When two trains collide

According to this Ynet piece, there is going to be another Gaza war in the coming months.

Israel and Hamas both in a race against time

Analysis: An injection of US cash into Israel’s anti-tunnel technology will speed up its development. But the increased activity on the Israeli side is liable to provoke Hamas into jumping the gun and launching an early surprise attack.

What we know with reasonable certainty is that Hamas have put tremendous resources into their tunneling project. Some unknown number of these tunnels are for attacks into Israeli territory. Hamas needs these tunnels. Why?

During the last Gaza conflict, Hamas (largely) took a beating. More significantly, there was nothing gained by the conflict. The ordinary Palestinian on the Gaza street is worse off, if anything, than before the last war. So, with an electorate – OK, that’s sarcasm – that are becoming more and more restless, Hamas must deliver something, or face the consequences.

What does ‘something’ mean? An attack on Israeli territory that kills Israelis.

What might the consequences be for not delivering something? In theory, Hamas might be replaced by a ruling group that is more willing to talk business and peace, instead of terror and killing. But, it’s more likely Hamas might be replaced by a ruling group that wants more sacrifices from the Palestinian people – more blood – in repeated attempts to kill Israelis. In short, things might get worse for the people of Gaza and for the prospects of peace.

The Ynet article suggests that Hamas’ paranoia that Israel might detect the tunnels – which I do not see as paranoia – would push any timetable up, so that an attack will come sooner rather than later.

Hamas is preparing a surprise attack. If they are led to believe for a moment that Israel has a solution that will bring its tunnels out into the open, it will push them to bring their attack forward. And therein lies the bad news: Two trains are speeding towards each other, and the collision is likely to take place within a few months. The IDF is already making estimates around this possibility.

I’m inclined to believe there will be another Gaza war, and soon, primarily because there does not appear to be any reasonable way of cooling the atmosphere down. I don’t think it matters if Israeli politicians tour the border, or make daft pronouncements. Hamas will attack because it needs to, and it will fashion an excuse out of thin air if necessary.

However, for the sake of the border communities, I hope that the IDF is far better prepared at dealing with these tunnels. Of course, it would be preferable to find the tunnels and destroy them before they are used. In that connection, if there’s a chance of that happening, notwithstanding the suggestion in the article that matters have awaited the release of funds, I wouldn’t expect to read about it beforehand. So, maybe the IDF and the rest of the security infrastructure (and therefore, Israel and its people) are in a better position than is generally felt.

The other loose thread here is Bibi. He has not done enough to try and make peace. He has not done enough to get the world on our side. These two statements are connected. Yes, I hae my doots – as my former countrymen would say – that you can make peace with Hamas. And, yes, I hae my doots about the honesty, integrity, and capability of Abbas. But that should not prevent Bibi (were he a real statesman) of putting together a comprehensive peace proposal (and never mind the coalition) and selling it to Obama. Bibi needs to mend fences with the USA, of course, but being proactive and serious about the peace process could absolutely do that.

At this point, attentive readers will ask how that helps with Hamas. It doesn’t. It isolates them further. It may even increase the chances of them starting something. But, with the best will in the world, that is precisely the point. For all that Bibi has been criticized for not doing enough for peace, the Palestinian leadership should be in the same boat. By pushing forward a real peace proposal, even if it is rejected, that is to Israel’s betterment. We want peace. But if we cannot have peace, let’s be clear about who is responsible. And Heaven help them when the dogs of war are let loose.

Incidentally and finally, I wonder if the bizarre incident of the Hamas ‘tank’ being put on display has any relevance here? Did they panic and feel they had to present something military, while not being ready for an assault? Bizarre.