Beyond the Cusp

October 30, 2014

Crisis in American Israeli Relations

 

There is reporting of a crisis in the relations between the United States and Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The American people continue to support Israel by almost three to one. The United States military and other intelligence services and Israeli intelligence services continue to exchange vital information as before. Military to military exchanges between the two powers remain intact. The American Congress and Israeli Knesset appear to continue to exchange mostly friendly exchanges. About the sole rough spot in Israel United States relations is restricted to the Obama Administration’s regards towards Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and other leaders from the Israeli coalition. This is not something even remotely a new news as the difficulties first instance of the potential for difficulties was evidenced by the very first phone conversation President Obama chose to make from the Oval Office immediately after his first inauguration in January of 2009. One could have assumed from the fact that that first phone call was with Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority which is not even representative of an actual nation, before President Obama made any calls to former friends or enemies. This could be classified as the initial shot across the bow of the Israelis that they were in for some rough times while President Obama remained in the White House. But this was far from the sole action which signaled the difficulties which have only escalated since.

 

When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made his initial trips to the White House he was made to enter and leave through side and rear doors and President Obama refused to make a joint press appearance with the Israeli leader during the first half of his initial term. The next notable evidence of trouble with President Obama and his opinions and relations with the Israelis came during an open microphone conversation between President Obama and then French President Sarkozy where President Sarkozy stated commenting on his feelings and attitudes of the Israeli Prime Minister, “I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.” President Obama responded in kind stating, “You’re tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him every day.” This exchange was not reported initially in the Israeli media or within the United States media both for the identical reason, to protect President Obama and avoid causing any embarrassment or difficulties for the American administration. The initial reports came out of Europe and not necessarily initially the French but then the story spread worldwide. All of these amongst a few others which were more minor indiscretions largely from the White House with an occasional unhelpful retort from members of the Israeli leadership within and even outside of the ruling coalition but never from the Prime Minister’s office. There was also the revelation that the United States had been recording the phone conversations of numerous Israeli government members, particularly Ministers who held portfolios in the Prime Minister’s cabinet. As this became known there were numerous claims released in the American mainstream media reporting suspected Israeli spying on the White House and military leadership which the Israelis mostly refused comment and simply hoped both sides of the crisis in relations would simply pass.

 

During the reelection campaign between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney there were rumors that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was actively supporting Romney against President Obama. These rumors persisted despite Prime Minister Netanyahu consistently telling media sources in response to these accusations that he supported neither side and was ready and willing to work with whoever would become the next American President. This is evident with even the most casual of internet or news source queries. After reelection the relationship appeared to remain thawed as during the lead up to his reelection bid, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu actually began to meet before the media and the Prime Minister was permitted to enter through the main entrance to the White House. This thaw did hit some rough spots. One such was when President Obama refused to allow the arrangement of a meeting in New York when both were to be at the ceremonies for the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations despite the reality where President Obama had time to appear on The View. There have been other dust-ups between the two government leadership and both the President and the Prime Minister have made efforts to minimize their differences and mutual dislike.

 

At no point am I about to claim that Prime Minister Netanyahu has any great amount of ardor for President Obama though I suspect that there are a number of members of the Israeli government who have far less affection for President Obama than does Prime Minister Netanyahu. The recent blow-up has been building for some time and much is based on demands from the American Administration that the Israeli government ignores their people and instead simply complies and simply blindly meets the demands of the Americans even at the risk of the Israeli people or even the existence of the entire nation of Israel. This is the point where Prime Minister Netanyahu refused to enter and relations began to hit what may prove a fatal turn southward. It started with the recent abduction of three Israeli teens and their subsequent murder by three Hamas terrorists. Israel loosed the IDF to overturn anything and everything in their efforts to locate and hopefully, prayerfully find the three teens alive and well. After weeks of searching they finally located the three teens’ corpses in a shallow grave at the periphery of the search areas. Israel released the identities of the men who perpetrated the abduction and murder but the Palestinian Authority refused to arrest and release the suspects to Israel. There was the abduction and murder of a Palestinian youth committed by three Israeli teens led by a mentally challenged youth. All three have been arrested and face potentially life sentences and their trials are to be held. This was followed by steadily increasing barrages of rockets out of Gaza fired by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and allied terrorists into southern and central Israel as far north as Haifa and including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and their surrounding neighborhoods. Almost ninety percent of Israelis came within the range of these barrages and warning sirens sounded throughout the day throughout Israel. The ensuing conflict lasted fifty days and a final peace has yet to be hammered out.

