Yesterday, the Israeli Defense Forces launched air strikes into the Gaza strip aimed at no fewer than 20 targets, killing Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jabari and at least seven others. The targeted strikes, dubbed Operation Pillar of Defense, were a response to rocket attacks within the last several weeks by Gaza-based Palestinian militants. The Israelis also threatened Hamas with the potential use of ground troops.
Israel’s strike on Gaza has the potential to upset what little sense of security the nation has. Jabari’s armed followers of the Hamas organization have deemed that Israel “has opened the Gates of Hell on itself,” a foreboding statement that characterizes the impending uproar from revenge-seeking Palestinians and imminent condemnation from other countries. Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has responded with sympathy for the victims of the attack, as he works to reverse the previously close relationship former President Hosni Mubarak had with Israel.
While the military defends its actions in the name of self-defense, one must wonder whether military aggression such as this will do more harm than good for stability in the region. While Palestinians living in Gaza have no doubt taken up arms against an Israeli government they view as oppressive in their less-than-democratic treatment of Palestinians, diplomacy is the avenue by which Israel will truly maximize its security.
Violence, regardless of justification, fails to heed the handle-with-care warning placed on the already fragile, and recently waning, peace talks in the region. Hamas does not regard Israel as a legitimate nation, while Israel refuses to acknowledge their impact on the already-existing Arab neighborhood by which they are surrounded.
Although seemingly untenable, hard line stances on either side offer less stability than active compromise. Operation Pillar of Defense escalates, rather than alleviates, the issue.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Nov. 15 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at email@example.com.