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Wednesday, December 31

Revisiting the Past at the Closing of the Year

The French-brokered cease-fire between the Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip and Israel finally fell apart a few days ago when Israel unleashed a 'shock and awe' campaign to destroy Hamas security installations and suppress the use of the homemade unguided rockets that have been aimed at Israeli towns.

So far, best estimates give about 350 dead in Gaza, most of them Hamas; six Israelis are dead.

That's a better than 50:1 exchange rate. But Israel is missing the point, by returning to the past in which the application of high explosives is the solution to every problem.

One analyst, interviewed yesterday on NPR, stated that Israel's strategic objective was to drive a wedge between the Gazans and Hamas, and hopefully force a regime change. Troops and tanks are already massing on the border as Israel prepares for a possible ground assault.

One minor problem, that I think Israel is missing.

The United States dropped more high explosives on North Vietnam than the total of bombs dropped on Europe in World War Two, and it did nothing to dissociate the Vietnamese from Ho Chi Minh's government - in fact, it strengthened it.

Going back further, Germany's shock and awe campaign didn't break the will or morale of the British, now did it?

All Israel is doing is creating another two generations (at least) of potential converts to Hamas' cause.

Sometimes people should stop looking back at failed solutions and try new ones. Have the courage to look ahead.

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