 

During the repeating ceasefires, which often were refused or broken soon after their initiation by Hamas, United States Secretary of State presented the plan approved by President Obama and the State Department for a final settlement of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and allies. The proposal presented by Secretary Kerry would have granted Hamas virtually every last item they had demanded while granting Israel nothing more than a cease of hostilities. Fortunately for the Israeli public, the Iron Dome anti-missile system produced through extensive Israeli research and development detected and determined almost flawlessly which projectiles would strike populated regions and intercepted approaching or over ninety percent of those determined to pose threats to life. Even more fantastic was one rocket which was determined to strike central Tel Aviv, which would have potentially killed as many as multiple thousands of Israelis, was attempted to be intercepted by Iron Dome with three anti-missile launches which all missed. The Iron Dome crew alerted emergency services and had already given them the area where the projectile was computed to strike. By a miracle the wind apparently gusted sufficiently to toss the projectile miles to the west falling harmlessly in the Mediterranean Sea. Many, myself included, do not believe any amount of wind could send a rocket that far from its course that late in its trajectory and instead fully believe this was a miracle and a blessing. There was no reason to throw away such a sign and even less reason to accept the complete surrender proposed by Secretary of State Kerry on behalf of President Obama and his advisors. Despite it becoming immediately obvious that Israel was not going to agree with the plan presented by Secretary Kerry and supported, if not originating with, Qatar, Iran and Turkey did not prevent the Obama Administration advisors from continuing even to the present to try pushing that plan. What makes this even more interesting was the rejection of this plan by Egypt who, along with Israel, continued to sponsor the only rational peace agreement which slowly Hamas has come to realize that the Qatari, Iranian, Turkish and Obama sponsored plan is dead especially as Egypt also refuses to accept it and they also have a say in this ceasefire as it affects the Sinai Peninsula.

 

Recent news has reported another development which also defines the trouble with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the numerous other terrorist entities in Gaza and Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and the Muslim Brotherhood, the founding parent organization of Hamas, with the Egyptian leadership. These reports tell of the Egyptians have given thousands of Gazans a matter of hours rather than weeks to move from their homes which are close to the Gaza Sinai Peninsula border as Egypt will be destroying their homes to establish a wider no-go zone in order to prevent further attacks against Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula has recently made the news. The Egyptians are also planning to dig a very deep trench to medial tunnel depth and open the trench to the Mediterranean Sea filling it with water. This is designed to prevent infiltrations into the Sinai and to prevent further smuggling of people and provisions in or out of Gaza from the Sinai. Egypt has also prevented Gaza fisherman from fishing in Egyptian waters. The Egyptians have also presented a ceasefire agreement plan between Israel and Hamas and friends which Israel has accepted and had accepted during the first week of fighting when the death toll was less than fifty Gazans. Hamas insisted on the continuation of the violence and intentionally placed as many Gazan citizens in harm’s way as conceivable leading to the approximate thousand Gazan civilians who died during the conflict as well as the approximate thousand Hamas and other terrorist combatants who were killed.

 

With the Israeli leadership refusing the proposed ceasefire proposal authorized and supported by the Obama Administration the sensitivities were increased and tensions reached new heights. The verbal exchange between administrations can likely be traced to Israeli Minister of Defense who privately stated that he thought Secretary of State Kerry was “obsessive and messianic” which was subsequently leaked to the Israeli media which then rushed to make it known publically and probably internationally. This led to the recent denial for Israeli Minister of Defense Ya’alon meetings with top United States Administration personnel during his recent visit to Washington. Within the week the dustup ran off the scale with a White House nameless high official stating to the media that Israeli Prime Minister was a, “chickens%*t” in addition to other references such as, “recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery’,” which was, needless to say, immediately printed and made copy and into the news the next immediate morning. Now the accusations are trapesing their way across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean between Jerusalem and Washington. This is all on top of the rising ire within the Israeli population over the finally admitted silent building freeze which Prime Minister Netanyahu had been enforcing in response to demands and pressures from President Obama so as to prevent any construction, despite his coalition was demanding, beyond the Green Line or in East Jerusalem. Prime Minister Netanyahu has finally been forced to allow minimal building inside the Israeli Capital City, Jerusalem, both within existing predominately Jewish neighborhoods from a tender which was initially approved back in 2010. These apartments will be made available to Jews, Druze, Arabs, Christians, Muslims or any other Israeli citizen. That does not matter to the American Administration, the mainstream media or the rest of the blame Israel as racist and the source of all worldly problems by various peoples and groups, and their numbers are legion.

