Israel finally responded “No thank you” to a call for negotiation during the ceasefire in Cairo while Hamas has agreed to accept the invitation. This is a first as previously Israel was the one agreeing to ceasefires and sending delegations to Cairo only to have Hamas torpedo the efforts and returning to their maximalist demands. Apparently this time has resulted in a different result as initial reports out of Egypt were that Hamas had agreed to the Egyptian plan to end the violence which would simply return everything to the reset point which ended the 2012 Hamas Israeli conflict. This implied that Hamas had finally given up on their attempts to demand Israel make unprecedented concessions including but not limited to an end on the naval blockade, the opening of all border crossings (which would have included those with Egypt which Egypt also refused to offer or accept), the refurbishing using foreign funding of both the Gazan ports and their international airport and their universal acceptance opening them to all forms of free trade and import and export, and a general acceptance that international funding would rebuild all destroyed Gaza infrastructure (it was unclear if this includes the tunnels under the Israeli and Egyptian borders). This change of attitude was greeted well in Israel and an Israeli delegation was dispatched immediately to Cairo. The United States also was appraised of the situation and the new developments though through what means remains unclear. The United States State Department and the Obama Administration jumped into action immediately dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to Cairo and releasing a statement claiming that the United States would be at these talks to facilitate a fair and equitable resolution which would encourage a permanent solution to the problem in line with those principles that the United States has supported since the very beginning of this conflict. Upon hearing this heartening news the Hamas spokespersons immediately reframed their position claiming that Hamas would never disarm to which Ezzat al-Rishq claimed on Twitter, “Whoever tries to take our weapons, we will take his life.”
Where this may not turn out to be the most advantageous and propitious of conditions under which Israel can seek a peace which maximizes the possibilities to keep the peace far longer than the two years which is the average time thus far between Hamas escalations of rocket attacks triggering open warfare, it is at least a chance to try to reach that admirable goal. I was reading news from some of the email news sources I have where it spoke of Israeli government and their efforts to explore the different solutions and it mentioned one in particular which drew my attention, and I quote, “The Cabinet was reportedly shown a presentation in the course of the war, outlining the IDF’s prediction of what taking control of Gaza would involve. According to the military’s estimates, conquering Gaza would take months and ridding it of all weapons would take five years. The cost would be hundreds of soldiers killed and 10 billion shekels.” This revelation puts in perspective the imposing price in manpower, treasure and loss of life which reoccupying all of Gaza would cost, it also needs to be examined with another thought and demands that another assessment is required, namely how much would it cost in time, effort, treasure and loss of life to continue to repeat this conflict every couple of years with Hamas making advances as they have previously shown the capacity to do and also deal with a Hamas takeover of the Judea and Samaria (West Bank) in the upcoming Palestinian elections. Many in Israel like to fool themselves and believe that there is absolutely no possible way that Mahmoud Abbas can lose an election to Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas despite the known fact that Hamas won so convincingly in the last Palestinian parliamentary elections that Abbas cancelled the elections for his position in order to prevent his own replacement. The recent merger of Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the Palestinian Authority in a unity government, which has caused such optimism in Washington DC, will mean holding elections for both the Palestinian parliament and for a new Palestinian President which will pit Mahmoud Abbas against Ismail Haniyeh and some polling has shown Abbas winning the vote in Gaza with Haniyeh coming out ahead in Judea and Samaria and squeaking out a victory. Those results do not represent the reality that in Gaza Hamas and Islamic Jihad hold an ironclad control and once the voting commences the poll numbers will be meaningless as the average Gazan entering a voting location being run and guarded by Hamas terrorists will not be voting for Abbas and walking away unmarked for immediate difficulties. There is no way in which Abbas retains his position after an election other than through counting the votes himself, an unlikely scenario.
