Beyond the Cusp

September 1, 2014

The Imagined Figment of Moderate Arab Support for Israel

There is a misconception which has been growing even amongst many Israeli politicians and left leaning citizens as well as growing exponentially throughout Europe and the United States, especially amongst their Jewish populations. This misconception is represented to perfection by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and her fanatical opposition to the settlements or any Israeli claims which extend beyond the Green Line, the 1949 Armistice Lines which were Israel’s demarcation lines which were the closest thing they had for borders pre-Six Day War. Minister Livni’s latest psychotic rantings came regarding the Israeli government’s decision to declare 4,000 dunams (about 1,000 acres) in the Etzion Bloc as state land as she said such moves as this drive wedges which drive away the moderate actors in the region from coming on board with Israel in forming a lasting and secure peace. This preoccupation of Minister Livni has become her near religious lamentation foreboding doom should Israel lose the support of moderates such as Mahmoud Abbas and many of the other members of the Palestinian Authority. The spread of this same unbalanced view of the direction Israel must take in order to avoid even larger and more violent confrontations such as Israel just experienced with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza is also the source of those from Europe, the United States and United Nations who claim that placing Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in control of Gaza as the solution and sole path to peace. The Western nations claim that the same ability of the Palestinian Authority to control and prevent terrorism and similar threats such as have exploded repeatedly in Gaza where Hamas has initiated three wars in the past decade while no such explosions have occurred in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). Where Mahmoud Abbas has often made statements and voiced positions in English which have given many great hopes perceiving Abbas as the hope for peace but then those who listen to his comments almost immediately after such comments spoken on Palestinian media in Arabic reveal the ephemeral qualities of his promising lies. But there is more which is wrongheaded about Minister Livni and her fellow travelers’ claims there exists moderates within the Palestinian Authority who offer great promise for the future.

 

The first great misperception is that the lack of terrorist acts in the Palestinian areas is due to efforts by Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority Security Forces. This belief ignores the fact that there are numerous numbers of rock attacks and numerous other forms of attempted terrorism including stabbings, assaults, vandalism, pipe bombings and verbal assaults often leading to or accompanied by rioting. Another important fact ignored by those making these claims is that much of the prevention of more overt terrorist acts emanating from the Palestinian Authority areas is the efforts of the IDF and Shin Bet which operate within Areas B and C and if they have sufficient evidence they have even entered Area A in order to prevent serious terrorist acts which would endanger the Israeli public. Another truth is that despite the many agreements between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority which requires extradition of terror suspects from Palestinian controlled areas to Israeli authorities, virtually every request for the extradition of a terror suspect has been refused by the Palestinian authority. Should the Israelis push the demand the Palestinian Authority will often hold a very public trial of the terrorist in question who will be given a long sentence of which they will serve days, or if really unfortunate, weeks before being released and then often granted a job as a member of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces. If one were to take time to conduct a critical investigation into the efforts of the Palestinian Authority to prevent terrorism they would find minimal cooperation and that the Palestinian Authority Security Force members were actually more likely to facilitate terrorist acts or actually commit a terrorist act than the average Palestinian resident. The main reason that Minister Livni and her fellow travelers appear to be so reasonable is a result of the fact of the regularity and consistency with which terrorist acts such as assaults, stabbings, and the other countless other forms take place in the West Bank. Because these acts happen daily and in cases such as rock attacks, assaults, verbal taunting and insults and even attempted stabbings at checkpoints often occur numerous times every day, the media no longer reports about them unless somebody is killed. Even if these acts result in injuries which are non-life-threatening they are often ignored by much of the media and especially by Haaretz, the leading English language new source from Israel. As everyone is aware, if the news does not cover something, then it never happened and that is why it is accepted that there is little or no terrorism emanating from the Palestinian Authority areas. A perfect example would be the terrorist act in which a Palestinian took control of a large frontend loader and attacked a Jerusalem bus overturning it killing one Israeli a couple of weeks ago yet it received minimal coverage despite the fatality. If you are scratching your head attempting to remember if you read or heard of this attack, then you likely missed it.

