Beyond the Cusp

May 8, 2019

The Score is not Over as of Yet

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 1:57 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Bibi Netanyahu proudly announced that a ceasefire has been attained from the leadership of Hamas through the efforts of Egypt. What number ceasefire is this, ten, fifty, a thousand, is anybody counting or does anybody really care? We will be celebrating those who have fallen in the terror war which this year will include four additional souls who were sacrificed for peace. This was the phrase which Israelis heard constantly during the Oslo Accords as the Labor government labeled those killed by Palestinian Arab terrorism as those sacrificed for peace. They were the casualties of the peace process. This last round Hamas fired over six-hundred rockets into Israel and Israel responded with the usual, the Israeli Air Force carefully bombed the same series of empty buildings, yes, empty buildings. Hamas, or Islamic Jihad or both, fired a series of heavy bombardment on Ashdod testing the efficiency of the Israeli Iron Dome Systems and they learned that these systems have limits, even the vaunted Iron Dome, and a percentage of rockets pierced the Iron Dome shield. The terrorist army of Gaza (Hamas and Islamic Jihad plus whoever else is backing them as there could even be some IRGC forces from Iran behind some of these attacks) now knows that they can overload their attack and get a small percentage of rockets past two or three Iron Dome batteries. This tells them just a small amount as to how three or four systems would protect say Tel Aviv, as some have allowed their lips to part and their tongues to utter the reality we all knew, that rockets on Tel Aviv is a red line which if crossed will bring the full weight of the IDF into action. But such makes the people of Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva and all of southern Israel feel as if they are not worthy of protection as those in the wealthiest of cities in Israel. They question whether it is because Tel Aviv is where many of the “heavy-hitters” and the “movers and shakers” all reside within the Tel Aviv metropolitan areas, so is this what is required to be worth actually acting against rockets being fired twenty-four hours a day throughout the weekend but if they do not target Tel Aviv then the terrorists are mostly safe? The people of Israel, outside of Tel Aviv (and a fair number within Tel Aviv as they know they will reap the knowledge of how to beat Iron Dome when their time comes) are reaching a point which can only be described as ugly. The people living under these constant barrages are well beyond scorching angry. The kind of anger and feeling of hopelessness as the government appears to be failing them is best represented by one phrase from the movie Network, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Even if you never saw the move, never heard of the movie, this scene has taken on a life of its own and when people approach this state, then governments know they can no longer ignore the people, ignore the problems, ignore the situation which is causing the rising discontent and they start to consider actually doing something more forceful and directly targeting a solution.

 

 

But Israel just had an election and chose to continue with Bibi Netanyahu as our Prime Minister despite having other options. We are not talking about the Blue-White Party with its list of Generals from the IDF or the fact that they had three former Chiefs of Staff on their list. These three former Chiefs of Staff are partly responsible for the situation we face as they were instrumental in the decision-making process. These were the same Generals who tout that if Israel would just give the Palestinian Arabs their state, then everything would be rosy and it would shower lemon drops with the sunshine. They were not the solution needed but the political situation in Israel is a sticky problem. As long as the threats remain as they are, and as long as there does not arise a leader who generates the confidence and resolve to address these problems and end the suffering of the Palestinian Arabs as well as the Israelis under rocket fire, then Bibi Netanyahu knows that he is all but guaranteed to remain as Prime Minister for as long as he desires to lead the Likud Party. But there will come a day, hopefully not too far distant, where such a person will rise and challenge Bibi from the right rather than trying to best him from the left. The person we believe who could fill this bill is a man who is soft spoken but firm and strong. One who can excite people through his sincerity and the fact that he means exactly what he says and says what he means. A man of his word with a pedigree which would make for a challenger to Bibi who may arise sooner rather than later.

