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August 24, 2014 Day 48 of War with Hamas

by Marc Schulman

Today was day 48 of the war. I remember by the second week of the war a number of the Israeli correspondents saying we had reached the ink time of the war (when nothing could go well and things could only go wrong) and thus, it was time to end this war. They would never believe that four weeks later the war is still going on. As wars go it was a rather uneventful day in Israel. The most significant event was the Palestinians shelling the Erez crossing – the place where their critically injured and chronically ill travel to Israeli hospitals for treatment on a regular basis. Hamas managed to seriously injure a number of cab drivers, one from East Jerusalem and the others, Bedouins from the Negev who were waiting to transport the sick for care. If that was not enough, they also targeted the Kerem Shalom crossing, the passage through which Israel supplies food for the residents of Gaza on a daily basis. My son had the most insightful view of their actions – suggesting that Hamas wants to force Israel to close the crossing so then they can charge Israel with starving the people of Gaza.

It looks like both sides are getting ready for a long War of Attrition. Today Prime Minister Netanyahu stated Israelis should be ready for a war that lasts into the new school year (which is scheduled to start in a week. As I have said before, it is clear which side is best suited to hold out, however difficult it would be. It will be easier to hold out than to suffer the dead soldiers that would result in forcing an end, by an reconquering Gaza with ground troops. During the second Intifadah the Israeli people were able to manage for a long time – as long as our death toll remained less than the number of usually killed in car accidents. At the moment, the Israeli casualties are thankfully even close to those numbers. Clearly, if this conflict continues we might make more limited ground raids, (especially aimed at the sites of the mortars). However, who knows ... as unpredictable as the entire situation has been in the past few weeks, and the extent to which the Israeli government has been wrong in predicting what Hamas might do, this war could suddenly end tomorrow, or go on for another month.

Today was the profoundly tragic funeral of Daniel Tragerman, the four year old boy who was killed Friday afternoon. Gideon Levy wrote an article in today Ha'Aretz about the fact that we know nothing about the 478 children in Gaza who have died in this war. He is right. I for one, certainly feel for them, but they are not my primary responsibility. Steve Wozniak who is visiting Israel said it all while visiting in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip earlier today: “If Israel did not react, the rockets would continue anyway. If Hamas halted rockets, Israel would not attack them. Peace.”

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