The war proved a shock for both: for Israeli politicians who initiated the war and the army who conducted it. Despite all the verbal bravado and occasional airspace violation of Lebanon, the terrorist state has conveniently avoided messing with Hezbollah since.
The fact that Israel has come to table to seek truce within just three days of launching a fresh war on Gaza is something unusual that points to its weakness. This is contrary to the situation during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 when the terrorist state didn’t respond Hamas and international calls for truce but ceased fire on its own volition only after pounding Gaza for 21 days.
Though initially denied by Israel, both Israeli and Egyptian sources have now confirmed arrival of the Israeli negotiator in Cairo for ceasefire talks, being brokered by the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Debka.com, an Israeli military intelligence website, reported Sunday that air and sea assault on Gaza on Sunday morning was Israel’s reaction to the failure “after daylong bargaining Saturday … to produce an Israel-Hamas truce accord.”
Debka report though titled, “Israel launches fresh, major air-sea attack in Gaza after Hamas spurns ceasefire,” the very second and third sentences read:
“When Egyptian and Turkish middlemen suggested a ceasefire was close, Israel accused them of pushing Hamas’s terms which were fashioned to present the Palestinian radicals as the victor in the contest. The trio leading the Israeli war, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Military Affairs Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, countered by intensifying the IDF’s Gaza offensive -- though not as yet sending ground troops in.”
The clear implication here is that Israel is ready for ceasefire if only Hamas doesn’t get projected as the “Victor in the contest” -- that is what I call fear of repeat of the Lebanon debacle in Gaza.
What is it that could have induced/forced Israel come to negotiating table before it began its current savagery on entrapped Gazans?
International pressure has never been Israel’s least concern, more so when America and all major European countries have, as ever, come to defend and encourage its bombardment on the civilians. Obama didn’t stop with issuing statement of his endorsement in the United Sates. Very intriguingly, he repeated his endorsement in Myanmar -- the country that is currently involved in killing and ethnic cleansing of (Rohingya) Muslims with open government support. (Was he subtly endorsing Rohingya Killing, too? After all, America itself has declared war on Muslims and Islam.)
One cannot be sure but I suspect one clue to Israeli willingness to negotiate ceasefire so early in the war of its own choice lies in the tweet message of the Israeli ambassador to the US and the IDF disclosure on rockets fired by Hamas.
Ambassador Michael Oren tweeted, “Just appeared on the set of CNN. Israel willing to sit down with Hamas -- if they just stop shooting at us.” Note: “Just Stop”
(As an interesting aside, ambassador deleted this tweet later, claiming, it was “sent erroneously by a staffer.” Something worthy hearty laughs even in these tense times!)
Hamas was shooting rockets even during Operation Cast Lead but Israel didn’t demand their cessation for agreeing to ceasefire, which, as noted, happened only at Israel’s own choosing after conducting unrelenting war for three weeks.
The only difference this time around is the longer reach of the Hamas rockets, hitting, as they have, as far off locations from Gaza as Tel Aviv, al-Quds (Jerusalem) and today even Eilat (200 km from Gaza), creating genuine alarm among the Israeli populace as well as political and military leadership.
Israelis have downplayed the potency of Hamas rockets; some, like the unnamed “Israeli official briefed on security cabinet decisions” whom Ynet quotes, characterizing them as “rockets without warhead” (mere pieces of “pipes basically”), others explaining away their longer range by claiming the rockets “were designed for much shorter ranges but had been shorn of their weighty warheads so that they flew further.”
Ynet quotes a third unnamed source “who receives regular briefings from Israel's air defense corps” saying “some of the furthest-reaching Palestinian rockets had warheads that were lighter than they were designed to have,” adding “but we have no indication of rockets without warheads being used."
On the other side, Hamas claims that the rockets that hit “Tel Aviv were Iranian-designed Fajr-5, with ranges of 75 km (46 miles) and 175 kg (385 lb) warheads that can shear through buildings.”
Meantime, there is no full openness on the Israeli side about the location or the extent of damage (other than some shattered glass, a hole in the house ceiling, a burnt car, etc.) these longer range rockets may have caused in Tel Aviv or , al-Quds as the Israeli “Police have not published extensive details.”
That Ambassador Oren specifically wants cessation of rocket fire, however, gives credence to the Popular Resistance Committees’ claim that Israel is downplaying rocket threat “to assure their terrified public that those rockets are not dangerous; to minimize their fear.”
The second clue comes from IDF update, which reports, “The Palestinians fired more than 800 rockets in four days, of which 250 were shot down by Iron Dome, including for the first time one in Tel Aviv.”
Read it again. Mere 250 out of 800! 69 percent misses!
Notwithstanding the hype, the IMPREGNABLE Iron Dome, after all, lets Hamas impregnate Israel surely and thoroughly with rockets!
Hats off to the Iranian army commanders who always pooh-poohed hyped Israeli “impregnable” claim. Hamas has proved it for them thoroughly and comprehensively. How much it must boost Iranian army’s morale is anyone’s guess, and how much it has sapped Israeli morale is possibly best reflected in its desire to see Hamas “just stop” the rocket fire.
Failure of the Iron Dome on one side and then the range of missiles on the other bespeaks of the Israeli bragging about Dome’s capabilities as also its intelligence gathering -- very much like its failure on Hezbollah.
Evidently Hamas alone knows if it has anything more viable and potent in its arsenal kitty that could create more fear in Tel Aviv and other distant locations within the terrorist state not reached by Hamas’ homemade crackers. The problem basically is who knows how much Libya’s loss of Gaddafi’s armory at the hands of revolutionaries has really benefitted helpless Gazans.
Gaddafi’s armory certainly didn’t have missiles alone. What else might have reached Gaza from there will be known once Israel launches ground attack. After shooting down a drone and an F16, let us see how Hamas cadres fare against Israeli tanks and in urban warfare. Could Obama be referring to something unrevealed to Israelis when he said, “If Israeli troops are in Gaza they're much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded?”
Despite threat of impending ground attack, Ismail Hanya’s rejection of ceasefire and end rocket attack without Israel agreeing to end all acts of aggression and assassination and lift its five-year Israeli blockade on Gaza may not be mere posturing, particularly even though causalities in Gaza are mounting by scores daily.
Now that Israel has set deadline of 36 hours (curiously announced by finance minister!) for Hamas to stop rocket attacks, we should shortly know if fear of Hamas’ rockets cools down Israel’s estrus (state when non-human female mammals feel “in heat”) or will it run its full course (e.g., 21-28 days for bitches), like it did during Operation Cast Lead when Tzipi Livni as foreign minister was forcefully and hotly defending slaughter of over 1,300 Gazans.