Posted by Alex on Sunday, December 28th, 2008
Number 5: Hamas was launching rockets into southern Israel.
Although very few of these missiles hit a target and very few Israelis died as a result of those attacks, the rockets are a source of psychological stress as Israelis living in the affected areas had to live in constant fear.
Number 4: The attacks were a part of Israel’s strategy to ensure the utter failure of Hamas in governing the Palestinian people who elected Hamas in 2006 to lead them.
From day 1, Israel made life very difficult for anyone living in Gaza under Hamas’ leadership. Israel is not alone in this project. Many westerners also believe that Arabs who elect a hardline Islamist party at some point in the future should never forget the painful failed experiment of electing Hamas.
Number 3: To help America’s weak Arab allies
The “Moderate Arab” leaders and rulers needed to reduce the collective weight of their adversaries in the Syria/Iran/Hizbollah/Hamas coalition. Egypt lost its patience with Hamas recently after the popular Palestinian group did not sign an Egyptian mediated agreement for settling Fatah/Hamas differences. Hamas’ leadership made it clear to the Egyptians that within the complicated regional power competition, Hamas is firmly committed to Syria. Egypt got the message: if you want to play a role in Palestinian affairs, it is still possible, but you need to coordinate with Syria. Alhayat reported this week that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told visiting French prime minister that “Syria and Iran control Hamas .. Syria blocked Egypt’s efforts to reach an agreement between Fatah and Hamas”
In 2006, it was widely believed that both Egypt and Saudi Arabia wanted to see Israel succeed in destroying Hizbollah. Today, many Arabs interviewed on Aljazeera were already accusing Egypt of giving Israel an Arab green light to finish off Hamas.
A week ago, seven thousand Israeli policemen had to do a “training exercise” that was described by Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, as “a huge police training exercise to prepare for riot control and to deal with different scenarios“.
Number 2: To cool down Arab and international pressure on Israel. Pressure to live up to the high expectations at this advanced stage of the Peace process with Syria and with the Palestinians.
Since Israel made the decision to give Sinai back to Egypt, 4 years after the relatively challenging 1973 war, Israel always found a way to get out of peace negotiations that were nearing success. Prime ministers get kicked out of office for corruption, others are killed by extremists, and the uncertainties of Israeli politics takes care of the rest.
After this week’s blood bath in Gaza is over, the Syrians will find it difficult to negotiate with Israel and the Arabs would find it difficult to continue to promote their “Arab peace initiative”.
Israel is not ready for the price of peace.
Number 1: Some Israeli and Bush administration hardliners want a last chance to draw Hizbollah into another confrontation with Israel before President Bush is out of office.
Israel is too proud to be able to live with the fact that Hizbollah defeated its army during its invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Assassinating Hizbollah’s Imad Mughnyieh was supposed to lead to a Hizbollah retaliation against some Israeli diplomats outside the Middle East after which Israel would have a reason to go after Hizbollah again. Hizbollah promised to retaliate, but did not make that mistake.
Israel is trying again to make it difficult for Hizbollah to not get involved.