June 27, 2006

Hamas Is That Doggie In the Crosshairs?

Hatched by Dafydd

So it appears that Israel is about to invade Gaza... and there is also a chance -- if the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade carries through on its threat -- that Israel will launch a nuclear strike as well. So what else is new this week?

Er... could you repeat that last bit, Dafydd? Something about a nuclear -- what?

Don't worry; it's only a fairly small chance.

From the Reuters story:

Israel rejected a demand by Palestinian militants to release Palestinian women and youths in its prisons in return for information on an abducted Israeli soldier and threatened a punishing offensive in the Gaza Strip....

Izz el-Deen al-Qassam, the governing Hamas movement's armed wing, along with the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and the Islamic Army, said Israel would not get information about the soldier unless it freed all jailed Palestinian women and youths....

"The time is approaching for a comprehensive, sharp and severe Israeli operation. We will not wait forever," [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert] said. "We will not become a target of Hamas-terrorist blackmail."

The pistol is loaded and pointed at the Palestinian Authority's head.

Israel has not announced any imminent nuclear attacks, of course; and they would not, for there is no advantage served by making such a threat. You either do it or you don't.

But it's well understood that if the Palestinians attack Israel with chemical or biological weapons, and the attack is successful at killing a number of Israelis, then Israel will respond with WMD of its own. And since it doesn't truck with chemical or bacteriological weaponry, the reality is that it would, in that circumstance, break out the "temple weapons."

But would any group actually be fool enough to threaten CBW against Israel? Funny you should mention that...

The Australian speaks:

In a leaflet released in Gaza, the [al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades] said: "With the help of Allah, we are pleased to say that we succeeded in developing over 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons, this after a three-year effort.

"We say to (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert and (Defence Minister Amir) Peretz: 'Your threats of invasion do not frighten us. We will surprise you with new weapons you have not faced until now. As soon as an IDF soldier sets foot on Gazan land, we will respond with a new weapon."'

The hammer is cocked; will Hamas squeeze the trigger?

As Reuters put it, the clock is ticking for Hamas if they don't move very quickly to spring the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped Sunday. There are several ways this could end:

  • Hamas could locate the soldier and force the groups who captured him -- the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees, and the Army of Islam -- to release him unharmed. Not very likely.
  • Hamas could remain hardline about it, forcing Israel to invade wide and deep. Plausible, with two subplots:
    • Fatah may actually have chemical and biological weapons... and they may decide to use them against the Israelis. Unlikely, by my guess, since the response would wipe Fatah and Hamas both from the map;
    • Fatah may be lying about having WMD, or they may have them but choose not to use them. This is the most likely scenario, and it results in a major Israeli offensive against the PA... with predictably devastating results -- but no nuclear war.

Quite some time ago, in Captain's Quarters and elsewhere, I argued the case in favor of the Israeli pullout from Gaza and the West Bank (for example, in Crystal Gaza).

I agreed with those who opposed the pull-out, notably Paul Mirengoff of Power Line, that this would lead to Hamas taking over the Palestinian Authority and likely to a major terrorist offensive against Israel. But I parted company on what would happen next, arguing that this would liberate, not bind, the Israeli response to any such attacks:

But opponents of the pullout never seem to ask the next question: so Gaza is taken over by Hamas, which launches an attack on Israel... and then what happens?

What happens, I predict, is that Israel -- which would no longer have to fear mass murder of the settler-hostages in enemy territory -- will respond to Hamas as they responded to all cross-national attacks on Israel, most particularly in 1948, 1967, and 1973: with a full military response from the IDF, including air support, which they have rarely used in the territories since capturing them during the Six-Day War (after Gaza and the West Bank were used as staging areas for an Arab invasion of Israel).

Right now, Israel's hands are tied in the occupied territories. Israel is an occupying nation, so it cannot go all-out in combat within the territories without violating the rules of civilized warfare. Because Israel is in fact a civilized, Western country, it takes those rules seriously, even when the enemy does not. This is immensely frustrating, of course, since the Palestinian terrorists don't even recognize the existence of any sort of rules of warfare, civilized or otherwise; they have no restraint upon their behavior whatsoever.

But once Israel pulls out of both Gaza and the West Bank, "Palestine" becomes an independent nation in both law and fact (the first time an independent nation of Palestine has ever existed there, I believe). And that lifts the restraints on the IDF -- because even France and Russia would be hard-pressed to find a reason why Israel wouldn't be allowed to defend itself from attack by another independent nation.

