rest of the Arab world gets a common enemy to unite them, and as an ally a terrorist group that stops any of this democracy stuff from catching on.

The rest of the world gets a common ally that you can't say anything against - because that would be supporting terrorism, and a common enemy that you can blame anything from overprice airport drinks to new internet censorship laws on.

Everyone is a winner (except for a few dead peasants)
 
  • #14
mgb_phys said:
The Isreali government (past present and future) benefit because they have an external enemy to blame everything on and use as an excuse for anything they want to do.
See the title of the thread: what do they want to do? What you are suggesting is more than a generation of national leaders using it for nothing more than an internal power ploy. That would be huge - it's far bigger and worse than the Cold War's effect on US politics.
An anybody that objects is a terrorist- sympathiser/vegatarian etc
I agree it is a powerful tool (see Bush), but it would be tough to keep that going for more than a couple of years (see Bush).
 
  • #15
rootX said:
Does that mean all countries are aggressive?

as Russ said there are many different manifestations, and warfare is only one of the by-products (albeit a very common one). Economic invasion, inciting uprising, drug trades are all effective tools as well to bring a country down from within.

russ_watters said:
That's too generic to be useful because, as rootx points out, not all countries are in perpetual states of war with their immediate neighbors. And also, there are many different kinds or manifestations of self-intererst. In fact, pinpointing the exact one is kinda the whole point of the thread! Ie, IMO, the particular self-interest that causes Israel to continue fighting is self preservation.

What I was trying to say is that selfishness is the root of all problems. That's my definition of pinpointing the exact reasons. The political landscape, the personnels, the rhetorics and technologies may change in time, but human nature seems to be ever so stubborn.

Israel looks more like the "aggressor" because its so-called self-preservation has often over step the line in the views of many.
 
  • #16
russ_watters said:
See the title of the thread: what do they want to do? What you are suggesting is more than a generation of national leaders using it for nothing more than an internal power ploy.
In politics there are no ends - just means

I agree it is a powerful tool (see Bush), but it would be tough to keep that going for more than a couple of years (see Bush).

Anybody who disagrees with me is a heretic has worked for 1500years for a couple of continents.
Because we need it to defend against the French - worked for England for 800years
 
  • #17
mgb_phys said:
In politics there are no ends - just means

Anybody who disagrees with me is a heretic has worked for 1500years for a couple of continents.
Because we need it to defend against the French - worked for England for 800years

hahaha... so true.

but I think when you said
Everyone is a winner (except for a few dead peasants)
Everyone == elite few (mostly wealthy ppl)
 
  • #18
Protecting the holy land from infidels. Naturally, we could justify the actions of Hamas by the same token: they are sending in rockets and suicide bombers to protect themselves against a far greater and more powerful enemy. Well, that is not exactly the point of terrorism. The point of terrorism seems to be to provoke as much retaliation as possible to sway the public opinion. Furthermore, just because we cannot understand the inner workings of the Israeli government does not mean that the position of self defense automatically wins.
 
  • #19
The OP also makes the odd presupposition that any and all decisions made about Gaza and the Palestinians are intrinsically rational. Why would Israel need to have something to gain? Most religious fanatics do things that have no objective gains involved at all.
 
  • #20
mgb_phys said:
In politics there are no ends - just means



Anybody who disagrees with me is a heretic has worked for 1500years for a couple of continents.
Because we need it to defend against the French - worked for England for 800years

While it's hard to disagree, it would be interesting to know how much of the time, right wing government dominated Israel since its independence or any Israel government attacked Palestine near election time or whenever it couldn't deal with the inside problems.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Minister_of_Israel
See "List of Prime Ministers"
 
  • #21
russ_watters said:
I agree it is a powerful tool (see Bush), but it would be tough to keep that going for more than a couple of years (see Bush).
Bush rode a wave of support into the Iraq war despite the absence of any direct acts of aggression by Saddam against the US populace. Two years down, it got tough for Bush, because he made a mess of things, because he was shown to have started the War for poor reasons, because Iraq never attacked the US in the first place and never subsequently appeared to pose a direct threat, but most important of all, because of a long (and potentially "endless") campaign that was costing US lives.

