Monday, August 22, 2011


Israel currently faces three dilemmas. The first of these is how to deal with Egypt. After the attack on Israel from Sinai last Thursday, when 8 Israelis were killed, there was a gunfight with another Palestinian terrorist cell in Egyptian Sinai, during which 5 Egyptian soldiers were also killed. Israeli commentators and some Government officials blamed Egypt for these raids, saying quite evidently that the interim Egyptian Government has lost control over Sinai. No Arab Government can take such criticism, so Egypt blamed the IDF. In response to demonstrations against the Israeli Embassy in Cairo they withdrew trhe Egyptian Ambassador to Israel, but Defense Minister Barak apologized to Egypt and both Governments agreed on a joint investigation to find out who actually killed the Egyptian guards, the IDF or the Palestinian terrorists. It is very important for Israel to retain the Israel-Egyptian Peace Treaty of 1988, and so they are in a dilemma, how to respond to Egypt's lack of control over Sinai and yet retain the Treaty with Egypt. The Treaty restricts the presence of Egyptian forces in Sinai, yet if Israel allows Egypt to increase its military presence in Sinai in order to control the terrorists, they might eventually be used against Israel.

Over the weekend 80 rockets (!) were fired from Gaza into Israeli territory, and another 40 yesterday, killing one man and seriously injuring several. Israel is in a dilemma over how to respond. They want to respond aggressively in order to deter further attacks, but this will result in escalation. Already the IAF has killed the leadership of the PRC and has engaged in daylight raids into Gaza, but if the situation escalates too much Israel will be engaged in another war situation, like Operation Cast Lead of 2008, which Israel wants to avoid, especially at the time when the Palestinians are going to the UN to ask for unilateral recognition of their State. A ceasefire was agreed with Hamas thru Egypt, but it was immediately broken. Can Hamas control Gaza? If not Israel will have to.

The third and most difficult dilemma is how to respond to the so-called Palestinian State if it is supported by a large majority in the UN General Assembly, even though this will not be actual UN recognition without a Security Council approval. Such a unilateral action, without consultation with Israel, as required by previous UN resolutions, would free Israel to take counter-measures. But, if the Palestinians couple their application to the UN with further attacks, which are always ignored by the UN while Israel is castigated for its counter-attacks, this would tend to make Israel try to avoid any deliberate counter-actions at that time. What to do? It really is a no-win situation for Israel, unless Israel acts boldly and the world tacitly accepts or understands Israel's reactions.


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