I even enunciated a test by which we could see whether my vision of the future was correct -- that the pull-out will free Israel's hands -- or rather that of the naysayers, that it would result in devastating attacks on Israel that go largely unanswered by the Jewish state:

Here is what to look for to see if my prediction is coming true: once Israel pulls out, a major attempted attack by some terrorist group or groups is inevitable. Because of the security fence (the "wall"), that attack will probably be in the form of rockets, mortars, or artillery fired over the wall. If Israel responds with aerial bombing of significant targets within Gaza and the West Bank, that will tell us that the days of pussyfooting have passed. The Palestinian Arabs will wake up to a new reality, one in which Israel no longer pulls punches in response to mindless Arab terror. I absolutely believe this will create a much better situation than what we have now, with international terrorist groups having significantly less ability to launch attacks on Israel (or on us) from the Palestinian territory than they enjoy today.

But if Israel's only response is a targeted assassination of some Hamas official and a strongly worded letter of protest to Failed Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas... well, then Israel would have surprised and saddened me.

So far, at least, it has all shaken out just as I suspected it would; but we have not yet come to the divergence between me and those who opposed the withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank. That will likely come very soon now... that is, if the Palestinians don't cave and give up the soldier -- and if the Israelis don't cave and stand down their army without getting their soldier back.

Everything comes to a head very soon now: as "Larry Sanders" used to say, no flipping!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 27, 2006, at the time of 4:02 AM

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Yesterday, Israel roared into Gaza in a lightning war (yeah, yeah, I know), ostensibly to find and rescue kidnapped IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit... but actually to break the back of Hamas, al-Aqsa, and other terrorist groups operating in the Gaza... [Read More]

Tracked on June 28, 2006 6:21 PM


The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I wonder where these guys could have gotten such weapons? Let me see. who was it that made a habit of giving money to suicide bombers and whose own arsenal of such weapons vanished?

As for the Israeli pullout. I was never comfortable with second guessing the Israelis on that. It is thier county and their safety and they have to decide what is best for themselves. I think Paul might have forgotten that.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 4:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: Davod

The crucial issue is whether the Israelis will take the fight to the Palestinians over the long term. I do not think this will happen.

In many ways Israel is just like the majority left wing countries in Europe. The people in power to not have the mindset to attack. The Israeli courts will rule against any action and the 60 percent liberal poulation will rise up against such action.

The above hissed in response by: Davod [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 5:00 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

Now, you're sounding like some sort of religious nut: "Everything comes to a head very soon now". Armageddon. Judgment Day.

The Palestinians won't be an independent nation, regardless of where physically the Israeli police and IDF locate themselves. Why? Because the Palestinians are prisoners of their own weird victim pathology: they can't act like a nation now, so removing the only rational actors in their immediate vicinity won't magically make them better.

Remove the adults and you'll just see more murder and mayhem from the gangs of vicious criminals running free through the streets. From the outside, Palestine looks like some sort of weird real life Blade Runner society. And your solution is to make Rick Deckard leave town? Just to see what happens? Great.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 7:04 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

One alternative you forgot -

Hamas (or Fatah) locates the soldier and forces his release. THEN those groups go to war against Hamas (or Fatah). It becomes an all out power struggle/civil war within the territories.

I think you are right about all of this - the struggle has continued because the Palestinians have never felt beaten (just like the Germans in WWI). It will continue indefinitely until something in the equation changes. As the old saying goes, the Palestinians will continue fighting until they love their children more than they hate the Israelis.

Also Israel will never use nukes - In this case they are solely a strategic weapon. The area is too small for them to be used tactically in Gaza or the West Bank. Nukes are messy, and will undoubtedly damage Israel or surrounding countries if used.

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 10:15 AM

The following hissed in response by: IanM

When and if the IDF enter Gaza the IDF will have the clear advantage offered by the newly built fence. Hamas and Fatah will have no place to run.

The above hissed in response by: IanM [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 4:41 PM

The following hissed in response by: Jabba the Tutt

Now, I assume the Israelis weren't stupid enough to listen to Jimmah al Carter and went ahead to develop the neutron bomb. They could then get their greenhouses and other facilities back intact.

Basically, I say flatten the place and let the Arabs move to Egypt. Oops, the Egyptians built a war to keep them out.

Palestine is what happens when an entire country goes on welfare for up to three generations.

The above hissed in response by: Jabba the Tutt [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 1, 2006 5:48 AM

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