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Contentions

Cease-Fire Ceases

Who could be surprised by the following Haaretz report?

The Israel Air Force on Tuesday evening bombed a target in the Gaza Strip used earlier in the day [by] Palestinian militants to fire eight mortar shells at Israel.

Militants on Tuesday also opened fire at Israel Defense Forces soldiers in Gaza in two separate incidents, in the first violation of a shaky cease-fire in the coastal strip that ended Israel’s 3-week offensive against Hamas.

Even though the coverage leads with Israel’s bombs, the cease-fire was broken by Palestinian rockets and guns. This doesn’t scream out “sustainable and durable.” Up until this point, the story on the cease-fire was that Hamas leadership in Syria  had rejected it while Palestinian fighters on the ground were on-board. Now, with leadership and ground forces both exposing the foolishness of Israel’s premature retreat, what is to follow? Israel managed to curry an impressive amount of international goodwill throughout the Gaza operation, and perhaps Ehud Olmert determined that an internationally overseen cease-fire could help secure that goodwill – to be capitalized on another day. But when you let global opinion influence operational decisions so directly you end up constrained by the reality that’s been imposed on you from third parties. If Israel continues to simply fight back, they may very well fall from the temporary good graces of the governments that had shown support. In short, Israel may have opened itself up to national security blackmail. That’s not a state of affairs one can easily imagine Israel tolerating very long.

Anti-Iraq War folks, take note: This is what happens when you actually do what Barack Obama has been saying he wants to do and simply “end” a war without worrying about the winning part.



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