 

Another source of the situation is due to different perceptions and societal norms. Many Western politicians and citizens use their own societal behaviors, expectations, morals and motivations when judging their expectations of how the Palestinian will act in situations. There are some glaring inconsistencies and differences that exist due to foundational differences between Western society and Palestinian society, especially their leadership. Islam has a number of precepts which are completely foreign to the average Westerner and are beyond their ability to incorporate even if others have attempted to explain these concepts because they are so beyond normal accepted behavior in their minds. Taqiyya is one such concept which not only permits a Muslim to lie and deceive in order to promote or further Islamic control over people or land or to gain advantage but requires that they do so in such situations. This means that Mahmoud Abbas is required to say those things which he knows will be taken by Western leaders and people as proof that he is willing and anxious to work with them and Israel in forming a peaceful and secure coexistence between the Palestinians and the Israelis while turning right around and in Arabic making speeches which call for the slaughter of the Jews all in the same afternoon. This also explains how the Palestinians can say anything they need to and guarantee cooperation or willingness to concede lands to the Israelis or make agreements with the Israelis and then when the time comes to sign the aforementioned agreement they refuse and state that they had never agreed to these stipulations and that such a suggestion is an insult to their honor and they then leave often is haste and seemingly feeling great insult and anger. This was exemplified when Yasser Arafat stormed out of negotiations being overseen by United States President Clinton. This made news coverage but not for Arafat and his storming out but because of the spectacle United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright made of herself as she ran after Yasser Arafat screaming and pleading that he return and resume the negotiations. Arafat ignored her pleadings. From commentary made later after President Clinton was out of office he reputed that Arafat became enraged when President Clinton insisted that Arafat deliver on the very items he had agreed upon during the earlier session of the negotiations and Arafat insisted he had never agreed to such agreements and Clinton called him on it as being dishonest at which point Arafat stormed out acting insulted.

 

Another difference comes from having diametrically opposite definitions for terms and concepts. The easiest to present is how the Western world defines peace and how Islam defines peace. Western definition of peace is the lack of hostilities and usually implies an end to any conflict. Islam defines peace as the lack of opposition, the surrender of their opposition. Peace does not mean a finding of a middle ground where both sides give some and receive some in an exchange seeking to end disagreements and restore healthy relations in Islam. Their concept of peace is they get everything they demand and you simply fold and take a subservient position. Peace means the defeat of their enemy by means other than open conflict though the threat of open conflict can be a part of the exchange which brings the Muslim forces unrestricted superiority granting them superiority over their adversary. In Islam there is no term for a ceasefire or peace treaty, they have the concept of a hudna which is defined according to some agreements made by Muhammad with the enemies he fought. The best known example was the hudna he reached with the rulers of Mecca when Muhammad led his forces from Medina to take his city of birth and claim it for Islam. Initially the forces in Mecca were sufficiently armed and capable that Muhammad’s army was equally matched or facing a possible loss. This led to the hudna which was defined as a peace treaty which would last for a decade. Within two years Muhammad had augmented his forces giving him a definitive advantage so he broke the hudna and mercilessly attacked and destroyed the forces in Mecca. This became the model for Muslim armies from that date forward. This was one of the reasons that Hamas broke nearly every ceasefire they presumably agreed upon with the Israelis during the Cairo negotiations. The current ceasefire between Israel and the forces of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the others terror forces in Gaza will probably not last into the presumed open ended time frame as many in the west have predicted. My estimate is if it survives to its first birthday I will be very pleasantly surprised and figure six to nine months at best.

 