I imagine things would have been a lot different for Bush if there were repeated provocations by Iraq, US military personnel didn't have to go on year-long deployments to a distant foreign land, and if the US military deaths were counted in the dozens rather than the thousands.

Compare how much flack Bush got for the war in Iraq with what he got for the campaign in Afghanistan. If anything, the operation in Afghanistan was criticized for not being aggressive enough, even 7 years after it had begun!
 
  • #22
russ_watters said:
IMO, the particular self-interest that causes Israel to continue fighting is self preservation.
Assuming that the Israeli 'restrictions' on Palestinians, and the Israeli fighting in response to being attacked are primarily motivated by self preservation, this begs the question: why are they being attacked?.

The Israeli-Palestinian problem was caused by the creation of the state of Israel, which resulted in 'collateral damage' amounting to the displacement, internment, injury, and/or death of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

Is the Palestinians' beef with Israel justified? From what I've read about it so far my answer would be yes.

A 'just' solution to the problem is definitely not aligned with the self interest of the (current) state of Israel.
 
  • #23
Moridin said:
The OP also makes the odd presupposition...
Everything about this post of yours is wrong:
...that any and all decisions made about Gaza and the Palestinians are intrinsically rational.
I made no such assumption. I asked for a reason - a benefit. This would be an idea in the head of a politician calling the shots and it most certainly doesn't need to be rational and it doesn't need to be right, it just has to exist in the head of the person making the decisions.
Why would Israel need to have something to gain?
Because people don't take repeated actions* for no reason. People do things for the wrong reasons, stupid reasons, selfish reasons, irrational reasons, etc., but there is always a reason.
Most religious fanatics do things that have no objective gains involved at all.
I didn't ask for objective reasons, I asked for reasons. Even if the reason is blind rage (certainly irrational), that's still a reason.

The reason/motivation given by Gokul and mgb most doesn't qualify as objective, though it would be rational.

*Single actions can be knee-jerk and completely thoughtless, but to do the same thing twice, with time to think about it between requires a conscious decision to be made - but it isn't necessarily rational.
Protecting the holy land from infidels.
Yes, that is what I was getting at...
 
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  • #24
mgb_phys said:
Anybody who disagrees with me is a heretic has worked for 1500years for a couple of continents.

Because we need it to defend against the French - worked for England for 800years
It isn't 1500 anymore, when the governments were all monarchies and the people weren't even allowed to read (much less change!) the basis of their laws.
 
  • #25
russ_watters said:
It isn't 1500 anymore, when the governments were all monarchies and the people weren't even allowed to read (much less change!) the basis of their laws.

...and exactly what do you think it is now? A fair, just, democratic society? :rolleyes:

As far as I understood it, mgb_phys was just using history as an example to demonstrate the dark side of politics (where similar tactics are undoubtedly still in use).
 
  • #26
It's hard to discuss the motivations of "Israel", just as it is hard to discuss the motivations of any group of people - "France", "Latinos", "Republicans" or "The New York Yankees". Individuals have motivations - groups at best have some sort of average motivation of their individuals, and at worst some sort of contradictory mish-mash.

That said, I think one can look at a few major events in Israel's history and infer a message they are trying to send: the events are the major wars, particularly the Six-day war and the Yom Kippur War, and the return of the Sinai to Egypt. That message is:

  1. An attack on Israel will not further your political goals.
  2. An attack on Israel will leave you worse off.
  3. Negotiation with Israel will further your political goals.

In this light, one could argue that Israel is trying to send the same message. I don't want to argue whether it's successful, as that is not a requirement to answer your question.
 
  • #27
russ_watters said:
It isn't 1500 anymore, when the governments were all monarchies and the people weren't even allowed to read (much less change!) the basis of their laws.
I was responding to the claim that you can only use fear of others as a political excuse for a couple of years - in fact you can use it for millenia.
 
