Saturday, December 27, 2008

Attacks and retaliation across the Israel – Gaza border: The cost of weak leadership

Israel has retaliated to repeated rocket attacks against its southern cities launched from Gaza. Israeli planes bombed targets across the Gaza Strip killing at least 200 and wounding hundreds more. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has come completely unraveled yet the military actions by each side against the other holds little promise of achieving any long term objectives of peace and will only deepen hostilities. The obvious solution – a negotiated resolution of differences – is highly unlikely given the weak positions of the leadership representing both Israel and the Palestinians. The United States, which could use some leverage to encourage the two sides to the table to reach a settlement, is governed by a weak and soon-to-be-retired President who has never valued diplomatic intervention anyway.

As MDC at Foreign Policy Watch sums it up:
As an outsider to the drama, perhaps the most troubling aspect of the Israel-Palestinian conflict to me has always been that nobody reasonably expects the actions of either side - this time being air raids on Gaza or rocket attacks on Israeli residences - to achieve their goal or result in a cessation of violence. At the same time, both actions - provocation and response - deepen the hostilities on both sides and with elections around the corner in Israel, the logic of domestic political competition virtually dictates this sort of action from the IDF. To make matters worse, the latest outbreak comes at a delicate time, with essentially lame duck administrations in the US (who never paid much attention to the peace process anyhow) and Israel and a Palestinian leadership fragmented to the point of virtually being two separate entities with distinct territories….
Weak leadership means more armed conflict but armed conflict that is almost guaranteed to resolve nothing. The immediate future for people living on either side of that border does not look promising.

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