Fresh facts, four takeaways from Third Gaza War....
CASUALTIES. Israel & Hamas agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire. Much of the pressure for this comes as Israel is increasingly accused of failing to do all it could to limit collateral civilian casualties. Through July 30, a tally published by the New York Times shows Israel striking 3,577 targets inside Gaza, with 1,357 Gazan fatalities—the latter figure coming from Hamas.
But parse these paired numbers, and one sees this: For every ten targets hit by Israel, fewer than four Gazans were killed.
Much also has been made of the far lower fatality rate within Israel, with 2,753 rocket launches from Gaza causing only 59 Israeli fatalities. Thus there are only two Israeli fatalities per 100 Hamas rockets launched. But that reflects two factors: (1) Iron Dome intercepts most of those headed for populated areas; (2) Hamas is aiming at civilians, and thus its low success rate is due to inaccurate fire and penetration.
Evelyn Gordon presents numbers showing that Israel's ceding gaza in 2005 on a net basis has cost more soldiers killed than continued occupation would have cost.
TAKEAWAYS. My FOUR takeaways from Third Gaza War to date:
(1) The terror tunnels have transformed the debate, just as the border crisis has changed our immigration debate--in each case, security concerns now trump all else.
(2) Israel's alliances with Arab states could make her their strongest ally in the region, supplanting lax, strategically stupid Team Obama.
(3) Hezbollah, watching from Lebanon, may decide it is better to focus on the Levant mess (Syria & Lebanon) than tangle with Bibi unchained.
(4) Ominously for Israel, once again Israeli Arabs showed public solidarity with Palestinian violence.
If in a war in which the moral balance was identical to that between Nazi Germany versus Britain during the 1940 “Battle of Britain” air war over England, for Israeli Arabs to side with the Hamas-led Arabs of Gaza indicates that Israeli Arabs, roughly 20 percent of Israel’s 8 million population, are increasingly acting like a World War II German Fifth Column. They are unlikely to defend the Jewish state, even as they enjoy vastly more rights and prosperity than they would enjoy anywhere in Arab lands.
Bottom Line. Israel must achieve maximum success this time, and prevent Hamas from re-arming. Or the Fourth Gaza War will be inevitable, and prove vastly more costly for the Jewish state. It will also be vastly more costly for America, which, alas, the present administration seems not to grasp.
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