Israel once again finds itself fighting in Gaza.
The reason's fairly simple. The lust for Jewish blood among a substantial number of the Arabs who identify themselves as Palestinians is simply their strongest impulse, their raison d'être. There is no peace, because one side simply wants the other dead.
There is not a single Israeli civilian or soldier in Gaza today, not since Israel removed the 8,000 Jewish residents who had lived there over 30 years from their homes and gave it to the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians as a sacrifice 'for peace.'
The Palestinians could have built whatever kind of society they wanted in Gaza. But even before Hamas took over, Gaza's main export to Israel was terrorism. Israel, with Egypt's assistance, maintained a blockade on Gaza to curtail the import of heavy weapons, usually emanating from Iran that saved Israeli lives, but cost Israel deeply when it came to the 'international community', who always seem to have special rules when it comes to Israel defending itself. The carnage emanating from Gaza has slowed at times, but literally thousands of rockets, mortar shells and terrorist strikes have emanated from Gaza, and they've never ended. Israelis became used to running for shelter, especially in the south:
This latest onslaught saw over 100 rockets in 24 hours rained down on Israel, and with Hamas rejecting offers from Israel of 'quiet for quiet', that's where we stand now. The Israelis have carried out a number of decisive strikes and have called up 42,000 reserves, while Hamas has launched missiles at central Israel, at Jerusalem, and at Tel Aviv, a step they had to know was going to provoke an Israeli ground response.
So what's the story behind the story? Why is Hamas going for broke now, and what does it mean? Whether Israel realizes it or not, they are facing the Third Intifada, although how it unfolds is still developing. Of course, it doesn't look like previous intifadas because circumstances and tactics have changed. But the end goal is the same. And the chief strategist isn't Hamas, but Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas has been isolated by Israel and the new Egyptian government of al-Sisi, who has declared Hamas' parent movement the Muslim Brotherhood an illegal terrorist organization. Weapons coming in from Iran have slowed considerably, and money is tight. A sign of this was the attempt by Hamas ally Robert Serry, the supposedly neutral UN Mideast envoy to illegally funnel $20 million to Hamas in Gaza from Qatar.
The current Hamas and Fatah unity government agreement came about, mostly on Abbas' terms, because of Hamas' sharply reduced fortunes, while Abbas has the UN, the Obama Administration and the EU funding and backing him, even with Hamas now on his team. According to my sources, part of the negotiations also involved joint efforts towards the goal both Hamas and Fatah agree on, the destruction of Israel.
The Israelis, already outraged at the unity agreement and the West's apparent willingness to fund a murderous terrorist group like Hamas were further energized by the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas operatives, whose mutilated bodies were found shoved into a hole near Hebron. In response, the Israelis began to obliterate the Hamas infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.
But then, the subsequent murder of Arab teen Mohammed Abu Kheidr by what appear to be a trio of Jewish football hooligans suddenly presented Hamas and Fatah with a golden opportunity. It was used as a signal to launch what had already been planned. Vast riots, violence and destruction took place throughout Israel egged on by Fatah while Hamas stepped up its rocket and mortar attacks.
Hamas also had plans to join Fatah in the ground attack on Israel itself. They had a huge tunnel dug from Rafah under Israel's border fence for a massive planned assault on Israeli communities in the south, and tried an amphibious attack on Israel's coast. Both attacks were repulsed with heavy losses. Meanwhile, Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system and the IDF’s air strikes on Hamas' infrastructure were even more effective than Hamas had planned on and that Israel had hoped.
Israel's 'peace partner' Mahmoud Abbas has also been doing his part. Fatah has several hundred militiamen in Gaza, including members of the Palestinian Authority security forces who have their salaries paid by Western governments. They have eagerly joined in firing rockets at Israel's civilians. Abbas has done nothing to stop them.
Abbas has several huge assets his old boss Yasser Arafat could only have dreamed about, and they're key to understanding what's being planned. First and foremost, in Barack Hussein Obama, Abbas has a president in the White House who loathes Israel and who sees himself as Palestine's community organizer.
Second, even though Mahmoud Abbas was Arafat's right hand man when it came to terrorism, he was always more of a back room strategist and facilitator. Abbas was content to be the man behind Arafat, leaving the spotlight to the ranting old coward. Because he stayed in the background, he can now be presented as 'moderate Abbas', Israel's so-called peace partner and gifted with millions in aid money and concessions. Even the theft of much of that money by Abbas and the Fatah old guard, the partnership with the genocidal Hamas and the corrupt and anti-democratic rule of Fatah have not been allowed to get in the way of this narrative
And finally, the seeming separation of Hamas and Fatah is a major advantage. Not only can Mahmoud Abbas present himself as a 'moderate' alternative compared to Hamas. Abbas can talk vitriol and hatred towards Israel in Arabic ( or have his surrogates do it) to gin up the crowds while presenting himself as a peace maker to President Obama and the EU. With Hamas now officially part of his team and Abbas controlling the purse strings, his ability to mouth pleasantries about peace while orchestrating violence and war against Israel at the same time is enhanced in a way Arafat's never really was.
