Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I was more right than I knew when I wrote that Israel's goal in Gaza was to massacre innocent Palestinians. Now Thom Friedman is saying the same thing:

I have only one question about Israel’s military operation in Gaza: What is the goal? Is it the education of Hamas or the eradication of Hamas? I hope that it’s the education of Hamas. Let me explain why...

[In the Lebanon war] Israel’s counterstrategy was to use its Air Force to pummel Hezbollah and, while not directly targeting the Lebanese civilians with whom Hezbollah was intertwined, to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large. It was not pretty, but it was logical. Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future...

In Gaza, I still can’t tell if Israel is trying to eradicate Hamas or trying to “educate” Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population. If it is out to destroy Hamas, casualties will be horrific and the aftermath could be Somalia-like chaos. If it is out to educate Hamas, Israel may have achieved its aims.

Got that? According to Friedman, Israel is right to "inflict...heavy pain on the Gaza population" in order to teach them a lesson, just like Israel did in the Lebanon war. As Greenwald points out, this is a textbook definition of terrorism. As Walt points out, Friedman misstates some basic facts about the Lebanon and Gaza wars.

Jeffrey Goldberg's Op-Ed in the Times isn't much better, and he can't seem to remember that Israel, not Hamas, violated the cease-fire. Goldberg's Op-Ed is too boring to quote, but his final paragraph exhibits a willful denial of reality:

The only small chance for peace today is the same chance that existed before the Gaza invasion: The moderate Arab states, Europe, the United States and, mainly, Israel, must help Hamas’s enemy, Fatah, prepare the West Bank for real freedom, and then hope that the people of Gaza, vast numbers of whom are unsympathetic to Hamas, see the West Bank as an alternative to the squalid vision of Hassan Nasrallah and Nizar Rayyan.

Its astonishingly how Goldberg can deny that the US and Israel covertly funded Hamas, and it saddens me that the the Times continues to publish this dross. Sullivan's barb dulls the pain.

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