Bryan Atinsky agreed to let us to reproduce his observations (made from inside Israel) about the recent events in Israel and Palestine. He has no affiliation with Canadian Observer. His post follows below.

A response to the question about: “In complicity with Europe and the United States, Israel Overthrows the Palestinian Authority?”

Bryan Atinsky
There has been much talk here in the last months (government ministers,
military correspondents, etc on tv and radio) about various possible
scenarios in which Israel would increase their military operations in
Gaza (there have even been a couple small commando incursions into Gaza
for specific targets such as Qassam launch pads) and acting on their
threats to target Hamas PA ministers if terrorist attacks would occur.
And, definitely, there have been many moves on many levels to pressure
the collapse of the PA.

It’s been obvious that the Israeli government/military (as if you can
ever really separate the two) has been biding their time until they
could use some incident a justification for some increased level of action.

For instance, Ha’aretz reports: “The detention of dozens of Hamas
lawmakers in the early hours of Thursday morning had been planned
several weeks ago and received approval from Attorney General Menachem
Mazuz on Wednesday. The same day, Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin
presented Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with the list of Hamas officials
slated for detention.” (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/732528.html)

But I think that the scope of the Israeli response is somewhat of a
surprise.

Moreover, there are two elements that are going to make this invasion
problematic for Israel to justify among world opinion: The immediate
trigger for the invasion and any understanding of proportionality.

Several months ago, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni explicitly
differentiated Palestinian guerrilla attacks against Israeli military
targets from terrorist attacks against civilians. In an interview on the
US Television news show ABC Nightline, recorded on March 28, 2006, Livni
stated: “Somebody who is fighting against Israeli soldiers is an enemy
and we will fight back, but I believe that this is not under the
definition of terrorism, if the target is a soldier.”

Even taking into consideration the large amount of tacit and explicit US
and European governments backing of Israeli policies vis-a-vis the Hamas
run PA, the Israeli government ‘hasbarah’ will have a harder time than
usual trying to persuade international public opinion that the
Palestinian guerrilla attack on the Israeli military position near the
Kerem Shalom crossing point into Gaza, was, by any objective measure, a
terrorist attack. Whether this will matter or not relates to how long
the operation continues, how many casualties we see, whether or not the
Palestinians reply with an attack on Israeli civilian targets inside the
Green Line (which will then be used as a larger justification for the
incursion after the fact), and how much noise you all make about it, etc…

On another level, I think that if you look at what triggered this huge
Israeli military response, it says something significant about Israeli
society, or at least the government’s social scale of priorities. And
perhaps even more importantly, it points to what really scares the
Israeli government/military to act. Though there have been a number of
attacks against civilian Israeli targets in recent times, be they the
Qassam rockets or the recent bombing at the falafel stand near the old
Tel Aviv central bus station (which killed 7 or so), it was not these
which evoked such a disproportionate response. (First, obviously the
extensive ongoing Israeli artillery barrages and assassinations, which
have killed tens of civilians including many children, were
disproportionate to say the least, but now we are talking about
large-scale invasion with ground troops and tanks, plus the arrest and
incarceration of 60 some Palestinian government ministers). It is only
when an Israeli military target is hit, soldiers killed, and especially
the capture of a soldier, that the Israeli gov/mil is energized into
full-scale action. I can see two reasons here: One is that a successful
attack on an Israeli military installation which was taken by surprise,
is not just a specific isolated incident, a tactical setback, it is a
spear shot deep into the spine of the Israeli ideological edifice that
surrounds the institution of the military, a key component of the larger
Zionist identity (or at least it sets up a fear of a crack in the
edifice). The second reason (and I am sure there are others, but these
come to mind), relates to the agreement that was being solidified
between the Hamas and Fatah over the prisoner’s document. Among other
elements, this would include the formation of a Palestinian unity
government and an agreement to limit resistance to the Israeli
occupation to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) (the
territories occupied by Israel since 1967). While this would seem to be
something that the Israeli establishment should recognize as a positive
step forward, it is instead taken as a dangerous change that puts
Israel’s interests in jeopardy. If the Palestinians shift their
resistance solely to military targets or targets in the OPT, they lose
their moral high ground (if Israel could really ever be seen to have
one), lose the argument that the occupation must continue and the
building of the Wall must continue, to secure the safety and defense of
the Israeli civilian population. Even though there is speculation that
the attack on Kerem Shalom was done as a way for the Palestinian
militants to show that they would not agree to the stipulation of the
agreement to not cross the Green Line (the military installation
attacked was just over the border of Gaza in Israel), it still can be
seen as significant that they focused on an explicitly military target
instead of a civilian Israeli target.
If a significant time-period passed in which only Israeli military
targets and targets in the OPT would be hit, rumblings of pressure on
Israel to move towards negotiations, move towards ending the occupation
would potentially increase in frequency. This is a danger worth fighting
against.

Whether or not the Israeli public are cheering the invasion and arrests
on??? Well, the Israeli public are sheep by and by and will almost
invariably back defense policy even if they have doubts, fears,
critiques. From what I have been hearing, it seems that though a
significant portion of the Israeli population thinks that something
should be done, there is a lot of apprehension from them about
re-entering Gaza, the fear that once in, we won’t come out, or fears of
a relatively large amount of casualties as in the case of Jenin. Also
fears remembering botched hostage ‘saving’ episodes such as in 1994. I
think that the Israeli people’s willingness to back the incursion is
related to how it pans out in the next week, how long the incursion goes
on, number of casualties, etc…will determine the Israeli public’s mood.