As was feared when America’s mediation efforts between Israel and the Palestinians fell apart in April, tensions have risen dramatically — and innocent people have died.
The three Israeli teenagers who vanished in the West Bank were found dead; and immediately after that a Palestinian teenager was abducted and murdered in Jerusalem by young, extreme right-wing Jews who thought revenge against a child was a good idea. Israel’s domestic security agency, Shin Bet, announced the arrest of six Jews on Sunday.
The murder of a Palestinian, of course, led to rioting and a new round of hatred.
The only silver lining on these dark clouds: words of sympathy exchanged between the bereaved Palestinian family and at least one of the Israeli families who lost their sons.
With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government blaming Hamas for the murder of the three young Israelis, pressure on the Palestinian Authority has increased — apparently also from the United States government — to get the P.A. to cancel its recent unity agreement with Hamas.
Meantime, someone in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has been launching dozens of rockets into Israel. The Israeli military intelligence agency, Aman, believed — as of this past weekend — that it was not Hamas firing the rockets. Hamas was, in fact, engaged in secret discussions to arrange a ceasefire.
This time, Israeli sources were blaming “Al-Qaeda,” meaning radicals in Gaza who see themselves as aligned with the late Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist group. They may well feel inspired by the Islamic State radicals: the Sunni Muslim fighters who’ve made advances in both Syria and Iraq.
Needless to say, they are as anti-American as they are anti-Israeli. The United States should want them to be defeated — preferably humiliated and annihilated.
Israel is looking for an opportunity to do that. The rocket-firing gangs in Gaza act as though they want to be invaded by Israel.
But it’s obvious, also, that the possibility of an Egypt-mediated ceasefire between Gaza (meaning basically Hamas) and Israel is a very tempting thing … at such a volatile and dangerous time.