Perhaps you have heard or read about the great solution proposed by the United States, Egypt (reluctantly), the European Union and many member governments, numerous Western NGOs (many with the required word ‘peace’ in their names) and leftist within Israel who never seem to miss an opportunity to become surprised when their plans go awry. This ultimate and ingenious plan centers around placing the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas in charge in Gaza and having them inspect all incoming shipments for arms and assuring that all building supplies are utilized for rebuilding the Gazan infrastructure, residential buildings, schools, hospitals, clinics, mosques and other civilian buildings and not put into reconstructing the Hamas infiltrations and smuggling tunnels. This will definitely work this time around and there is absolutely no possibility that it will end in another coup in which hundreds of Palestinian Authority Security Forces being murdered followed by a purging of Palestinian Authority and Fatah employees and members by throwing them from the roofs of the taller buildings in Gaza as happened in 2007. We know that such a result is beyond the expectations of any reasonable person as Hamas has been weakened and joined the unity government with Fatah because it was a virtual surrender. It could not be because Hamas planned to take over control of the unity government and bring their rocket attacks and other terrorism to Judea and Samaria and be capable of really forcing the closure of Ben Gurion International Airport and destroy much of Israeli infrastructure and threaten three-quarters of Israeli population from the high ground overlooking central Israel called the Judean Hills. Of course those who believe that Hamas is facing collapse and is so spent that they must play nice and surrender all control to Mahmoud Abbas suffer from the blindness of wishful thinking. These true believers in the rosy future scenario are ignoring the coup attempt by Hamas just last week which was prevented when Israel’s Shin Bet with the assistance of the IDF arrested ninety-three Hamas members in the West Bank and also captured caches of arms, explosives and other tools of the trade preventing the coup which would have provided Hamas control of the entirety of the Palestinian Authority and be able to expand their rockets and other terrorist activities to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) to augment their forces in Gaza. The end game planned by Hamas is a unity government named Hamas and with the financial support from Qatar and arms from Iran is something not to be refuted as having no possibility of becoming reality; it is definitely possible and probably inevitable if Abbas remains in a unity government.

 

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

 

August 29, 2014

That So-Called Peace Between Hamas and Israel

The first thing one has to realize is that to Hamas this agreement is not an actual peace agreement as any in the West would consider, it is actually what in Islam is known as a hudna. The reality is that Hamas as an Islamic jihadist military unit, any other reference or description of Hamas is a pure falsehood, and they cannot enter into any form of actual peace agreement with an infidel, let alone the nation of the Jews. What they are permitted is to enter a hudna which is based upon the deal the prophet Mohammad struck with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century where the peace was to last ten years but after two years Muhammad felt his forces were now sufficiently stronger than their enemies so he used a minor infraction as the excuse to negate the hudna attacking and destroying his enemies. This is the peace that Hamas has offered, a hudna just as they have twice before where after two years Hamas returned to warfare as soon as they had regained sufficient munitions to cause Israel potentially great amounts of damage and spread terror through continuous rocket attacks and surprise attacks using their tunnel systems which Israel eventually presumably destroyed as they located them. An agreed hudna with Hamas or Islamic Jihad or other Islamic forces only guarantees that they will return to violent assaults as soon as they reach a position where they feel confident that the situations are favorable for them to gain some form of victory. Such a victory does not necessarily mean an outright victory but in the case of Hamas such an advantage might be as simple as gaining greater access to the outside world or solely to their main supporters, Qatar and Iran. If any Western nation or groups of nations enter a hudna they would soon face a situation which may have been best described by Patrick Henry’s adaptation of the Bible verse from Jeremiah 6:14 while addressing the Virginia House of Burgesses during their debating whether or not to join the revolution against England and King George III where Mr. Henry orated, “Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace; but there is no peace.” Unfortunately I believe that this will describe the situation after this supposed open-ended ceasefire, probably an even better description for a hudna than most dictionary definitions as an open-ended ceasefire only continues as long as neither side takes it upon themselves to close the agreement ending the ceasefire and reestablish open warfare in a single moment without any necessity of informing the other side; they will likely figure it out fairly soon.

