Friday, January 16, 2009

Will Israel Negotiate Defeat From The Jaws of Victory?

Considering the what is on the table for ceasefire negotiations with Hamas, it is maddening to read about the accomplishments of Operation Cast Lead and the potential that so much that has been gain will be thrown away instead of consolidated.

James S. Robbins writes about some of those accomplishment at The Corner:

Hamas about to Crack

The magnitude of Hamas' imminent defeat in the Gaza War is impressive. Israel scored a major tactical victory in taking out Hamas' Interior Minister, chief of internal security and Gaza City military commander while they were meeting at an allegedly safe house. This demonstrates the amazing job Israeli intelligence is doing in identifying targets, something that must make the surviving members of Hamas somewhat uncomfortable. It is hard to see how Hamas can continue to coordinate their defense or maintain internal cohesion having lost their top Gaza-based leaders. In other good news, the elite 100-man Hamas "Iranian" unit, trained in Iran and Lebanon by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah, has been destroyed while fighting in the Zeitoun neighborhood in south Gaza City. This shows that Israel is able to bring the fight to the city and inflict heavy casualties while suffering few in return, negating any advantage Hamas thought it had in defending the "complex terrain" of the urban area. Hamas will soon be forced to agree to the terms of the terms of the ceasefire being proffered by Egypt and France. Whether Hamas will be able to maintain control of Gaza is open to question — the organization seized the strip from the Fatah faction in a violent coup in June 2007, and Fatah no doubt would like to regain control. But reports from early in the war said that known Fatah operatives had been rounded up by Hamas, placed under house arrest, and in some cases shot in the legs or hands. By now they are probably dead. One can expect that any Fatah members in Gaza are currently being hunted down by Hamas to prevent a Fatah resurgence after the shooting stops. It would only make sense. Meanwhile Israel has erased the shame of the less decisive 2006 war in Lebanon and proved that groups like Hamas provoke confrontations with the IDF at their peril.

Olmert, Livni, and Barak are behind the implementation of Operation Cast Lead: the question now is whether they can see it through to its conclusion or at least consolidate the gains in a favorable ceasefire--or will they be tempted (and pressured) to just give it all away so that we return to the status quo and worthless promises from Hamas and the West.

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1 comment:

Elie said...

I hope this letter finds you well.

With the war in Gaza raging on, I have a great story for you – your readers will want to hear about this.

On Thursday morning, I met with Michael Fenenbock, a veteran political consultant (Robert Kennedy!) and founder of “the18” ( He and his wife, Daphne, made a lightning visit to the Gaza war zone this past Wednesday to interact with IDF troops near the front. The area he reached is unreachable to the International Press. He said that the soldiers looked confident and in high spirits (“not like during the Lebanon War”) and felt that they had everything they needed to get the job done. They had every intention of “finishing it” – ending this conflict for good.

I would be more than happy to forward his full account of the experience to you.

You can view his pictures from the experience here:

Please let me know if you will be able to post this story on your blog. Also, do you know of anyone who would be interested in interviewing Michael on TV or radio?

I look forward to hearing from you.


Elie Klein
Account Executive
Ruder Finn Israel
Direct: +972-2-589-2013
Mobile: +972-544-676-967