First presented on the Internet January 2009
Let us consider a problem that is considered as absolutely intractable. Israeli citizens get bombed by dozens and sometimes hundred of small crude rockets every day, all fired by troublemakers in the Palestinian West Bank area or the Palestinian Gaza Strip area. This is done to simply provoke Israel into trying to retaliate where innocent Palestinians die. As a (logical) response, and to try to avoid the need for such deadly attacks, the Israeli government has applied overwhelming blockades that result in extreme hardship for the millions of innocent Palestinian people. Israel Military have also physically attacked houses and locations where they believed that Hamas terrorists were hiding. Since the terrorists have learned to stay very close to innocent civilians, this has regularly resulted in civilian Palestinian deaths. The terrorists have even proven that there are not very good Muslims (as they claim) by INTENTIONALLY storing rockets in Islamic Mosques and even launching rockets from such holy buildings. They are aware of the world's criticism of the Israeli government and military when they then try to retaliate to such actions. Israel well knows that they should not be attacking Mosques and schools, and in general, the terrorists have used those facts for years in therefore being able to freely launch rockets at Israel without any danger to themselves.
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However, what if we realized that the Israeli responses have all been tremendously restricted by constrained narrow thinking? They seem to believe that the ONLY responses are for the Israeli government must either blockade the entire Palestinian community and/or to try to kill the specific terrorists who have launched a rocket at Israel. In traditional thinking and traditional warfare, that all makes perfect sense. If the situation were Symmetric where both sides observed the same rules of human social behavior, such responses would be fine.
That is NOT the case! The situation is Asymmetric, where the Hamas terrorists USE the very fact that Israel tries to comply with honorable and ethical behaviors. This asymmetry has enabled the terrorists to be able to have some tremendous advantages. And the Israeli government and leaders have never come up with any way to successfully confront the situation.
What if we described a scenario where the Israeli government and military would likely NEVER again have to launch air strikes at terrorists in Gaza or the West Bank or southern Lebanon? What if we also said that Israel could probably IMMEDIATELY REMOVE all the blockades that are such hardships on millions of innocent Palestinians?
What if we broadened the range of available responses? There is one specific such response that seems worthy of serious consideration. It could be described that the REAL problem is that the Palestinian authorities are NOT making any efforts to control or arrest the terrorists who are firing the rockets at Israel. What if they were given VERY strong incentives to now start finding and arresting those terrorists? IF they would do that, there is little more the Israeli government or military would ever have to do! But that Hamas government totally expects the Israel government to always have very limited responses, BECAUSE of ethics and principles and the world's opinions of Israel. This might be seen as an asymmetric situation. How might it be improved? Possibly very quickly, easily and simply! Imagine that an Israeli spokesperson went on both Israeli and Palestinian TV (in both Hebrew and in Arabic) to describe this asymmetry. That spokesperson would then ASK the Palestinian authorities a rhetorical question regarding whether they would see any problem if the Israeli government changed its attitude and now decided to both ALLOW and ENCOURAGE Israeli citizens to be launching similar crude rockets at Palestinian communities! The spokesperson would then continue to suggest that such a situation would remove the asymmetry from the situation. The spokesperson might then suggest that the Palestinian leaders might then better comprehend what it is like to be constantly bombarded by such rockets every day. The spokesperson would then ASK the Palestinian authorities to make better effort at finding and arresting the terrorists who have been firing rockets at Israel for many years.
The Israeli government spokesperson would then end that Press Conference with the firm statement that the Israeli government would NOT actually do such a thing, and would NOT start supplying rockets to Israeli citizens.
Notice that this is set up where Israel as a country and a government would NOT have to compromise any of the standards of civilization. The Press Conference would simply "discuss a hypothetical situation", with an immediate firm statement that the Israeli government would NEVER participate in such actions!
Essentially, that premise would simply be to "plant a thought" in private Israeli citizens, and also in rich American Jews who would be able to buy and ship rockets to any Israeli citizen who requested receiving one! The situation would then be that the Israeli government could absolutely deny any involvement, and their "required action" would actually be an "inaction" of not aggressively pursuing (private) Israeli citizens who fired such missiles. Israeli Customs would also need to occasionally become rather blind!
A few days AFTER this Press Conference, some Israeli private citizen would have his own Press Conference. He would simply state a math problem. He would confirm that the Israeli government was not involved in any way and would never be involved, but that THOUSANDS of private Israeli citizens would each soon have several (crude) rockets of their own. And then he would state the core of this whole premise. He would first state that as long as there were NO terrorist rockets launched at Israel, NONE of these rockets would ever be used. He would then say that his network of private citizens would carefully COUNT the number of terrorist rockets launched at Israel each day, and THEY would carefully launch EXACTLY TEN TIMES that number of similar rockets toward Gaza or the West Bank or southern Lebanon (depending on where the terrorist rockets had been launched from). He would then thank the audience and leave.