  • #28
It sounds crazy, but people have made similar accusations about Hamas using the same logic, I am not accusing, only adding a possible scenereo. Maybe they want to give global terrorism a boost, like a world wide commercial for Anti-Western/Israeli recruitment. Then with more terrorism, they gain support from other anti-terrorist nations, and they get an excuse to practice aggressive military action. Bush certainly gained a lot of power due to 911, if it weren't for that attack, he may not have been able to attack Iraq. Like they say in washington, "Never let a crisis go to waist."
 
  • #29
russ_watters said:
What does Israel seek to gain via their continued fighting?
Ultimately it's all about land as it has been since the creation of the state of Israel. The Palestinians legally own it, the Israelis illegally occupy it and the Israelis want to keep a large chunk of it (which grows daily with ever more illegal settlements) forever more. Another proviso the Israelis have is, it is not enough to control the land, they also want the Palestinians off it as they are concerned about the demographic effect on Israel if they absorbed all those Palestinians into Israel. This demographic issue is a red hot topic in Israel at the moment.

Israel knows it's only claim on the occupied lands is through force of arms but believes no doubt if they can hold the land long enough and make the Palestinians suffer enough eventually the Palestinians will settle for whatever crumbs Israel throws their way.

To 'morally' justify their treatment of the Palestinians the Israeli gov't have demonised them to their own people and to the world. Greatly exaggerating their potential to damage Israel whilst totally ignoring Palestinians cast iron grievances and painting them all as terrorists for resisting the illegal occupation of their lands. Friendly gov'ts such as the US have been quite happy to help Israel weave their grossly distorted view to the point where anyone who shows sympathy for the Palestinians is seen as a suspected terrorist sympathiser.

Successive Israeli gov'ts, chasing the Zionist goals of a Greater Israel, have been very successful in their propaganda endeavours but one result of creating this fictitious monster to frighten their population with is the population then demand their politicians slay the monster and so from time to time such as now when elections were due the Israeli gov't panders to the electorate and bombs the **** out of the Palestinians.

To answer your question directly Israel needs to keep fighting from time to time to perpetuate the myth that it's existence is threatened by the Palestinians and to further it's goals in demoralising the Palestinians to strengthen it's hand in any eventual agreement. The added bonus being of course, the more fighting there is, the less chance of a final settlement, and so the more land Israel grabs in the meanwhile.
 
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  • #30
mgb_phys said:
I was responding to the claim that you can only use fear of others as a political excuse for a couple of years - in fact you can use it for millenia.
That doesn't make it any less of a non sequitur. We see that kind of logic in other forums all the time:

A-If you could travel twice the speed of light, how long would it take to get to Alpha Centuari?
B-You can't travel twice the speed of light.
A-But what if you could?
B-You can't, so there's no point in speculating.

You are not talking about the world we live in, mgb. The fact that it was once possible does not mean that it is possible.
 
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  • #31
Art said:
Ultimately it's all about land as it has been since the creation of the state of Israel. The Palestinians legally own it, the Israelis illegally occupy it and the Israelis want to keep a large chunk of it forever more.

Israel knows it's only claim on the occupied lands is through force of arms but believes no doubt if they can hold the land long enough and make the Palestinians suffer enough eventually the Palestinians will settle for whatever crumbs Israel throws their way.
Your argument is self-contradictory. Israel already has more land than it wants, as evidenced by the fact that in recent years, they've been giving it away in exchange for peace - there is no reason for them to fight to get something they already have. So your argument does not address the question at all: your argument does not explain why Israel continues to fight, but rather tries to explain it as a self-contradictory self-reinforcing action.

If the fighting stopped today, Israel has all they want, right? So why keep fighting?
To 'morally' justify their treatment of the Palestinians the Israeli's have demonised them to their own people and to the world. Greatly exaggerating their potential to damage Israel whilst totally ignoring Palestinians cast iron grievances and painting them all as terrorists for resisting the illegal occupation of their lands.
But if Israel could just end the fighting on their own right now, then all that would be unnecessary, would it not?
To answer your question directly Israel needs to keep fighting from time to time to perpetuate the myth that it's existence is threatened by the Palestinians and to further it's goals in demoralising the Palestinians.
Same as the first one: why would Israel need to fight to provoke Hamas to justify fighting Hamas? It's a circular argument and a contradiction. If Israel didn't fight from time to time, would there be peace or would they continue to be under constant attack?

