As of today, Operation Protective Edge has been going on for almost four weeks. There doesn’t seem to be a clear end in sight at the moment. Here’s some thoughts on what it looks like to me.
While Israel is probably justified in responding to attacks from Hamas, the entire thing is completely stupid.
Well, you can’t bomb Hamas out of existence. It’s just not going to happen.
Why does Hamas exist in the first place? Well, I don’t claim to be an expert on the Middle East. But there are several problems here. First, unemployment is around 30%. That is not to say that unemployment is the root of all the problems; and in fact may not be, as crime does not necessarily go up when unemployment goes up. In addition to just the unemployment, the population in Gaza is very young. If the Freakonomics guys are to believed, that is the root of the problem here. Essentially, people have no future, so they turn to the one organization that can give them something: Hamas.
Now, back to the central question: Why can’t we just bomb Hamas out of existence? Well a few reasons.
- Hamas does have a legitimate grief against Israel, to the extent that Israel takes up much more land now then they originally were supposed to in 1947, and is currently occupying the West Bank.
- Bombing people will, in general, make them resentful.
- The danger of Hamas isn’t in guns and bombs.
The dangerous man is the one who has only one idea, because then he’ll fight and die for it.
I don’t know if the above quote is actually from Crick, but I have seen it attributed to him. This is the main problem with Hamas – they have an idea, and people turn to them because they feel that there’s no hope(my thoughts, I don’t know if that’s actually true).
So, what has to happen?
If you want to defeat Hamas, you need to weaken them(duh). To do that, you need to reform them. That simply isn’t going to happen while bombs are still dropping; it creates a lot of resentment. A large investment in Gaza and the West Bank is what has to happen in order for people to have jobs and turn against Hamas. After all, Hamas was first elected because the people in Gaza thought that they would be able to give them a better life – since that hasn’t happened, people have begun to turn against Hamas. Since the sentiment is generally against Hamas, now is the time to come in and invest properly.
I don’t have a magic pill that will solve everything. But there are things that should be done to make this a better world. Even if there aren’t any formal peace negotiations, both sides should still talk to each other. After all, what my uncle says is true:
You’re not going to solve any problems if you don’t talk to each other.
Not talking to other people means that you don’t go anywhere. If you’re talking, you can at least get somewhere.