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January 19, 2009



Well maybe. Or you could ask "what was Israel hoping to achieve and did they achieve it?" in which case you might get a very different set of answers.


Chevauchee is just the word - well spotted. ejh - I think they were trying to achieve population movement, terror and disruption of Hamas in that order, and I think they've been quite successful in all three. They've even managed to keep the rest of the world onside, which is quite an achievement.


They've even managed to keep the rest of the world onside

Have they? I'm not at all sure that they have, and I think it possible that they packed it in at the moment when their diplomatic friends told them they couldn't hold the line for them any more.

Chris Williams

Hmm . . . I have no hard info on whether or not Hamas have been degraded organisationally, but I would imagine that they are not going to be in a position to capitalise on any reconstruction boom.

1) The bank of 'emotional credit' that the state of Israel draws on has been further depleted in the UK (which doesn't matter) and the US (which does).
2) The timing of the attack and the withdrawal suggests that the IDF have reservations about the number of favours that their old comrade Rhamn can do for them.
3) Population may have moved within Gaza, but it hasn't legged it into Egypt.


I'd be amazed if Hamas didn't capitalise from the reconstruction. A terrorist group that can't even extort a 10% cut from the building trade is in a sorry state indeed. (See: Belfast, passim)

Who's Rhamn? Wikipedia knows him not.

Chris Williams

A pox on me for posting in a hurry - I meant to write 'Rahm' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahm_Emanuel), incoming White House Chief of Staff.

I imagine that Hamas will get their hands on some of the reconstuction lurce (especially the plumbing supplies), but they are not in a situation to be able to turn up to the bombsite in JCB with some sacks of cement a la Hizbollah. "The Zionists broke it and they are bastards" is all very well, but for ongoing support, you can't beat "The Zionists broke it but _we_ swiftly rebuilt it."


Oh, I see, you mean "capitalise politically" rather than just "make money off". Fair enough.


How many heads of state & foreign ministers have condemned Israel? Public opinion doesn't count (in the short term). As for when and why they've packed it in, I think the plan probably always was to declare victory before today's events. (Which does, perhaps, say something good about the limits of Rahm Emanuel's influence.)

Chris - the story I linked to suggested that people might actually get shipped out to Egypt by the IDF, and that in some areas they had complete enough control of the territory to do this before anyone (e.g. the Red Cross) could say anything about it. As we get into reconstruction, I can easily imagine people getting relocated en masse out of Gaza, where there is after all nowhere to put them - compare Katrina.


How many heads of state & foreign ministers have condemned Israel?

None as far as I'm aware, but by the same token how many said "viva Israel"? I really don't see what objective Israel achieve - surely none that could be clearly defined, except "demonstrating that they can level large parts of Gaza" which wasn't news to anybody.

I don't think Hamas are stsengthened, but I think it quite likely that Fatah are weakened. I wouldn't expect to see any elections on the West Bank for a while.

Chris Williams

Reading down this, I think that Jamie had it quite right to start with: both sides lost. Fatah, Mubarak, and Nasrallah came out behind as well. It was like the Germany vs Argentina match of my dreams. Only the Crown Prince remains unsullied by it all.

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