Indeed. Operation Cast Lead is about many things. One thing it isn’t about is the fabulously semitic hair exhibited by Liat and Shalhavit last night at one of the many watering holes in Jerusalem’s Nachalat Shiva district. It’s really too bad that the IDF’s operation in Gaza really and truly has almost nothing to do with Liat and Shalhavit’s gorgeous semitic locks. What is it all about then?
Let’s just admit it ok? There is pretty much no chance that Operation Cast Lead will destroy Hamas. Getting the shit kicked out of it by the IDF, as well as all the attendant Palestinian civilian casualties, have done nothing but increase Hamas’ popularity – especially in light of the fact that Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israel and inflict civilian casualties. Furthermore, Hamas has held back it’s main fighting force from any serious engagement with Israeli ground troops, thus preserving its ability to uh…”govern” after the inevitable Israeli cease fire/retreat.
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead during the twilight days of the Bush Presidency specifically so that they could go in and inflict as much damage on Hamas as possible without undue American pressure. This is action that the Israeli population, suffering from incessant Qassam barrages has demanded. In recent polls, 81% of Israelis surveyed approved the attack on Gaza. Similarly, Hamas’ Iranian puppet masters needed something major to distract the world from their rapidly advancing nuclear aspirations. There was concern that Bush would use the waning days of his presidency to launch an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities – with Gaza on fire however, that’s less than likely. I don’t expect Hizballah will open a new front on the Lebanese border because the Iranians need that military infrastructure, capable of being supplied easily from the outside without resort to tunnels and crap like that, to remain intact with their potentially nuclear tipped rockets staying in one piece.
So Hamas is bruised and bloodied, but it has captured international sympathy and has consolidated its control of the hearts and minds of its people. All this at the expense of a few hundred civilian and military deaths. More importantly, it has protected the interests of its #1 benefactor. Israel for its part has played its Iranian assigned role almost perfectly, though I’m sure both Hamas and the Iranians are hoping for more deaths of both IDF soldiers and Palestinian civilians. While Israel wasn’t given much of a choice in how it could respond, here’s hoping that the conduct of the war will be carried out with restraint and intelligence so that Hamas’ ability and will to continue terrorizing the civilians of the South is detrimentally affected.
Sadly, there isn’t much room for hope of any kind here. Non-state actors will continue to be used by Iran in their quest for regional domination and to challenge the post WWII middle-eastern status quo. Israel’s continued survival and viability will not be enhanced or assured as a result of Operation Cast Lead. Israelis will feel better that they responded in some way to Hamas’ attacks. We won’t feel that we are friarim (suckers) any more – although really? We kind of are.
Luckily, the women of Jerusalem are lovely to behold and I can still go out and have a beer …