What Israel's Really Afraid Of

It was while reading Gareth Porter's latest piece at IPS News, Israel Rejected Hamas Ceasefire Offer in December -- Israel at its peremptory best -- that it occurred to us. Porter wrote:

In the first days after the ceasefire took effect [in June 2008], Islamic Jihad fired nine rockets. ... In August another eight rockets were fired by various groups [and] only one rocket was launched from Gaza in September and one in October.

Contrary to Israel's argument that it was forced to [retaliate] against Gaza in order to stop the firing of rockets into its territory, Hamas proposed in mid-December to return to the original. . . ceasefire arrangement.

Porter adds that Hamas even tried to make other Palestinian groups abide by the ceasefire, detaining and confiscating the weapons of those in violation. But on November 4. . .

. . . just when the ceasefire was most effective -- the IDF carried out an attack against a house in Gaza in which six members of Hamas's military wing were killed. [Its] explanation for the operation was that it had received intelligence that a tunnel was being dug near the Israeli security fence for the purpose of abducting Israeli soldiers.

First, admitting that the prospect of Hamas popping out of a tunnel, snatching an IDF member, and then scurrying back into the tunnel with him or her in tow is cause for scuttling a truce is a stunning admission of fear. Such willingness to cast the IDF in a frightened light only shows the length to which Israel will go to continue the conflict. Even more telling: Israel violated the ceasefire, as Porter wrote, "just when [it] was most effective."

It's not Hamas launching rockets (and certainly not Hamas emerging onto Israel soil from beneath the earth) that Israel fears -- it's Hamas not firing them.

On a conscious level, Israel seeks to crush Hamas. On an unconscious level it needs it to remain the Hamas it knows and loves (to hate) in order to comply with a militarized state's imperative to perpetuate itself.