Morality As Strategy

Moshe Halbertal, a professor who helped craft the Israeli army’s ethics code, picks apart the Goldstone report and critiques its "overall biased tone." Nevertheless, he calls the siege of Gaza "morally problematic and strategically counterproductive." Money quote:

Radical groups such as Hamas start their struggle with little support from their population, which tends to be more moderate. They increase their base of support cynically, by murdering Israeli civilians and thereby goading Israel into an overreaction (this is not to deny, of course, that Israel can choose not to overreact) in a way that ends up causing suffering to the Palestinian civilians among whom the militants take shelter. The death and the suffering of the civilian Palestinian population, in the short run, is a part of the Hamas strategy, since it increases the sympathy of the population with the movement’s aims. An Israeli overreaction also leads to the shattering of Israel’s moral legitimacy in its own struggle. In a democratic society with a citizen’s army, any erosion of the ethical foundation of its soldiers and its citizens is of immense political and strategic consequence.

I suspect in due course that Gaza will be understood as immoral, and counter-productive. It repelled me in a way that nothing Israel has done repelled me. It was an act of anger and vengeance and cruelty. And it will come back to haunt the Jewish state.