Monday, January 5, 2009

Wars Against Ideas Always Fail - Paul Woodward

War in Context, January 5, 2009 - Israel will lose its war against Hamas.

How do I know?

Because Hamas is a movement which even if it has highly destructible physical nodes is nevertheless tied together within a missile-proof conceptual space.

The only things that bombs and bullets can destroy are human lives and property. That’s why the Israeli-American claim that this war is being fought against Hamas and not the people of Gaza is a shallow lie — it is plainly evident that Gaza itself is under attack.

The so-called “terrorist infrastructure” also happens to be a governmental infrastructure. The effort to topple Hamas (an effort that the Israeli government in its duplicity and double-talk continues to deny it is making — witness Shimon Peres claiming that Israel does not want to crush Hamas, merely teach it a lesson) is in serious jeopardy of making Gaza completely ungovernable.

Once this is over, will the residents of Sderot be able to slumber peacefully knowing that they live on the doorstep of anarchy?

And when Hamas has finished counting its dead, will those in its ranks who until recently were voices of pragmatism, favoring political engagement, be capable of or even willing to try and make themselves heard?

Israel’s drive to annihilate its enemies is borne out of a seemingly irrepressible arrogance. Yet ultimately nothing gets destroyed — it merely goes through a process of transformation.

The question Israelis should now be asking themselves is this: What are we helping Hamas become?

Israel demands that Hamas recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist. It is a farcical demand.

Someone has you pinned to the ground, is pressing the barrel of a gun against your head and says to you: “I’ll talk to you, but only if you recognize my right to exist.” At this moment, who is challenging whose right to exist?

Israel presents an existential threat to Hamas — not the other way around. It’s plain for the world to see.

However, the difference between Israel and Hamas is that Hamas does not fear its annihilation. That has nothing to do with glorifying “martyrdom”; it’s because the movement is much more durable than its constituent parts.

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