The OverviewSo, when all the rubble settles in Gaza, what is it going to look like. The obvious things include 1) much of Gaza will be in rubble, 2) there will be a few thousand people killed in Gaza, most of them civilians, and 3) Israelites world wide reputation will be in shambles, its total lost body count under a hundred. Gaza will have won a moral victory, but will have nothing to show for it. They will not use their brief "claim to fame" to any advantage in either short term negotiations on the blockade or longer term negotiations on self determination.
The U.S. and Israel's StatusBecause of strong Jewish lobbying support, the U.S. will maintain its strong support for Israel. The U.S. has learned little from its experience in the last ten years in the Middle East -- that our military can not be successful against religion or win real friends ---- and it will not desert their one "bright spot", an equally inept ally with a strong military. The U.S. and Israel is like big brother and little brother.
Long term respect for the United States will be severely eroded by its lopsided allegiance to Israel. The U.S. will dump a half billion or so into Gaza to appease the Muslim countries and people around the world, but it will seen for what it is ... an attempt to buy friends in the Muslim world. Israel will be more hated, but as long as its big brother doesn't desert it, it really doesn't matter. Muslim countries seldom put their money where their mouth is ...
Possibilities for HamasHamas has the stage, the trouble is they don't know what to do on the stage. Using the tough guy rhetoric, the hate Israel message, will not change their declining fate. They must find a way to make a proposal that sounds like their main concern is the Palestinian People. Their passion for getting the blockade lifted almost falls in their category, but they must say they will give up something to get assurance from the U.S. that the blockade will be lifted to sound sincere. One thing they could give up is their current stock of missiles. It is unlikely that they are going to have many to give up at the end of the war anyway. In short, by making the offer to give up something to get the blockade lifted they will get a few more brownie points. But, there are more serious things they could give up.
What Does Hamas Have to Give UpBut, the real thing Hamas has to give up is the rhetoric that Israel is not allowed to exist. It is very similar to Israel's statement that Hamas are dogs and terrorists. Hamas by maintaining the terrorist rhetoric keeps their fan base of disgruntled and angry (hate-filled) Palestinians, but they lose the opportunity to improve their status as diplomats, or even reasonable people. There's a lot of power to be gained by losing well and even dying well, but they must rise above their current base of Israel haters to have anything tangible to show for their efforts. They must paint a long term picture of living in peace with Israel -- if they are given self determination. This self determination could come in several phases: 1) as long as Gaza and the West Bank remains territories of Israel then those that pass the appropriate "tests" need some kind of residence status that allows them the full privileges of being a citizen in Israel including the ability to travel throughout Israel, and 2) long term a contiguous territory with their Palestinian brothers on the West Bank. But, their willingness to have a long term peaceful outlook may help them accomplish their short-term mission.
A good short-term mission for HamasThe other thing Hamas has to bargain for is a place at the bargaining table. Perhaps they will consider a cease-fire if they have a seat at the bargaining table in Paris. That is a very reasonable demand and it would send out a strong message to the rest of the world. Hopefully, they show up at the meetings with the hate rhetoric out of their vocabulary. But, unfortunately, their over-value the rhetoric and undervalue a place at the bargaining table.
So do I really think Hamas is going to take any of these suggestions from me or anyone else. Nope. So, see the opening paragraph for what happens if Hamas is not able to rise above their thuggish background. It is too bad that Hamas will not use their moment in the sun to think strategically.