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The current round of hostilities has also seen Hamas—the Islamist rulers of Gaza—openly taking credit for the rocket fire for the first time in years. That lack of inhibition is widely viewed in Israel as reflecting a surge of confidence over the developments in Egypt, particularly the prospect of Hamas’s parent movement—the Brotherhood—and other Sunni extremists taking over or at least steadily gaining ground there.
Indeed, a year and a half after the start of what some may still be calling the Arab Spring, the view from Israel is not among the more uplifting in the country’s short history.
To the west and south, the direct security threat steadily worsens as arms from Libya—a country where the Western powers succeeded to sow anarchy and a possible Islamist takeover—flow unhindered into Sinai and Gaza.
To the east and north, the ongoing Syrian crisis poses grave risks of the Assad regime’s huge chemical-weapons stockpiles falling into dangerous hands through—again—either anarchy or a Sunni-jihadist takeover.
And in the background Iran—which hopes to capitalize on the Islamist energies of the Arab Spring, which it more accurately calls the “Islamic Awakening”—is succeeding along with the world powers to sustain a transparent sham of “nuclear talks” with, incredibly, yet another “round” having been scheduled for Istanbul in July 3 after this week’s “round” in Moscow yielded absolutely nothing by all accounts.
Israel’s worsening security environment along with stubborn Western failure to understand the region’s dynamics—a failure that is the flipside of sheer tiredness and cynicism—does not, then, add up to an encouraging picture.
The situation has, though, fostered an enhanced unity that has seen the rise of an almost wall-to-wall, apparently stable governing coalition, and a decline of Israel’s own delusions that not long ago produced such bitter internal dissensus.
With Washington backing the belligerent fanatics in Egypt against the moderates, and still, with its allies, playing ineffectual games with Iran, Israel will need all the unity and realism it can muster.
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