Less than a day after Israel began its long overdue operation against Gaza, European journalists are already dispensing their predictable wisdom on why Israel can’t win and why its actions will inevitably – and always – boomerang. Ian Black, writing in the Guardian, warns of the likelihood that support for Hamas among Palestinians will increase. Now, there are many ways one could criticize Israel’s operation and be thoughtful (for example, by saying that Israel might have acted earlier); Black’s attempt is not one of them.
First, Israel’s operation is not a PR exercise to win the hearts and minds of Palestinians. Second, Hamas already has plenty of Palestinian support – it won an election, remember? And it was a fair one, believe it or not. Third, who cares about public support? A party that has just announced it will chop off thieves’ hands, and strictly enforce all other manner of Islamic punishment is not exactly concerned about “hearts and minds.”
Repressive regimes don’t need support if they are willing and capable of terrorizing their own populations, and defeating them is not best done by convincing their frightened citizens to rebel. If in doubt, ask Iraqis how easy it was to do so under Saddam Hussein . They can now give you an honest answer.