Israels given reason for the attack on Gaza appears to be two-fold. An attempt to halt the rocket attacks which have increased in 2012 and to destroy the newer Fajr-5 rocket systems Hamas appear to have acquired off Iran.
Iran have been developing the Fajir family of rocket systems for many years including the smaller Fajir-3 systems that Hamas recently have been firing into Israel.
Previously to this Hamas had been firing less rockets into Israel and controlling other militant groups from within Gaza. This seems to have now changed.
More about this later.
The upcoming Israeli election on January 22nd 2013 may also have something to do withn the current action. It is very similar to the 2009 invasion of Gaza, known as “Operation Cast Lead” in Israel and the “Gaza Massacre” or the “Battle of al-Furqan” within Gaza.
Then the Israeli election was to be held on February 10th 2009 and the Gaza incursion occurred from December 27th 2008 until January 18th 2009. Very similar time frames. This time Israels prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu may wish to be shoring up the right side of the country knowing that security is one of the big issues in an Israeli election. It gives him the opportunity to deal Hamas a blow and to appear tough and strong on security issues.
One of the reasons for an increase in Hamas attacks on Israel along with attacks from “The Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine”, Salafist-jihadist groups and “Palestinian Islamic Jihad” could be the falling out between Hamas and Syria. The Hamas exiled leadership are now spread around different countries after the split with the president of Syria Bashar al-Assad on ideological lines. The exiles were better placed to be influential with Iran and Syria and were able to speak out more against Israel whereas the Gaza based Hamas wing had to be more wary due to raising the ire of Israel and as has happened now, the danger of attack.
A reason for the increase in Hamas hostilities towards Israel could be that the Gaza Hamas leaders are looking at showing their credentials more, appearing a stronger military wing as many Hamas supporters wish them to be.
The Hamas organization is also looking at closer involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, they now feel more aligned ideologically with that movement than they are with the Iranians.
The Israeli government quite likely has known of the Fajir-5 rockets possessed by Hamas for quite some time and preparations for the public in safety areas seems to have started in October from what you can gather from within the alternative press.
Once Israel had assassinated Ahmad Jabari, the second in command of the Hamas military wing, this must have been a dire warning for the Hamas movement that Israel indeed was looking at more active involvement once again in Gaza. Hamas must have realized at some point that Israel was aware of the Fajr-5 rockets and decided to employ a “use or lose it” approach whilst endeavouring to engage with Egypt and arrange a truce. Hamas does not want a major incursion from Israel into the Gaza strip.
From once again looking at the the alternative press, Ahmad Jabari was a major player in Hamas acquiring the Fajir-5 rocket systems, he also was known as the leader of the takeover off the Gaza strip by Hamas. A further role he played apparently was in the capture of Gilad Shalit the IDF soldier who was captured and held for 5 years.
The IDF certainly must have felt a need to fix the books on Ahmad Jabari and through the attack on his car on November 14th they certainly and in a deadly fashion did this.
This was an attack on a citizen of the Palestinian Territories from the air.
This brings us back to Iran, where do they fit in? Well even though Hamas has aligned itself more with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt Iran still has powerful influence through supplying weapons to Hamas and asserting control over other militant groups from within Gaza.
This whole exercise has a few areas that fall into place for Iran. Hamas may come out of this looking weaker and militant groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad may gain more control and along with this more influence for Iran. Remember the nuclear issue that Israel still wants to come to grips with? This may be more leverage for Iran as it once again widens its sphere of influence.
Israel may be better off with Hamas running Gaza than the alternative. It’s a prickly game and one that can easily go wrong.
Is it possible that Iran knew all along that Israel would trace the Fajir-5 rocket systems to Gaza and in turn have to attack Gaza to destroy the weapons?
In the world of “real politik” the games are played extremely deeply indeed. In a tinderbox such as the middle east the main players plan and carry out the processes that will bring them political gains at a very complex level, checkmating is what this appears to be about.
Israel it may seem has been cornered into an action that ultimately only benefits Iran.
It’s not likely that Egypt would be keen to engage with Israel apart from using loud words, there roll will most probably be as a peacemaker and arranging a truce.
The Palestine Liberation Organization is formally requesting an upgrade at the U.N. General Assembly to “non-member observer state” status. This has been totally frowned upon by Israel and the word is that The Palestine Liberation Organization will be successful, this may also be a part of the whole equation. It is a situation Israel has already said they take very seriously indeed.
All the players know what will happen until the beginning of an action and then unfortunately life and the real world takes over. How all the participants react to a situation that may spiral out of control is the real test. At the end of the day there is a point where all players lose control and must respond to what faces them.
A lot that lies ahead will not have been in the plan and in fact will affect the region for many years to come.
Every state requires security and for one state to attack another to aquire this is very drastic indeed.
Unfortunately innocent citizens usually pay a high price for the political classes inability to resolve a situation, on both sides of a conflict.
There are many conflicts that the political elite have directly or indirectly created and as it seems here are unwilling to bring to a resolution.
The agendas go on and on and at some point are completely lost to the general population. Their lives ruined by the decisions of a few whos sole aim it appears is to gain power and influence.
This has been the way of the world since time began and it will not cease any time soon.
I would like to thank those who provided the images.