 

The one thing I can promise about this escalation, this too will pass, even if it takes another election after the coming midterms. The cooperation between United States and Israeli intelligence agencies will continue, the cooperation for the most part between the United States military and the Israeli Defense Forces will continue, the difficulties with the White House will calm but remain at a heightened level for the rest of the Obama Presidency, but that will prove not to be all that much more evident or as an impediment than it has until now, and there will be more bromides and accusations mostly emanating from Washington but also from Jerusalem, just none attributable to either leader, unless there is yet one more open microphone incident. There may still be another meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu but if so it will be more akin to the earlier child receptions and please use the back door than the openness which existed for the past few years. There will also very likely be an election in Israel before the end of President Obama’s second term and even well before the next election cycle in the United States. The Israeli election may once again see Democrat Party functionaries and electioneering experts in Israel assisting the Labor Party, Meretz Party and any other left leaning Israeli political party with their efforts to replace Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Likud Party control. What might work to surprise the United States emissaries on the morning after election day is that if they do manage to hurt the Likud Party sufficiently that it does not gain a plurality and another party is given the nod to try to form a coalition, it just might be a party which is even more conservative and Zionist than Likud has proven under Prime Minister Netanyahu leadership. The efforts might actually prove to put in place a government which will build steadily and consistently placing more and more facts on the ground and there is a potential that the next government may not care what the world thinks such building is doing to the chances for peace as they will tell the world something they already know but refuse to admit, the reason there has not been peace is not because Israel was not ready for peace but because the world kept up the pretense that the Palestinian leadership desired peace and continued to pump money to their cause in the hope they would eventually win the only peace they desire, the destruction of Israel. That is the one statement Prime Minister once got perfectly right when he announced before the Knesset in response to one of the Arab Ministers who claimed that the Palestinians were here before the Jews and would be here after the Jews were gone and he replied the former was inaccurate and the later would never happen.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 30, 2014

What Palestinian Unity Government Will Yield

The universally touted ceasefire, ironed out in Cairo, approved by the United States, fashioned and agreed to by Hamas and Israel, is a disaster described as a permanent peace. The central pivotal concept centers on placing the management of the reconstruction of the Gaza infrastructure and rebuilding of homes, schools mosques and other structures to the newly formed Palestinian unity government. This merging of Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the Palestinian Authority has been perceived by the European Union, the individual European governments, the United States and the majority of the rest of the world as well as the United Nations as an empowering of Mahmoud Abbas. This is considered a great leap forward towards resolving the Israeli Palestinian problem as now Gaza has been reunited with and under the control of the Palestinian Authority, the presumed Israeli partner for peace. The assumption prevalent behind this line of thought is that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have surrendered and are the weaker components of this merging and that the Palestinian Authority will continue to proceed with Mahmoud Abbas at its head. These expectations also theorize that the secular centric political makeup from Fatah will prevail over the Islamist bend of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their fellow jihadists both in Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). This optimistic view ignores much of recent events and historic evidence. Ignoring any possibility that their expectations and assumptions may be imperfect, the western nations led by the United States, United Nations and European union are going full speed ahead pressuring Israel to revive the peace process and assist in building the newly untied Palestinian state with Mahmoud Abbas at its head. The only problem is these Pollyannish visions are as far from reality as humanly possible.

 