Realizing that after an open and relatively fair, at least open and fair by the standards of former American President and universal voting rights observer, Jimmy Carter, election that the next morning the sun will rise and Mahmoud Abbas may not while the new Palestinian Authority will be completely under Hamas control, both the parliament and the presidency and soon every other officer including the commander of the Palestinian security police and every other arm of the government. Such a result may make the price of taking Gaza now and reasserting Israeli rule and control may prove to be far less expensive than a future with both Gaza and West Bank controlled by Hamas and their Gazan terror allies. The one thing I have learned over the years of following events around the world and especially the Middle East is that one has to expect the results we term as less expected solely because we fear that result the most as that is the most likely outcome without an enormous amount of effort and at an extreme cost in treasure, but sometimes such necessitated investment results in the smallest costs in lives and treasure as well as destruction of infrastructure and societal cohesion which results from the most unseen potential result of our actions, open conflicts such as the one recently endured in Gaza but often on a much larger scale. Who would have predicted that the assassination of a middle level aristocrat such as an Arch Duke named Ferdinand would lead to a conflagration the levels of World War I or that an imbalanced armistice which required the nation responsible for the precious horrendously damaging war would lead to an even more costly and horrendous war started by that very same nation which was how World War II was triggered.
Then there are the examples of the few with clear foresight going out and sacrificing themselves by holding out to the last soul thus providing the necessary time for those still gathering to fight the good fight to be readied to eventually win the day. Such battles as the Battle of Thermopylae and King Leonidas and his three-hundred Spartan soldiers who made up his personal Royal Guard, one of the finest fighting forces of their day; or the battle of the Alamo where a collection of some of the greatest historical figures from American history made a heroic stand hoping for reinforcement which was never sent, but they provided time for Colonel Sam Huston to form his forces to defeat Mexican General Santa Anna and win Texas its independence; or the forces in the battle for Dunkirk where advanced British and allied units formed a defensive arch and held as long as they were able, permitting the British military and people to ferry troops back to England in what was dubbed the “Mosquito Armada” which consisted of any ship or boat which was conceivably capable of crossing the English Channel. These were implemented into what was probably the largest example of civilian sacrifice and participation to aid in a military operation in history as the vast numbers of craft making these historic crossings to rescue the majority of the British and allied forces trapped at Dunkirk were simply British civilians, or should we call them British subjects acting for King and country, who made repeated crossings throughout the night responding the call relayed originally by radio broadcast and without the expectation of reimbursement but simply because it was necessary, they saved the majority of the British forces in the war efforts which at that point in World War II would have been a total defeat at Dunkirk, probably marking the end of British ability to resist the German war machine and changed history for the worse. These examples showed the ultimate forms of the sacrifice made by anybody who enters the field of battle with the intentions of protecting the people by removing threats to their safety.
This was the inspiration for those IDF soldiers who entered Gaza and sought out the tunnels which were to be used in a massive assault in the near future according to Hamas tactical plans which were also discovered during the effort names Defensive Shield. These IDF troops also managed to destroy as many as three-thousand rockets of various sizes, ranges and destructive capabilities. Their motivation was simple; destroy as much of the threats to the Israeli public while causing the least number of civilian casualties of the residents in Gaza. We realize that the news reports you have heard quoted numbers representing Gazan casualties where almost all of the fatalities were civilians and not Hamas fighters. What the news announcer did not inform you about was these numbers were provided by Hamas spokespersons and media releases from press releases from Hamas. Why is this important? Well, because the way these casualties are calculated is simple, every civilian casualty is counted as such while the numbers of Hamas fighters, terrorists, are counted in such a way as to only count one out of every three or four as an actual combatant while delegating the others as additional civilian deaths. They do this in order to cast the Israeli efforts as monstrously as possible. When the final numbers of combatants and civilians who were killed or injured are tallied finally by the Red Cross in cooperation with the United Nations it will reveal a minimum of sixty-percent of the deaths in Gaza were actually Hamas fighters and terrorists and far fewer civilians were amongst the casualties than reported. Unfortunately, these numbers will not be available for a minimal of six weeks by which nobody will care and the eighty-percent the numbers now purport will be what is remembered and accepted as fact into perpetuity except for newshounds like many of us who actually read all the news, even page 34 in section E of the newspaper, or every column we can find online.
