The determination of people in Gaza has defeated Israel’s long-followed strategy of deterrence, a prominent Palestinian journalist wrote in a U.S. newspaper Tuesday.
Daoud Kuttab, also former professor of journalism at Princeton University, argued against “the idea is that if Gazans feel enough pain, they will refrain from attacking Israel,” in his op-ed piece for The Los Angeles Times.
On the contrary, Kuttab said people in Gaza reacted to “the huge suffering and pain inflicted by Israel with a greater determination to inflict pain on their attackers.”
One of the main factors that contributed to the failure of the Israeli deterrence approach is the lack of a political resolution. Israel cannot depend on a military solution to what is mostly a political conflict, the writer advised, saying that the Jewish state’s strategy excised from a comprehensive plan that includes a political component will keep it futile and “unworkable.”
“Deterrence without any possibility of a political settlement ensures that this madness will go on indefinitely,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi said that the real issue facing the Arab and Islamic world was not securing a truce between Palestinians and Israelis but ending the Israeli occupation, highlighting the importance of finding a political solution to the conflict.
Another reason for the failure of Israel’s deterrence strategy is that it “places no importance on the long-term relationships between Israel and its Arab neighbors,” Kuttab said.
The writer said a tougher Israeli response coupled with air, ground and sea offensive against Gaza has produced nothing but a “new crop of militants eager to launch a new round of attacks.”
While “just war” theorists argued that deterrence can be morally acceptable if it doesn’t harm the civilian population, he said that Israel didn’t act morally as it didn’t distinguish between civilians and fighters amid the Israeli “collect punishment ” on Gaza.
The “shockingly disproportionate” Israeli military action is making the Jewish state “less likely to achieve its intended result,” he added.
Israel has said its six-day old series of strikes in which more than 120 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed is a response to rocket attacks by Hamas fighters. Three Israelis have been killed in a rocket attack from Gaza.
Meanwhile, Gazan militants’ rocket reaching outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv shows that Israel’s deterrence is also failing or “its effectiveness is deteriorating.”
The attacks aimed at Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv area have dramatically showcased the Hamas militants’ new capabilities, including a locally made M-75 rocket that appears to have taken Israeli defense officials by surprise.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that “our hand is outstretched in peace to those of our neighbors who want to make peace with us,” moments before militants said a truce would be announced in Cairo later on Tuesday evening.
“And the other hand is firmly grasping the sword of David against those who wish to uproot us from this country,” he added in reference to the biblical warrior king.
Despite Netanyahu’s calling for peace, Kuttab said that the prime minister was not interested in de-escalating the conflict.
He said that the Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari, who was assassinated by an Israeli airstrike last week, “was said to have been preparing a reply to an Israeli offer for a long-term ceasefire.
“Many have seen his killing as a sign that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, perhaps with the upcoming Israeli elections in mind, is not interested at the moment in de-escalating the conflict.”