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Argument: Israeli assault may actually increase support for Hamas

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Supporting quotations

"Killing a two-state solution". Guardian. December 29, 2008 - Ms Livni has been Israel's lead negotiator with the Palestinian authority in the West Bank and she has invested more political capital than most in the goal of creating a Palestinian state. If she thinks she is clearing the way for a moderate Palestinian state by trying physically to eliminate the leadership of one half of the population, she is sorely mistaken. There has been no diminution of support for Hamas in Gaza, as a result of Israel's policy of blockading it, and support for Hamas may well rise as a result of these airstrikes.

Jay Bookman. "Israel cannot ‘free’ Gaza of Hamas with war." AJC. January 08, 2009 - whether Israel had the right to respond militarily is a very different question than whether it was wise to do so in such all-out fashion, moving from a quite effective air campaign to outright ground invasion.

As powerful as it is, Israel’s military cannot impose peace. Any victory it achieves will be temporary; any cessation in missile launches will be fleeting. The idea that the Israeli military can “free” Gaza from the grip of Hamas over the long term is implausible.

And that’s the core of Israel’s predicament. In the short term, it has every advantage. It has the military might, the economic strength, the backing of the world’s sole superpower. In the short term, it has the ability to crush Hamas and is doing so.

But in the long term, the balance of power changes. The missiles acquired by its Arab enemies get longer in range and heavier in payload with every passing year. The Palestinians are producing many more babies than the Jews, threatening to change geography by demography, and international support for Israel, particularly outside the United States, is waning. According to our own analysts in the CIA and elsewhere, America’s power and influence will decline in the years to come, at least in relative terms, and so will its ability to protect Israel.

Conversely, while the policy of Hamas and the Palestinians may seem extremely self-destructive and foolish — exposing their own people to death and destruction on a massive scale — there is a perverted wisdom to it in the long term. By provoking attacks such as the bombing of the school at Jabaliya, which killed an estimated 40 civilians, including 10 children, Palestinian extremists ensure a simmering wrath against Israel that will nurture their cause for generations.

Somehow, Israel has to break that cycle. Somehow, it has to stop sacrificing its long-term survival hopes for short-term returns. But it will not do so without outside pressure, and that help can come from only one place — the United States.

Iyad Serraj, a psychiatrist in Gaza who is an opponent of Hamas, said in early January to the New York Times - "I think Hamas is stronger now and will be stronger in the future because of this war. This war has deepened the people’s feeling that it is impossible to have peace with Israel, a country that promotes death and destruction."[1]

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