Hamas leaders and the terrorists would certainly assume that he was just blowing smoke, that he couldn't possibly fulfill that promise of mathematics. So the next day, the Hamas terrorists might launch 75 crude rockets toward Israel. The private Israeli citizens would maintain excellent communications, and each person might launch a single rocket, but they would make sure that collectively they launched EXACTLY 750 of the crude rockets would be launched at Gaza.
No, the American Jews would NOT supply precisely aimable rockets, or more powerful rockets, but ONLY rockets that had similar capabilities to the rockets coming toward Israel. But EXACTLY ten times as many.
An American Jewish spokesperson could have a Press Conference and casually mention that they could quickly and easily provide a "thousand times" as many rockets as the private Israeli citizens might ever need! And he would also confirm that the Israeli government had no part of these activities.
Depending on whether the Palestinian leaders started putting effort into finding the rocket launchers and stopping them, Israel would probably have the choice of simply indicating extreme ignorance regarding any rockets launched at Palestinian areas, OR, if appropriate on an individual basis, they could probably go to the door of an Israeli who had fired a rocket to possibly make an arrest for the News cameras, where the Israeli spokesperson would state that no further rockets should now be launched.
It is very important here that the network of private Israeli citizens RIGIDLY follow the EXACT ten-to-one ratio. There must NOT be any doubt in any Hamas leader or any terrorist, that launching even a single rocket at Israel WILL result in TEN TIMES the danger to Gaza. No more, no less.
There CANNOT ever be any impression that Israelis were simply launching to cause terror, as that would lower them to the level of the Hamas terrorists. As long as they were very careful to always make it EXACTLY ten times as many, the Israelis would have the appearance of having the high road, even by Muslim standards.
See the reasoning here? This is a sort of response that the Israeli government could never actually do on its own, as the world would condemn Israel for killing civilians. But with that simple Press Conference, the Palestinian leaders would be given both DIRECT incentive to arrest the terrorists (due to the Press Conference itself) and ALSO they would start receiving daily reminders of that need as large numbers of incoming rockets began landing in Palestinian territories.
In fact, it would be important for Israeli government spokespeople to issue Press Conferences with very sad expressions, commenting about how all life is precious and that they were saddened by the deaths of Palestinians.
The concept provides an "overwhelming deterrent" regarding any more Hamas rockets being launched toward Israel.
It seems likely that the Palestinian leaders would see immense selfish motivations to now seriously try to stop the rocket launchers. Once they did that, the network of private Israeli citizens would be very careful to NOT launch any more rockets toward Gaza. IF any private Israeli rocket was launched that was in excess of the ten-to-one ratio, the Israeli government would certainly suddenly be able to FIND one such rocket launcher and arrest him (with a news reporter present)! It is to be absolutely clear to all parties that as long as NO rockets are launched at Israel, then there would NEVER be any further rocket launchings into Palestine. Even better, as long as the rockets were no longer being fired at Israel, the blockades would certainly be eased or possibly entirely removed.
My concept would likely NEVER have needed any "land invasion" and probably would not even require Israeli artillery or aircraft attacks. Israel would "sit back and watch". The Palestinian leaders would be forced to figure out what they were going to do with VERY large numbers of "random rocket attacks" within their territories.
In fact, it seems possible that Hamas would ASK the Israeli government to "call off the dogs." THAT would be a conversation where Israel held all the cards!
Life for the millions of innocent Palestinians would quickly become far better, happier and safer. Think about that. The attraction of Hamas initially was that it could stand up to Israel. But this new scenario would be clear proof to the Palestinian people that, as long as Hamas did not launch rockets, Israel would remove the blockades and life would get far better. AND that each time some Hamas terrorist decided to launch a rocket at Israel three years from now, immediately ten rockets would be launched at the Palestinians. How could Hamas maintain popularity in that environment?
Yes, my concept of "random rockets" would likely occasionally kill a Palestinian or two, but THAT is the TERROR factor of the randomness, which is the actual value. THAT is what would make the situation "symmetric". In contrast, Israeli air attacks and artillery attacks often kill MANY civilians, because the Hamas terrorist know to stay right near women and children. My suspicion is that the average Palestinian might be far safer with my concept.
(This would have worked a couple years ago regarding Lebanon launching into northern Israel. Rich American Jews would certainly have provided those northern Israel citizens with rockets that were comparable to what Lebanon was firing at them, and TEN TIMES as many would get launched!)
C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago