Shin-Bet’s chief Yuval Diskin confirmed that the Israeli security service bets on the escalation in Palestine. In Shin-Bet estimate, Hamas would give in and accept secondary role in the national unity government. Accordingly, Israel and America fan the Palestinian conflict with massive aid to Fatah. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood similarly support the Hamas. Even if the Shin-Bet estimate proves correct, Palestinian unity government would do no good to Israel. Hamas, entrenched in the government and politically stable, would continue amassing popular support. Hamas might welcome the secondary role which absolves it of the responsibility for economic mishaps and possible humiliating political settlement with Israel. Hamas would enjoy the political incubator: participation in the government brings money, credibility, and popularity, while the opposition role involves no responsibility. Hamas would slip into the comfortable “I told you so” niche of criticizing the Fatah.

The proper policy would be to accept the Hamas-led government and suffocate it economically. Ban the Palestinian day workers from Israel. Stop imports from Palestine. Freeze all remittances. Wait for the population to rid itself of the Hamas.

Shin-Bet might be wrong, and Hamas won’t cow down but accept the escalation. Civil war would extremely complicate the Shin-Bet’s operations in Palestine and increase the stream of suicide bombers into Israel. Hamas’ response to Fatah’s provocations ultimately depends on the availability of financing for the factional war and is unpredictable.

Knesset will soon vote on a bill that revokes statute of limitations for murder of prime minister. That reminded me of a 1990 Louisiana law. After the US Supreme Court decided that burning of national flag is a matter of free speech and protected by the First Amendment, Louisiana legislature reduced assaulting the flag-burners to misdemeanor punishable by $25 fine. That approach wonderfully lends itself to Israeli situation. A hundred shekels fine for killing a treasonable prime minister would justly punish the offenders.

From Danny: Jerusalem Post run an article about the ballooning Egyptian threat. Obadiah wrote that eight months ago. Re-read The lessons of Dahab.