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"The only excuse for war is that we may live in peace unharmed." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

(CC IDF. Photo by: Staff Sgt. Alexi Rosenfeld, IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Two of Israel's super-hawks, PM Bibi Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Leiberman, are doing their utmost to prevent the Palestinian firebombing of Israeli civilians from erupting into another all-out war. The outcome still hangs in the balance at this time. For over four months, the Hamas leadership in Gaza has incited tens of thousands of Palestinian to launch helium balloons and ingenious kites with firebombs attached at Israeli villages across the border. To date, thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and fields have been torched and many small animals have been killed in the inferno. No Israeli civilians have been killed but there have been several close calls - that's probably why Israel has not declared all-out war on Hamas. The IDF has responded with surgical airstrikes on Hamas targets inside Gaza while snipers have shot Palestinians launching the firebombs and also trying to break through the border fence.

At the moment, Egypt, Israel's peaceful Arab neighbor, is working overtime to come up with a solution for ending the current conflagration. If the crisis does escalate into a war it would be the fourth in recent years. To date, the improvised firebombs have proven to be highly successful, and Israel's hi-tech wizards have yet to find an effective response. Although, several thousand Israeli residents in the border area are, understandably, incensed over being firebombed day and night. Netanyahu and Lieberman have taken the advice of IDF Cheif of Staff Gadi Eizencot and not gone to war again with Gaza despite the provocation.

Why is Israel turning over backward to avoid another war with Gaza?

US President Donald Trump is expected to unwrap his long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

First, the IDF has its eyes peeled on the current Iranian attempt to turn southern Syria into another foreign base, such as it did with Hizbollah in southern Lebanon. Moreover, US President Donald Trump is expected to unwrap his long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. So Jerusalem does not want to torpedo that effort.

Egypt rallies to the cause ...

Another positive sign of the shifting Middle East sands is the welcomed role of Cairo in trying to mediate a new deal between Israel and Hamas. This reflects the new silent alliance between Israel and other Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and obviously Jordan, that are very concerned by Shiite Iran's blatant campaign to topple the Sunni Muslim regimes. And that is why most of the Arab world has remained mum during the current crisis between Israel and the Gaza Palestinians, who are supported by Iran.

At this juncture there are leaks about a new ceasefire that could lead to a dramatic improvement in the dire economic conditions in Gaza, possibly including controlled port facilities...

At this juncture there are leaks about a new ceasefire that could lead to a dramatic improvement in the dire economic conditions in Gaza, possibly including controlled port facilities that would bar Hamas from smuggling in more missiles to launch at Israel. But, due to the Muslim festival of Ramadan, the negotiations have been put on hold for a week. Meanwhile, Hamas keep sending the balloons and kites, and the IDF opens fire when it deems fit. To date, over 120 Palestinians have been killed, some of them teenagers and children deliberately sent to the danger zones.

In light of the Palestinian casualties, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has proposed sending a UN observer force to protect the "demonstrators". To do what exactly - to protect terrorists who are firebombing Israeli civilians? Would it be the same type of UN force dispatched to southern Lebanon after the last war with Hizbollah, sent with the mission of preventing the terrorist organization from again storing Iranian missiles in southern Lebanon? At present, under the noses of those UN troops, Hezbollah has amassed well over 100,000 rockets and missiles inside and under Lebanese villages, to be launched suddenly at Israel when Iran gives the order. Stay tuned for next episode...

Elsewhere in the region Saudi Arabia...

Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump meet in Washington, D.C. (CC White House)

How and why has Canada succeeded in getting embroiled in such a bitter feud with Saudi Arabia? There's no question that the Saudi monarchy is a far cry from the Canadian ideal of a democratic government, duly elected and granting equal rights to all its people, including women. However, there have been some clear and remarkable indications recently that Crown-Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has embarked on a new and more moderate approach. For example, Saudi women can now drive cars and go to the cinema and football matches. Would it not be wiser, in light of the gradual shift to democratic reforms, that international players encourage such changes rather than picking a feud?

As a Canadian who came to Israel more than 50 years ago, there is another thing I find perplexing about Canada's external affairs. It is Canada's possible purchase of second-hand Australian fighter jets for the Canadian airforce. Why would the politicians decide their fighter pilots deserve only secondhand aircraft? Of course, they can be bought cheaper than first-line American aircraft that are probably the best in the world. Is this a reflection of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's row with President Donald Trump? Naturally, national pride is of major importance. But surely Canadian fighter pilots who put their lives on the line every day while protecting the country also deserve the best and safest aircraft. Moreover, training in first-line aircraft also requires pilots to improve their skills. It should also be clear that second-hand fighter jets, after the wear and tear of usage over the years, are inherently less safe than new models, however, they may be refurbished. Suggestion: From now on, Trudeau and his cabinet colleagues should now prefer driving in second-hand and refurbished limousines in order to save money on the more expensive and newer models.

Political Analyst David Essing


David Essing

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