Israel, Gaza and memory
Robert Baer at Time says the powder is accumulating in Gaza and wants only a fuse to get things going in his article A Coming Hamas-Israel War? When Egypt had Gaza bottled up and before Iran began to exercise a dominant influence within the territory military actions in Gaza tended to be circumscribed. Limited war over a limited area. But now two things have potentially changed that.
First, Gaza is now linked up with Egypt, so troubles in Gaza may trouble Cairo in unforseeable ways. Second, the collapse of the Egyptian border has meant Hamas' arsenal, especially in those weapons capable of reaching into Israel, has reached unprecedented levels. In short it has the potential to become a less-limited war over a less-limited area. Baer explicitly recognizes these factors.
Israel knows too that Hamas would like to drag Egypt into it. And, who knows, it might work. At some level someone in Egypt is complicit in smuggling weapons into Gaza. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition party, still looks at Hamas as its Palestinian branch. Iran and Hizballah have been soliciting Egypt's cooperation in more help for Gaza. Will Egyptian President Mubarak be able to hold the line, keep a lid on Gaza, when Israel itself can't?
If this ominous scenario sounds vaguely familiar, where have we seen it before? Why in Pakistan. The process of abetting terror groups as a kind of outdoor therapy for domestic militants, the practice of letting the local psychos blow off steam against the American and the Jew, just like the policy of swelling the voter rolls with illegal aliens who will support admitting more illegal aliens, behaves like a Ponzi scheme that eventually comes to a crashing smash-up. Sooner or later Frankenstein's monster breaks his chains and then all the bets are off.
You would think that politicians would see horror scenarios coming faster than the feckless characters of B-movies. But that is apparently not the case. They didn't see either of the World Wars coming until it was too late. Politics, like cheap wine, does not improve with age. Baer writes:
Walls aside, what Israel sorely misses is the capacity to strike fear into its neighbors, deterrence. The Winograd Commission spelled it out in bleak terms in its report on Israel's failures during the 34-day war. "Israel cannot survive," the official statement said, unless it is able to deter its enemies — teach Hamas and Hizballah a lesson they won't forget.
Forgetting -- or "moving on" as it is now called -- is the politician's stock-in-trade. If voters remembered everything they would forgive nothing. No. In our mutable world "never again" means "never mind".