Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Tzuk Eytan (Protective Edge) Day 30

Who ever said life was fair.
A French TV24 reporter, safe out of Gaza, showed footage of rocket tubes in the ground a few yards from an apartment building in a densely populated area only 100 yards from a five story UN building.
Pundits are now sitting in TV studios telling the viewers that Israel needs to think up more stuff like the Iron Dome, not rely on the old tanks, artillery, air force bombs.
Something wild, like Entebbe, to neutralizenot only Hamas, today, but Hezbollah, tomorrow, and ISIS, the day after tomorrow..Pundits now wonder if there are not other ways than pummeling Gaza into dust.
New methods are needed to battle these groups, said Nehemia Strassler, an Israeli professor, and Haaretz columnist. Not nice to hear comments like this, said the moderator on the Channel 2 news morning talk show.
Other pundits speculated that all the brainy, creative guys have opted out of joining and staying in the army, as smart guys did when the state was young, rather choosing  high tech jobs. Choosing Armani, an IPO, a Mercedes, and trips to Paris, over
khaki for thirty years and a small apartment. Now the smart guys who do reserve duty, put in their time and go home. Lucky for Israel a surprisingly high number still do reserve duty. Over 90 percent of those called up for this conflict showed up at their bases.
So, speculate the commentators,  who's left to think up the smart stuff?
They point out that Iron Dome was dreamed up by a guy who had to fight tooth and nail to get anyone to even think about this device, and then it was the then Defense Minister Amir Perez, who was part of the debacle of the second War in Lebanon, who approved it. One of the only things he ever did right, said one analyst.
Another commentator asked where were the Gatling guns, and lazer canons,  that were to take out the same mortars that killed over twenty soldiers, and sent the residents of the Gaza border scurrying to shelter, or taking their children and leaving for the north of Israel.
Still another asked where were the tunnel detectors that have been discussed for nearly a decade, reminding viewers that Gilad Shalit was kidnapped back in 2006 and dragged into a tunnel into Gaza.
A reporter for Channel 10 TV lives in a farm along the Gaza border. He reported on the situation in the south every day, how many rockets, how many injuries, how many killed. He worked every day, nearly all day and night. Hardly slept. The moderator of the TV show pointed out that this reporter had been a pilot in the Israeli air force until he finished his service.
The reporter, whose wife and children were with relatives in the north of the country,wondered what will happen after the first mortar lands in the Jewish areas along the border.
Will Israel rush troops in, as the commander of the southern command promised him?
Or do nothing, just absorb the mortars, as Israel has done after the last two wars with Hamas? If the latter than this Tzuk Eytan action only bought a few months or maybe two years.
Another analyst on Channel 2 TV news said that Israel has always been like that. Buying a chunk of time, stretching out the timeline of how long the Jews can last in this country. A few years here, a few years there, adding up to 66 years so far.
Israel's pundits say that the idea of Tzuk Eytan was to duplicate the results of Lebanon in 2006. Demolish enough buildings and shake the ground so much that that the population won't come back for a number of years to start another war.  So far the Israel/Lebanon border has been quiet for 8 years. Analaysts say that the present Israeli government expects the same results from the current Tzuk Eytan conflict.
A period of quiet.
Another patch on the timeline.
One commentator pointed out that in the 1,000 years that Israel held the land from the time of King Saul until the destruction of the
2nd Temple Israel only had about 7 years of peace.
So now what? ask the commentators. Will the PA be able to grab the reins in Gaza from Hamas? Will Egypt supervise what's going to go on there? Will the USA get involved? Or the EU, or Britain? Will the threatened boycotts of goods from the EU, Britain, Germany and others, actually take place?
Time will tell. Hamas was in dire financial trouble before this conflict.And politically isolated. Now billions of dollars will be poured into Gaza. And while Hamas claims they want a settlement, most pundits expect them to steal the cement sent by well-meaning countries to rebuild Gaza and use them to rebuild the tunnels.
Commentators remind viewers that the last time Hamas and the PA vied for control of Gaza, Hamas pushed the PA out, sometimes shot them, sometimes tossed them off of rooftops. These commentators ask why would the PA be able to control Hamas now?
One analyst said that the PA is a partner with Israel in the West Bank, but the IDF is there in force to back up the PA. No one expects the IDF to take up positions in Gaza.
Polls in Israel's papers today say that 44 percent of the population thinks Israel didn't accomplish much in this war. 42 percent thinks they reached their goals. About 37 percent think that the problems aren't solved, 32 percent thought they were.
Only PM Netanyahu came out ahead, with a 72 percent approval rating.
A former general told Channel 1 TV that he'd warned in the past two engagements with Hamas that unless the leadership was taken out the rockets would start again in a short time. He reiterated his opinion for this engagement as well.
The political leadership in Israel is suddenly looking at Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the PA as possible partners for a new Middle East. The peace-talks are going on in Cairo. Hamas says they want to make a peace agreement. A 72-hour ceasefire has been declared, but most analysts expect the talks in Cairo to last a lot longer since so many difficult points have to be ironed out. And the analyst reminded the audience that the negotiations were not face to face. The USA doesn't talk to Hamas, neither does Egypt, or Israel. The PA representatives will be the go-betweens, shuttling from floor to floor, suite to suite, trying to get a lasting truce.
One former general pointed out that the irony was that Hamas, a puny, guerrilla,, although well-organized army divided into 6 divisions of good fighters, had Israelis kissing the asphalt in Tel Aviv when a siren sounded, kept millions of Israelis on edge, closed Ben Gurion Airport, and made a significant dent in Israel's economy.
Economists estimate that the war cost Israel an estimated 8 billion shekels (@$2 billion) and caused a loss of another 4 billion shekels (@ $1.3 billion) to Israeli businesses.
Hamas considers these major achievements.Their leadership sat out the war in bunkers, sacrificing the Gazans up to the Holy War. And when the war is over, Hamas is still around. Still alive. To the leadership that is a major victory.
64 Israeli soldiers fell in this war. Nearly 150 are in the hospital, 11 in serious conditions. Three civilians were killed. Over the last two days three terrorist attacks took place in Israel. A bus was toppled over by a tractor crushing a passerby. A soldier hitchhiking in Jerusalem,was shot and killed by a terroist who escaped on a motorscooter. A guard at the gates of the Israeli town of Maale Adumim, down the hill from Jerusalem, was stabbed by a terrorist who escaped in a taxi cab.
The Israeli police reported that on July 11 they'd arrested Hossam Kawasmeh, who admitted to leading cell which abducted and murdered Gil-Ad Schaer, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel; He said he'd received funds from Hamas.  Kawasmeh said that the two Palestinans, Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu-Eish who carried out the attacks, were sheltered at his house, and then they went underground. The police are still searching for them.
According to Channel 10 TV news' Alon Ben David, Gaza lost approximately 2,000 citizens, among them women and children. 700 Hamas fighters were killed in the fighting.
One pundit thought that perhaps, just perhaps, when the Gazans return to their homes, and see the destruction, they'll pressure Hamas to change their ways, and seek a peaceful solution. According to Ynet on-line news, Palestinians in Gaza attacked Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri out of anger at Hamas for causing the latest round of violence with Israel.
An economist speculated that a truce could help implant a new direction in the region. One that allows Gazan construction workers to return to jobs they had in Israel before the borders were closed. Allow an industrial zone that opened, and then closed, on the Gaza/Israel border where businessmen from the two areas cooperated in trade. The future could be bright, said the analyst, if only....