Reasons for a Short-Term Truce with Hamas

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, the Israel Air Force struck at Palestinians who were apparently planting a bomb at the Gaza security fence; meanwhile, rioting continued along the Israel-Gaza border and a grenade, borne by a balloon from Gaza, landed in Israel. And this was but a single day of Hamas’s attacks, which have continued on and off since March. Yaakov Lappin notes that at several points Israel and Hamas have come close to all-out war, which remains a possibility. Since Hamas has no intention of desisting from its terrorist activities, Lappin asks, does Jerusalem have anything to gain form a short-term cease-fire with the terrorist group?

Hamas’s negotiation tactics have alternated between talks and mortar shells, but its short-term goal remains the same: to open up Gaza to the world while holding on to the terrorist army it has built. . . . Hamas’s efforts to break its isolation was a major factor behind the outbreak of the 2014 conflict with Israel. Today, the very same factor could spur a new war. . . .

Yet despite Hamas’s radical Islamist ideology, its leadership is keen to preserve its rule in Gaza, and it is aware that a new war with Israel would jeopardize that. [The head of the regime in Gaza, Yahya] Sinwar, seems to recognize the futility of any new war with Israel at this juncture, particularly in light of the effectiveness of Israel’s Iron Dome air defenses and new anti-tunnel technology. . . . At the same time, Hamas’s rocket- and mortar shell-production efforts have been intensifying over the past year. . . .

Israel, [for its part], has its reasons for wishing to avoid a major Gaza conflict at this stage. One reason is that a full-scale conflict would mean fewer resources would be at Israel’s disposal against the bigger and significantly more dangerous threats that are developing in other arenas. . . . Stopping Iran’s takeover of Syria is Israel’s foremost immediate goal, and a Gaza conflict now would serve as a distraction from the more dangerous threat developing to the north.

In addition, it seems unlikely that Israel would be able to find viable substitute rulers to replace Hamas in Gaza. That means that containing and deterring Hamas, so long as this is possible, is preferable to any full-scale conflict. . . . The chances of a broad truce arrangement remain low, but a limited ceasefire that is still firmer than the current unstable setup might be within reach.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Yahya Sinwar

Nikki Haley Succeeded at the UN Because She Saw It for What It Is

Oct. 15 2018

Last week, Nikki Haley announced that she will be stepping down as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year. When President Trump appointed her to the position, she had behind her a successful tenure as governor of South Carolina, but no prior experience in foreign policy. This, writes Seth Lispky, turned out to have been her greatest asset:

What a contrast [Haley provided] to the string of ambassadors who fell on their faces in the swamp of Turtle Bay. That’s particularly true of the two envoys under President Barack Obama. [The] “experienced” hands who came before her proceeded to fail. Their key misconception was the notion that the United Nations is part of the solution to the world’s thorniest problems. Its charter was a vast treaty designed by diplomats to achieve “peace,” “security,” and “harmony.”

What hogwash.

Haley, by contrast, may have come in without experience—but that meant she also lacked for illusions. What a difference when someone knows that they’re in a viper pit—that the UN is itself the problem. And has the gumption to say so.

This became apparent the instant Haley opened her first press conference, [in which she said of the UN’s obsessive fixation on condemning the Jewish state]: “I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. . . . I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

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Read more at New York Post

More about: Nikki Haley, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations, US-Israel relations