Apparently everybody has decided to ignore the coup attempt, which Israeli intelligence assisted by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) prevented by arresting some ninety-three Hamas and related Islamists who were the core behind this planned taking control of the new unity government by the Islamist forces which have ruled in Gaza since the 2007 coup. The difference between the Hamas coup success in Gaza against the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas and their United States trained security forces and their recent failed attempt at a coup in the West Bank failed solely due to Israeli intervention. Remove the Shin Bet and IDF and their intelligence abilities and leave the entirety of the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control as any comprehensive peace and establishment of a Palestinian state would produce and the next Islamist coup would end Palestinian Authority rule and place the leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad or others into control of all the Palestinian areas, both West Bank and Gaza. The real question that needs to be resolved before the formation of any Palestinian state had to be how to prevent the Islamists from taking control of that state by force a mere months or weeks or even days or hours after its formation and the removal of Israeli forces from those areas. The solutions which have suggested such things as having United Nations or European Union troops as the inspectors and monitors responsible for preventing further violence and terrorism once the Palestinian state has been formed would be a joke if the unavoidable disaster they would cause would not be so costly for Israel. The problem is when Europeans were presumably given the task of monitoring just the Rafah crossings after the disengagement by Israel under Western pressure in August of 2005, they deserted their position within weeks, spend a few more weeks hiding in their Tel Aviv hotel rooms before fleeing back to Europe never to be seen again and immediately before the 1967 Arab Israeli war which became known as the Six Day War was preceded by the removal of all the United Nations monitors from the Sinai Peninsula simply at the request of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Why should Israel now put any faith in these very same enforcers of a peaceful compliance by any future Palestinian state considering their past dire and complete failures? None of these self-anointed paragons of virtue and keepers of the peace would ever rely on such shaky guarantees when their own safety is in the balance, so why should Israel act any differently. These insignificant concerns, at least to the Western nations according to their beliefs, are being ignored and the Israelis are chided and cast as untrusting and acting counter to those necessary to form a lasting peace. But what would such a future Palestinian state allowed to be formed as the Western and other world interests are now demanding act, especially towards Israel, Europe and its Arab neighbors, in the immediate and on into the future times?

 

Any Palestinian state forced into existence against Israeli better judgment, which is often very different than the official government position and sometimes, as in the recent acceptance of the ceasefire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the government may hold the better judgment while the Prime Minister finds their own path independent from the advisories and desires of the rest of the government and even the people of Israel, will likely not produce anything close to the rosy pictures painted by those governments and others pushing their ideas on Israel. Unfortunately, as we depicted in yesterday’s article, there are those amongst the Israeli political elite who have become beaten down by the constant conflicts and pressures from supposed allies who have often pressured these political leaders to take risks and trust their promises, which almost universally fell apart, and were unmet leaving Israel facing predicaments which were unnecessary, thus leaving them ready, even anxious, to just take the path offered and avoid the aspersions and internecine arguments which in the past have combined to remove their ability to stand strong with an unbendingly strong spine and superhuman spirit which they had so many times in the past prevailed with in similar pressured political conflicts. Should that thus far and blessedly unrealized Palestinian state now be finally realized, it will very probably be less than a year before any security arrangement and any monitoring force outside the IDF, the one security option uniformly rejected by every Palestinian leader including those from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and also the Palestinian Authority, the force of reason, would have been removed or ended with claims that they were no longer necessary. The reality would be they were becoming too dangerous or costly to continue and fell victim to Palestinian pressures and violent opposition. This would be the necessary precursor to the overthrow of any secular and acceptable governance put in place by any agreement which is currently being proposed and will soon be forced upon Israel. Within weeks, months at the most, after the dissolution of any security and monitoring arrangement that Islamists from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and even forces under Iranian control will take over the Palestinian state through a coup and finally the Islamist forces will have attained their dream of complete control over all of the contested regions. Once the Islamist coup replaces the secularist Palestinian government any idea of a supposed coexistence with Israel dies a hard and permanent death. While Israel would then have the “I told you so right”, that would prove to be of little consolation as Israel would be facing a foreboding and also apocalyptic threat. Any expectation of the same nations and other world organization which gave Israel the litany of guarantees and promises assuring Israeli security and safety be assured would be senseless as the complete litany of guarantors would be whistling innocently and strolling off while professing to see no evil, hear no evil, but they may start to speak some evil as they claim to perceive absolutely no real problem and continue to demand that Israel act as if no threat exists.

 

