WHAT’S COMING NEXT
(1) Netanyahu exploited the ceasefire ultimatum (a trap laid by Blair, but of course with Obama’s connivance), and the downing of the Malaysian airliner (which displaced Gaza from the headlines), to launch the ground invasion. However, it is only a limited invasion because of the broad constraints still imposed on Israel by international public opinion. It gives Netanyahu enough time and leeway to clobber Hamas and “mow the grass” in Gaza.
(2) But Netanyahu can’t declare victory until the Hamas projectile attacks cease, and without a full-scale invasion he can’t stop them. Here’s where Abbas comes in. Abbas will negotiate an agreement with Egypt whereby the PA will staff Rafah crossing, enabling Abbas to declare that he won an end to the blockade. The quid pro quo, however, is that he will agree to prevent any arms smuggling into Gaza and to disarm Hamas. Because
(a) Hamas’s key demand was to end the blockade,
(b) Hamas is isolated politically and neutered militarily, and
(c) Abbas is technically the head of the Unity government, Hamas will be forced to agree to these terms.
If things go according to plan, it will mark the end of Hamas as a resistance movement, to the joy of the Arab states, the US, EU, Israel and, of course, the PA.
(3) The US gave Israel total diplomatic cover during the latest massacre. So, it’s payback time. Obama and Kerry will role out the terms of the framework for peace. WIth the Palestinians battered and Hamas defeated, the PA will (happily) sign on. Insofar as Netanyahu can now ask for near-anything and get it, the US will probably tweak the framework to meet his every demand. Kerry, Netanyahu and Abbas may yet get the Nobel.