Hamas cannot be ‘defeated’ by bombing population centres. This fosters the rage that fuels the Islamist-resistance discourse to begin with. (Skeptics may wish to refer to the fallout of Israel vs. Hezbollah 2006.) Now, Hezbollah is more popular than ever in Lebanon, even amongst nationalist Christian pop singers. The current leadership in Israel simply doesn’t get this. Nor do their western benefactors. Either that, or they willfully discount it, to their own detriment along with everyone else’s.
In the 21st century, identity politics, and the perception of justice based on those identities, is just as strategically relevant as military capacity. Iranian-American scholar Hamid Mowlana picked up on this years ago. Rumour has it he’s now working for Ahmadinejad. Food for thought.
Simply put, identities, discourses, and the way each is crafted, matter immensely. That’s one reason why it seems to me that looking at the world from a systems perspective, rather than through the near-sighted, myopic lens of nationalist stop-gap politics, might be a good idea.
Ultimately, only a solution that takes the perceived justice of all parties into consideration will be sustainable. That entails talking directly to people’s values; and, thus, to whomever the people have chosen to represent them. Bombing their turf into anarchy is unilkely to help.