Thursday, October 2, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

AP Analysis: Mideast crisis a strategic stalemate

By
From page A1 | July 14, 2014 |

By Dan Perry

If the Israel-Hamas fighting feels like a rerun, that’s because it is.

This is the third round of Hamas rockets and Israel airstrikes since the Islamic militant group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. And issues each time seem much the same: How can Hamas be compelled to stop firing rockets? Does Israel really have the will to reconquer a Hamas-ruled Gaza and oust the militants? Can the world tolerate Israel reacting with far deadlier force than the rockets themselves, as evidenced in the hugely lopsided casualty count that each time appears anew?

This round of violence came after peace talks collapsed, Israel tried to scuttle a Palestinian unity government and violence ratcheted up. With the Gazans now suffering more, one might expect internal pressure on Hamas to end the rocket fire, which would likely bring the airstrikes to a stop. But in a region where honor is key, and with the two sides not talking, outside mediation is badly needed for a mutually face-saving cease-fire.

In a strategic stalemate where neither side seems able to accept or defeat the other, here are some key issues at play:

FOR ISRAEL, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ROCKETS

The Israeli point of view is that Hamas has grown accustomed to firing rockets and no country would tolerate such attacks. Doing nothing is not an option, and pounding Hamas hard enough seems to eventually win some quiet. It views civilian deaths in airstrikes as regrettable but blames Hamas for locating launchers and weapons at civilian sites. Israel’s makes efforts to minimize “collateral damage,” like warning calls to residents and preceding big attacks on buildings with smaller bombs, a practice dubbed “roof-knocking.” Beyond this, Israelis see Hamas as a ruthless mortal enemy that cannot be accommodated and, due to its radical Islamic tenets, can barely be reasoned with.

Palestinians cast a wider net. For them the very situation in Gaza is unacceptable: since the Hamas takeover Israel has blockaded it by land from the north and the east, and by sea from the west, preventing air travel as well. Egypt completes the siege by keeping a tight leash on its border with Gaza to the south. The strip’s 1.7 million people are crammed into low-rise shanty towns in a territory no more than 20 miles long and just a few miles wide. And even though Israel pulled out all soldiers and settlers in 2005, claiming this ended its occupation, Gazans depend on the Jewish state for electricity, water, communication networks and even the currency.

For many Palestinians, even those who do not support Hamas, non-conventional means like rocket fire against their perceived tormentors are an acceptable response. At least, some reason, the world will take notice. Some 20 years of peace talks failed to yield an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, and with the collapse two months ago of the latest round led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, some fear the occupation of the West Bank may be permanent. Coupled with the dire situation in Gaza, the other part of the would-be Palestinian state, it is a situation that breeds despondency and despair.

RARE CONSENSUS FOR NETANYAHU

Israel is a society so divided that normally it’s hard to describe the Israeli point of view – but not so when it comes to Hamas and its rockets. That’s a rare opportunity for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Many Israelis dislike his policies toward the Palestinians in general, and some truly abhor the Jewish settlement of the West Bank which Netanyahu continues to promote. But the vast majority of Israelis distrust and despise Hamas – perpetrators of countless suicide bombings targeting civilians and plainly aimed, over the years, at derailing peace efforts by more moderate Palestinians. For Netanyahu, each round with Hamas offers him a genuine popularity that’s otherwise elusive.

HAMAS HAS FEW ALLIES

Arab politicians will heap condemnation on Israel but few genuinely shed tears for Hamas. The Palestinian group is the local chapter of a wider political Islam that in the wake of the Arab Spring is under siege in much of the region, firstly in Egypt but also in much of the Gulf and beyond. Even one-time ally Iran has backed away, funding sources have dried up, and the West largely views it as a terrorist group. The Palestinian Authority recently set up a joint government with Hamas, but its animosity with the secular Fatah group of President Mahmoud Abbas runs deep. Hamas also has not accepted the conditions set by the world community to become a legitimate player: recognize Israel, abide by past agreements and renounce violence.

DISPROPORTIONATE CASUALTIES

In the battle for global public opinion, Israel may be a victim of its own success in preventing domestic casualties. Its Iron Dome missile defense system has shot down incoming Hamas rockets, leaving many in Tel Aviv with the conflicting sensation of fear and the desire to post videos of the interceptions online. No Israelis have been killed in the past week, while more than 160 Gazans have died, many of them civilians. Similar ratios were posted during the last round, in late 2012, and also during the largest mini-war, that began in late December 2008. That buys Netanyahu time with domestic opinion – but international pressure can soon be expected for Israel to find a way to stop. And in the end Hamas may get renewed relevance and even some of its prisoners released.

