Katie Zavadski, fresh from a Dishternship, nails down a critical fact in the latest Israel-Hamas death-match. As the Dish has noted before, the Israeli government knew from the get-go that the murderers of three Israeli teens – the incident that set off this bloody chain of events – were not doing official Hamas’ bidding even in the West Bank, let alone Gaza:
After Israel’s top leadership exhaustively blamed Hamas for kidnap of 3 teens, they’ve now admitted killers were acting as “lone cell.”
— Sheera Frenkel (@sheeraf) July 25, 2014
This was confirmed by Mickey Rosenfeld, the police spokesman:
Israeli police MickeyRosenfeld tells me men who killed 3 Israeli teens def lone cell, hamas affiliated but not operating under leadership1/2
— Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) July 25, 2014
So the entire swoop on the West Bank against Hamas, which soon escalated into all-out war, was based on a a false premise, uttered by Bibi Netanyahu thus: “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.” It’s worth recalling in that context that Hamas had recently been very quiet on the rockets front:
Fewer rockets were fired from Gaza in 2013 than in any year since 2001, and nearly all those that were fired between the November 2012 ceasefire and the current crisis were launched by groups other than Hamas; the Israeli security establishment testified to the aggressive anti-rocket efforts made by the new police force Hamas established specifically for that purpose.
Netanyahu saw an opportunity to hammer Hamas and punish the PA for cooperating with them. He took it. It disempowers both and makes an even more radical successor more likely. But if you assume that Netanyahu has no intention of ever coming to a peace agreement, a more radical Palestinian population helps justify that. Meanwhile, the core project of a permanent Greater Israel is advanced.
After watching this situation for too many years now, I have developed one key measurement: follow the settlements. Everything that happens is designed for their benefit. And that goes for the current ghastly carnage. It’s staggering what the Israeli government will sacrifice to advance the settlements.
(Photo: The dead body of Jalila Ayad, a Christian woman killed in an Israeli airstrike on her house in Gaza City, is carried to the Al-Shifa hospital morgue on July 27, 2014. By Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.)