 

One person many have thought could be that man is a woman, Ayelet Shaked. She had an understanding, or at least this was what people believed, that she would not upstage Naftali Bennett. Now that Bibi targeted their New Right Party a couple of days before the election when he announced his intent to extend Israeli civil law to the settlements in the Shomron, the main point which Bennett and Shaked had been running their campaign around; they fell below threshold while Bibi gained as much as five additional mandates as he also took from the Combined Right led by our party, Jewish Home, though we still passed threshold. Bibi and Bennett have a history which may have fueled Bibi targeting Bennett’s Party which he formed when he all but destroyed Jewish Home the day after elections were called and he left the party taking the number two and number four people from what was our present Knesset list along with his position as chairman of the party. Jewish Home was leaderless and the New Right took half of our Knesset list as they ran out the door leaving destruction in their wake, but we rose in a stronger position in our belief. We weathered the storm and, in the end, may have found just what Israel needs and a potential answer to who could possibly replace Bibi and instill the faith of the people of Israel to trust a new leader with a new direction and new answers to the most vexing of the problems Israel faces.

 

Think of a man who spent their early years in the IDF as a combat helicopter pilot. Helicopters are not the easiest of vehicles to master, ask any pilot, fixed wing or rotary wing. He retired as a Brigadier General and was the Chief Rabbi for the IDF. That right there should answer any questions as to whether you can trust what this man says. On the other side, he understands combat and the risks and would not risk the precious lives of our IDF soldiers in any empty actions for political gain. He has a soft demeanor but commands respect and when he speaks, it is with a quiet strength which makes his words heavy with the force of truth behind them. The Israelis may get their first glimpse as the coalition is cobbled together. This person has already faced a form of challenge to his leadership within our ticket which was a group of parties with one led by a man with great drive and energy who thought he could force his way to unseat the chosen leader. This likely got him a nice quiet, calm, patient and even understanding reading of the riot act and he then settled down knowing he was not to try such again. There were no theatrics, no shouting, nothing that even the news reporters could discern which might have made for a tasty morsel in their articles. Things simply were straightened out and the rules cemented. Now comes the bigger game, the coalition and what price for the support of our group. This will be interesting as this person we have been describing has made it perfectly clear, annexation of Area C of the Shomron will be required to be largely annexed such that all the towns, cities, neighborhoods and industrial zones will be annexed and be placed under civil law and removed from military rule. This and the other lesser points will make for an interesting measure of who is the more forceful and stronger man between Bibi Netanyahu and Rafi Peretz.

 

Rafi Peretz had to be convinced to take the helm of the party as he had little if any desire for entering politics. That might make one believe that this would make him less likely to be anything other than the man filling in for the time being. General Peretz is not the kind of person who would take such a position with such an attitude. No, he was convinced that the Jewish Home Party required a person of his stature and caliber in order to make the Party credible again. A political party does not lose its leader and the next in line along with yet another critical member and just shake it off and continue on. When you are not one of the main parties in the polls, early ones had Jewish Home with zero mandates and we ended up with four or five depending one how one places the division between the three parties which made up the Combined Right group. Rafi Peretz was quoted speaking with Arutz Sheva soon after the Monday ceasefire took effect stating, “This battle needs to result in one thing: a clear sense of deterrence – but we didn’t not achieve that. We need to continue work to prevent attacks, continue to hit critical targets which we have the opportunity to strike at. We can’t stop this [campaign].” His words appear measured and not the words of a man satisfied with the current results. The one good thing about this ceasefire is that it was reached pretty much all on Bibi Netanyahu’s head as there is no real government seated currently. In the current Security Cabinet, you have people who will not even be in the next Knesset and missing some of the people who will be heads of departments and included in the Security Cabinet such as Rafi Peretz. We suspect that should there be another string of attacks from Gaza which result in as unsatisfactory an end as occurred this time, the coalition will be the cost as it is highly probable that Rabbi Rafi Peretz would pull our group from the coalition which will probably be sufficient to bring new elections. That is unless Bibi has something entirely different in mind.

