Dan Diker: A deterrent restored?

Dan Diker is a foreign policy analyst with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He writes from Jerusalem today with an optimistic assessment of Israel’s current offensive:

Israel may have reached a deterrent moment in its war in Gaza against Iranian-backed Hamas. I spoke with a senior Arab diplomat last night. He told me that the Arab street is afraid that “the Jews have gone crazy.”

Yes, it’s true. He noted, “Israel has begun to restore its deterrence” in the Arab world. “Hamas miscalculated,” he added. They had thought Israel would not attack, but would merely accede to tougher Hamas demands for an improved “Tahdiya,” their version of a temporary calm.

This is perhaps one of the more optimistic assessments I have heard from Arab colleagues recently. There is supporting documentation. Hizbullah’s immediate public denial yesterday of the Katusha rocket attack from Southern Lebanon against Israel’s North and the reports on Lebanese TV of convoys of Lebanese (read: Hizbullah) vehicles moving north in expectation of a major Israeli reprisal strengthens this sense.

It’s also notable that Al Jazeera’s reportage yesterday avoided interviewing ordinary Gazans. Arab sources in Gaza confided that the public anger is not directed at Israel any more than it is at Hamas. Al Jazeera, doing a superb job as PR agents for Iran’s proxies, likely wanted to avoid risking those types of reactions from the battlefield.

The source also said that Hamas is “doing very bad things” to Fatah activists in Gaza both as revenge against claims that Fatah leadership provided intelligence to Israel, and as a warning to Fatah to avoid the temptation of being convinced by Egypt, the US and the West that they reassert control in Gaza.

Fatah officials in the West Bank are also demoralized. Nasser Juma’a, a Palestinian Legislative Council Member from Nablus told a well known British reporter yesterday that the “Hamas are insects” and noted that the Palestinians would likely not see a Palestinian state in his lifetime.” Qadura Fares, a Fatah senior, said that the PA would not succeed either in the West Bank or Gaza without “tackling the privileges of the Fatah elite, who he said “have become like princes.”

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