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Eliana Benador: Israel's Most Dangerous Threat May Be Her Prime Minister

After the latest war, has Israel finally conquered a “prolonged quiet for Israeli citizens?”

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronen Zvulun, Pool) AP Photo/Ronen Zvulun, Pool

Ever since the Israeli government decided to retaliate for the kidnap and murder of three yeshiva boys at the hands of Hamas terrorists, the country has been prone to incessant and massive rocket attacks by the Palestinian killer group.

Fifty days later, on Aug. 27, 2014, after 4,450 rocket attacks, the death of 64 soldiers and a 4-year-old child killed, hundreds of wounded civilians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unilaterally decided to sit at the negotiating table with the terrorists of Hamas. They signed a final ceasefire agreement, and so the war has ended, but without any favorable outcome, according to the majority of its population.

What are the odds that there be a “prolonged quiet for Israeli citizens?”

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronen Zvulun, Pool) AP Photo/Ronen Zvulun, Pool Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. AP Photo/Ronen Zvulun, Pool

Here is the prime minister’s statement in which he says that “Hamas was hit hard and it did not receive even a single one of the conditions that it set for a ceasefire, not even one.“

Is that really the case?

What most Israelis did not know is that several days prior to the ceasefire agreement, Netanyahu secretly met with Abu Mazen, also known as Mahmoud Abbas, in Amman, Jordan, as reported by the Jordanian daily Al Ghad, which gave no other details regarding the meeting.

Despite Netanyahu’s emphasis that Hamas did not get any of their conditions, the “senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath has said ... that the Palestinian leadership will pursue diplomatic efforts at the United Nations Security Council to end what it describes as 'Israel's decades-long occupation,'" the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

Shaath told Ma'an that the Palestinian Authority would first petition the U.N. Security Council on September 15 to demand a "timetable" for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank.

According to Shaath, if that U.N. request is denied, the Palestinian Liberation Organization will take the case to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where it will attempt to try top Israeli officials, like Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, for alleged war crimes in Gaza.

Abu Obeida (R), the official spokesperson of the Palestinian militant group Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, give a press conference on July 3, 2014 in Gaza City. Islamist Hamas movement, whom Israel has blamed for the kidnap and murder of the three teenagers in June, said it held Netanyahu's government directly responsible for the killing of Abu Khder. 'You will pay the price for your crimes,' it said. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images Abu Obeida (R), the official spokesperson of the Palestinian militant group Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, give a press conference on July 3, 2014 in Gaza City. Islamist Hamas movement, whom Israel has blamed for the kidnap and murder of the three teenagers in June, said it held Netanyahu's government directly responsible for the killing of Abu Khder. 'You will pay the price for your crimes,' it said. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED

Although Netanyahu affirmed Hamas got none of their demands, they managed to neutralize Israel’s intention to disarm them. Shaath confirmed that: "Israel has had to accept the ceasefire deal, leaving out its main demand to demilitarize Hamas, amid pressure from the United States.”

On the other hand, showing the narrow mindedness, the incredible lack of decisiveness, and strategic thinking of the Israeli leadership, a new threat is now looming for Israel just as Jews are heading into their High Holidays, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur.

Indeed, there are reports that the only official crossing between Syria and Israel the Quneitra crossing, has been seized by terrorists from the Al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the Nusra Front.

Although this is considered a symbolic move, it also means that the terrorists will be providing “relief” to nearby villages which were under control by Syrian government troops.

The violent terrorists from the Nusra Front, which had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in 2013 are supported by the Western-backed Free Syrian Army; they have received the help of President Barack Obama who barely a few months ago, sent 'additional assistance to aid "moderate" Syrian rebels in their fight against the Assad regime." Prime Minister David Cameron and other Western leaders are also active members of this pro-terror support group.

AP Photo AP Photo

Do Israelis have anything to worry about?

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the director of the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdul Rahman explains that “Al-Nusra Front’s presence in Syria is now limited to the rural areas of Aleppo, Idlib and Hama.”

However, the Nursa Front has not just lost the war on the ground with the Islamic State, it is also losing the battle to secure followers.

Although there have been reports that the Islamic State and the Nusra Front had merged, it appears that the Al Qaeda franchise is simply losing members to the splinter group.

As it is known, the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadhi has proclaimed himself as Caliph Ibrahim and it is unlikely that the Nusra Front, or its parent Al Qaeda organization, will agree to fall under his banner.

This is all food for thought for Israel and her prime minister.

However, there is one more, very important detail Netanyahu will have to face at home on another front: the Israeli economy.

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system defends population centers by intercepting rockets from Gaza (Photo: IDF Spokesman) Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system defends population centers by intercepting rockets from Gaza (Photo: IDF Spokesman)

Indeed, the steep cost of a fruitless 50-day long war is going to be a long, thick thorn in Netanyahu’s political life and the Likud party.

The hardest-hit front have been businesses throughout southern Israel, a region that sustained serious rocket fire from Hamas.

Sales in stores and restaurants dropped, and manufacturing facilities near the Gaza border suffered shutdowns and slowdowns in manufacturing during the violent rocket attacks.

The "Israel's Manufacturers Association has estimated the total economic impact on Israeli manufacturers for the first round of the conflict at about 1.2 billion shekels, an estimated $335.9 million, with factories in the south accounting for 40 percent of the figure, and facilities in Haifa and the center of the country incurring half the losses.”

The agricultural sector also experienced significant physical damage from the rocket attacks, especially as the Iron Dome system was only activated when rockets were headed to a populated area. Consequently, thousands of rockets and mortars landed in open fields, some belonging to farms. Besides crop damage, there have been injuries and deaths of cattle, chickens and other livestock.

Rockets lunched by Palestinian militants towards Israel make their way from the northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. (Photo: AP) Rockets lunched by Palestinian militants towards Israel make their way from the northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. (Photo: AP)

With no concrete win to show, it is understandable that the prime minister’s approval ratings are on a free fall. When Operation Protective Edge began in July, 57 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Netanyahu. Those numbers rose to 82 percent on July 23, when ground forces entered the Gaza Strip. Now, after his unilateral ceasefire agreement with the murderers of Hamas, data shows that 50 percent of Israelis are dissatisfied with him and just 38 percent are satisfied.

In the meantime, the so-called civilized world shows no outrage in front of horrendous images of savages using their own children as human shields or as they display a series of human heads.

For all that, it is unforgivable that the prime minister robbed Jews in Israel and the diaspora of a victory that could have been decisive in stopping barbaric terrorists. It could have been a signal to the world that Jews were not going to put up with the abusive rise of anti-Semitism.

According to Netanyahu, Hamas suffered its greatest blow since it was founded and he affirms that "Approximately 1,000 terrorists were killed..." Alas, less than the 1,027 he exchanged for Shalit in 2011, plus 104 more that the prime minister freed in 2013, ahead of "peace negotiations."

What Jews in Israel and the diaspora wanted him to say was: Hamas has been annihilated.

Sadly, the only thing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been able to offer Israel, is his incompetence.

Eliana Benador: strategist consultant, adviser, opinion writer, and speaker, was founder of Benador Associates and is head of Benador International, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Her website is www.elianabenador.com. You may follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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