How meaningful is Israel’s latest crackdown?

Israeli helicopters have attacked the office of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Haniyeh in Gaza City, setting the building on fire. The attack was timed to occur when the building was empty. One bystander reportedly was injured. The purpose of the attack was to make clear to senior Hamas officials that Israel holds that organization directly responsible for the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and thereby to create the pressure that will secure his release.

However, Caroline Glick argues that these actions, as well as the arrest of Hamas leaders, are unlikely to “have any ameliorative effect on Israel’s security situation.” She writes:

But while [Sharon’s goal in 2002] was to “defeat the terror infrastructure,” the current Operation Summer Rains in Gaza has set as its goal returning Cpl. Shalit to Israel. Olmert and Peretz hope to somehow convince Hamas and Fatah and their bosses in Damascus and Teheran that they are better off coughing up Shalit. They are supposed to think this even though Israel has made it clear that it won’t stay in Gaza and is dead set – regardless of the outcome of Summer Rain – on giving them Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem.

Given the nature of Prime Minister Olmert’s coalition, and the pressure on Olmert from the EU and even the U.S. State Department to accommodate Palestinians, Hamas may well find that its interests are best served by maintaining its image as a force that won’t knuckle under to Israeli pressure of the sort Olmert is able to bring to bear. And even if Israel’s actions succeed in bringing about Shalit’s release, the long term prospects for its redeployment policy are not bright.

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