Aftenposten, between condemnation and support

The Aftenposten editor doesn’t really know on which foot to stand. Sort of a tap dance here, but the politically correct in Europe today is that “Israel has the right to defend herself” so the editorialconcedes and still tries the “disproportionate retaliation” charge against Israel…only to retreat again with a whimper…

Stil, better than most media in Norway.

Ceasefire is the only tenable answer

The problem is the strength of counter-attacks – and the terror regime that the population of Gaza is exposed to

Aftenposten editorial  19.nov. 2012

The conflict between Israel and Hamas is entering a new dangerous new phase, and the suffering of the civilian population is already large. It is now important to have a quick ceasefire before the situation gets completely out of control. We hope that the Egyptian efforts to mediate succeed.

Same as during the fighting in Gaza in 2008-2009 the by far biggest casualties are on the Palestinian side. But in ahead of the last day’s bombardment of Gaza, the number of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel increased sharply, and they reach longer than before.

Israel’s response is substantial and violently. Even if Israel tries to avoid it, it is unfortunately not surprising that also civilians are hit. Yesterday six children were killed in one attack.

No government can stand by and watch that the population is exposed to recurrent attacks with missiles if it has the means to take countermeasures. This applies even if the losses are not very large. The need to respond obviously increases when a significant proportion of the population in the country comes within the missile range, and the goal actually is to intentionally target the civilian population.

It is therefore appropriate, as President Barack Obama said yesterday that Israel has a right to defend itself against rockets that hit homes, potentially with fatal resultst.

The problem is the strength of the counter-attacks – and the terror that the population of Gaza are exposed. It’s simply no proportionality between attack and response.

Militarily and strategically, this is unfortunately easy to understand. Israel’s goal is not a sot of cat and mouse game, but to put a stop to the attacks, with the mens the country has at its disposition. And they are extensive and brutal,  in the manner of war.

In part the goal, or hope, is to destroy the Palestinians’ ability to send rockets into Israel on a permanent basis. But the powerful counterattacks will obviously also aim at increasing resistance among the people of Gaza against actions against Israel.

But without prospects of a political solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, including a viable Palestinian state, it appears that there will never be a shortage of new recruits for a militant struggle against Israel.

Israel may also have to pay a price in terms of diminished political support in many countries if the brutal conflict continues, and especially if the army also enters Gaza with ground forces. The regional spillover effects can also be difficult to predict. The Arab Spring has created a new political landscape.

The hope is that Israel, following a detailed assessment, is that the country concludes that it has already achieved much of what the country can hope for, and that issue at hand is to find a quick exit before the political costs exceed the military gain.