During this Third Intifada, Abbas has never once seen fit to condemn the Fatah-driven Arab violence in Israel or the Hamas rocket attacks, or to call for calm. With Hamas now losing the war it started, Abbas has opened up his second front:
He contacted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and got him to issue a statement demanding that Israel exercise 'maximum restraint':
"I firmly condemn the multiple rocket attacks launched from Gaza on Israel. Such attacks are unacceptable and must stop."
"I also urged (Israeli) Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu to exercise maximum restraint and to respect international obligations to protect civilians. I condemn the rising number of civilian lives lost in Gaza," he said.
Maximum restraint, against an enemy firing missiles at its civilian population, an enemy who attempted to cause thousands of civilian casualties by targeting Dimona, where Israel's nuclear plant reportedly is?
And you'll notice Ban Ki-moon isn't condemning Hamas for using civilians as human shields, not that Hamas would care anyway, By the way, that's a major violation of the Geneva Convention that the Hamas-Fatah unity government is now a signatory to and promised to abide by. Ban himself took their application.
Ban convened a special meeting of the Security Council , but of course, the Palestinian violation of the Geneva Accords wasn't a topic of conversation. Instead, the talk is all about a ceasefire that leaves Hamas and its weaponry in place. Even President Obama suddenly called Israeli PM Netanyahu after weeks of silence, offering to mediate a truce to protect Hamas.
Abbas even had the gall to accuse Israel of 'genocide' against the Palestinian people
“It’s genocide — the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people,” he told the meeting of Palestinian leadership at his Ramallah bureau. “What’s happening now is a war against the Palestinian people as a whole and not against the factions.”
“Shall we recall Auschwitz?” he added.
Those words are almost comical in their hypocrisy to anyone who knows anything about Mahmoud Abbas' long history as a Holocaust denier.
Genocide? Imagine what the death toll would be if the IDF wasn’t dropping warning leaflets in advance and doing their best to avoid civilian deaths in an environment where Hamas is hiding behind those civilians in order to do their best to kill Israeli ones.
Ironically, it’s Abbas who has applied for 'Palestine' join the International Criminal Court (ICC) where he plans to charge Israel with war crimes in a sympathetic EU environment.
That's the strategy Abbas and his Hamas partners are going to use in the Third Intifada to attack Israel ..terrorist strikes, sabotage and Arab riots in Israel, continued rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza, and increasing diplomatic and legal assaults via the 'International community'.
Here's how Israel can defeat it.
First of all, a ground assault and the defeat of Hamas is a necessity. It won't be pretty, it will not be without cost and it will require Israel to take steps that the usual suspects won't like. But there really is no choice.
Israel doesn't have the luxury of leaving Hamas in place with a secure base to attack her from. This time, the rocket fire penetrated much further north than expected into central Israel. The attempted attack on Dimona, the suspected site of Israel's nuclear facility was nothing less than a real attempt at genocide by Hamas, which fortunately failed. And now that Hamas has demonstrated it can attack the populated areas of Israel, can Israel afford to roll the dice that they'll get lucky again when the next outbreak of attacks by Hamas occurs in a year or so?
Hamas simply cannot be allowed to hang on to its weaponry. The only conditions under which Israel should even consider a ceasefire is demilitarization, with Israel in charge of making sure it's carried out, and an insistence by Israel of the non-recognition of the Hamas-Fatah unity government by the UN, EU and the other western powers. Since that’s unlikely, the next step is to destroy Hamas militarily, and that will take boots on the ground. For all of Israel's attempts to minimize civilian causalities, they are going to occur in fighting an enemy who uses civilians as human shields. Nevertheless, it should be done as quickly as possible, and Hamas' leaders either killed or arrested, tried and imprisoned.
Since Hamas is embedded in Gaza City with a large civilian population, the quickest and easiest way to defeat Hamas is not to send tanks and ground forces into the streets of the city itself, but to drop leaflets giving Hamas 24 hours to surrender and then cut off the water, electricity, food shipments and communications lines to the city while continuing pinpoint air strikes and using loud speakers to demand that Hamas allow the civilians to evacuate. The lack of water in particular will force Hamas to come out to fight on Israel's choice of terrain, not theirs. And Hamas will be defeated and decimated.
