Want more of something? Subsidize it!
For decades, the US government has subsidized the defense of Israel to the tune of billions of dollars per year.
Is it any wonder, then, that the Israeli government -- and the Arab governments which also receive billions in "peace with Israel tribute" from Uncle Sugar -- always make sure to keep a dire, even existential, threat on low to medium heat to justify the continuation of those subsidies in perpetuity?
Or that they turn up the gas a little bit at key points ... points like, say, the weeks before the inauguration of a new US president?
The point has long since ceased to be whether or not Israel survives or the "Palestinians" get a state, if indeed that ever was the point. The point now is to make damn sure those checks keep getting signed.
Israel isn't going to crush Hamas, because their meal ticket would expire if they did. Hamas isn't going to settle, for the same reason. The show must go on.
High-quality theatre? Perhaps. But it's hell on the extras.
I think the points remain sound, but there are a couple of deviations. Namely:
- Ahmad Jabari, whom the Israelis assassinated on November 14th, apparently threatened to derail the gravy train described above. According to Haaretz (warning: Registration/paywall stuff involved), "Hours before Hamas strongman Ahmed Jabari was assassinated, he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip. ... during the past two years Jabari internalized the realization that the rounds of hostilities with Israel were beneficial neither to Hamas nor to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and only caused suffering, and several times he acted to prevent firing by Hamas into Israel." Truth be told, the assassination was very possibly a joint IDF/Hamas operation.
- Both sides seem to be cranking the volume up a little higher than usual. Can you name that tune in one note? I can: Iran. Hamas wants Iran to pump more money and weapons into the conflict because Hamas needs more money and weapons. Likud wants Iran to pump more money and weapons into the conflict because that might give US President Barack Obama the excuse he needs to slap Iran around for them directly (i.e. with cruise missiles, etc., instead of just the economic sanctions that have kept the mullahs in power for 30-odd years). Look for a serious atrocity or military reverse for Israel in the next few days. If Iran won't provide one, Netanyahu and Co. will throw something together themselves.