Seeding Gaza's Clouds Of War
Netanyahu meets with IDF officers of the Southern Command (Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)
The hot winds of war quickly cooled off last Tuesday, just as winds shifted from the south into the northwest. However, hot weather and light westerly winds should soon be perfect for incendiary balloon launching from Gaza. The old joke is that we "cease" and they "fire." In this case, balloon launches from Gaza literally bring fire across our border.
Back in 2005, prior to the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, there were those who said that the Gazans would not be courteously sending our leftover suitcases but a rather large numbers of missiles. Rather than only having one of the highest density of people within a relatively small area, it would also have one of the highest density of missiles — ready to launch — whenever the situation "called" for it.
These people were ridiculed, and the standard answer was: "If they shoot one missile, we'll know what to do." Really?
The last week saw the latest installment of the ongoing Palestinian war against Israel. There was the war of 2008, of 2012 and of 2014, with another mini-war these last few days. Each time, the government said it was attacking just enough to stop the missiles — but not enough to remove Hamas from power. Each time, a so-called ceasefire was followed by more attacks, and each time the number of missiles and their explosive power grew substantially.
The problem is that people — but especially policy makers — like to think linearly. What will come will be proportional to what was and we'll muddle through as always. The problem is that destructive power doesn't have to grow proportionally — it can grow exponentially; instead of homes being destroyed in the next round, whole apartment buildings could be destroyed.
After the previous exchange of missiles and Israeli attacks, Israel agreed to allow Qatar to provide money to Hamas in exchange for quiet. Of course, this hasn't been a true quiet because the violent border protests continue and missiles have been launched by ‘accident’ (lightning, they said, and a mis-set timer).
It is interesting to examine news reports from that week, to better understand where we're going. On May 5th, Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesperson Mosab Al Braim threatened that “the resistance is on the verge of a new level in facing aggression; a level that could lead to open war.” He told the Hamas journal al-Risala, “It will hurt the enemy like our people are hurting.”
Notice, he refers to those firing the missiles as the "resistance" in contrast to the "aggressors," Israel, neatly inverting the reality. Oh, of course his people are hurting because Israel fought back to stop the true aggressor's missile fire. So, the Palestinians of Gaza are now justifying war, based on a falsehood, and there are many people who will swallow the lie.
Then, the Palestinians laid out their "blackmail" position: "“The battle will not end until the occupation responds affirmatively to our people’s demands." That is to say that until Israel gives us money (to pay our terrorists), materials (to build more missiles), open borders (to import anti-tank weapons), etc, we'll keep firing.
Our Prime Minister responded to the mayhem of the war — death and destruction in Israeli cities — saying that Israel had reinstated its controversial policy of targeted killings and warned that the 'rules of the game' vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip had changed. Is it really a game when young men are blown up running to bomb shelters?
He then crowed about how many "terror towers" Israel had destroyed, killing dozens of Palestinian fighters. He overlooks that he has been the Prime Minister since 2009, and has been on watch while Hamas and Islamic Jihad have morphed from a swarm of mosquitoes to a swarm of killer bees. But, in the next sentence he says that this is just a pause, and that the "campaign" is not over.
Why the pause? Could it have been the concurrent arrival of Israel Remembrance Day and Independence Day as well as the Eurovision contest — all coinciding with the Muslim month of Ramadan? Bad timing? Better wait until summertime...
So, what is the end of this ‘game’ like? On May 8, Islamic Jihad stated that, “The last escalation was only a live fire drill in preparation for the major campaign that is coming,” and that everything was fully coordinated with Hamas.
In a total disconnect, the Israeli Defense Forces warned that "that war with the impoverished Hamas-controlled enclave could be back on the horizon in days or weeks if Israel did not work to ease living conditions there." As if Hamas and Islamic Jihad care at all about the living conditions of those they use as "living shields!"
So, now we have it: the Gaza Palestinian terrorists have announced that war is coming and that they plan to bombard our major cities and installations with missiles. Perhaps they will invade the border towns as well? In the meantime, we'll keep supplying them with power, water, food, materials, and money so that they can be well-stocked up for the war.
It makes me think of how sometimes people buy small pythons or boa constrictors for pets. Sometimes, people buy a baby lion. They figure if they just feed it, the cute cat will grow up to be a large kitty cat. But, then, the snake swallows the person instead of the rat, while the lion turns around and eats its owner.
Are we ready to fight Gaza? Are we ready to rid ourselves of Hamas and its partner in terror Islamic Jihad? Seems doable, we'll just send in the army if it really gets bad — we've got everything under control.
Except in our nonlinear world might one consider that Hezbollah of Lebanon will attack this summer at the same time? Until now, we've bought quiet by paying greater amounts of blackmail, but the Ponzi scheme will come crashing down, and then, smoke filled storm clouds will fill our skies.
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.