That’s it. No more running for bomb shelters. This time (the third time in six years) Israel was going to destroy the Hamas hold on Gaza — utterly and completely. The Israel military set about doing just that. Prime Minister Netanyahu estimated that Israel would reach its goal by mid-September.
Suddenly — boom — an openended ceasefire was announced on Aug. 26, a truce widely trumpeted by the media. The Wall Street Journal on Aug. 28 reported that a coalition of the United States, the EU, the UN, and Russia declared the truce. Was Netanyahu’s arm twisted really hard? You can bet on it.
Israel would now be working with a new authority in Gaza. Who is this new authority? It is the union of Fatah under Mahmoud Abbas and, you guessed it, Hamas. It was announced
that Israel’s border crossings into Gaza would be open to shipments of humanitarian aid and reconstruction supplies. Gaza’s fishing zone would be doubled. Future talks would deal with Hamas’ demands for a seaport, an airport, release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel, etc. Talk about chutzpa! Israel still wants a demilitarized Hamas, period. The talks are continuing.
Then an article appeared in the Aug. 30 Journal with this headline, “Frustration Grows in Israel Over Outcome of Gaza Conflict.” Netanyahu’s approval rating went from 77 percent to 50 percent. Political parties that took a hard line on Gaza are on an upswing.
Will Israel get the one thing it wants? Can Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah be trusted? Only time will tell. The only sure thing is what Charles Krauthammer said: “Israel is the one country that is not allowed to win.” And he said it early on while the battles were raging.