Sunday, August 24, 2014

On the road to Gaza City

Why did Syria and Egypt sign ceasefire agreements with Israel after the 1973 Yom Kippur War?  The answer is simple, because IDF forces were about 50 km from Damascus and exactly 101 km from Cairo.  After three wars (1956, 1967 and 1973) in the last of which they had all the advantages of surprise, effective Russian missiles and they vastly outnumbered the IDF forces, nevertheless the IDF not only gave them a crushing defeat, but was on the way to their capital cities.  So they capitulated and signed ceasefire agreements, that in the case of Egypt under Pres. Sadat became the actual Egyptian-Israel peace treaty of 1979.  And it has held ever since, there has been no direct war between Israel and Egypt or Syria for the past 35 years.
Unfortunately, this is the kind of scenario we need to reproduce in relation to Hamas in Gaza.  The Syrian Government under Hafez Assad and his son Bashar remained extremely hostile to Israel and in fact headed the "rejectionist front," consisting of many Palestinian organizations that had headquarters in Damsacus, including Hamas until quite recently.  But, despite their enmity to Israel, the Assad regime knew that it would be futile to attempt another war with the IDF.  Therefore they preferred to act through proxies, such as Hizbollah in Lebanon. 
Even though a  large proportion of the Egyptians are still extremely hostile to Israel, nevertheless the Egyptian Army realizes that it is futile for Egypt to attempt another war with Israel and that is why it is advantageous for Israel that General al-Sisi became President of Egypt.  But, the Palestinians, hiding behind the skirts of the fellow-Arab States and then using terrorism against us, have never been totally defeated by the IDF, that is why they continue to demand unrealizable conditions in order to even make a lasting ceasefire with Israel.  I am afraid that they must be totally defeated, that we must be not 50 km from Gaza City, but the IDF must be in their command bunker under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City before they will capitulate.  That may be the only way to actually obtain peace with them.
But, short of actual peace, they may capitulate to Israel's and the international community's demands for demilitarization and a permanent ceasefire if they are convinced that they can never defeat Israel.  Although they opted not to continue the current ceasefire, their missile store is not inexhaustible, their fighters are being picked off, as the published numbers show that mostly young men of military age dominate the casualty figures in Gaza.  Also, their organizational framework must be hit hard, if ca. 1,000 of their men are killed and maybe 5,000 wounded, then their effectiveness as a fighting organization with a command structure and response to orders must be failing.  The IDF must keep hitting their operatives hard (never mind about civilians), as they did yesterday, killing three senior operatives and possibly Mohammed Deif, the Chief of the military wing of Hamas. and this will cause their morale to sink and their military capability to decline.  Only time will tell, but as the war continues, eventually Hamas will eventually have to capitulate to the Egyptian ceasefire without conditions.


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