In typical text-book guerrilla tactics...
Palestinian fighters "avoid face to face battles" with IDFon the main battle front...and resort-instead-to swifthit and run surprise attacks, in the place and timethat gives them on-the-spot tactical superiority,enabling them to achieve their objectives.
Brilliant.

~EXCERPTS~
"It turns out that the entire operation was nothing more than a temporarytakeover of the living rooms of frightened families, the destruction of kitchens, demolition of ambulances, and the false arrest of hundreds of men,most of whom were relased after they did their bit in the show.And after the army leaves the conquered areas, the armed mencome back, the population buries its dead, and the next generationof suicide bombers is born."

"The Palestinians will continue to choose the violent arena most convenient for them, and when they decide to give up the violence and choose non-violent civil disobedience, Israel will discover that all the power can't bring back the status quo."


  Ha'aretz - Internet Edition

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Pity the poor soldiers

By Meron Benvenisti

The commanders of crack units taking part in the conquest of the West Bank's cities can't hide their frustration. They went into the largest operation since the invasion of Lebanon, took over the Palestinian centers of authority, demolished the terrorist nests, destroyed weapons manufacturing workshops, and arrested hundreds of wanted men - "a very successful operation" covered in the press - and yet, to their dismay, the whole thing was overshadowed by the Palestinian violence that pushed the heroic operation out of the banner headlines.

Forget about the leftist Mafia that controls the media, the commentators who highlighted the numbered forearms of arrested Palestinians, and the staged humiliation of handcuffs and blindfolds. Those traitors can't be convinced anyway - but where is the admiration from all those who demanded to "let the IDF win?" Why, just when all the shackles on the IDF were removed, the right wing ministers decided to quit the government? Why does the successful operation "to eliminate the terrorist infrastructure" seem irrelevant to many? Why are scenes of soldiers in combat gear, with war paint on their faces, lolling around on sofas in the heart of Ramallah, seen as a mockery for having nothing to do with a war on terror?

The IDF commanders are angry at the Palestinians not only because their violence overshadowed the "operation," making a laughing stock of the army's attempt to stamp out the terrorism. No, for the commanders, the Palestinians are ruining the heroic show by surrendering too easily. "I was expecting a much tougher battle," said one commander, "but everything went too quickly."

The fact the Palestinians did not fight desperate battles frustrates Israeli commanders. "The tigers turned out to be pussycats," complained one senior officer, disappointed he couldn't stage a victory march, no matter how much the military reporters and commentators try to help.

If there were real battles, then an image of "war" could be nurtured, making it appear that the state of Israel is at war. But when the Palestinians refuse to play the role they were assigned, and instead lay down their arms and go quietly to arrest, the folly of convoys of tanks and 20,000 soldiers in the operation is exposed.

It turns out that the entire operation was nothing more than a temporary takeover of the living rooms of frightened families, the destruction of kitchens, demolition of ambulances, and the false arrest of hundreds of men, most of whom were relased after they did their bit in the show. And after the army leaves the conquered areas, the armed men come back, the population buries its dead, and the next generation of suicide bombers is born.

The Israeli commanders are deceiving themselves. "They won't forget the mass surrender for a long time," says one, certain that the humiliation "returned the deterrent capabilities" to Israel. But the Palestinian refusal to "die with guns in their hands," seemingly a contradiction of the image of freedom fighters, should actually worry Israelis.

The Palestinians will continue to choose the violent arena most convenient for them, and when they decide to give up the violence and choose non-violent civil disobedience, Israel will discover that all the power can't bring back the status quo. Pretty quickly, the paratroop and Nahal commanders will discover that "the rolling operation" won't add any pages of glory to the "battle heritage."

And those who are pinning their hopes on breaking the spirit of the Palestinian so they plead for a cease-fire should understand that by avoiding armed confrontation with the IDF, the Palestinians demonstrated maturity and judgment - not cowardice.

END of HA'ARETZ article


~QUOTE~"The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom."
~ Sun Tzu on "The Art of War" ~