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In ‘intractable conflict,’ Israel must periodically and forcefully ‘mow the grass’

Israel/Palestine
on 13 Comments

Yet another sign of the lack of vision of the Israeli security state and the crisis that it is plunging into given the failure to resolve the conflict with Palestinians. A study by leading national security experts calls for “mowing the grass” in the West Bank and Gaza for the forseeable future.

“Mowing the Grass,” Israel’s strategy in the twenty-first century against hostile non-state groups, reflects the assumption that Israel finds itself in a protracted intractable conflict. The use of force in such a conflict is not intended to attain impossible political goals, but a strategy of attrition designed primarily to degrade the enemy capabilities. Only after showing much restraint in its military responses does Israel act forcefully to destroy the capabilities of its foes, hoping that occasional large-scale operations have a temporary deterrent effect in order to create periods of quiet along its borders. The Israeli approach is substantively different from the current Western strategic thinking on dealing with non-state military challenges.

This new Hebrew study explores the strategy in four cases: Operation Defensive Shield (2002), the Second Lebanon War (2006), Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009), and Operation Pillar of Defense (2012).

Thanks to Helena Cobban, who interviewed one of the authors of the study above in 2009, Efrain Inbar:

The most realistic scenario Inbar could foresee over the coming years in the West Bank was, “Conflict management: to lower the flames, limit the suffering, and not anger the Americans too much.”

No wonder the NYT has an Op-Ed today called the Coming Intifada, by Ali Jarbawi.

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13 Responses

  1. Helena Cobban
    Helena Cobban
    December 25, 2013, 12:10 pm

    The latest Inbar/Shamir paper is particularly timely given the fast-approaching (Dec 27th) fifth anniversary of the start of Operation Cast Lead (one of its four ‘case studies’), and provides helpful background as we all ponder the ‘meaning’ of that terrible, 23-day-long Israel assault on the people and infrastructure of the Gaza Strip.

  2. Les
    Les
    December 25, 2013, 2:55 pm

    Carpet bombing. Israelis follow the teachings of US in Vietnam and Laos.

  3. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    December 25, 2013, 3:28 pm

    People use the word intifada without knowing what it means. They use it as a synonym foot violence. But it is literally a shaking off. In this case shaking off oppression and occupation. Not an attack on Israel.

  4. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    December 25, 2013, 3:29 pm

    Do their soldiers realing need all that equipment to beat up college students and arrest five year olds?

  5. Tuyzentfloot
    Tuyzentfloot
    December 25, 2013, 5:18 pm

    Only after showing much restraint in its military responses does Israel act forcefully to destroy the capabilities of its foes, hoping that occasional large-scale operations have a temporary deterrent effect in order to create periods of quiet along its borders.

    It’s called preventive war. It’s about regular preventive wars. I think the obligatory insertion of an apology has become part of the grammar or something because the concept of ‘preventive wars as a last resort’ is rather peculiar.

  6. Hostage
    Hostage
    December 25, 2013, 7:21 pm

    The problem is that we allow Israel to talk about “mowing” a demilitarized, unarmed, and captive civilian population and selling it as an armed conflict, when it really isn’t one.

    Israel made it clear years ago that human rights don’t accrue to Palestinians during armed conflicts and that it has unilaterally granted itself permission to wage perpetual war against them.

    Until we get our governments to neuter Israel’s military options beyond the Green Line, neither a one state or two state solution will ever be in the offing. Just more manufactured conflict.

    Israel’s persecution and apartheid have been on full display for anyone with eyes to see it, and we should stop giving our leaders a license to say it’s only a hypothetical problem, and that there’s still enough time to ward it off somehow.

