Just recently came across an old transcript of an interview with Martin van Creveld (one of my favourite military writers – he wrote good books on command in war and technology of war). He gives a really interesting perspective on the problems Israel is having in Gaza, strangely enough things have not improved any since this 2002 interview.
Foreign Correspondent – 20/03/2002: Interview with Martin van Creveld:
Reporter: Jennifer Byrne
“Professor Martin van Creveld, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s most prominent military historian. In this interview with Jennifer Byrne he claims that despite the recent increase in Israel’s military operations, the huge Israeli defence forces will inevitably lose to the Palestinians.
Byrne: Thanks for joining us tonight on Foreign Correspondent. How has it come to this, Martin… how is it that the mighty Israeli army – one of the world’s most powerful – with its helicopter gunships, with its tanks, with it’s missiles, can be losing to this relatively small, relatively under-armed if fanatical group of Palestinians?
Van Creveld: The same thing has happened to the Israeli army as happened to all the rest that have tried over the last sixty years. Basically it’s always a question of the relationship of forces. If you are strong, and you are fighting the weak for any period of time, you are going to become weak yourself. If you behave like a coward then you are going to become cowardly – it’s only a question of time. The same happened to the British when they were here… the same happened to the French in Algeria… the same happened to the Americans in Vietnam… the same happened to the Soviets in Afghanistan… the same happened to so many people that I can’t even count them.”
Then a little later he makes this point:
“Van Creveld: No. There is one thing that can be done – and that is to put and end to the situation whereby we are the strong fighting the weak, because that is the most stupid situation in which anybody can be.
Byrne: And how do you do that?
Van Creveld: Exactly. How do you do that. You do that by A, waiting for a suitable opportunity… B, doing whatever it takes to restore the balance of power between us and the Palestinians… C, removing 90% of the causes of the conflict, by pulling out… and D, building a wall between us and the other side, so tall that even the birds cannot fly over it…. so as to avoid any kind of friction for a long long time in the future. ”
Maybe it is time they tried a wall? It worked for Berlin for quite a while.