The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
The current fighting between Israel and Hamas may have been ignited by the kidnap/murder of three young Israelis and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager. Yet the ensuing drama over the abortive Egyptian-inspired cease-fire suggests that there was much more involved. And the great disparity in the damage each side has been able to inflict on the other indicates that Israel has perhaps figured out how, in pursuing its goals, to maximize its advantage as a modern military power while avoiding a direct and costly confrontation with Hamas on Hamas’s home turf.
Hamas, openly advocating the destruction of Israel, has long chafed under the blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza. To be sure, underground tunnels permitted a substantial flow of goods, yet the restrictions have been such as to seriously dampen the Gazan economy. Lately, this has been all the more pronounced given the post-Morsi Egyptian government’s destruction of most of the tunnels and its closing of the Egypt-Gaza border. And Israel’s incarceration of relatively large numbers of Hamas members involved in terrorism has been a constant source of embarrassment and a continuing threat to Hamas’s rule.
Further, Hamas has recently been suffering from unprecedented weakness. Heretofore it was allied with Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran and could count on them, especially Iran and Syria, for replenishment of their rocket arsenal – the main weapon Hamas has in its attempts to challenge Israel. Yet Hamas has broken with Iran over Syria and plainly has to be concerned about maintaining its missile inventory.
So Hamas needed a way to end the blockade and secure the release of its prisoners. It had to create a crisis with Israel that would lead to negotiations with, and concessions from, Israel. And the only vehicle to bring this about was to shower Israeli cities with the rockets Hamas had in great abundance. This is not to say Hamas didn’t expect to pay a heavy price in civilian and infrastructure damage wrought by the IDF. But it was doubtless also counting on goading Israel into a ground invasion that would be ultimately indecisive, result in IDF casualties, and lead to a negotiated cease-fire – with each side having to make concessions.
It is revealing that the principal reasons given by Hamas leaders for rejecting the Egyptian cease-fire proposal was that it did not guarantee an end to the Gaza blockade or call for the release of Hamas prisoners held by Israel. Of course, Hamas never counted on the extraordinary success of the Iron Dome system that largely neutralized the rocket attacks and thus removed from the equation Hamas’s only real source of leverage.
On the other hand, for Israel the stakes were also quite high. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s invitation to Hamas to join his government accorded legitimacy to an organization seen as a terrorist outfit by much of the civilized world. It also meant that a possible Hamas takeover of the PA was a new reality that complicated an already difficult situation.
As Prime Minister Netanyahu said last week,
We need to understand one fact: We are living in a Middle East that is being taken over by radical Islam, leading to the collapse of a number of countries and [these Islamists] knocking on our doors both in the North and the South. I say we cannot allow a situation where we get Gaza in Judea and Samaria.… Today I think that Israel’s citizens understand why I say all the time that there cannot be a situation in any agreement that we will give up security control from the Jordan River westward. I don’t want to create another 20 Gazas in Judea and Samaria.
And Mr. Netanyahu explained his reasons for accepting a cease-fire with Hamas:
We agreed to the Egyptian proposal in order to give the opportunity to deal with demilitarization of the strip from missiles, rockets and tunnels through diplomatic means. But if Hamas does not accept the cease-fire proposal, as it looks now, Israel will have all the international legitimacy in order to achieve the desired quiet.
Mr. Netanyahu’s apparent reluctance to send ground troops into Gaza should not necessarily be taken as a sign that he is willing to accept a continuing threat to Israelis to fester there. The punishing air attacks have created a significant deterrence factor given the current inability of Hamas to materially pierce the Iron Dome veil. Deploying the IDF to Gaza, however, would put Israelis at risk and provide Hamas the leverage the Iron Dome has denied them.
And while current Iron Dome technology may not be as effective the next time around, there will be constant research and development to keep it at a cutting-edge level. The lesson of Operation Protective Edge is that Israel’s playing to its own strengths can work – and save a lot of lives in the process.
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U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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