Many Israelis do not see the pummelling of the Gaza as a victory for them but simply as business that will need to be finished at some other time despite Olmert’s declaration that Israel ‘has won’ and that Israel’s objectives were ‘obtained in full’.. It is likely that Hamas will emerge from the ruins much stronger and more determined than ever to continue their struggle against Israeli aggression and will likely begin to rearm within just a few months.
Olmert’s failure yet again to destroy what is perceived to be Israel’s enemies will reflect on both the Kadima party led by Tzipi Livni and the Labor party led by Ehud Barak. One would have thought that the Israelis would have learnt their lesson from their failures against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 but it seems the Israelis have made the exact same mistakes in their attacks against the Gazan people. Massive damage to infrastructure does not win wars. The killing of innocent children and civilians does not win wars. Killing a few hundred fighters does not win wars. Committing warcrimes does not win wars. All these things Olmert has now done twice and it has played directly into the hands of the ultra right-wing Zionist Likud party and will guarantee its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, victory at next months elections in Israel.
A Netanyahu-led Israeli government will take advantage of Olmert’s defeat by declaring Israel’s attempt at destroying Hamas and regaining the Gaza for Israel as unfinished business that Netanyahu will take care of at the first available opportunity after the elections.
In a matter of hours now there will be a new US President and within just a few weeks there will be an Israeli election. The question now is; if Netanyahu wins, which now seems likely, how much support can he expect from President Obama if he does decide to complete unfinished business with Hamas, Hezbollah and, hopefully, Syria and Iran? Will Netanyahu decide to go it alone? He can’t go it alone because he needs to rely on munitions and fuel from the US but he might decide to start out on his own and hope that the US will support Israel once fighting breaks out and it is shown to have been ‘started’ by Israel’s enemies.
Time alone will tell, What can be guaranteed, however, is, if war does break out again it will appear to the world that once again Israel has been the ‘victim’.