FA: Invading Gaza Will Be A Disaster
Israel does have a choice about how to respond. The US should shape it.
Yesterday I wrote about the moral, humanitarian and strategic disaster which Israel’s impending invasion of Gaza will be. It’s frustrating to watch such an obvious catastrophe unfold in real time. There’s rarely been a war which so obviously will go badly for the attacker while having such apocalyptic impact on the civilian population being attacked. The United States is the only actor in the world capable of stepping in to slow Israel down and save it from itself from the massive war crimes it is about to commit— and to save Palestinians from another historic disaster — but it does nothing but assure its ally that it will shield it from all accountability.
Israelis respond by asking what else we would have them do in the face of such horrific atrocities. There’s no easy solutions — if there were, they would have been adopted. But there’s also always a choice. Israel has agency. It does not have to choose to massacre defenseless civilians, to forcibly displace millions, to launch itself into an open-ended quagmire with no endgame and no political horizon. It could slow down, put the invasion on hold, allow humanitarian relief to the civilians of Gaza, and take the time to build international consensus on a sustainable and legal path forward.
Last night, my new article posted on Foreign Affairs ran through the strategic issues confronting the planned invasion, and the potential regional and global repercussions. I highlight the extreme danger of the conflict quickly spreading to the West Bank — especially with a national unity government which retains the extreme right wing figures who have been setting the West Bank and Jerusalem on fire for the last year and are likely to take the opportunity to push for more. I also note the risks of Hezbollah entering the fray. But beyond those obvious flashpoints, I also point to the likely calculations of Arab leaders facing a furious public outraged by the devastation of Gaza, to say nothing of what happens if it extends to Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the political opportunities offered by a clear popular regional consensus that ambitious regimes might seek to lead. And it points to the likely impact of America’s glaring hypocrisy in defending Israeli war crimes while seeking support to confront the same in Ukraine…. and the potential opportunities that opens for China in its competition with the U.S. over global order.
Please check out the article at the link below.
An Invasion of Gaza Will Be A Disaster For Israel (Foreign Affairs, 10.13.2023)
[T]his is precisely the time that Washington must be the cooler head and save Israel from itself. The impending invasion of Gaza will be a humanitarian, moral, and strategic catastrophe. It will not only badly harm Israel’s long-term security and inflict unfathomable human costs on Palestinians, but also threaten core U.S. interests in the Middle East, in Ukraine, and in Washington’s competition with China over the Indo-Pacific order. Only the Biden administration—channeling the United States’ unique leverage and the White House’s demonstrated close support for Israeli security—can now stop Israel from making a disastrous mistake. Now that it has shown its sympathy with Israel, Washington must pivot toward demanding that its ally fully comply with the laws of war. It must insist that Israel find ways to take the fight to Hamas that do not entail mass killing and displacing innocent Palestinian civilians.
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