The king retreats

Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz, December 1:

There will be a war next summer. Only the sector has not been chosen yet. The atmosphere in the Israel Defense Forces in the past month has been very pessimistic. The latest rounds in the campaigns on both fronts, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, have left too many issues undecided, too many potential detonators that could cause a new conflagration. The army’s conclusion from this is that a war in the new future is a reasonable possibility. As Amir Oren reported in Haaretz several weeks ago, the IDF’s operative assumption is that during the coming summer months, a war will break out against Hezbollah and perhaps against Syria as well.

At the same time, the IDF does not anticipate a long life for the cease-fire achieved last Saturday night with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. When the present tahdiya (lull) joins its predecessors that fell apart – the hudna (cease-fire) of summer 2003 (which lasted for a month and a half) and the tahdiya of winter 2005 (which was in its death throes for months until its final burial at the end of the disengagement) – there is a danger that the big bang will take place in Gaza. At its conclusion, like a self- fulfilling prophecy, IDF soldiers will return to the heart of Rafah for the first time in 13 years.

Of the two worrisome scenarios, the IDF speaks more in public about a conflagration in Gaza, but is also genuinely worried about a war in the North, mainly in light of the army’s dubious achievements in the previous round there.… 

With Palestinian politics in disarray and Lebanon ready to collapse – US influence is decreasing by the day – Israel is starting to find itself rather isolated.

They’ll no longer have UN bitch John Bolton to protect them.