Friday, October 10, 2003

The Military Solution
You frequently hear that the "military solution" has not worked for Israel. The obvious truth is that Israel has not yet tried the military solution, except in occasional, weak fits and starts. Here is a fantasticJPost article with evidence that those limited assaults have improved things on the ground. The logical path is to ramp up the military pressure.

On a monthly basis, the comparison is even more dramatic. Never again has there been a month even approaching the horror of March 2002, the month before Operation Defensive Shield. The 134 Israelis killed that month is more than three times the death toll during the worst month of the past year, and almost 2.5 times the 58 people killed in the second-worst month of the intifada (June 2002, the month after the army withdrew from Palestinian territory following Defensive Shield. It was this renewed surge of killing that persuaded the government to send the troops back and this time, to keep them there).

Furthermore, two of the worst months of the past year were months in which military activity was drastically curtailed: June 2003, with 32 deaths, and August 2003, with 29. June was the month of the road map "peace process," during which Israel largely suspended military operations so as not to disrupt the "momentum toward peace." August was the month of the famous Palestinian cease-fire, to which Israel responded by restricting its own military activity. (In fact, the death toll that August was higher than in 22 of the 34 months without a truce!) One could thus reasonably assume that had Israel maintained the military pressure over the summer, the year's death toll would have been even lower.
Finally, it is clear that Israel has not been prosecuting the war as intensively as it could. It was only in August, for instance, that it began targeting senior Hamas personnel, and it stopped again after a mere few weeks. Were Israel to stop exercising such misguided restraint, this would almost certainly produce improved results in the long run.

Far from proving a failure, the "military solution" has proven its efficacy over the last year. What is needed now is for the government to finally make up its mind to finish the job.


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