Comments on: Ceasefire declared, but conditions that led to escalation remain Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine Sun, 30 Aug 2015 09:30:35 +0000 hourly 1 By: Richard Witty Thu, 22 Nov 2012 21:17:09 +0000 The most important grave loss of the escapade, a conspiracy between Hamas and likud together, is the utter implausibility now of any political opposition to likud/israel beitanhu.

The primary fault of that, the initiating cause, was of Hamas in escalating beyond minor skirmishes.

Netanyahu and likud/Israel Beitanhu was electorally exposed on the basis of the degradation of international relations resulting from his and his party’s treatment of immediate neighbors and European and most prominently American allies.

The US saved Israel (in influencing Egypt to not join in practice in the attack), and in clearly stating “Israel has a right to defend itself” in the press, UN, world in general, with no ambiguity possible.

By: Richard Witty Thu, 22 Nov 2012 21:10:31 +0000 I agree with your first assessment that it is too soon to tell anything, if “winners/losers” is relevant to anything.

The rest of your analysis seems flawed to me.

Hamas is strengthened relative to Israel and the PA, in that the prospect of denying them a voice in process is eliminated, and resulting from the use of force. (That is the biggest loser, the prospect for talk and reason alone as a basis of negotiation.)

Relative to Egypt, their stature received a large disappointment. From a status two weeks ago of joint declarations that “the siege of Gaza is over”, as a result of the international pressures that Hamas forced onto Egypt, the Rafah crossing was closed, and tunnel destruction was expedited, 180 degrees in variance from Hamas’ requests.

Also, although the PA stature relative to its ability to petition the UN is not diminished in potence, nor in relevance, in the slightest. That is the only path that achieves any sliver of Palestinian sovereignty, of transforming Palestinian international status from non-entity to peer. The Hamas approach leaves Palestine as resistance movement ONLY, and makes sovereignty more remote more than more likely.

The Israeli military has been notably unusually effective, in realizing an almost unimaginably positive ratio of achieved military objectives relative to Israeli casualties and civilian Palestinian casualties.

Finally, the most compelling change politically is the role of Egypt. Hamas assumed that Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt would play the role of loyal solidarity and back it in all its demands. Instead, Muslim Brotherhood Egypt sought the role of Middle East mediator, and privately sought to dissuade Hamas from shelling Israeli civilians, for the prospect that it would be drawn into war with Israel (which it would lose) and alienation and even possibly war with the US.

Things change quickly, hopefully for the better.

For the better must include permanent security from rocket firing from Gaza or elsewhere at Israeli civilians, and establishment of viable Palestinian self-determination.

Hamas has only succeeded in achieving 2 days forward of the 200 year war for the establishment of uninterrupted Islamic sovereignty over the region, and has failed in achieving the decade forward towards mutual acceptance that a negotiated settlement would represent.

The best success that could come out of this, is the recognition of the part of Israel and of the US, of the need to keep the PA effective and accede to its very reasonable goals and conditions.

By: The Trespasser Thu, 22 Nov 2012 14:42:46 +0000 Greg,
If siege would be lifted than there won’t be any reason to be dissatisfied with Hamas.

You perception of the whole Israel/Palestine situation has so little with reality that I don’t even know where to start.

Anyway we’ve already been at “democracy” and “alternatives” stage

By: XYZ Thu, 22 Nov 2012 10:47:18 +0000 One of the HAMAS leaders recently pointed out that running an ongoing, multi-generarational revolutionary war of attrition against Israel and governing a territory where people want a better, more comfortable life was proving more difficult than they had imagined.
Nasser was done in by this contradiction. It could be that Assad is also paying the price now for this. Sadat tried a war, saw the immense cost in spite of a small ‘moral victory’ and threw in the towel and settled for peace. Mubarak realized the same thing and tried to maintain stablized relations with Israel which wouldn’t strain his economy.
HAMAS will learn that they can’t do both things at once. If Mursi thinks he can bring a bankrupt Egypt back up to a war footing, while imposing a radical ideology on his people while promising to imrpove their standard of living at the same time, he won’t last very long either.

By: Greg Pollock Thu, 22 Nov 2012 04:03:13 +0000 You really seem to have no idea what it means to live in a closed economy. If you really want to weaken Hamas in Gaza–open the siege, let the economy create rival factions for support. Let the disastifaction those have for Hamas in Gaza create alternatives. It will not be always easy; but it is impossible now.

And own up to the Israeli State decision to keep Gazans just above starvation.

