Over 300 Qassam rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza Strip toward Israel in the last 30 days during what supposed to be TAHADIYA – truce, agreed on 06/19/2008 and supposed to end tomorrow, on Friday 12/19/2008, between Israel and Hamas through Egyptian mediation. Hamas already said through its leader Khaled Mashaal that Hamas has no intention, whatsoever, to extend the TAHADIYA.
Indeed, on Wednesday 12/17/2008, 23 improved Qassam rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israel wounding three, causing damage and disrupting the daily ordinary life of about 120,000 Israeli people. The direct excuse was a clash with PALESTINIAN Islamic Jihad – PIJ activists a day earlier in Jenin, in the Northern West Bank of the Palestinian Authority, ruled by Fatah. In the clash a PIJ fighter who was released from Palestinian jail two month earlier, after he obligated oneself to refrain from any terror activity, was killed.
Clearly the Hamas and the PIJ are determent to extend the rules of cease fire from Gaza to the West Bank too and to gain a free hand in the West Bank not only to built a terror network against Israel, located close to Israel centers of population and economy, but mainly to shake and destabilize the Fatah regime in the West Bank, supported by the Quartet (UN, USA, European Union and Russia) and Israel, to put an end to any “peace talks” with Israel, and to form a pro Iranian Hizbullah-like base in the outskirts of Jerusalem and 20 km away from Tel-Aviv. Just to remind – both Hamas and PIJ are committed to the destruction of Israel, reject categorically any prospect of peace talks with Israel, although accept negotiation with Israel on tactical issues such as temporary cease fire or electric supply, which are allowed in the Islamic context of HUDNA.
Israel is with its hands tight. In the West Bank a delicate process of helping the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to build loyal and effective security forces in order to overcome the Hamas is slowly implemented with initial success. A large operation in Gaza, with many Palestinian casualties, will endanger all the progress achieved so far, increase the support to Hamas and put Mahmoud Abbas as a collaborator with Israel against the Hamas.
Israel knows, from its experience, that although Iran, Hamas and PIJ are committed to the destruction of Israel – a UN member, and although Hamas can, easily, to prevent any Israeli military response, to open the gats of Gaza to stream of supply and goods just by refraining from the daily shelling of Israel, it will be Israel which will be accused, eventually, of “war crimes against humanity” once the first pictures of Arab civilian casualties will be screened in the TV.
The accusations will be made by the same countries that committed atrocities in Chechnya or their troops, stationed thousand of km away from home, in Afghanistan and Iraq, can not avoid, despite all their efforts, from killing innocent civilians time and again in those remote places where there is no TV cameras (see – Hypocrisy. ).
In USA it is transition time between the outgoing Bush administration and the new Obama’s administration and Israel is under pressure not to complicate the situation in such a delicate time. It is also election time in Israel with a temporary government and Israel is not ardent to enter to an election campaign when the country is, once again, engaged in military operations and under international pressure.
Israeli senior security officials are worried about “the day after” Israel is extremely unwilling to take over Gaza Strip once again, to control its 1.4 millions inhabitants as an occupant, to take responsibility on the welfare of the population and, at the same time, to be rolled into guerilla warfare in the most crowded place upon earth.
On the other hand Israel fully acknowledges that once Israel will live Gaza, no mater how successful was the military operation, it is a question of a short period of time that rocket will be fired, once again, from Gaza to Israel.
For the moment Israel is confused, tangled between its obligation to protect its citizen in all circumstances and the apprehension that there is no full military solution to Gaza problem, only temporary and short living achievements with heavy political and human life price.
But there is boundaries to Israel restrain. If and when a Qassam rocket will hit a kindergarten and claims the life of children, then Israel, despite all logical calculations, will have no choice but to do what she is so reluctant to do – to invade Gaza, to topple the Hamas regime and to hand Gaza Strip over to Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas with the back up of Israeli bayonets, just as in the West bank.
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