Take a quick squizz at the map of Israel above.
Hamas are now claiming they can reach up to 45 kilometers (28 miles) into Israel with their rockets. Iran’s PressTV claims rockets fired from Gaza hit the Tel Nof airbase, just 27 km short of Tel Aviv.
Right, so the map… I think the “it’s the rockets, stoopid” has been downplayed and denied by many of Israel’s critics who won’t believe this was behind Israel’s decision to confront Hamas. But recognising the issue of the rockets is, in fact, key to understanding the Israeli psyche and the key to unlocking the peace process.
Like many, I support a two state solution which involves Israel withdrawing from the West Bank, lifting the blockade of Gaza and consolidating its 1967 borders, and the creation of a viable Palestinian state, ideally with an EU-style regional economic co-operation.
I think that Israel should withdraw from the West Bank to get this process started.
But here’s why they probably won’t.
The red section of the map represents that portion of Israel that would be – for the moment, at least – out of range of Hamas rockets if the experience of the Gaza withdrawal were repeated and Hamas took control of the West Bank. Yes, only those Jews who wandered the Negev Dessert would be safe from the daily rocket barrages.
And this, unfortunately, is the most likely reason why a withdrawal from the West Bank is unlikely, if not impossible. The withdrawal from Gaza was supposed to be a pilot project, but the opportunity was squandered by Hamas because – if this hasn’t sunk in yet – they want to be locked in eternal conflict.
Those who follow the “We are all Hamas” line and support their “resistance” are the ones squandering opportunities for peace and destroying the Palestinian people’s future. “With friends like these…” is something ordinary Palestinians should take note of.
Israel quite simply isn’t going to budge while it feels threatened. So to those who say they genuinely want peace and a lasting settlement, but express ‘solidarity’ with Hamas, I repeat:
It’s the rockets. stoopid. Bring pressure to bear to make them stop.
The map tells the story.