20 May 2007

Follow the smell...

In a few days, when various human rights groups and assorted Israel-bashers start the outcry against Israeli military escalation in the Gaza strip and the inevitable innocent bystanders falling prey to our attacks on the Hamas, Jihad, Popular Resistance Committee and other gangs of the Gazan alphabet soup of wannabe martyrs, let's remember the story of the recent strife in a few easy steps:

  1. The ever smoldering enmity between Hamas and Fatah, exacerbated by the family feuds, erupts into several clashes and in a few days becomes an open warfare between these two biggest factions wrestling for power in Gaza.
  2. It looks at first that Hamas have the upper hand, but some more informed observers consider the outcome far from certain, some even suggesting that Fatah units are winning.
  3. Tens of people, including completely uninvolved bystanders, are killed, hundreds wounded.
  4. Seeing the initiative being taken away, with the merest semblance of Hamas-led statehood becoming a travesty, Hamas does what Hamas does best - turning the attention to the common enemy. The rocket scientists of Gaza open their warehouses, where the latest calm allowed them to accumulate a sizable reserve of ready to launch sewage pipes filled by explosives (after all, the area is entering a dry period, and another sewage flood is not expected till November, at least).
  5. Israeli government, torn between the various response options, each one worse than another and consumed by its own frailty, elects the pinpoint IAF attacks on the Qassam launch teams.
  6. Unfortunately, there are inexhaustible reserves of the launch teams (there is no need for a prolonged training) and the sewage piping, apparently prepared in huge quantities in advance or being ripped out of the ground on the go.
  7. At the moment it seems that the rocket scientists became completely autonomous, disregarding their political branch and the elected PM Ismail Haniyeh and even the real capo di capi in Damascus - Khaled Meshaal.
  8. During the last 7 days around 130 Qassams landed in the Western Negev, terrorizing the citizens of Sderot and other communities bordering the Gaza strip.
Where does it lead? Israel is not submitting any formal protests against the relentless bombardment, probably expecting the public opinion getting there on its own (a stupid plan if there ever were one). Right, the Pope issued a condemnation. On the other hand, the Pope also "appealed in God's name for Jerusalem to use moderation". Meaning the famous "proportional response", probably.

The game plan followed by Hamas is clear in the short term. To distract attention of the Gazan street from the internal strife and to focus it on the common target - this works most of the time, especially when the inevitable civilian victims will start coming to the emergency rooms. And even if they don't: what is the difference between a dead civilian and a dead terrorist, aside of the gun and the ammo belt?

The long term goal of the current round of violence is something that is more difficult to see. Hamas may make a serious mistake, not taking into account that our weak leaders are more prone to rash decisions and that IDF may be sent into Gaza. Unlike the leaders, IDF will come prepared, and the consequences of a full-scale invasion of the Gaza strip will be not necessarily beneficial to the Hamas gang, including its "political" figureheads. Unless martyrdom is the ultimate goal of this crowd.

There is no telling what turn the events in the near future will take, but there does not seem to be a bloodless scenario on offer.

And this may be indeed what Hamas is counting on. But meanwhile, the sewage in Gaza flows free, unfettered by the unnecessary pipes...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.