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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April 18, 2019

How American Jews Should Influence Israeli Politics

 

So, you either hate or love Bibi Netanyahu winning and likely forming a strong right-wing, Zionist, Religious coalition. There were four Jewish Congress-critters, Representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida, and Brad Schneider of Illinois, all Democrats, who came out strongly threatening Bibi Netanyahu against extending Israeli law to Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria. Well, that is all well and good for them to do as private citizens, but when doing so as representatives of other Americans and presuming to speak for Jews throughout the land, that is presumptuous to say the least. We are sure that in numerous leftist Synagogues there will be sermons and the usual gnashing of teeth that the Israeli people had the audacity to ignore the advice of their betters, after all, where would Israel be without American support. Well, let us address the so-called critical monetary support Israel receives from the United States once again (previous articles can be read here, here and here).

 

We will not go into the reason that America provides Israel with military aid as that can be read in any of the above articles. What need be told is the limitations on that aid money. The percentage has shifted over the years but seldom if ever dropping below three-quarters of the aid money being required to be spent on American equipment. The aid money has two main effects in theory. The first is to provide Israel with air superiority, something which has been downgraded slowly over the years to now it is closer to parity with the difference presumably made up for by the skill of the pilots, in theory. The second is to provide supplementary money for the American arms industry. Another effect, many refer to it as a side-effect, is that it makes Israel dependent upon the United States for resupply in times of crisis when Israel is between a rock and a hard place if not resupplied rapidly. President Nixon is loved in Israel for his resolute action during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Israel initially lost a great deal of equipment and used a great deal of her provisions turning the tide. This left Israel short on armor such as APCs and tanks as well as running out of the very essential bullets. From history we know that then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger advised President Nixon to force Israel to promise to give all of the former West Bank and Gaza to form a Palestinian State before resupplying her with the vitally needed equipment. If we remember well, he may have said to make them bleed. Nixon, to his eternal credit, picked up the phone, called the Secretary of Defense and ordered him to provide Israel with everything they required and to do so with the greatest of speed. The next hurdle was Europe as every ally refused to permit any resupply aircraft heading to Israel to overfly their airspace, let alone land for refueling. Portugal permitted the United States to use their airfield on one of their islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the resupply arrived helping to save the day, you might say. After this near disaster, the United States placed one of their ready supply depots inside Israel in a location which is a well-guarded secret, probably which can be found using Google. The premise for this depot is should the United States be required to respond to an emergency, they could send troops and these arms could be made ready and provided faster than attempting to bring them from the mainland. The secondary reason for this depot is that should Israel find themselves pressed for provisions; they have access to this depot which will provide for the immediate while resupply can be arranged without the urgency as in 1973 where Israel came close to the disaster of losing one war. One need remember that should Israel lose a war, it will be the last war Israel fights as after that loss, there would be no Israel.

 

Now for some facts which are often met with disbelief. The United States has not always been Israel’s close friend and military ally. In fact, after President Harry Truman went against every advisor and recognized Israel in 1948, the next thing he did was place an arms embargo across the Middle East, Israel included. For the Arabs this was not a problem as they had the support of Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Israel had as her main ally Czechoslovakia. Israel did not receive much in the way of aid from the United States until the late 1960’s and not very appreciable aid until the 1970’s (see graph below). Two items become blatantly obvious when examining the graph. First, is that aid to Israel was nonexistent through all of the 1950’s and well into the 1960’s. Second, is that United States aid to Israel has leveled out at approximately three-billion dollars annually. This fact will become more relevant later in this article. As stated before, the vast majority of this aid must be spent inside the United States. Most of the funds goes for aircraft as might be expected with the next largest amount going for aircraft parts and munitions for those very same aircraft. But the United States receives far more than these orders which benefit keeping the American manufacturing of the weapons of war remaining in business as the demands of the United States Armed Forces would be insufficient to keep all the weapons manufacturers afloat. Israeli orders may not be the largest ticket, but it is not insignificant either.

 

United States Israel Aid (Military)

United States Israel Aid (Military)

 

We stated that the United States gets more than just the return of their investment in Israel with orders for arms production from the United States. Probably the two most famous are the Super Sherman Tank and the rear-view mirrors on the F-16 fighter jet which the Israelis noted the pilot was unable to see if there were any enemies at his six o’clock (behind him). The more modern addition of rear-view mirrors came about when Israeli pilots complained of having a vital blind-spot. Some industrious crew chief came up with the apparently bright idea of using sport mirrors he went and purchased at an automotive supply store which led to a design engineering change which incorporated rear-view mirrors on all F-16 fighter jets (see image below). The above mentioned are merely examples as Israel also has provided numerous improvements, modification and other forms of upgrades, not all of which were adopted by the United States. The Trophy anti-missile defense system is one such example and Israel is working on modified versions for use on other vehicles in cooperation with the United States (article here). Israel also designed some other improvements for other systems including upgraded avionics and targeting systems. Israel agrees with every purchase of American weapons systems to provide full documentation of any alterations, additions or other improvements for the United States to consider whether such would be useful on their own systems. Israel most recent upgrade was the use of the Iron Dome targeting software and related requirements which has upgraded the Patriot anti-missile systems, but this is not supposed to be common knowledge.