By: XYZ Thu, 22 Nov 2012 03:53:10 +0000 I am not sure how much the ‘pride’ HAMAS got for firing rockets into Tel Aviv is really worth, politically. Saddam Hussein also fired rockets, much larger rockets with bigger warheads into Tel Aviv. Where is he today? HAMAS carried out far deadlier attacks on Israel during the Oslo suicide bomber war a decade ago. How much closer are they to the final eradication of Israel their charter calls for? If a movement’s prestige is based primarily on how many enemy civilians it can kill, how does this pay off in achieving its ultimate goals?

By: Aaron Gross Thu, 22 Nov 2012 03:48:44 +0000 That was kind of a disappointing analysis. For all the talk of political maps and long-term effects, the main operational goal is forgotten: to stop the rocket attacks on southern Israel. The operation was a success so far. Nobody expects the cease-fire to last forever, but if it lasts for two or three years, then this operation was an unqualified success.

One of the main questions on the “political map” is the change in Egypt’s relation to Gaza. Israel has, or should have, the strategic goal of getting Egypt to take more responsibility for Gaza. Morsi spoke of how the Gazans and Egyptians are brothers, Egypt can’t leave Gaza on its own, etc. Israel should act strategically to make Morsi’s words a reality.

Agreed on the importance of Iron Dome for the operation’s success, but luck was a big part as well: there was no Qana type accident.

Kudos go to Netanyahu, Barak, and the other leaders of the operation.

By: The Trespasser Thu, 22 Nov 2012 03:19:38 +0000 Cease fire is not bad for the military as well – will give time to improve and set up additional Iron Dome systems.

This operation had shown that although Hamas has ability to hit Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, such ability is severely constrained by the Iron Dome.

Basically, Hamas had lost one last tool to pressure on Israel.

Not being able to cause ANY damage at all to your enemy makes waging any of war really problematic.

By: JKNoReally Thu, 22 Nov 2012 02:41:15 +0000 This is THE BEST outcome analysis so far – except that the prescription at the end is a contradiction in terms; Hamas’ idea of achieving “dignity” and “justice” for Palestinians requires many more escalations against Israel. Unfortunately, there is no diplomatic solution to Israel’s rocket problem, least of all one that concedes more freedom of movement to Gazans. Noam takes a respectable stand in favor of leniency for its own sake, but he tests our credulity too much by suggesting it will improve Israel’s security. The truth is that Israel has no good choices now, and must recognize that America is changing its priorities. Cultivating a stable relationship with Morsy is now more important than resolving Israel’s long-term exposure to rockets. Obama will do what is necessary to preserve the Egyptian President’s prestige, at Israel’s expense. Signaling his willingness to restrain Israel’s ground operations in the future, as he has just done, and pressuring Israel to accept the Ikhwans terms, are just the beginning. Much more will be done to shift the balance of power in Hamas’ favor for the sake of “stability.”

By: Greg Pollock Thu, 22 Nov 2012 02:38:04 +0000 I think Iron Dome pivotal for the reason you state: its success reduced pressure for an immediate, necessary invasion. I also think the US was pivotal, and I doubt there would be this cease fire attempt if we were waiting for a Romney Presidency. Bibi was undoubtedly heavily pressured by a 4 years to go President, as Clinton’s time in Cairo flags. Egypt under an Islamic Presidency is unwilling to ignore the blockade (it seems), which fits into (Democratic) American reasoning that the siege induces violent response and creates unending economic subordinace. (What possible reason could there be, security wise, for forbidding EXPORTS from Gaza?)

I would like to know how much Iron Dome has cost Israel these weeks; I think that should be made public, and I think US aid should accelerate placing more Dome batteries online.

Egypt is right that the seige must be lifted, which means Egypt will have to, with yet more American aid, be able to police products through their gate. IF Hamas can control its territory (not its MEN, a different thing), there is chance that the Israelis will find it much harder to contain the economic aspirations of 1.7 million people as it had done to date. Both Egypt and Hamas will be tested; the price of failure is American withdrawal, I suspect.

Again: limited evidence from the media suggests to me that the Obama Administration has concluded their inaction on Cast Lead was a mistake, but they are now, given what I think is a willing partner in an Islamic Egytian President, ready to try and ease the siege. Bibi likely is unhappy, waiting for Hamas to fail to control its territory–no mean feat, given the fractured network nature of Islamic Jihad, some Hamas, and who knows who else on the ground.