Asked three times by audience members, [Israeli Ambassador to the United States Sallai] Meridor simply could not offer any plausible explanation as to how its military campaign in Gaza would achieve its stated goals….As to a political strategy tied to the military campaign, nothing. No guidance as to whether Israel would re-occupy Gaza, or on what terms it would accept a cease-fire. No thoughts as to whether the campaign would cause Hamas to fall from power or help the Palestinian Authority regain political power.
….In short, Meridor quite literally offered no strategy beyond hitting Gaza hard and hoping for the best. “In terms of creating damage we are certainly on the right path,” noted the Ambassador. Few would disagree with that assessment, at least. But some might hope that the bloody, battered path might actually be leading somewhere.
Some observers have been willing to give Israel the benefit of the doubt, owing to the decidedly differing circumstances between Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in 2008, but it still seems to me that absent complete eradication of Hamas followed by good-faith steps towards peace on Israels behalf, the lingering resentment and embarrassment of occupation will only lead to more problems down the road. Whether this will be a vacuum filled by groups more extreme than Hamas, or whether we’ll see a reversion back to the more moderate Fatah, who knows. Either way, this particular mission was spectacularly ill-conceived.