The problem many have with these repetitive conflicts initiated by Hamas concerns what results is Hamas actually aiming to reach? They obviously are not going to defeat Israel as the IDF has far greater capabilities and if the tome of battle were to turn against Israel, the IDF commanders only need be given orders to increase efforts and remove some of the restrictions on their troops when they consider opening fire on threats and targets they encounter. There have been estimates that IDF attacks, particularly IAF airstrikes, are called off or avoided simply because of innocents entering the field of fire or because legitimate Hamas targets were set up adjacent to protected target areas where civilians faced extensive casualties including fatalities had a full-on assault, bombardment, bombing or other means of combat been employed. Israel released a number of videos which depicted examples of IAF bombings being cancelled when the pilot informed his base that there were civilians, especially children, were entering the area and would be within the potential blast radius, especially if there were secondary explosions due to armaments being present within the targeted buildings or areas. The sole aim of Hamas is identical to that of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas, to use the modern day versions of the ageless anti-Semitic blood libels and poison Israel before the rest of the world engaging international NGOs, human rights groups and the various United Nations bodies and agencies with special efforts to gain a binding Security Council Resolution either forcing Israel to surrender the lands the Arabs lost after their attacks on Israel in 1967 and eventually a decree rescinding the establishment of Israel and the numerous treaties and agreements ending World War I, from the League of Nations and finally from the United Nations. It has been the Pan-Arab strategy ever since they were unsuccessful in 1967 and again, despite having complete surprise, in 1973. This intent has been part and parcel of Mahmoud Abbas as Yasser Arafat’s second in command from the founding of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, a full three years before the existence of the so-called occupied territories unless you agree with Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad that all of Israel is occupied Arab lands.

Right now, unfortunately, the immediate problem in Israel is that many of the leadership who have controlled the politics for the past decades have tired of the repeated open terror conflicts, abductions, bombings, stabbings, rockets, mortars, rock attacks and the various other acts of violence losing their intestinal fortitude making them accept every offered cease in the violence even should they repeatedly prove to be simply false offers made simply to permit the terrorist forces to resupply and reposition before resuming their attacks. This was made excessively evident during the recent conflict with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Israeli’s defensive efforts named Protective Edge. Prime Minister Netanyahu was so anxious each time Hamas proposed a ceasefire or even to suggested ceasefires by Egypt at a minimum even if he managed to resist the complete surrender conditional terms offered by some presumed allied powers. The Prime Minister appeared to be excessively sensitive to any criticism that his actions including firing a member of his own party from their position as an Assistant Minister in the Cabinet, shouting down demanding that the leader of another party cease his comments which were counter to the Prime Minister’s positions and accepting a ceasefire unilaterally only informing the members of his Security Cabinet after the decision had been made thus avoiding any difficulties a Cabinet vote may have caused. These actions by the Prime Minister came as for the first time in decades the vast majority of the Israeli people were in complete support for any military response the Prime Minister might have ordered including the retaking of Gaza and the complete defeat of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist groups in Gaza. The blowback of the Prime Minister acting with such timidity despite the supportive expectations from the Israelis drove his approval ratings down from their highest point of 82% at the beginning of the conflict down a full 44% to rest currently at 38% and likely to drop further; especially should Hamas break this ceasefire any time soon.

The problem is that as a parliamentary form of government the people do not directly elect the Prime Minister and instead can vote only for a particular party and whichever party gathers the most votes along with the necessary support of other parties in order to form a coalition which then chooses the Prime Minister, almost always the candidate chosen to lead the ministers of the party which was chosen to form the coalition. This means that as long as the old guard can manage to hold control over their party, something they often can continue to manage as these older leaders are the same people who tend to find ways of ordering the list for ministerships in any election where they can place their allies and supporters at the front end guaranteeing their continued control. This unfortunately means that any change is far more difficult and making any overt change in leadership or deviation in the positions the government represents. The proof of this can be seen by looking at the names in the names of those in the top positions and holding the most important ministerships over the last two decades where one will see some alterations but no across the board changes. Netanyahu, Livni and Lieberman have been in positions of importance of heading a party even if not in every coalition over much of that time and there are numerous other names with only a few changes such as Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett and only time will tell if either of these newcomers will be capable of retaining their positions in the future, though I have a feeling one of them has a bright future. There have been increasingly loud calls for a reformation in how the leadership of the government is determined with many making such noises calling for an actual Constitution which will spell out a means for the direct election of the Prime Minister independent of the Knesset parliamentary elections. This idea will eventually be realized and very possibly much sooner if governments and especially Prime Ministers refuse to heed the desires and demands of the people and especially should future Prime Ministers ignore the wills of the people and act unilaterally circumventing their own Security Cabinet out of fear of conflict. Such actions if they become commonplace will force demands for such changes with far more immediacy. For now it will be interesting to see what happens should Hamas break this ceasefire anytime in the next six to ten weeks.

Beyond the Cusp

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