At that point, Mahmoud Abbas will likely demand that Gaza be turned over to him. That demand should be refused outright. Instead, Gaza should be annexed by Israel, and at least half to two thirds of its population either transferred to Area A, the part of Judea and Samaria under Arab occupation and ruled by Abbas. Or perhaps some of them could be sent to Egyptian jurisdiction for a suitable quid pro quo by Israel. Gaza, over time can be repopulated with Jews, who will make it the Singapore it always had the potential to be. Repatriation of foreign nationals to their country of origin is not against the Fourth Geneva Convention per se, especially since the UN, to all intents and purposes is treating Palestine like a state. But if necessary, Israel should resign from the Convention, since no one they are likely to be fighting with in the future honors it anyway.
Israel needs to take some advice from an unlikely source, President Obama's White House Mideast chief, Phillip Gordon. This piece of work was speaking at a conference put on by the far Leftist paper Ha'aretz in Tel Aviv Wednesday, and blamed Israel (of course!) for not being serious about peace while rockets were actually hitting the city:
“How will Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank? How will it have peace if it’s unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security and dignity?
As an ironic side note, the conference itself had to be moved because of the rocket attacks by Israel's 'peace partners.'
Still, as stupid, bigoted and offensive as Green is, he's actually on to something.Israel does need to delineate a border and allow the Palestinians sovereignty.The only problem is allowing Palestine's unelected dictator Mahmoud Abbas any part in it. The Israelis are constantly told in tones that suggest a used car salesman desperate to close a sale that this is the most moderate Palestinian leader Israel is ever likely to get. If that's true, than the real problem is that Israel actually has no peace partner. It might occur to Green and his ilk that this is the reason why years of negotiations have failed, not Israel's intransigence. Abbas is no Anwar Sadat.
Delineating a border and Palestinian sovereignty are excellent ideas, but it will need to be done by Israel.Once Hamas is militarily defeated, Israel can mark out its borders in Judea and Samaria, annex those areas and relocate any Jews living outside them to Israel, while repatriating any Arab non-citizens living in the Israeli areas to the new borders of Palestine, perhaps with some financial compensation. That’s certainly more than the Arabs gave the almost one million Jews they ethnically cleansed from their countries after 1948.
The ironic thing is that while Abbas will now have the contiguous, Jew free reichlet he wanted, something will become apparent quite quickly.The only real chance for Palestinian sovereignty was always close relations with Israel. 'Palestine' under Arafat and Abbas has always been a corrupt kleptocracy and an international welfare case. All of Palestine's useful infrastructure, the schools, the hospitals, Bir Zeit University, even the zoos were all built by Israel.Fatah has never been able to govern and 'Palestine' will almost certainly collapse anyway in short order unless it gets funding from the EU, the Saudis or Qatar, and they all have other places to spend their money.
At that point of collapse, a new generation of Palestinian leaders may very well be a position to change things, although I have my doubts. In the meantime, 'Palestine' is unfortunately going to have to be treated not as a neighbor but as a hostile entity to be closely watched, and told in no uncertain terms that any aggression, lawfare or otherwise will lead to serious consequences. That’s how a hostile divorce works. They brought this on themselves.
The usual suspects from the international community will certainly squawk, but all one has to do is look at their behavior over the past few years to realize that anything Israel does to protect itself is going to get an adverse reaction. For all their condemnations of Palestinian violence directed against Israel, they were still prepared to support and finance a government containing Hamas as a partner, an organization all of them admit is a terrorist group. They are doing it as I write these words.
But between the EU's financial crisis and the difficulties with Syria, Iran and Iraq, the international community has its hands full. They will voice the usual, expected sentiments, but the fact that there is actually a Palestinian state in part of Area A will mitigate much of it as some time goes by. They have other,much more serious concerns and are will move on after a few weeks.
It is Israel's responsibility alone to defend its people and ensure their national rights, especially given the genocidal enemies they face. Anyone who quibbles at this should remember all of the supposedly iron clad guarantees Israel was given when it retreated from Gaza by United States, the EU and UN, all whom pledged that Gaza would never be allowed to become a security threat to Israel. In the end, none of those guarantees were worth the paper they were written on, and the same thing is true about any proposed security guarantees on Judea and Samaria today.
Many in Israel have an unvoiced, guilty realization as the rockets fall on Israel. They know now that Oslo was a huge mistake, and that ripping 8,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza was not the panacea they thought it was, but an immoral, hateful act that led to the war Israel finds itself in today. I take no pleasure in saying this, but everything those of us predicted who opposed the 'disengagement' has come to pass, and it has left Israel with a choice - to rule Gaza or to suffer repeated carnage from those whom inhabit it now who want every Jew is Israel dead.
That is the truth of the matter, and Israel will have to face up to it if they wish to live in peace.