Your argument sounds more like a justification for the constant attacks on Israel by Israel's neighbors than an argument for why Israel is fighting...which is, of course my point in starting this thread! Israel fights because they are being attacked. Period. Efforts to stop the fighting must therefore be focused on Hamas's reasons for fighting, only.
 
  • #32
russ_watters said:
Your argument is self-contradictory. Israel already has more land than it wants, as evidenced by the fact that in recent years, they've been giving it away in exchange for peace - there is no reason for them to fight to get something they already have. So your argument does not address the question at all: your argument does not explain why Israel continues to fight, but rather tries to explain it as a self-contradictory self-reinforcing action.

If the fighting stopped today, Israel has all they want, right? So why keep fighting?
But if Israel could just end the fighting on their own right now, then all that would be unnecessary, would it not?
Same as the first one: why would Israel need to fight to provoke Hamas to justify fighting Hamas? It's a circular argument and a contradiction. If Israel didn't fight from time to time, would there be peace or would they continue to be under constant attack?

Your argument sounds more like a justification for the constant attacks on Israel by Israel's neighbors than an argument for why Israel is fighting...which is, of course my point in starting this thread! Israel fights because they are being attacked. Period. Efforts to stop the fighting must therefore be focused on Hamas's reasons for fighting, only.
Try reading my post again. You do not appear to have understood it at all as I have already addressed the points you make. To be honest I thought it was a fairly simple read so maybe you are deliberately miscomprehending it

One glaring error you made which seems to have set you off on totally the wrong course is your assertion that Israel already has all the land it wants. This is fundamentally wrong. Israel is illegally OCCUPYING the land it wants which is a very different thing, and which is why they need to continue to fight for it for all the reasons I mentioned.
 
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  • #33
Art said:
Try reading my post again. You do not appear to have understood it at all, though to be honest I thought it was fairly simple.
Lol, ok. Nice talking with you as always! :rolleyes:
 
  • #34
russ_watters said:
Lol, ok. Nice talking with you as always! :rolleyes:
You asked a question in the OP, I answered it, you apparently didn't like the answer and couldn't think of a valid rebuttal and so instead of directly addressing a single point I made you tried to obfuscate instead. I find that irritating and a dishonest form of debate. Just as you selectively edited my post above when you quoted it to make it appear harsher than the original so you could feign humbrance and avoid having to address the points I made. So yes, nice talking with you as always.

btw This notion you have that the Palestinians are the aggressors is curious; in fact downright Orwellian. Do you not consider the military occupation of their land as a continuing act of aggression? Or the imprisonment in the Gaza Strip of 1.5 million people an act of aggression, or the assassination of their political leaders an act of aggression, or the building of ever more settlements on their land as an act of aggression, or the daily beatings and shootings the Palestinians suffer an act of aggression? Or the hundreds of checkpoints they must pass through each time they leave their homes to go to work a humiliating act of aggression? Or the thousands of Palestinians kidnapped and held prisoner without any charge or trial an act of aggression?

In the past you have made much of the Hamas charter which refuses to recognise Israel. In fact this is often cited as the primary reason why Hamas can never be negotiated with and yet in the usual double standards applied to the ME there is never a word said about the Likud Party which says explicitly in it's charter they will never recognise a Palestinian state. What is the difference between these two charters which makes one a pariah and the other a legitimate candidate for gov't?
 
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  • #35
Russ, you need to reread what Art has posted here. Thinking Isreal is simply a victim here is absurd, and shows a lact of understanding of facts. There is plenty of blame for Israel too.

Saying: "Israel fights because they are being attacked. Period. Efforts to stop the fighting must therefore be focused on Hamas's reasons for fighting, only."

Is pure nonsense and also blatantly false. Please gather more facts.
 

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