  7. Citizen
    Citizen
    December 26, 2013, 12:02 am

    With proper maintenance and care, your lawn mower can last for years. Still, look for a model with a decent warranty of at least two years. Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on the deck. The Kerry 2013 model…

  8. Citizen
    Citizen
    December 26, 2013, 12:10 am

    Will Ferrel, mowing the lawn:

  9. Citizen
    Citizen
    December 26, 2013, 12:24 am
  10. Hostage
    Hostage
    December 27, 2013, 9:33 pm

    We frequently overlook the fact that the US is a party to several anti-war and concilation treaties and coventions on the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, which are still in full force and effect. http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/tif/index.htm

    In the aftermath of WWI and WWII, the US government was instrumental in establishing that it is an international crime to wage wars in violation of international treaties. It is especially forbidden to murder, mistreat or deport portions of the civilian population of an occupied territory; to plunder public or private property in an occupied territory; and to commit wanton destruction or devastation of cities, towns or villages not justified by military necessity. See Article 6 of the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/imtconst.asp#art6

    Several of our international treaties prohibit forms of hate speech used with intent to intimidate members of an ethnic group (true threats), or the existence of taxpayer-subsidized propaganda for wars incited on the basis of national, racial or religious hatred, e.g. http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/60dcfa23f32d3feac12563ed00491355?Opendocument

    Nonetheless, we have a plethora of tax exempt organizations that are “primarily” devoted to that very thing. Many of them promote and protect on-going Israeli aggression and the plundering or wanton destruction of Palestine. Our universities routinely grant agents or citizens of Israel a subsidized forum to carry-out public propaganda campaigns that justify, condone, and trivialize war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Palestinians. In some instances they have gone so far as to employ State public meeting laws to shield perpetrators and arrest the victims and members of Palestinian solidarity groups. This despite the fact that our Courts have repeatedly held that foreign citizens do not have a constitutional right to participate in, and can be excluded from, activities of our democratic self-government and that the Congress prohibits the use of appropriated funds for any propaganda or publicity.

    For its own part, the US Government has a war crimes statute that doesn’t condone “mowing the grass”. It has also cited Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003) and Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705 (1969) in reports that advised the UN that intimidation and hate speech may be banned without infringing the First Amendment, whether or not the person uttering the threat actually intends to carry it out, e.g. See paragraph 138 of the US ICERD report (2007) http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/83517.pdf

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      December 28, 2013, 4:57 pm

      The US government has betrayed the most fundamental American values of equal rights because AIPAC et al has bribed POTUS and Congress. Time to end American plutocracy

  11. talknic
    talknic
    December 27, 2013, 10:29 pm

    http://artists.letssingit.com/bing-crosby-lyrics-row-row-row-czkgnhm

    The Jewish state she had the US veto vote
    US politicians would be taken for a float
    Be told about the Shoah
    and nonsense by the score-
    To get in lockstep you know,
    A stream of Hasbara would flow
    From early morning way past noon
    She’d buy the US veto vote
    And they would spoon

    And she would mow, mow, mow
    From the Jordan river she would mow, mow, mow
    A grant they’d give her
    and diss her now and then
    But she’d still tell the US when,
    They’d fool around and fool around
    she’d break the law again.
    And then she’d mow, mow mow
    Netanyahu would go, oh, oh, oh,
    Then he’d drop both his oars
    Take a few more encores,
    And then she’d mow, mow, mow

    And she would mow, mow, mow
    From the Jordan river they would mow, mow, mow
    A grant they’d give her
    and diss her now and then
    But she’d still tell the US when,
    They’d fool around and fool around
    And she’d break the law again.
    And then she’d mow, mow mow
    Netanyahu would go, oh, oh, oh,
    Then he’d drop both his oars
    Take a round of applause,
    And then go mow, mow, mow

  12. lysias
    lysias
    December 28, 2013, 6:25 pm

    Thrasybulus (tyrant of Miletus)

    was an ally of Periander, the tyrant of Corinth. He features in a famous anecdote from Herodotus’s Histories,[1] in which a messenger from Periander asks Thrasybulus for advice on ruling.[2] Thrasybulus, instead of responding, takes the messenger for a walk in a field of wheat, where he proceeds to cut off all of the best and tallest ears of wheat. The message, correctly interpreted by Periander, was that a wise ruler would preempt challenges to his rule by “removing” those prominent men who might be powerful enough to challenge him.

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