January 07, 2009

Hamas Intransigence + Israeli Belligerence = Human Catastrophe

This has to wait a little longer..

The tragic events that have been in control of the Palestinian- Israeli problem for over sixty years have brought nothing but misery and suffering to both parties. It is unfortunate but true, that the continuing struggle between both sides and the ensuing “logic’ applied by them has been inevitable. This is a classic tragedy that cannot be avoided since the rules of logic that are in control of the situation dictate and lock in what economists call a sub Pareto optimal solution.

It is in the light of the above, the current Gaza crisis should be evaluated. Hamas and the government of Israel are in essence the two actors in the traditional Game Theory known as a Prisoners Dilemma. According to the rules of logic where each party is concerned with improving its own welfare the solution is always sub optimal. This simply means that whenever the actors in a “game” are attempting to maximize their own welfare they inevitably make choices that are not in their best interest

Note the decision by Hamas to keep on lobbing its ineffective and rudimentary rockets on near by Israeli towns despite the fact that Israel has pulled out its forces and settlements from Gaza over two years ago. I have no doubt in my mind that the Hamas leadership and the greater majority of the 1.5 million Gazans are convinced that these acts are helpful to the Palestinian people. Except that the real calculus makes it very clear that this chosen line of action is very costly on the Palestinian people. Actually the death and destruction brought about through these acts is ultimately a set back to the welfare and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

The same flawed logic is in control of the Israeli side. Israel appears to think that there is only one solution to the Hamas intransigence, a military solution. Israel has chosen, at its peril, not to learn from history that victory at the battlefield does not translate in this case to peaceful relationships with its neighbours. Israel has not learned yet the lesson that many problems in the world do not have a technical solution.

Is it inevitable for the two persons randomly picked up by police and accused of a crime to confess to a crime that they did not commit? Not until they learn to cooperate and stop making decisions based on their own selfish welfare. Unfortunately the exact conditions apply to our protagonists in the current Gaza –Israel quagmire. Both parties need a radical transformation in their priorities, values and mores. Unless they learn to play the game cooperatively then both of them are doomed to stay in the hell that they have created.


Anonymous said...

Do you have an explanation for the behaviour of Hamas, Hezbollah ...
They seem to instigate periodically episodes that bring them nothing but death and destruction. Maybe the membership of these organizations craves death and "martyrdom" but why be the cause of tremendous suffering for the community at large when it is very clear that none of these acts stands a chance of helping the common good?

Andros said...

I think after a while certain situations (like this one) maintain their own momentum, and they become "the norm"--people who grow up in a conflict situation they know little else other than that.

Why would anyone think that firing rockets daily into Israel would be helpful? Why would Israel think that this violent excursion would produce anything more than (perhaps) a temporary reprieve or anything else than bitter enemies?

The suffering of common people has been used as a weapon by leaders to create pressure against their opponents and achieve their ends.

I'm afraid that there are few realistic people on both sides who can see and implement a practical solution. I hope I'm wrong, but unless both sides find a common interest in establishing the peace, no long-lasting solution will take place.