This leads to one last discussion point, why would Hamas instigate their rocket assault and then continue firing and even increasing the numbers after Israeli leadership had set an ultimatum demanding Hamas to cease launching rockets into Israeli populated areas? Oddly enough, Hamas had no misconceptions about prevailing militarily but had a completely different expectation. Hamas has a simple plan of battle which is completely dependent on simply surviving for as long as they can while releasing a constant stream of press releases accusing Israel of horrific and dastardly crimes as possible. Backing these claims is the constant release of photo-evidence of civilian casualties and destructions of civilian buildings such as homes, schools, hospitals, markets and similar structures. What is not reported is that these structures were also utilized by Hamas to store their supplies of rockets and other military stores as well as placing command and control headquarters also in such locations. They also have their entrances to their tunnel systems placed inside the various civilian structures thus making these valid targets under international laws of warfare. Their intent is two-fold, first to gain any advantage of some kind such as capturing an Israeli civilian or soldier and hold them hostage or inflict a serious number of casualties in a single battle so to gain some terror-cred which they hope will represent them advantageously in the Palestinian elections and around the terror world and secondly they aim to utilize a sympathetic, compliant mainstream media and further controls the reports emanating from Gaza by intimidations and threats on the reporters while also censoring the contents of every report before they are permitted to be released. Between the two avenues which Hamas expects to produce their victory, they thus far failed to gain a single hostage, Baruch Hashem; and on the other approach the compliant mainstream media and most of the reporters within Gaza gave reports painting the Israelis as evil monsters out for Gaza blood and devastation with a few hopeful exceptions. Below are two such reports from within Gaza, the first by an Indian reporter who bravely reported the truth when he believed he was safe to do so while the second had a French reporter giving a report complaining that the Israelis were preventing Gazan farmers from tending their fields for no reason as the place appeared perfectly free of violence except for the three rockets launched which completely altered his report as he suddenly felt an urge to be elsewhere.
Unfortunately these reports will not be seen by the majority of people in much of the west as I doubt the French report would be repeated by his station after its initial live viewing and the Indian report will never receive wide usage by the western mainstream media because the American and European media is vastly leftist in its political slant and such a slant demands that their coverage must blame Israel first. This is why the rockets assaults by Hamas for three weeks before the initial Israeli response was virtually ignored and was solely mentioned when depicting the Israeli threats as being over the top as there had been no casualties or serious damage despite the launching of over a hundred or later simply hundreds of rockets per day. The Iron Dome is an expensive answer to stop the rockets which cost Hamas a few hundred dollars each while each intercept uses a $20,000.00 missile and each Iron Dome base unit costs a few million dollars per unit, expensive but worth every Shekel. In the ensuing weeks the news will be summing up this conflict and it is predictable how it will be slanted. Hamas will be lauded for standing up to such an overwhelmingly destructive Israeli assault and there will be some who go so far as when interviewing any Hamas representative they will inform that Hamas only fired rockets as a response to Israeli assaults and ask what the Hamas representative thought when Israel initiated their attack. Whenever they are talking about or even with any Israeli they will talk solely as they have during these events as to how does Israel explain the disparate force and huge imbalance in casualties and as any answer is given they will cut them off and repeat their accusations and repeat as necessary and finally ending their report by cutting off the Israeli interview and then comment about the effrontery of the Israeli representative to even try and explain these facts away and not just express shame and sorrow for his nations undefendable actions. Never mind that the allied efforts in Pakistan have killed numerous Pakistani civilians in their drone war within a country with whom they are not even at war with but still they attack within Pakistan often killing civilians. The efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, both President Bush wars in Iraq, have killed thousands of civilians and used modern weaponry far beyond those used by any adversary they are fighting, but where is the shock and disgust from reporters about these casualties. Are Pakistanis, Afghans and Iraqis civilians’ lives worth any less than Palestinians’ lives or is it because the United States and their allies are not expected to be more careful about collateral casualties than the expectations placed on the Israelis? Israel has been far more castigated in news reports than even the Russian separatists in the Ukraine who have even brought down an innocent commercial airliner full of innocent civilians. There probably is some obvious reason that Israel is held to such a high level of expectations which are so far beyond possible to meet that the same requirements are never applied to anybody else, friend or foe.