 

F16 with After Modification Rear-view Mirrors

F16 with After Modification Rear-view Mirrors

 

Back to the American aid provided to Israel. When the aid reached the three-billion dollars, this was fairly close to the total Israeli GDP and was essential for Israeli military capabilities. Today, that aid is approximately one-percent of Israeli GDP. What is amusing is both Israelis and American Jews believe that Israel could not survive without continued military assistance as Israel is incapable of affording her own military requirements. The truth is quite different. The main reason that the United States desires to continue this aid is no different than when it was first negotiated, they do not desire Israeli competition in the lucrative field of military aircraft. Back in 1970 it was to protect the sales of the F-16 while today the reason is likely to protect the existing F-35 and more likely whatever a sixth-generation fighter aircraft system might entail. By having Israel in continued dependence on American aircraft, the United States avoids yet another aircraft competing with their own. The rising costs of military fighter aircraft forced the Europeans to jointly produce their Eurofighter Typhoon, the world’s most advance fighter, according to their advertising. Israel would be well advised to adjust their dependence upon the United States militarily as their aid could become questionable under a new administration. For that reason and for the well-paying jobs which Israel would gain, adding to her GDP, are two very good arguments for Israel to plan on becoming self-sufficient when it comes to military equipment.

 

 

Now, for those American Jews who wish to force their will and policies upon Israel, we have some basic advice. Make Aliyah and then you can help to elect a Prime Minister and a governing coalition more to your liking. This advice comes with a warning, once you have made Aliyah and are living in a nation the size of New Jersey, and not one reaching from one ocean to another ocean, your views will rapidly become more realistic and fitting to your location. Currently, any advice or demands you place upon Israel do not have any effect on your day to day lives. When you are in Israel, let us say Tel Aviv, and you look to the west and can see the Judean Hills which you currently insist must belong to some Palestinian Arab state, you get this chill down your spine if you have any sense of military strategies. The picture below pretty much defines the result of a Palestinian State along the Green Line. This and the increasing rate of conflict and terrorism are a rude awakening but it is also why Israel seems to be moving more to the right despite the warnings from the left in the United States.

 

Tel Aviv Now Before Green Line Peace and Tel Aviv the Day After Green Line Peace

Tel Aviv Now Before Green Line Peace
and
Tel Aviv the Day After Green Line Peace

 

It is not that Israelis are not listening to their counterparts in the United States, we are. It is just we tend to consider it almost as much as we react to things staring us in the face, so to speak or literally. The last Gaza war, the only reason that buildings in Tel Aviv were not struck and toppling into the streets causing thousands of deaths was simple, the Iron Dome systems which were placed between Tel Aviv and Gaza. Their near miraculous interception rate of close to ninety-percent became the miracle of that war, but eventually a way of getting past the Iron Dome systems will be found and we can only pray that Israel has the next system which will make the Iron Dome obsolete will be ready in time. Israel lives on the knife’s edge with no lack of enemies attempting to press us down and cutting Israel until there is no Israel. Living surrounded by people who desire your complete and utter destruction tends to affect the choices you make when voting. Israel is the safety net for Jews, all Jews. We were the safety net when the Arab world expelled almost all of their Jews during the 1950’s and Israel will be the safety net should Jews anywhere, yes, including America, require finding a home with minimal notice. Israel will not ask if you have any wealth or a job waiting or even an Israeli passport, only that you are a Jew needing refuge. Israel will take such Jews in with open arms and welcome them home, nothing more and nothing less. Jews who believe that tragedy cannot come to the nation in which they live are ignoring Jewish history which should have taught us that nowhere remains safe for the Jews indefinitely. Yes, even the United States has had its time where Jews were evicted from their homes when General Grant ordered the expulsion of all Jews in his military district, comprising areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Sure, President Lincoln countermanded that order, but by the time the orders reached Washington D.C. and were reviewed and the countermand was returned to Grant, much of the damage had been done. With the rising anti-Semitism around the world, Israel as the safe haven for the Jewish People has become more important with every passing attack upon Jews anywhere. With Jews being assaulted in New York City, once a safe haven for Jews, what more evidence is required that things are changing. To quote Frank Sinatra, sort of, If it can make it in New York, it can make it anywhere. That is as true for anti-Semitic attacks and worse as well as it worked for Frankie. What counts, Representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida, and Brad Schneider of Illinois, is that Israelis elected a government which will protect them and provide the decisions they find favorable. Further, if the Palestinian Authority can extend their civil law to the regions under their control under the Oslo Accords, why should Israel be prevented from the exact same actions in the regions Israel was granted control by those very same Oslo Accords. If you feel so strongly that you know better than the Israeli public and their chosen governance, then make Aliyah and form a party and run for the Knesset here on those very same ideas. We would wish you luck with your views in an Israeli election, but it is in Israel that you need be to exact the changes you desire for Israel, not in Washington D.C. We would welcome you with open arms, just come here and then you can work to make Israel in your own image. In the meantime, until you make Aliyah, allow us the privilege of electing whom we choose and have them fulfill the promises for which they received so much support. Thank you in advance for your understanding and hoped for making Aliyah so we can discuss this on equal grounds.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 18, 2019

