The terms of the cease-fire of June 2008 between Israel and Hamas were clear and simple.  Hamas would stop firing rockets into southern Israel and Israel would end military operations in the Gaza Strip.

Now fast forward to November 4th, 2008.  Media outlets around the world were covering Barack Obama’s amazing ascendency to the pinnacle of American politics.

On that same day, the six month old cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was broken.  But nobody knew about it because the media outlets didn’t pay attention to it.

Here is what happened.

Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip, near the town of Deir al-Balah, in a military operation to destroy an underground tunnel allegedly used by Hamas to capture Israeli soldiers.  Six Palestinians died.  Yet The Boston Globe today wondered ‘Why did Hamas end its six-month cease fire on December 19th?’  That same article claimed that ‘Hamas ended the cease-fire part because of its long standing discipline and consistency’ against the Israelis.  But somehow, the eternal American-Israeli alliance has blamed Hamas for the latest outbreak of violence.

Too many politicians and media outlets have taken this distorted posture without examining the progression of events begun on November 4th.  That is the date when the cease-fire ended, not December 19th.  And Israel broke the cease-fire, not Hamas.

Now, Israel has declared an ‘all out war’ against Hamas to create a ‘new security environment’ for the citizens of southern Israel in range of Hamas-fired Qassam rockets. The exacerbation of hostilities since the outbreak of war, however, has only made the Israeli people less secure prior to Israel’s f-16 air strikes.

The attacks have not only vindicated support for Hamas, but more importantly, they have sent an unprecedented degree of rage throughout the Arab world.

The bombardment of the Gaza Strip has reignited tension between Hezbollah and Israel. In 2006, guerrilla warfare tactics on the streets of Beirut brought the more powerful Israeli military to a near stand still with Hezbollah. In the wake of the attacks on Hamas, Hezbollah’s leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has called for a third intifada against Israeli aggression. The second intifada of 2000 was characterized by suicide bombings and acts of violence against Israelis.

The Israeli Defense Force has recently issued a statement warning of a possible Hezbollah attack from the north as the Israeli military occupies itself with warfare in the Gaza Strip. By re-triggering hostilities with Hezbollah, Israeli citizens in the north, as well as those living in the south, are in danger of rocket attacks. This possibility would destroy the Kadima administration’s agenda for the aforementioned ‘new security environment’.

Jordan is also now questioning their peace treaty with Israel. Two elected Jordanian officials burned an Israeli flag in the parliamentary chamber in the capital of Amman. Many of Jordan’s citizens are descendants of the Palestinian Diaspora and sympathize with the Palestinian people. There is also a growing concern that the Israeli Ambassador post to Jordan will be terminated, thus ending all diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Moreover, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa calling on the Islamic ummah to defend Palestinians against Israeli aggression.

In Damascus, Syria, over 5,000 people took to the streets to protest. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, the outfit from where Hamas was originated, accused Arab leaders of being culpable in Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Tensions in the Middle East are high indeed. One has to question the motives for Israel’s attacks in the wake of the strong anti-Israeli rhetoric coming from Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and others. Are the Israeli citizens more secure now after the attacks on Gaza?

If Israel really cared for the security of its citizens, it would have never attacked Hamas. So why did Israel attack?

With parliamentary elections looming next month, it appears that domestic political struggles in Israel may be the primary motivation behind the decision to attack Hamas.  As the leader of the ruling Kadima party, Prime Minister Olmert has lost the confidence of the Israeli public for their ‘soft’ stance against Hamas and Israel’s mismanagement of the 2006 Lebanese War.

The more ‘hawkish’ Binyamin Netanyahu – the leader of the opposition Likud party – has promised to topple Hamas if he was elected Prime Minister.  In preliminary polls, he has soared ahead of Tzipi Livni, the predecessor to Olmert in the Kadima party.

The ascendancy of the Likud party has troubled the leaders of the Kadima party, hence their rationale for striking now.  Being more aggressive against ‘militancy’ and tougher on national security issues, the Kadima party figured, was the road to victory in next month’s election.  Time will only tell if dropping bombs in the Gaza Strip can win a political party a parliamentary election in Israel.

So what will the war in the Gaza Strip accomplish for the Israelis?  Nothing at all.

Because of the number of deaths, the amount of destruction, and the continuing humanitarian disaster in the Gaza strip by the Israeli War machine, Hamas’ “logic of deterrence” has been vindicated and obviated. What will happen now in the Gaza Strip, and possibly throughout the region, is an ideological vacuum spearheaded by the ongoing resistance against politically motivated Israeli aggression.

The Kadima party may win an election because of this action on the eve of the Israeli election, but they may regret what they wish for.

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