Friday, November 16, 2012

Gaza War Continues: Relative Silence from Arab World

Israeli Zaka emergency services volunteers clean human remains from a house hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants killing 3 people in southern city of Kiryat Malahi on November 15

An Israeli inspects the damage in a house hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists into the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Malahi

A picture taken from the southern Israeli town of Sderot shows smoke billowing from a spot targeted by an Israeli air strike inside the Gaza strip on November 15

  Israelis take cover in a large concrete pipe used as a bomb shelter after a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip on Kiryat Malachi
Two observations about the hostilities: 
(1) The old Arab-Israeli wars were military clashes, the recent ones are political clashes. The wars of 1948-49, 1967, and 1973 were life-and-death struggles for the Jewish state. But the wars of 2006, 2008-09, and now 2012 are media events in which Israeli victory on the military battlefield is foreordained and the struggle is to win public opinion. Opeds have replaced bullets, social media have replaced tanks. Will Israel prevail in arguing that its enemy initiated offensive action? Or will those enemies, Hamas or Hezbollah, convince observers that Israel is an illegitimate regime whose recourse to force is criminal? The war must be fought primarily as a media event.

(2) If Hamas knows it cannot defeat the Israel Defense Forces and will get a bloody nose for its efforts, it obviously has motives other than victory in mind. What might those be? Several come to mind:
  • Test the waters in the aftermath of Barack Obama's reelection.
  • Rouse public opinion against Israel and make it pay a price internationally.
  • Refute accusations by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that it has abandoned "resistance."
  • Remind the Palestinian Authority, as it seeks statehood at the United Nations, who controls Gaza.
  • Rile up Israeli Arabs.
  • Pre-empt Egyptian plans to destroy Gaza tunnels, as Cairo cannot be seen helping Israel in a time of crisis.
[National Review Online]
Growing Ties between Egypt, Turkey May Signal New Regional Order
- Jeffrey Fleishman

Egypt and Turkey are forging an alliance that showcases two Islamist leaders maneuvering to reshape a Middle East gripped by political upheaval and passionate battles over how deeply the Koran should penetrate public life.
The relationship may foreshadow an emerging regional order in which the sway of the U.S. gradually fades against Islamist voices no longer contained by militaries and pro-Western autocrats.   

(Los Angeles Times)
Britain: Hamas to Blame for Gaza Crisis with Israel

Hamas "bears principal responsibility" for escalating tension in Gaza and Israel, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.  
(BBC News)
U.S. Senate Backs Israel's Actions in Gaza

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution expressing support for Israel's "inherent right to act in self-defense." 
Netanyahu: World Leaders Understand Israel's Need to Defend Itself
"I want to express my appreciation once again to President Obama for his unequivocal, clear support for Israel's right to defend itself. I also want to express my appreciation to the other world leaders I've had a chance to speak to in the last 24 hours: to President Hollande of France, to UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, to EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and to Quartet representative Tony Blair. I want to thank them for their understanding of Israel's need to defend itself, and Israel's right to defend itself."
(Prime Minister's Office)
Hamas Trying to Restore Shattered Morale - Khaled Abu Toameh

There were no signs whatsoever that Hamas was interested in a cease-fire with Israel at this stage. The assassination of Ahmed Jabari, commander of Hamas' armed wing, has hurt the Islamist movement so badly that it feels the urgent need to restore not only its lost dignity, but also the shattered morale of its members and supporters. Hamas feels that with the killing of such a senior figure, it has lost its balance of power vis-a-vis Israel, and will agree to a cease-fire only after it extracts a heavy price from Israel. Failure to do so will undermine Hamas' credibility in the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims.
(Jerusalem Post)
Time to Get Tough -Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie

The government of Israel has launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip. It is an operation that is justified, and in fact overdue. American Jews across the political spectrum should be offering their support.

It would be hard to imagine a case where Israel has been more patient than in Gaza. Sderot and the surrounding communities have been subjected to missile fire from Gaza for 11 years. With sickening regularity, rockets fall on civilian centers and hundreds of thousands of Israel's citizens flee to shelters. A single rocket aimed at an American city would likely provoke a far more drastic response than anything Israel has attempted or even contemplated.

In short, I support a real "get tough" policy in Gaza. Common sense dictates that there must be a high, ongoing price exacted for every attack originating from Gaza. Israel came into being so that Jewish children would never again have to huddle together in fear, terrorized by enemies of the Jewish people, while their parents stood by helplessly.
The writer served as president of the Union for Reform Judaism from 1996 to 2012.


LHwrites said...

All bad stuff. Hopefully Israel and its people will get through it relatively unscathed and stronger and safer than ever.

Bruce said...

Ahmeyn v'ahmeyn.