Hamas Irks Egyptian Peace Delegation

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:04 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 

There are ways to pursue peace which are well understood and there are ways to completely ruin any hope for peace which are equally well understood. From the recent series of events, one can only assume that Hamas and friends are about as interested in making peace, even with using Egyptian go-betweens, as they are in living peacefully with Israel and developing their economy and assist the Gazan population lead normative lives. There are reasons why Hamas and friends divert, plunder, misappropriate, loot and steal over three-fourths of all aid, monies, building materials and almost everything else using total disregard for the betterment of their society or the comfort of its people to have decent, if any, housing using these ill-gotten-gains to supply their terror and war production, build infiltration tunnels, construct military infrastructure and to advance their own financial gain. The friends of Hamas include Islamic Jihad, Islamic State and numerous other terrorist or criminal groups. They share two main commonalities, hatred of Israel and the Jews and a disregard for the well-being of the residents of Gaza. This was made excessively evident within the past week. The events unfolded around Hamas and their scheduled meeting with an Egyptian mediating team working to find some middle-ground within which Hamas and friends could live for a hoped extended time with Israel in peace and quiet, especially the quiet as the weekly rioting along the border has continued into just short of one year. We will use the words of an Egyptian mediator as reported to us here.


“At the beginning of the meeting, the atmosphere was very relaxed,” the Egyptian official told Israel Hayom’s Daniel Sirioti. “We had just returned from Israel with answers, we estimated that Hamas would accept them and allow us to begin a stable, long-term peace. A few minutes later, one of the Egyptian delegation’s aides entered the room looking worried, and gave the delegation leaders his cellular phone.”
“The smiles immediately turned into frowns, and senior delegates turned to Hamas leader Yahyah Sinwar and yelled at him: ‘Where do you think you’ll end up with your double play? We’re sitting here to finalize a peace agreement with Israel, and behind our backs you allow your people to fire missiles at Tel Aviv??’
“‘If Israel decides to start a wide-scale operation in Gaza, this time we’re not going to do anything to stop the Israeli attacks. Even if Israel decides to bring down your rule in Gaza by assassinating every single one of you, while they reconquer Gaza. Egypt and its regional allies will not lift a finger to stop the Israeli response.’”

 

You definitely read that correctly, somewhere within the military command of the terror forces in Gaza from Hamas and friends decided that perhaps it would assist with the peace efforts if they fired a couple of rockets in the direction of Tel Aviv. The only controls over where these projectiles might strike are the functionality of each rocket as quality control has been an issue at times, the range of the rocket itself, and whether or not the Iron Dome intercepts them, at which point they fall relatively harmlessly to the ground. The IDF reported that one rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome system with the remains falling in northern Tel Aviv and that there was an explosion reported in the city of Or Yehudah near Tel Aviv. Fortunately, no injuries or damage were reported. Islamic Jihad terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the rocket launches which bares full acknowledgement. Islamic Jihad is allied with Hamas and the two terror groups often work together and just as often work independently. Islamic Jihad is also tightly aligned with Iran, while Hamas is more loosely aligned with Iran. Hamas is more independent of Iran than Islamic Jihad and Islamic Jihad takes orders directly from Tehran as well as any IRGC command officer. Whether this launching on Tel Aviv was ordered by Iran or was a means used by Hamas to sabotage the peace negotiations while retaining sufficient deniability blaming Islamic Jihad as acting independently without coordinating with Hamas. This could also be the leading edge of Hamas and friends testing the waters to see how far they can go attacking Israel with everything from rockets to incendiary balloons, from explosive kites to rolling burning tires at the border fence or from sniper fire to even infiltration with the intent to kidnap and murder Israeli civilians. This has been a standard means of getting away with murder used by the Palestinian Authority as well; it is called attacking during peace talks and claiming that the attacks were rogue elements and not ordered by their leadership who claim complete ignorance as to the attack. This ploy is so overused that it should not surprise the Egyptians and definitely not surprise the Israelis.