There would be emergency meetings held all complaining that they had been forced into session from Israeli paranoid alarmism and would call for renewed calm and see no reason for actions or precautions of any kind. When the eventual and unavoidable initial aggressions such as rocket launchings came from both Gaza and the entirety of the Judean hills overlooking central Israel, such as have been witnessed emanating from Gaza, the world would demand that both sides show restraint as they also ended all flights into Ben Gurion International Airport for security and safety reasons. The conflicting signals would be brushed aside claiming that Israeli alarmist complaints were unwarranted as there had been no or relatively few Israeli casualties resulting from the unaimable rockets and any threats had been intercepted by the Iron Dome systems while their interruption in air service to Israel due to the perceived potential dangers to flights into and out of Ben Gurion International Airport were temporary and were no definitive comment on the level of danger of the situation. This is the identical reaction to the terrorist threat Israel faces currently and throughout her brief history. Ever since the Israel shockingly quick victory in the Six Day War the world had taken the position that Israel is not under any dire threat from the surrounding Arab nations or their terror proxies and thus should not react in any overt manner to any threats they may pose. This has been most evidenced in most of the interactions by the United States, especially the Department of State, in every attempt to reach an agreement after every incursion into violence by Palestinian terror forces. This was again made apparent during the past fifty day on again off again intermittent mix of rockets with the corresponding Israeli counter attacks interspersed with brief ceasefires almost universally broken by Hamas or Islamic Jihad while the leadership and representatives of both the Western world and many international organizations repeatedly demanded Israel accept the next ceasefire and accept every intimation of peace for the real thing. This has been the insistence of the United Nations, European Union and most of the Western governments pressed upon Israel demanding they accept every offer of peace as truthful from the Arabs initially and the Palestinians since the Arab Israeli conflict was rewritten to give Israel the image of invincible, dominance and being impervious to any effort of the Arabs once they had substituted the Palestinians as Israel’s enemies in place of the reality of twenty-two Arab nations.

 

This result has its best chance of becoming reality with the coming announcement by Mahmoud Abbas which will reach its pinnacle at the opening ceremonies for the United Nations General Assembly this coming September when he makes his official request that the Security Council pass a binding Chapter Seven Resolution setting a date for all Israeli civilians and IDF and security forces to be removed back behind the Green Line, the 1949 Armistice Lines allowing for the birth of the Palestinian state. His argument will be that the unity government has made the formation of Palestine in its totality including both the West Bank and Gaza. He will demand that free passage between Gaza and the West Bank be guaranteed. The great hope that such is finally possible is based on the support that the United States has given to the Palestinians and the apparent animosity between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the attempts by Secretary of State Kerry to force Israel to surrender to the Palestinian demands during the recent peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority during Secretary Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy. The added impetus may have been provided by the attempted persuasion by the United States for Qatar and Turkey, chief allies and supporters of Hamas, to replace Egypt in the recent diplomatic efforts to end the Hamas and Islamic Jihad war with Israel. Even Egypt was opposed to this idea yet the Americans continued until finally Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel succeeded in resisting these efforts and reached an agreement which Hamas had little choice but to accept as they had suffered damage which they could no longer afford to continue their conflict with Israel. Should this call for a Palestinian state come to fruition, then the clock will have started in an inexorable countdown to an Islamist adversary perched on the Israeli borders. This would lead to the inevitable final war which would either bring the end of Israel or returning the conflict to between Israel and some form of Arab or Muslim entities, most likely some coalition of Islamist forces. Even if all of the Sunni Arab nations were to reach an arranged peace or coexistence with Israel, this would still leave Hezballah out of Lebanon, Syria for as long as Bashir Assad can retain power and Iran determined to eradicate Israel. These forces could also include Iraq or at least the Shiite southern Iraq should that beleaguered nations split into a Kurdish nation in the north, a Shiite nation in the south possibly being absorbed by Iran and a Sunni state in the center possibly ruled by ISIS. Perhaps part of the reason that Iran has supported the Sunni terror forces of the Muslim Brotherhood spawned Hamas is due to its loss of a stable Syrian allied state and an unpreoccupied Hezballah which is entangled in the Syrian civil war while Hamas offered to ally with Iran against Israel by willingly offering to threaten and attack Israel should Israel decide to attack the Iranian nuclear program. Either way, Hamas has been augmented in their abilities which were evidenced by their increased range of rockets in the recent conflict. This would be multiplied should they also control the West Bank as well as Gaza and this would be an existential threat which Israel could not allow. Still, this is simply one of the scenarios which Israel faces which would force her into a literal fight for her survival, a survival upon which the fate of the Jewish people rests.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 20, 2014

