The Gaza War: When Strategies Collide

(American Interest) Walter Russell Mead - Israel continues to fight because it believes that with more time, it can destroy enough tunnels and inflict enough damage on Hamas to significantly degrade the organization's military strength and weaken it politically. Furthermore, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt are, perhaps for the first time, quietly rooting for Israel to crush the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas. Hamas, on the other hand, is elated by its success in temporarily hampering operations at Ben-Gurion Airport. In addition, its fighters have had unexpected success killing Israeli soldiers on the ground, and the Arab street is electrified by the conflict. For Israel, as a small country surrounded by enemies and facing hostile public opinion in the world at large, its security depends in large part on its reputation for military supremacy. That reputation is an advantage that Israel will not lightly give up; hostilities are unlikely to end until and unless the Israelis feel they have made their point. The attack on Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel's vital link with the rest of the world, is a military game-changer. Israeli defense officials likely feel that they must now eliminate the capacity of Hamas to repeat this attack, and make the consequences so wounding and expensive to Hamas as to reduce the attractiveness of repeat efforts.

2014-07-25 00:00:00

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