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The Cycle of Cease-Fires

The Israeli writer David Grossman has an op-ed that appears in both today’s New York Times and Guardian. Grossman says that “the most important lesson we must learn” from the Lebanon war in 2006 is that every military offensive should be halted after a few days to allow a cease-fire, so that the enemy can pause to take the measure of Israel’s destructive capabilities, and — for Grossman, this is really the more important point — Israel can restrain itself “[a]gainst the deadly logic of military power and the dynamic of escalation.”

It is interesting that cycle-of-violence fetishists, who are absolutely certain that military action is part of the problem, do not recognize the problem of the cycle of cease-fires. There is an opportunity right now to deal a crippling blow to Hamas, and it will require ground combat, more air strikes, and the maintenance of the IDF’s violence of action. There is indeed a cycle between Israel and its enemies, but the problem is not the cycle of violence. The problem is that every time the IDF is poised to strike a decisive blow against the enemy, the David Grossmans of the world emerge to plead for restraint exactly at the moment when restraint is the last thing that should be considered.


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