Hamas Jihad to Destroy Abbas and Rule Palestinian People

By now everybody has probably read a number of articles which have stated that Hamas was the force behind the kidnapping of three Israeli teens on their way home from their respective Yeshivas. For Hamas, being singled out for the blame, or the credit as they view the situation, was exactly what they desired as it will give them opportunities on three fronts. The first front is, of course, the kidnapping hurts Israel and makes the Israeli government, security organizations and the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) all appear to be incompetent. Furthermore, as the search takes longer and longer and the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn, G0d forbid, into months, the IDF will appear to be less effective while also angering Palestinians whose lives will inevitably suffer and be ripped from their normalcy. The second front is it makes Hamas appear to be stronger and better able to gain the release of the terrorists and security prisoners from Israeli incarceration. It places Hamas front and center before the eyes of the Palestinians giving them hope that there is a force which is fighting to further the Palestinian hopes of establishing their own nation, be that nation beside Israel or preferably, as many of them view it, in place of Israel with the Jews washed from the lands they covet. Lastly, by holding the high ground in the struggles against Israel, Hamas forces Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to choose who to placate with the words and statements desired by Israel, the United States and the Europeans. Abbas is forced into that position as he must do everything within his power to keep the funding of the Palestinian Authority. As Abbas speaks the soothing words meant to keep the funding and the Western government’s pressures on the Israelis to make concessions in exchange for another round of useless talks, Hamas points to Abbas’s words translating them into Arabic and asking the big question to the Palestinian people, who do you want as your leaders, the weak and pathetic Abbas and Fatah who are the weaker horse always pleading and saying things that are pleasant in the ears of Israel and the Western governments or do you really want Hamas which is the strong horse who has taken the children of the reviled Jews and is forcing them to beg for their children and who stand firmly in opposition to those Western nations who actually support Israel and are not the friend of the Palestinian people.

 

This abduction of the three teens, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel, was planned not just for the political gains and reaffirmation of the Hamas pedigree as a terrorist organization during the run-up to the Palestinian elections for new leadership of the newly established unity government, but should Hamas continue to be able to hold these three teens on through the elections they will easily win outright control of the legislature and likely replace Abbas with Ismail Haniyeh, the current crowned Prime Minister of Gaza where Hamas took control in a coup which removed the vast majority of Fatah and Palestinian Authority security forces and leadership in the Gaza region. And that acknowledgement brings us to what Hamas is likely to do should Chairman Abbas decide to nullify the unity agreement and again cancel the elections, or at the least the elections for his position. Hamas very probably would try to repeat their revolution similarly to what they did to establish their unquestioned rule over Gaza. The odds are that Hamas would rout the Palestinian Security Forces as it is very likely that many from the security forces would go over to the side of Hamas thus destroying morale, unit cohesion as platoons and companies would require merging in order to make up for the defecting units, and contribute to confusion and disarray in the leadership positions making for an easier Hamas victory. Everything Hamas is doing goes towards weakening Mahmoud Abbas preparing to replace him with Hamas backed leadership and also simply poking Israel in the eye making a situation where they potentially could trade these teens for prisoners. This would give Hamas the added advantage of the loyalty and support from those they were able to free from prison.

 

Expect that Abbas will move to dissolve the unity pack attempting to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Hamas claiming they broke the understood and agreed upon legal restraints and expectations of Hamas complying with the agreements between the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis. Hamas has given their answer, they refuse to play nice or to accept any of the presumed rules governing the playground and further, they will continue to assault, abduct, destroy and generally terrorize Israel and oppose Israel flaunting their abilities in the face of an IDF manhunt. This will give Hamas, or so they think, the introduction and general acceptance with the majority of Palestinians residing in Judea and Samaria (misnamed West Bank) allowing for the expression of what will appear to be a general acceptance and backing for Hamas to take the power away from Abbas and provide the brave leadership that they contrasted against the weak and pathetic pandering committed by Mahmoud Abbas during this Hamas induced crisis. It may even turn out that Hamas is satisfied with running their own little enclave in Gaza and does not desire to take on the additional burden of dealing with the West Bank and the Palestinians Authority. So, we can definitely expect the unity government of the Palestinians to collapse leaving only one question, who will end up in charge in the West Bank? My money would be on Hamas should any sectarian violence begin between Fatah and Hamas.

 

In the end, there is only one thing a civilized person could desire from this Palestinian intra-governmental dispute over who will provide the leadership going forward; that is the release of the three innocent school-age boys from their horrific ordeal as rapidly as believed. We wish them G0d’s protection and G0d’s speed in returning to their families and their studies. We pray for their welfare and safe return of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel into the loving embraces of their mothers and happy hugs given by their fathers. May the families spend this Sabbath together with renewed faith and celebratory hearts.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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