Murder, Anger, and Tension between Israelis and Palestinians — A Security Analysis

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.

A pugnacious message from Israel's army spokesman

A pugnacious message from Israel’s army spokesman

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.

July 7, 2014

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