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August 6, 2005
Dafydd: Crystal Gaza

Israel is just about to evacuate the settlers from Gaza, by force if necessary. Most observers are tearing their hair out, seeing nothing but bad coming from this.

The argument -- and it's perfectly logical, as far as it goes -- is that by withdrawing the settlers and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) which is primarily there to defend them with checkpoints, searches, and restrained shows of force, a power vacuum will be created. The Palestinian Authority will of course be too weak to maintain its power, so Hamas (and perhaps Hezbollah or Palestinian Islamic Jihad) will seize control instead. (Though Al-Qaeda has also now staked a claim to Gaza, and the strip may turn into a decidedly uncivil civil war instead of smoothly transitioning to Hamas.)

Thus, Gaza will inevitably become a new base for militant Islamists, say those opposing the pullout. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posts the template of this argument:

The U.S. has, at great cost, overthrown two governments that harbored and supported terrorists. But now, with U.S. encouragement and indeed pressure, Israel is about to transform Gaza into a substantial base of terrorist operations.

The Captain himself has presented this argument ably and frequently, of course, most recently here, here, and again here.

But opponents of the pullout never seem to ask the next question: so Gaza is taken over by Hamas, which launches an attack on Israel... and then what happens?

What happens, I predict, is that Israel -- which would no longer have to fear mass murder of the settler-hostages in enemy territory -- will respond to Hamas as they responded to all cross-national attacks on Israel, most particularly in 1948, 1967, and 1973: with a full military response from the IDF, including air support, which they have rarely used in the territories since capturing them during the Six-Day War (after Gaza and the West Bank were used as staging areas for an Arab invasion of Israel).

Right now, Israel's hands are tied in the occupied territories. Israel is an occupying nation, so it cannot go all-out in combat within the territories without violating the rules of civilized warfare. Because Israel is in fact a civilized, Western country, it takes those rules seriously, even when the enemy does not. This is immensely frustrating, of course, since the Palestinian terrorists don't even recognize the existence of any sort of rules of warfare, civilized or otherwise; they have no restraint upon their behavior whatsoever.

But once Israel pulls out of both Gaza and the West Bank, "Palestine" becomes an independent nation in both law and fact (the first time an independent nation of Palestine has ever existed there, I believe). And that lifts the restraints on the IDF -- because even France and Russia would be hard-pressed to find a reason why Israel wouldn't be allowed to defend itself from attack by another independent nation. Even if members of the UN Security Council floated a resolution to condemn Israel, it would be the simplest thing in the world for the United States and Great Britain to veto it.

Note: There is absolutely no doubt that the terrorist groups will claim they "drove" Israel out of Gaza, just as they claimed they drove it out of Lebanon. They will get a little temporary propaganda advantage out of this. But that slight advantage will be more than offset by the improvement in the military situation... especially if Ariel Sharon withdraws in an orderly fashion; unlike Ehud Barak, who ordered the IDF to flee Lebanon as if they had just been routed in battle. (The Israelis departed so quickly they actually left armor behind; they had to send Israeli warplanes to bomb their own tanks, lest they fall into the hands of Hezbollah!) I don't think anybody knows why Barak ordered such a panicked departure; perhaps just the typical Leftist urge towards melodrama.

Here is what to look for to see if my prediction is coming true: once Israel pulls out, a major attempted attack by some terrorist group or groups is inevitable. Because of the security fence (the "wall"), that attack will probably be in the form of rockets, mortars, or artillery fired over the wall. If Israel responds with aerial bombing of significant targets within Gaza and the West Bank, that will tell us that the days of pussyfooting have passed. The Palestinian Arabs will wake up to a new reality, one in which Israel no longer pulls punches in response to mindless Arab terror. I absolutely believe this will create a much better situation than what we have now, with international terrorist groups having significantly less ability to launch attacks on Israel (or on us) from the Palestinian territory than they enjoy today.

But if Israel's only response is a targeted assassination of some Hamas official and a strongly worded letter of protest to Failed Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas... well, then Israel would have surprised and saddened me.

One thing you gotta admit about me: when I make predictions, they are always testable -- and usually very quickly so!

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Posted by Dafydd at August 6, 2005 5:46 AM

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» Hamas Is That Doggie In the Crosshairs? from Big Lizards
So it appears that Israel is about to invade Gaza... and there is also a chance -- if the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade carries through on its threat -- that Israel will launch a nuclear strike as well. So what else... [Read More]

Tracked on June 27, 2006 6:04 AM

» Hamas Is That Doggie In the Crosshairs? from Big Lizards
So it appears that Israel is about to invade Gaza... and there is also a chance -- if the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade carries through on its threat -- that Israel will launch a nuclear strike as well. So what else... [Read More]

Tracked on June 27, 2006 6:08 AM

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