Picking up on Doug McKelway’s comment regarding a meeting with Israel Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, I downloaded the Red Alert Israel app. The app is intended to provide Israelis with warnings of missiles headed in their direction on something like 15-30 seconds’ notice. Over the past few days, Israel has been the subject of a barrage of missiles from the Gaza Strip, courtesy of Hamas, and the app has been getting a workout. During lunch today, my phone sounded Red Alert alarms six or seven times in the course of an hour.
Hamas says it is willing to give it a rest, but only if Israel lifts its blockade of weapons into Gaza. Hamas, in other words, wants war. I’m not sure why, but its desire to jockey for position in the Palestinian Authority may have something to do with it. Iran may also have something to do with it.
Whatever the cause, the Hamas offensive has reached the point that Israel has to do something about it. Responding with obvious reluctance, Israel has launched Operation Protective Edge as a counteroffensive. The counteroffensive so far is limited to air strikes that seem modest. Given the backdrop, it’s hard to imagine how such strikes will reintroduce deterrence without something more ambitious, but we can hope and pray. Interested observers may want to follow the IDF Twitter feed.
The advice rendered by the Obama administration to the parties that formed the current Fatah-Hamas unity government has worked to keep American money flowing to the Palestinian Authority but otherwise achieved not a single constructive effect. It’s the signal trait of American foreign policy in the Age of Obama.