It’s a familiar script being played out with many of the same actors who had leading roles in the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian terrorists. There’s the dour-faced protagonist, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas still inciting his people to “resist” Israel’s “occupation” of Gaza. Dutifully, his subjects have stuck to the script, rioting in Gaza against Israel trying to protect itself from the worst barrage of rockets to rain down on solely civilian targets perhaps in its history.
The hero of this drama, although not very heroic, is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has responded to the unprovoked rocket attacks with airstrikes by the Israeli air force. Netanyahu doesn’t care that he has an image problem in the West. The people of Israel like him just fine and continue to place their trust in his leadership. Since no one else in Israel wants to form a government, Netanyahu will probably cobble together another coalition in what is rapidly turning into an emergency.
Every few years, the Palestinians try to start a war with Israel to gain sympathy and the opportunity for some top-flight propaganda. They will store rockets in schools, daring Israel to attack them. Their population is the most important extras in this drama as they willingly act as human shields for Palestinian fighters. The more dead Palestinians the PA can point to, the more points they score with the anti-Semites at the UN.
It’s getting tiresome. When will it be time for the Palestinians to change the channel? They may be doing that now.
While the rapidly escalating conflict has brought images familiar from 2014 Israel-Hamas war, the past day has also seen a startling new factor: A burst of fury from Israel’s Palestinian citizens in support of those living in the territories and against Israel’s recent response to unrest in Jerusalem and its current operations in Gaza.
Amid those protests, communal violence erupted in several mixed Jewish-Arab Israeli cities, including the burning of a Jewish-owned restaurant and a synagogue, the fatal shooting of an Arab man and attacks on Arab-owned cars. In a rare move that highlighted the tensions, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday ordered units of border guards deployed to help police keep order.
Perhaps those Arab Israelis might want to take a close look at the facts before siding with the terrorists of Hamas.
The Israeli military said militants have fired more 1,050 rockets since the conflict began, with 200 of them falling short and landing inside Gaza. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said two infantry brigades were sent to the area, indicating preparations for a possible ground invasion.
The army also confirmed that a soldier — Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21 — was killed in an anti-tank missile attack near the Gaza Strip, the first Israeli military death in the fighting.
Israel has struck hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip, where 2 million Palestinians have lived under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas took power in 2007.
Israel may, indeed, be preparing for war but Abbas still has time to pull back from the brink. Whether Netanyahu grants him the opportunity is another question. The Israeli government is currently paralyzed by a failure of both Netanyahu and Yair Lapid to form a governing coalition. Lapid has about three weeks to come up with a “unity government” after Netanyahu initially failed. How any potential conflict with Hamas would play out is anyone’s guess.
Netanyahu may not want to find out, which means there is a good reason for both sides to pull back. Joe Biden has sent an experienced envoy to mediate, which could lead to a standdown by both sides.