 

Jewish Home Leader Rafi Peretz

Jewish Home Leader Rafi Peretz

 

We have covered the possibility for Bibi Netanyahu to find a peace through the recognizing of Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as the core for forming Palestine in our article “Expectations of Next Netanyahu Government.” This scenario would still exist but would also spell the termination of Bibi Netanyahu politically and clear the way for new leadership in the Likud and a shaking up of the right with unknowable results. The Likud would be divided by such a move as described there which would make it possible for one of the other right-wing parties to take in numerous disgruntled and angry former Likud members. But even without Bibi having a complete meltdown, there will come a period which will forever be known as the post-Bibi era. When that era arrives, we would be proud and pleased for the next Prime Minister after Bibi to be Rafi Peretz, but the smart money is split between Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked. Nobody has counted them as out, simply as down but the count has not reached ten. It will be interesting to see what they do, whether they stay together or split and exactly what Bennett will do to resurrect his party the New Right. We can guarantee one thing; Bennett will not pin his campaign on any single item but will have at least three points upon which he will base his hoped-for return. Fortunately, for the foreseeable future, Jewish Home and the Combined Right will be led by Rafi Peretz and this will be interesting to watch. Bibi may be the consummate political operative, Rafi Peretz was of command rank, well educated, capable as a helicopter pilot, the Chief Rabbi of the IDF and best of all, was not overly interested in entering politics and did so for the good of Israel, and it may be for that good which will end up propelling him into becoming Prime Minister. In the meantime, Rafi Peretz will pressure Bibi from the right and perhaps cause him to be more proactive in responding to provocations by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and whatever other terror group attacks Israeli citizens in any manner.

 

And that brings us back to the current imbroglio with Hamas. The way this ceasefire was reached remains murky and the reason behind making such a hasty arrangement could have everything to do with the Eurovision Song Contest which is being held in Tel Aviv. They should have insisted on holding it in Jerusalem as Hamas has not proven they can reach Jerusalem while we know they can reach Tel Aviv. Bibi was probably under quite a great deal of pressure to get things settled and settled immediately no matter the cost. This is not the way to be able to negotiate when your opposites know that you are desperate for the quiet which they control. What is the main problem is that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not exactly known for keeping their word or observing ceasefires. This recent weekend of rockets, over six-hundred at last count we saw, occurred during a ceasefire but somebody thought it might be fun to set off a barrage of rockets and once it started, well, it got out of hand. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are both aware that the reprisals from Israel largely strike the same targets over and over of which one is the Hamas training field which resembles a soccer pitch which bombing does little to destroy such a facility. Furthermore, much of Hamas’s and Islamic Jihad’s machine shops which make the rocket motors and bodies, chemical explosive production and other assets are buried deep underground and likely beneath hospitals, schools, mosques and other buildings which Israel is reluctant in striking as they would prove to be propaganda and news nightmares. Imagine the news wire streaming reports from Gaza that Israel bombed a Mosque, school, nursery or any other such sensitive target. No matter how much proof Israel could produce subsequent to such news that there existed a chemical shop making rocket warheads and fuels or a machine shop underneath making the rocket components or other military type targets placed underneath the sensitive structure, the European Union, United Nations, numerous United Nations Agencies, dozens if not hundreds of NGO’s would be screaming and headlines would persist for weeks and it would be a black eye for Israel as the world does not care about Israel’s right to defend itself, the majority of the world simply desires Israel to be erased and will do everything possible to assist in her demise. There is only one question which the world need worry over, will the Eurovision Song Contest continue through to its conclusion without a hitch or will it prove too wonderful a target for Islamic terrorist entities to resist. The whole idea of a singing contest is, to these supposed purists, completely anti-Islamic and sacrilegious. It would almost be a holy imperative for them to strike at the Eurovision Song Contest. This ceasefire which was so hastily cobbled together almost out of the blue may dissolve just as quickly and prove to have been a ruse to try and give Israel the idea that a respite was coming where there would be no rockets for quite some time. It seems we are always reaching ceasefires we hope are going to give us a respite and before we turn around, we hear the sirens, or reports of sirens depending on location, and people are sleeping with their children nestled around them in bomb-shelters. This is something which we are fairly sure that Rafi Peretz will insist that more definitive actions be taken should such occur while he is in the coalition.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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