 

Attacking while pretending to negotiate in hopes of reaching an agreement which would permit a period of peace, this has proven in the past to work in the favor of the Palestinian Arabs. They attack during peace talks and the world warns Israel not to retaliate or take any punitive measures because it may upset the chances for peace to be negotiated. The Arab Palestinian terror leaders know they are not really interested in peace. The Europeans, United Nations and United States State Department are all aware that the Arab Palestinian terror leaders are not interested in peace. There is another item that all these parties are aware of, that the one common denominator is the destruction of Israel and an end to the remaining Jews left on the planet. Of course, such talk is never stated loudly, it is more of a shared secret which is not all that secret. It became known after the Second Intifada that the explosion of suicide bombers and other terror attacks had nothing to do with the stated excuse that Ariel Sharon had dared to walk upon the Temple Mount. When the IDF was required to enter the Palestinian Arab areas and bring the violence to an end, they also took control of the Palestinian Authority’s main offices in Eastern Jerusalem. There was a treasure trove of papers detailing the planned attacks which were already ready to go while Yasser Arafat was playing President Clinton and Ehud Barak at Camp David and then Paris and beyond all the while knowing that the terror war was planned with bomb-belts readied and the suicide bombers all lined up and ready to go the limit. The Second Intifada cost over a thousand Israelis their lives and thousands more with horrible and often debilitating injuries as in these attacks they had impregnated the belts with nuts, screws, nails, shards of glass and soaked these materials in rat poison to make for more horrendous injuries.

 

So, this may have been a ploy by Hamas to throw a wrench into the peace talks being carried out through Egyptian mediators, or it could be Islamic Jihad attempting to blow up the peace talks, or it could be Islamic Jihad ordered by Iran to toss rockets on Tel Aviv into the mix to harm the peace talks, the one item which is consistent is that such actions, as noted by the Egyptian mediator, is not helpful and only makes reaching a settlement that much more difficult. We see this also as a test of where exactly the Israeli resolve to respond to such attacks three weeks ahead of the elections. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has an unenviable task choosing precisely the right response which inoculates him from being called too soft from political groups to his right, actually more Zionist or nationalist would be more accurate as there is no definitive right and left in Israeli politics. There is a left, a far left, actual communists, the Arab list, Zionists, Religious, Haredi (an entire host of groups included within), Religious Zionist and Secular Nationalist. The media are the ones along with some of the political class attempting to dumb down the many parties, as it is simpler to use generic terms such as left and right than to actually define terms and explain the subtle differences. Still, Prime Minister Netanyahu also has to avoid too harsh a response which might cause world condemnation which could cloud the election picture as well. Finally, the one thing Bibi can be assured of having happen is that Gantz and Lapid will insist that he was far too soft and they would have been more assertive and would have gone in and cleaned out Gaza.

 

Two Rockets Fired at Tel Aviv from Gaza

Two Rockets Fired at Tel Aviv from Gaza

 

The Blue-White Party of Gantz, his fellow generals, and Lapid main aim in the lead-up to election day is they want to draw as many voters as they can from the nationalist camps, both secular (Likud, New Right, Yisrael Beiteinu) and religious (Jewish Home, National Union, Zehut, Tkuma, Otzma Yehudit) by making all the sounds and noise one would expect the farthest nationalistic party might utilize. What gives them away is their wording is often somewhat clumsy as often occurs when somebody is pretending to be something they are not. But attacks such as the one on Tel Aviv provide these charlatans with the perfect soapbox to stand upon and crow about how they will be tougher on terrorists than Bibi. What is a real shame is that General Gantz when approved to be Chief of Staff by, of all people, Bibi Netanyahu, he proved to be an embarrassment often appearing to be asleep at the switch or ill prepared at best. The IDF also suffered under his tutelage which took nearly five years of intensive training and cleaning out the mess Gantz left behind with Headquarters Company in complete disarray and no operational plans ready for contingencies, something the Chief of Staff is wholly responsible for overseeing and monitoring as those are the plans which one pulls out when faced with a situation requiring a military response. Time and again, these were lacking while Gantz served as Chief of Staff. This should not be the person we want in the catbird seat should a war come to our doorstep, at least one other than Syria and more targeted at Israel.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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