Many believe Hamas is therefore not entirely averse to provoking Israel into its attacks. Public opinion matters somewhat less in the strip, which is hardly a democracy, than in Israel. And it is hard to see a scenario in which the populace rises up and topples the militants: Gaza is small enough to control and the alternatives have essentially been stamped out.

ISRAEL PREFERS TO RULE THE SKIES

Israel could probably change the game quickly by invading Gaza and rooting out its Hamas rulers, and Sunday already saw a small version of it with a first land skirmish inside the strip. But a true invasion would probably be a bloody affair and Israel has little stomach for great numbers of casualties. If it does go that route, a ground incursion likely would repeat the strategy of 2008-9, in which there was some ground fighting but the heart of Gaza City was not retaken and the Hamas leadership essentially left intact. And from the perspective of the longer term, Israel has no desire to again occupy the strip, as it did from 1967 to 2005. That leaves Israel with few attractive choices, which might explain why Hamas continues to fire the rockets: to poke Israel in the eye, and live to tell the tale.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Head-on crash sends 2 to trauma centers

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
Vacaville man earns Carnegie heroism medal

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Mundy fifth-graders share their thoughts

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

Veterans meet set in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Solano Tea Party Patriots meet next week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Bevy of vintage warbirds expected at Nut Tree air show

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
 
Weather for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

Fairfield police log: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

FBI turns animal cruelty into top-tier felony

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
California Catholics challenge abortion order

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

San Francisco expands free public Wi-Fi access

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Judge: Stockton must treat pension like other debt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Man convicted of murder in killing over loud music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
3 Afghan soldiers who fled say they can’t go home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Poll: Divided voters still focus on economy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Respiratory virus seen in 4 deaths; role unclear

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

920 California chickens killed with golf club

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Liberia short on ambulances for Ebola patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Wife of slain Los Angeles-area mayor released

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ebola patient told hospital he was from Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Caltrans: Bay Bridge tower rods exposed to water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Secret Service chief quits due to security lapses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

2 children in Los Angeles County have enterovirus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Palestinians: Israeli occupation must end in 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Infant’s body found in California trash facility

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Mexico’s probe of army slayings raises doubts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

John Wayne’s heirs lose ‘Duke’ legal brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hong Kong protesters threaten to occupy buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

App teaches kindergartners basic computer coding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
2 white Ohio women sue over sperm from black donor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Editorial Cartoon: Oct. 2, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Crazy? Violent? Lose your guns

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11

 
It’s time to teach history

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A11

Read this column ASAP or immediately

By Reg Henry | From Page: A11

 
Real reasons neighborhoods are in trouble

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 2, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 2, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 2, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Our son’s suicide has made us feel like outcasts in our community

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Steinem: Domestic violence discussion a positive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Orange is the New Black’ author talks Season 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Joy Behar to debut a 1-woman show in New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Tony Bennett sets mark as oldest act with No. 1 LP

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Lena Dunham launches tour for book of adult essays

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Interstellar’ to be released 2 days early on film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Bumgarner, Giants silence Pirates 8-0 to advance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A’s part ways a day after 12-inning loss to Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

49ers prepare for familiar face in Chiefs Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders leave for bye after meeting with new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

College notebook: Former Falcon Williams tearing it up as Torero

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Prep cross country: Armijo rolls to sweep at MEL center meet

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Drivers fear next round of NASCAR’s Chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
JC volleyball: Solano wins twice in Falcons Classic

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

JC women’s soccer: Sjoberg nets 2 goals as Solano ties Chabot

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Prep water polo: Rodriguez boys swim to 11-1 win over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Prep girls tennis: Stybnarova earns victory at No. 1 singles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Tigers hope starters can outdo Orioles bullpen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Wambach, players file lawsuit over World Cup turf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Oslo latest city to drop out of 2022 Olympic race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Cardinals re-sign Fairfield High graduate Bishop

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B3

 
LeBron warmly welcomed ‘home’ by Cleveland fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Trout makes playoff debut when Angels host Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

This date in sports history for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

Stocks start October with a drop

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
GM looks to new vehicles, China to boost profit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

5 reasons bonds may be less safe than you think

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Why the bond market is more fragile than you think

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Obituaries

John ‘Bo’ M. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Laura M. Gerdes-Lemmons

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9