THE BLOG
07/23/2014 07:16 pm ET Updated Sep 22, 2014

On "We Told You So," Ben Gurion Airport, Gaza and the West Bank

As of 2005, when Ariel Sharon executed the ''Disengagement Plan'' from Gaza, in which not even one Israeli, whether civilian or military personnel, was allowed to stay there, the Israeli right wing, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, warned of what would happen in Gaza. When their dire predictions were fully materialized, and instead of peace and quiet in an area without any settlements [''the cause of the problem''], the order of the day became a rain of rockets fired at Israeli population centers, all that Netanyahu had to say was ''we told you so," and with it he came to power after the 2009 elections. Maybe simplistic, one dimensional but SO true.

Most people in Israel, like in many other countries, are receptive to ''simplistic'' messages. This is the collective wisdom of the folks, not that of the sophisticated, learned elite, and sometimes, surely in this case, conventional wisdom proved to be simply wisdom. So, even if there are strong points to be made in favor of the Disengagement Plan, and I, for one, can make and amplify them, the fact is, that the majority of Israel's public opinion passed its opposing judgment on it long time ago.

''We told you so'' is in full use again in Israel. This time it is over the rush decision of the FAA to instruct American carriers to stop flying to Ben Gurion Airport, the biggest, almost exclusive, gate for Israel to the outside world, an instruction which was followed suit also by many other carriers. Indeed, a Hamas rocket fell in Yahud, 2 km from the airport, true, there is great sensitivity in the world after the latest outrage in Ukraine, but still there is a strong feeling in Israel and outside, that this time there was a political interest behind the instruction to the FAA to suspend flights to Israel. A sense that this is yet another pressure in disguise on the Israelis to agree to a premature cease fire with the Hamas terrorists.

So long as there is no verifiable evidence that the FAA was instructed by higher echelons in Washington, the decision and its grave implications cannot be put squarely at the door step of the Obama administration, but it is not too early to observe that this is the impression of many in Israel, and altogether, this temporary suspension is going to lead to unintended consequences. A quick cease fire is not one of them.

For years, and surely as the Gaza situation started to deteriorate some years ago with the indiscriminate firing of rockets at Israel, Netanyahu and his supporters raised the specter of a closure of the Ben Gurion Airport as a result of a rocket attack, whether from Gaza or from the West Bank. In fact, this was a repetitive line of Likud arguments against handing over of large parts of the West Bank to the Palestinians. ''Rational'' politicians and commentators in Israel dismissed it as yet another alarmist, fear-mongering Likud tactic. Well they proved wrong, and now the ''we told you so'' is again so popular, as well as being so right.

It is going to be very difficult to convince ordinary Israelis, not necessarily the traditional Likud and right wing milieu, to agree to major territorial concessions in the West Bank when the immediate, so obvious lesson of the current fighting, surely of the ease with which Israel can be cut off from the world, is that conceding a vital territory could be so mortally dangerous to Israel's security.

Netanyahu and the other right wingers have their case ready for the next Israeli elections, which will be held much sooner than the scheduled time in late 2017.

The immediate implication about the current Gaza situation is also very clear; Israeli motivation to deepen the ground assault has greatly increased, rather than decreased. Seeing a nearly deserted Ben Gurion Airport is a sight which fuels a strong sense of indignation, a feeling of being besieged, and much more importantly, a growing and stronger support to the current government and its declared aim, that THIS TIME, Hamas would not be allowed to end a war with a claim of victory.

The longer term implications are also very clear. It is not the end of any future talks with the Palestinian Authority, but if and when this talks will resume, the Israelis will have a trump card, one which will enjoy near universal support in Israel, and is likely to garner wide support abroad-the security card, the emphasis on a set of security requirements whose acceptance will be hard, very hard for the PA to swallow.

If Abbas has complaints about that, he should direct them to his government partners from Hamas.

Netanyahu, for his part, can and will say the obvious, ''I told you so''...